Bumping to Auckland

Let me say right off the bat that I much preferred our ferry ride and nice flight down to Queensland than the present turbulent flight we are in the midst of right NOW. While checking in this morning we heard, “Please step out of line. You are under arrest.” Oh, that trickster Jim, our MN friend. They were booked on a JetStar flight and their flight had been cancelled because of the wind. It was blowing flags up away from the flag poles. And did I mention that it snowed last night.? Not in Queenstown but all around the mountains that surround the town. And their plane couldn’t land. After three attempts, their incoming plane returned to somewhere thereby leaving them stranded at the airport.

At this point…stranded is not necessarily a bad thing. We are being tossed all over the skies. It took us 30 minutes to get in the blue and the flight attendants were all seated. I hate when that happens. It was the worst take off I’ve ever endured. My valium and wine didn’t do a thing. I’m waiting for cabin service to start so I can order a stiff one. Thank goodness we are on a 737…a turbo prop might be what they were to fly on. They would be better off on the ground.

Now that my life has flashed before my eyes…I’ll take this opportunity to reflect on our trip thus far. Observation one. Young people are moving around. They comprise the backpacker/tramper population down here. A sparse life, sleeping in youth hostels, eating at McDonald’s, and lugging their belongings where ever they go. They are having a great time. We’ve talked with a lot of these young adults and most of them are traveling to learn english, the language. One man from Japan was here because his employer sent him to learn english so that he could communicate with his clients. He is an accountant. Another young woman from Argentina is here studying english before she moves to Spain. She traveled to Spain, loved it and decided to immigrate. She is a teacher. Another young couple were working at the ski resort which just closed for the season. They were from Slovenia and they were traveling around to see the sights, improve their english which was already wonderful. “How did you learn to speak english, because you are very good at it”, Rayman asked. The Slovenian replied, “it’s compulsory in our schooling.” This lead Rayman and I to wonder what is wrong with the USA. We fight other languages with our english only ranting. This only limits our ability to talk with others and engage with the world. Yes, they are learning our language to be better off in their lives…shouldn’t we be doing the same? Just wondering.

Second observation. The people down under are wonderful. I’m at risk of repeating myself, I know. But I bring this up to encourage all my readers to consider a trip down this way. You will love it. The kiwis are so much fun, yeah, yeah. They never say yes just once. They are so enthusiastic they always without fail say, “yeah, yeah”. And they speak really fast which is a challenge for those that can’t understand their accents. It makes it fun just the same to try to figure out. And they take our lack of ability to understand them with good humor accompanied by a smile. Charming, I’m sure.

Third observation. They don’t get wigged out with security at the airport. You can transport opened wine within the country. They don’t even scan your carry-ons including computers when flying on the turbo-planes. The 737 required a check of the computer this a.m. That was a first. Shocking? I am not shocked. They are way out of harms way down here. We have done a lot of touring, walking, riding public transit and have never felt the least bit in danger in any way. Bicycling, is another matter as I’m a scared y cat (which means it’s my problem, not theirs) Really. People are kind, considerate, polite. It reminds us of our childhoods’ when you could leave your doors unlocked. You didn’t worry about a classmate blowing you to bits at your school. You could stop someone and ask for directions and receive directions or sometimes even get shown the way. It just feels safe and we love that about the down under. Yeah, yeah.

Observation number four. The beds are really, really comfortable…everywhere. Included as a subcategory to that is that I have never seen so many ways to flush a toilet. Handles are rare. Buttons are popular, lifting knobs are in good supply, turning a disk is a relatively modern way to approach the task. You can pretty much figure that almost no two are exactly alike. Shows the ingenuity of the peoples. Old task. New solutions. And when you ask for a bathroom, you’re sure to puzzle them. They say toilet. Straight up. Toilet.

Speaking of toilets, they are everywhere. The kiwis and Aussies discovered that people have a need to relieve themselves and they decided to provide for that eventuality. Never had to ask for a key. Never saw a sign limiting access.

Never did get that stiff drink…it wasn’t an option on this flight. Luckily the flight smoothed out a bit and I stopped hyperventilating, my blood pressure returned to normal and palms stopped sweating so that I could type with ease. We’re now about 25 minutes from Auckland. Looking forward to warmer weather. It was uncomfortably cold this a.m. on the south island. Felt and looked like winter. So defrosting will be a good thing. Yeah, yeah.

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