poroporoaki toku hoa. Tae noa ki te whakatau ia ano tatou.
So this is how it goes.
I finish work December 15th. Sorted the bus out then head home.
Spend a few days thrashing about on my bike, getting cold but nothing too bad.
Have a mad panic getting my folks a present, as my Sister e-mailed me Dec 21st saying she hadn’t got anything (we’d arranged that she would).
I really am no good at shopping for anybody but myself.
And the rest of the time I spent drunk. Well “IT’S CHRISTMAS” as Nod says.
A good couple of gigs up the Oxleathers club, a couple of pub crawls all good fun.
Christmas done. Right it’s time to finish the job and finally put my best mate Simon to rest.
1/2 of him and his dog are at the pub we spent most of our time in.
And the last time I remember him being really happy, was when he was telling me of how he loved it in New Zealand. He wanted to go back but sadly his illness prevented that.
And when I said what I’d like to do with his ashes to the family they loved the idea. And they agreed to finance the trip, for which I’m eternally grateful.
It was a year and a day since his death that I buried his ashes at the pub in torrential rain. Maybe the fucker didn’t want to leave my wardrobe where he’s been residing since his demise. I wouldn’t put it past the twat to have been pissing on me that day.
Also it’s this wee journey that’s got me writing this.
Well that lack of sleep and a lot of cider & wine. Coupled to the fact it’s 06:30 and I’m jet lagged to buggery In the airport bar in Auckland.
So I decide to fly out Dec 30th. Which meant I’d be in the air between India and Australia for New Years Eve, not bothered about that. I don’t care too much for forced happiness. I really don’t like Christmas and NYE. That’s not to say I’m a miserable bastard.
I just prefer celebrations when they take you by surprise. Which means it’s usually a normal day, you get on it, and the day just goes right.
No planning, no expectations. Like being refused service in Wetherspoons at 3pm for being too drunk. Then carrying on drinking until about 8pm.
Waking up in the morning wondering why you’ve got a 4 pint beer glass, a box collection of Clint Eastwood Western films. And a pair of Union Jack trainers. And a vague recollection of a lot of pissed up rugby fans hounding you and Spence out of The Horse And Jockey for putting Slayer on the juke box.
Anyhoo I digress.
I decide to go to NZ. And OZ seeing as it’s not that far away.
I call Jackie in NZ and Nico in OZ sort out a rough itinerary and start booking.
Jackie’s got a gig she’s promoting in Rotorua, Fat Freddy’s Drop.
A band I’ve driven a few times, and I did say to them in October that I’d probably see them when they played the gig. (I don’t think they believed me).
So I find flights on Emirates (great airline). Book an internal flight to Rotorua all the times were perfect the closest connection was 3 hours. I know the airports I’d be stopping in so I know how long gate to gate, piece of piss oh yeah.
Tuesday Dec 30 My flights at 13:21. Train at 10:00. No worries get up at 8 to pack, quick breakfast and head clipper. Ready for a stress less day.
Miss the 10:00 train get the 10:30 which gets me to the airport at 11:15.
Strait through already checked in, Soooo smooth.
“You are aware of the delay aren’t you Sir”
“Ah, the inbound flight has been diverted to Vienna a medical emergency”
“How long’s the delay?”
“we’re not sure”
“Will I make my connecting flights?”
“You’ll have to check with the ground staff when you land”
Onward to Dubai we land 2&1/2 hours behind schedule.
All passengers with a connection to Melbourne go to the help desk.
Uh oh! That’s not what I want to hear.
Of course I miss my connection now this is where the fun starts.
My original plan was to get to Rotorua 5pm on the 1st. Have a few bevvies chill out with a few of he bands, all would be cool.
“We’ve got you on a connecting flight that will get you into Auckland at 00:20 Jan 2nd.
And you’ve got a 10 hour lay over here in Dubai, 8 in Singapore, 8 in Melbourne.”
So back to the wee girl in Dubai. “Here’s your itinerary, your bags are tagged all the way to Auckland. Errr can you wait here for a while, can I have your boarding card from your flight you’ve just come off. And your baggage tag.
Now I’m not sure. What a code 404 is but I didn’t Iike the sound of it, when it concerned me. And my baggage. Because in my checked bag was not only my biking gear. But the remains of Simon.
After a lot of talking on the phone. I was given another itinerary and reassured yet again my bags would be in Auckland when I landed.
Excellent. I’d better find a bar then. A few pre flight shandys then off to Singapore.
And then to Singapore where to my dismay, only the Heineken bar was open, ah well when in Rome. “Keep em coming mate!” I spank the old plastic, no idea how much a pint is here but, it ain’t going to be a couple of quid. As I was now going to miss my connection to Rotorua I needed a plan B. I enquire at the Emirates desk about my connection from Auckland to Rotorua?”
“I’m sorry Sir that’s a different carrier, you’ll have to take it up with them!”
As it happens Air New Zealand couldn’t have been more helpful. Just cost £40 to change my ticket.
And Christ knows how much in shitty Heineken to steady my nerves.
And so onto Melbourne. “Would passengers with connecting flights collect their bags from the carrousel.”
Here we go again. I enquire about my bag as it was on an earlier flight. “As it was tagged to Auckland it shouldn’t be here mate, but I wouldn’t trust that. I’d check the carrousel if I were you”
Says the cheery security guard.
I go back to the carrousel, all the bags come off the flight, no sign of mine.
Right I’m knackered I go out of the airport and get a hotel room. I can squeeze in about 4 hours of sleep here.
Go back to the terminal for the next leg. I enquire about my bag, it’s going strait through to Auckland.
You are now on a Quantas flight to Auckland I’m informed. Cool I don’t mind though now I’ve got an 8 hour lay over in Auckland airport before my flight to Rotorua.
Land in Auckland waited at baggage reclaim, and waited, and waited. Went to the baggage help desk.
“Ah Mr Ellett we’ve just got this message your bag has just landed in Melbourne.” I check the time, it’s exactly 24 hours late getting into Melbourne according to my original itinerary.
“It should’ve come here”
“Yes sir I can see that, don’t worry we’ll deliver it to any address you’re staying at in Auckland”
“I’m not staying in Auckland, I’m going to Rotorua”
“And I don’t have an address”
“AHHHH! Could you contact the misplaced baggage handlers and sort it out with them?”
“Yes no problem”
“May I enquire what you bag contains? Just for the customs declaration”
New Zealand has a very strict code of what can and cannot be bought into the country due to its fragile ecosystem.
My turn to go “Ah”
“Well there’s my clothes, motorcycle gear including helmet, and 1/2 of my best friends ashes.”
“Ah, Erm I see, no that shouldn’t be a problem. Erm 1/2?”
“Yes the other 1/2 are at the pub we spent most of our time in, in the UK!”
“That’s OK sir, it shouldn’t be a problem.”
Apart from the fact that I was wearing the spare clothes I had carried with me. And the few toiletries, I’d got was not enough to last me than 3 days.
Still onwards and downwards eh!
As a ps I’m in Brisbane airport writing this. My deodorant ran out this morning running on eau de toilet.
Not that I’m that bothered on who I upset with my stench. It’s not like I’ll see them again. And crying fuckin’ kids are more offensive than any kind of body odour. And so far every fucking flight has been punctuated by somebody’s little Princess or Prince screaming. Fuck the little cunts they should be in the cargo hold Such is life.