Leaving Skydive San Diego wasn’t as hard as I thought.I said numerous good-byes, but in reality, I was kind of indifferent.The trip to the Lindbergh Field isn’t that exciting, but there’s this one spot when you round the bend and all you can see is the harbour, blue and green, littered with sailboats. I look forward to that scene. It’s a personal favourite amongst so much grey.
The check in at the airport was unusual, but rules change when you’re travelling internationally. Plus, I didn’t have a return ticket, though my work visa said I did not have to have one. This was complicated for the lady at the counter, but we got it sorted and I was free to go through security and remove my shoes and belt.
I decided to have a beer, a lovely IPA, and then I heard the PA mention if anyone on my flight had a connection in San Francisco to report to the desk. I ran out of the bar without paying my tab, to get first in line. My flight was delayed indefinitely. Realizing what I had done I looked over to the bartender who was about to come chase after me and motioned that I would be right back. I got on an immediate flight to San Francisco – boarding – now! The lady at the counter had some question about connecting baggage. I really hoped that wasn’t some foreshadowing. My gear is in one of those bags. My life is in those bags.
I went and paid the bartender and boarded. To my surprise I got upgraded to Economy Plus for free. Was it too good to be true? I should have paid attention to the message board at the check-in counter that noted travelers to San Fran and Chicago could expect weather delays. I figured that just couldn’t happen, but a little part of me died inside and I knew it would be just my luck to be re-routed, delayed, miss my fight and whatever else could possibly occur.
You see. This is exactly why I try not to get excited about things until I get there. They often don’t work out as planned – but I think I’m beginning to like the adventure in that.
So anyway, I make my way into my incredibly vast leg-room seat and the middle seat is free. Another perk? But a couple arrived late and were split up – one of them in our middle seat and one across the aisle. So I gave up my window seat and took the center seat between two gentleman across the aisle. One of them had big arms and I was cramped the entire hour.
The pilot came on the PA and told us he couldn’t get a wheels-up ok until 4:01 p.m. – a whole hour later than my original flight was meant to depart. He also told us that all flights into San Fran were experiencing difficulty. I had a two-and-a-half-hour lay-over, but I had some suspicion that Frick would not get his duty-free tobacco. The pilot updated us a short time later that he was working to get us cleared for an earlier departure – by a whole 14 minutes. Maybe Frick would get his tobacco after all. I just didn’t want to miss my flight to Auckland. But in all reality, there’s nothing I could do about it if I did. I still cursed the sea fog in San Fran, though.
The plane finally took off just before 4 p.m. – as previously rescheduled. The hour and seven minute flight would arrive shortly before 5 p.m. and I would hopefully get a chance to grab some snack food from the International Terminal before my 13.5 hr flight to New Zealand at 7 p.m. And hopefully charge my laptop. And get Frick’s rolling tobacco. And get a beer.
I got Frick some kind of rolling tobacco – not the kind he asked for. And I got some salt and vinegar chips, a Snickers bar and a turkey sandwich just in case the flight turned into a 24-hour thing – as the day was going. Then I had another IPA at some Mexican grill in the G-gates. The bar had electrical hook-ups under the counter and I was able to get a little more charge in to my computer before departure. Then I had another IPA.
There was one bonus to the weather delays in San Francisco – a lot of people didn’t make it for the flight to Auckland, which sucks for them but was awesome for everyone who made it on the plane. There were so many empty seats.
So there’s a middle seat in my row that is unoccupied – apart from Greg’s crap filling it up. He told me he needed the space for his stuff so I told him not to worry. If I needed that space I’d just push his stuff to the ground. Greg is a dude from San Francisco who is taking his first vacation in nearly two years. He and some friends are meeting up and renting a camper van to tour the mighty New Zealand outback. He’s annoying (charming). Can’t stop talking about himself (entertaining) and fortunately for him, loves my taste in wine (pinot noir.) So honestly, we’re getting along fine, as long as I keep him drunk. But seriously. Glad I got stuck with him. We started talking before we took off and a few hours into the flight I realized I hadn’t even looked at what movies were playing.
Greg and I played a few games of Millionaire and continued to drink many glasses of Pinot Noir. Andree, one of the flight attendants, continued to keep our glasses full. I didn’t sleep much on the flight – I think I got about an hour or two.That was after Greg finally shut up. ;o)
After I cleared immigration, I walked with my luggage over to the domestic terminal, about a ten-minute journey. I wished about two minutes into it that I had used a cart. No matter how much I repacked those bags, they were still heavy. I got a capaccino and logged into Facebook to change my status, all before finding out my flight to Nelson was delayed – for like 10 mins. It looked like I was finally going to make it.
Emily met me at the airport, brushing past people trying to get through the gate (there’s no security, oh and I got my luggage) and informed me shortly thereafter that I was on the schedule already. I had to be at work for 10 a.m. Fuck me. I was a zombie. But Frick was kind and filled in for me. Guess that’s just the beginning of what I’ve to look forward to this summer.
I went to the dropzone, said my hellos, went home, unpacked my things, went to the shop, got my cell phone sorted and am now waiting for the call to do beers this evening. I will sleep tonight.