36 hours travel

July 29, 2014

There is a form of fatal attraction to a long trip and I must admit to half looking forward to the trip to Bogota which in general went smoothly other that the start and the finish.  However it involved crossing the date line which always confuses the hell out of me as it involved arriving in Los Angeles before I had left Wellington.  Travel has a rhythm to it and with priority access (one of the benefits of lots of travel) its not too hard as long as you relax.  

The problem at the start was in Wellington for the short hop to Auckland where I had a meeting before heading off for Los Angeles.   I got there early as I know how the planes can be disrupted and if need be I would have to change flights.   Checking went well but then I met some petty minded attitudes at the gate.  I had one small bag as well as the laptop case but it was pretty stuffed (those merino wool purchases) and one of the checkin people wanted to have it weighed,  I got it down to the right size (by wearing a pullover) but the weighing machine would not work but by this time there was a process locking.  New Zealand Air are a bit like that, they have some of the best service but sometimes they get a little hung up on the rules.   Either way she marched off to find some scales to prove that my bag was overweight and I was getting resigned to a check in and disruption on the tight transfer in Auckland. She came back somewhat flustered as her search for a portable scale had not worked and she wanted me to go out of security and have it weighed and checked again!  Fortunately while she was away the other person on checkout took over, hand weighed it and with a wink said it would fit in and cleared it with the aircraft crew.

After that all went well, the meeting at Auckland was fine but I had no time for the lounge and after a meal I slept all the way to Los Angeles, easily the best strategy on that route and I have done it a few times.   Excellent service and especially good wine all helped!  Then it was through the car park at LAX and into the United Lounge with a chance to catch up on email before the flight to Houston.  I planned to work but United Airlines have either outstanding plane configurations or ones that are cast back into the dark ages.  I got the latter with no room to work and a multi channel entertainment system that cycled films all the time, not even starting them on departure.  So I ended up watching the last part of the latest Hobbit movie on the first flight, then the first part on the Bogota section. Both US airports were easy transfers because I know them well, for the stranger on a tight schedule they would both be a nightmare.

Then overnight to Bogota and no one to meet me!  Now this happens so I waited around for someone to turn up but no one did.  The wifi in the airport gave me access to the internet but not email and the phone signal was not strong enough to allow me to allow Vofafone to rip me off on roaming charges.   Finally Facebook put me in contact with someone after they woke up (I got in early) and I discovered two hours after landing that plans had changed and I now had to fly direct to Medellin.  A few exchanges later and I was able to check in and mercy of mercies was met at the airport.  An hours drive later I could shower and sleep.  

Key statistics:

  • Total journey time 36 hours
  • 4 G&Ts (not bad that)
  • 3 very large glasses of wine (less good)
  • 7 litres of water drunk
  • 4 bowls of warm nuts (I can't resist the temptation)
  • 1 ice-cream on NZ2 my major indulgence
  • 2 evening meals
  • 1 breakfast
  • 8,000 steps walking around and between terminals
  • Five flights
  • emails cleared 150
  • net email balance at end of trip +5 (more came in than went out)
  • Proposals complete 2 (feeling good about that)

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