D-Day (Departure Day)

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27/03/08
Hello folks, and welcome to the in-air version of ActiveSteve. The lights have been dimmed low as people try to get some shut-eye. I’ve got Stadium Arcadium cranked, as part of my in-seat entertainment. I just watched a most incredible movie called “Into the Wild”, based on a true story and book by Jon Krakauer. Absolutely remarkable. I’d say it was inspiring, but given that the lead guy dies after poisoning himself by accident by eating the wrong plant… well, you can imagine where I’m going there. However, his experiences up to that point were nothing short of soul awakening for me I’d say. SEE THIS MOVIE. Of course, it doesn’t help my lack of desire to go back to the working world any more, but that’s okay. I’ve wanted to see this movie for some time after being told by many people on this trip that I should watch it. However, I’m just a touch ahead of myself on the blog front, so sit back, and allow me to roll the clock back a few hours and fill you in on my last half day in New Zealand.

I must admit, I’m going to have another slight problem with this blog post. I think it’ll have to be a two-parter type post, as I’m actually going to have two March 27ths, and I’m not sure what laws of thermodynamics I’ll have to break in order to write two stories for the same day. You see, my 24 hours in San Francisco will be mainly based on the 27th of March as well. Weird enough for you? Well, try being me in that case. To sleep or not to sleep, that is the question. I did manage to get a good rest again at Kevin’s last night. I actually slept in past 9am this time, which was extra sweet. I guess it helped that I had nothing to do for the day. What did I do once up? Well, I showered, then I popped in the Transformers movie, which I hadn’t seen. Detect a trend yet? Yup, InActiveSteve is digging watching the moving pictures the last couple days.

After the movie, I got my butt in gear and went for my last stroll in New Zealand by heading down to St Heliers Bay for lunch and a walk along the boardwalk in the glorious sunshine. It was a hot day with blazing sun. Nice to get that for one last stretch before heading back to cold, wet, Ottawa, don’t you think. I had myself a reasonable meal of curry fried chicken pieces served on pasta with a thai curry sauce. Washed that down with a Speight’s Distinction Ale, then a fresh cream doughnut I picked up at a nearby bakery. I then proceeded to stroll along the waterfront, trying to be philosophical about my entire trip, but failing to reach any great mental insights to share with you.

Walked back to Kevin’s and waited for him to come home to whisk me and all my gear to the airport. Thanks again, Kevin! He was right on time, and I was well within my 3 hour time limit at the airport. I was actually pretty much right on the nose 3 hours before flight time in the lineup. It was a good thing, as things weren’t quite going to go my way for the return trip. Or at least they didn’t appear to. I got to the counter, and proceeded to try checking in. Duffle bag: 23kg, the exact max for luggage. They asked me to load the bike on the scale. 40kg! Law apparently prohibits them from taking anything over 32kg. I argued for a while about special handling, asked for supervisors, showed paperwork, etc. etc., but all to no avail. I was told I’d have to re-pack. Kinda tricky with this sort of thing. However, I was willing to give it the ole college try, and was sent away with all my stuff to where there was a big scale.

I set about taking all my gear apart again, to see what I could stuff in my duffle bag. The one interesting thing I learned from Air NZ is that they don’t have a special bike handling charge. Just a 2 bag maximum, no bag over 32kg total, and anything over 23kg charged at 5NZD per kg. You wouldn’t believe what I was able to finally cram into my duffle and carry on as well. I got almost everything out of the box except the bike itself and the biggest parts of the trailer. The seat is even sitting in my duffle now. I could only get it down to 34kg, and my duffle up to 29kg. I wheeled everything back up to the line, and was given the next slot since I’d already been waiting. This person was a bit more understanding and empathized with me on my plight. She stressed on the phone that I’d done all I could, even though it was still a little overweight. The baggage boss ok’d it, and I was almost set. Just the matter of excess charges. Somehow, she got it down to only 60NZD, which is actually less than I’d expected to pay for the bike handling.

So, in the end, I got off pretty easy I guess. My next challenge will be checking into San Fran for the Ottawa flight, where this time they will want to charge a bike handling fee, as well as an overweight bag charge I suspect. I think I’ll probably just pay the damn charge and be done with it though. I don’t feel like trying to re-pack once again just to save a few bucks. I headed upstairs after finally waving goodbye to my big luggage, and proceeded to do some last-minute souvenir shopping and money changing. I got rid of all except for about 70cents NZD. Not bad.

I’m now onboard my plane, a really nice plane, with kick-ass in-seat stuff. Tons of movies to choose from, as well as a wide assortment of CDs to choose from to listen to, which is what I’m currently doing while typing. There’s even games, including Tetris to play while you fly. How cool is that? Next stop, San Francisco, for a 24 hour layover. I booked a hostel right off Union Square, so I’ll be centrally located for my very short trip. I should at least get to see some of the sights in that time. I essentially have the afternoon and night to sight-see, sleep over, then head back to the airport in the morning to start another possibly frustrating few hours dealing with my over-size luggage. Oh well, that’s what I have to go through to get back to those that I love I guess. I suppose I’d endure worse to get back to that, wouldn’t you? I’ll sign off with that, and will pick back up earlier today when I get in San Fran 🙂

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