The longest endless day.
Three months just flew by with volcanos in Chile spewing clouds of volcanic dust and dirt into the sky, closing airports in many countries including New Zealand, for a time it seemed we could find ourselves grounded too, but just in time the cloud dispersed and all airways were open and working again.
On the 4th August we were up early all packed and ready to go on the Ferry to Wellington, but first, at 8.30 am, we had to drive 30 km into Blenheim with our cat Porsche to put her into the Cattery for her 2 weeks holiday, and back again to Picton. Our kind neighbour drove us to the ferry with our luggage on a gloriously sunny calm day, the sailing was likely to be smooth and pleasant, which is just as well as I am not a very good sailor on the ferry as Cook Strait is a very rough stretch of water. We were so lucky the sailing was pleasant and I did not feel at all ill. We arrived in Wellington Harbour on time and so should of have plenty of time to catch the shuttle we had already paid for to the airport, by 6pm. But, the ferry suddenly stopped in the middle of the harbour and there was an announcement to tell us some other ship was berthed in the ferry dock and we had to wait til it was removed before we could get off the ship! So by the time we finally docked and got off the ferry we were told there was no way we could get to through peak hour city traffic to the airport by 6pm. As we came off the gangway Erle spotted a taxi pulling on the wharf quite a some distance away, he yelled over his shoulder, you get the luggage and I will try to get that taxi, as he ran like a hare down the wharf. How lucky was that, Erle came back with the taxi as I collected the luggage, we jumped in and told the driver, to the airport, fast as you can, we need to be there by 6pm. Taxi driver said he didn’t think he could do it but he would give it his best shot. He drove fast but competently through the traffic and got us there by 5 past 6pm, I leapt out and ran into the check-in waving the tickets, leaving Erle to pay (and tip) the driver and drag in the suitcases. We had made it with 5 mins to spare as the travel agent had added 10 mins to the time to make sure we did get there in time, bless her.
We caught the plane to Auckland then had a long wait til our flight to Kuala Lumpa which was nearly 12 hours long where there was another wait til we boarded our flight to Singapore, next we had a bus trip to the ferry terminal in the harbour, another long wait before boarding the ferry.
But we were so lucky, the lady behind the desk at check-in sort of conned us and some others into taking an Emerald Class ticket at extra cost. This proved to be wonderful as the Emerald Class lounge had free coffee and tea and soft drinks, air con, comfortable sofas and free Internet. We were able to rest up for a while. Finally the call to board the ferry, in the best seats too, the trip was as smooth and comfortable as possible, with free nibbles and drinks on board for the Emerald Class passengers. By now we had started to make friends with another nice young couple who had also come from NZ with us and were also going to Club Med, things were looking great, it is so pretty from the ferry passing all the big ships and the skyline of Singapore in the background and the first sight of Bintan was also pretty with a tiny island at the point..
There was another bus trip out to Club Med, where we were welcomed in wonderous fashion which is apparently a Club Med tradition, but one we had never seen before, all the staff were standing waiting waving and singing a welcome with cool towels and drinks waiting for us, how nice. It was now about 2.30pm local time;.... 29 hours had passed since we started out! on our journey We were so tired, almost sleep walking, we were assigned our room and a girl led us to the very most furtherest distant block of units, up 3 flights of stairs and then right around the building to the other end where we found our truly lovely superior room! We wanted to collapse on the bed, but no, the girl told us now we must go immediately to one of the restaurants that was putting on a special welcome lunch for us. The Terrace Restaurant was at the other end of the huge complex, the other most furtherest distant building, and walking about half a mile, out in the open under the extremely hot humid sun in our hot long trousers still, it’s a wonder we made it at all! The meal was very nice and revived us a little, but both Erle and I were very red in the face and hearts were racing, we were not at our best. The other couple were younger and seemed to be managing better than us but were still a bit worn. We decided we would have to do something about the vast distance between our room and the restaurant, like what if it rained; we would be saturated getting there. One or other or both of may well have a heart attack or a stroke too; so on the way back we stopped off at the reception and asked to be moved to a less distant room, in my most unraveled frazzled mode.
Because it was Club Med the receptionist ladies graciously and gently said madam you go back to your room, have a shower and and a lie down while we attempt to find you a room in our already fully booked resort
It is still only 4pm.