Wednesday, 3 January 2018
03.01.2018 - 05.01.2018
The last of the wake-up announcements and off to breakfast. After breakfast we waited in the lounge for the disembarkation call. At 08:00 we were requested to leave the ship, identify our luggage and board the bus. The entire Expedition Staff stood in the wet conditions to bid us safe travel, almost like saying goodbye to family.
A relatively short drive through the city out to the airport. Baggage was checked in and we faced many hours until boarding the aircraft. The flight to Buenos Aires was uneventful but rough with the seat-belt sign on more often than off. Arrival at the domestic terminal was a little confusing as we kept looking for the International Departures. Found out we had a 10 minute walk to Terminal A. Easy when you know.
Terminal A was crowded with limited seating, little air-conditioning and only two food outlets. We managed to grab a seat in the most crowded McDonald's ever experienced. Found a good deal that used of the last of the local currency - great management ??
Tried to enter the secured departure area. Not yet permitted for our flight. Had to hang about until 19:30. Noticed a bunch of people heading into the departure area just after 19:00, joined them and got through to security. We had a long wait with our flight still on page 2 of the Departures Board. With no gate number allocated we stayed in the central area and made frequent trips looking for updates.
Eventually the flight was allocated a gate number and we headed off to Gate 23. It was a long walk almost entirely through parts of duty free outlets. Very strange setup. By the time we boarded the plane we had been on the go for 16 hours with a 14 hour flight to Auckland still to endure.
The aircraft was fully occupied with passengers and more that one piece of carry-on for each. The was lots of shoving to fit more and more gear into those bulging lockers. With a first come, best served approach some people had to find spaces further toward the back. I figured there would be some interesting moves at the far end as they pushed against the tide.
Our arrival in Auckland was at least 30 minutes late. The connection interval to our flight to Sydney had also changed resulting in a close call. By the time we found the transit lounge we were sure we would be catching a later flight. Appears that the flight to Sydney was also running late and with hardly time for a breath we were off on a three hour flight to Sydney.
On arrival we retrieved our luggage and successfully negotiated the automatic passport recognition process, much improved from our first encounter some years ago. Found the Virgin transfer lounge, checked in the luggage and transferred to the domestic departures for our fourth security check. We were both exhausted and travel weary. No more delays just a simple flight to Canberra on a stinking hot day.
The taxi dropped us off and we made a beeline for the door, dumped the luggage and crashed on the bed. Within minutes we were fast asleep. We were so deeply asleep that we didn't hear our neighbour come in and delivered a carton of milk in case we needed it. She was surprised to find our luggage dumped in the lounge room.
Not a lot more to be said, we figured we were in transit a total of close to 40 hours without sleep. Sadly there is no practical way of reducing that travel time to the far flung destinations. This could well be the last of these brutal flights.
There may be subsequent entry in the form of a wash up summary but for now, thanks for following.
Stay healthy and safe.
Cheers .. Tony