Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I'm finally back.... Snow?!?

Finally made it home after the usual trauma of cattle-class globe-trotting with a few accompanying misfortunes thrown in.

The first woe was that at Seoul, my flight to Sydney had to change planes because the original plane had something wrong. This wouldn't be so bad but I left Seoul over two hours late, which meant that a scheduled three hour stay in Sydney was cut to less than an hour. This would be barely enough time to dash to the transfer desk to get a new boarding pass and then dash to the gate.

Unfortunately the plane was late in arriving in Sydney and I only had twenty minutes to spare. So when I made it to the transfer desk, I was told that it was too late to issue a boarding pass. Having missed my connection, I had to wait for a later flight. Thus far the second woe.

The third woe was discovering why my travel agent had scheduled so little time for me in the Sydney international airport in the first place - it's a hole. Well, in parts anyway. The duty-free shops were all nice and dandy and the bookshop was good. But the things that mattered most to a jet-lagged traveller who had already spent the past day on airplanes were poor. The shower facilities were crude consisting of little more than a faucet and a drain in the ground. The main cafe was substandard with a layout that only created lengthy soviet-era waiting queues for overpriced food. Internet facilities were similarly deficient with only three free terminals of which two had to be used standing up while the seat for the third meant that you had to crane your neck upwards.

It was while browsing these terminals, I found that a snowstorm had struck Christchurch. This has never happened before in September. And so it came to pass that when I was on the next available flight into Christchurch, I spent my time looking out the window awe-struck at the snow-covered spectacle. The fourth woe was that I had dressed expecting mild spring weather, not the aftermath of a snowstorm. Fortunately I had a jersey packed in my hand-luggage.

I was even more fortunate that I packed the jersey in my hand-luggage because the checked-in luggage failed to arrive at Christchurch, a consequence of the missed connection in Sydney. Air New Zealand re-united me with the luggage the next morning so there was no harm done but re-adjusting to an Indian Winter after the subtropical balm of London is going to take a lot longer.