to be honest, the majority of my journey to canada was completely stress-free and, (one could almost say) normal; but the beginnings were certainly a little "different"
I'm usually over-cautious when it comes to dealing with air-travel, but for some reason whatever bad Karma I've been accumulating finally decided to catch up with me :)
On my way to the airport, I was discussing with my sister how strange it is that I always need to start my international journey by departing the domestic terminal (connecting flight to sydney)... that was my first mistake = you shouldn't tempt the travel gods
$4 luggage trolley, overflowing with my bags and boom-poles; attempt to check into the "kiosk". Don't think I've EVER been able to make use of these bloody self-check-in things, as they always direct me to "see a service representative", nothing new here today :)
"please check in with that counter over there"... okay, line up and get ready to pay...
"so sir, where are we headed to today?..."
"yeah you're on flight QF008, that departs from the international terminal...!"
"...it's ok, there's a transfer shuttle due in a few minutes, just show the driver your booking reference and he's take you there, you've got plenty of time" :)
(I should point ou that my online "ticket" makes absolutely NO REFERENCE to any terminal # or domestic-vs-international, just says BNE-SYD = thanks travel.com.au - you've booked me onto one of only two qantas domestic flights that depart from the international terminal in brisbane, and given me no information to that fact)
so I bundle up my stuff and wait for the shuttle.
at this point I was 10 mins early for the shuttle, and kinda - sorta - ok for eventual check-in (*5:07 waiting for the 5:17 shuttle), as time wore on... I strongly considered splitting a taxi with some of the other 20 or so passengers who were obviously blind-sided by this "wrong terminal" thing... but every time I thought about it, a transfer shuttle-looking-type-of-bus would approach the stop, and I'd think - "oh, here it comes"...
the 5:17 just didn't show... the 5:37 was 5 min late, and due to the number of passengers it picked up; left another 5 later...
Transfer bus stops at the other end of the terminal - picks up even more passengers (just how many of us arrived at the "wrong" airport?)... finally, we're off...
...oh yeah - did I mention that I was meant to be on a 6:30 flight to sydney...
...bus pulls up at the "arrivals" level of the international terminal...
I've got 2 large suitcases, my boom poles and a decent sized carry-on (plus my SLR hanging off my hip) so it's not the easiest amount of stuff to take onto/off a bus, especially when there are 40 or so people attempting to get ONTO the bus you're leaving...
...driver shuts the door on me as I'm attempting to retrive my boom poles! cheers-mate, any chance I could get you to re-open it, so I can get the last of my luggage?
run-push my trolley to the elevator, so I can change floors and start the booking in procedure (it's well within the 1/2hr boarding limit now, so I don't know if I've already missed it.
thankfully, even though the helpful staff member has just informed me that the flight has "closed" they take pity and "try" to help me out...
"...but you'll need to pay excess baggage fees!"
"I've got 3 pieces of checked, and I already know that two are over 22kgs... that'll be just fine... let's try to get me onto the flight" eh?
booking in is 'relatively' smooth (no printed boarding pass?) and I'm off to see the excess baggage payment person (it's in a different area?!?).
Oversize bag receiving guy won't accept my boom poles, 'till I've paid (dude, it's all good, I'm paying now - can we just try to get them onto the plane please), and is finally reassured by the helpful staff member hovering around me to try and speed up the process.
mr baggage-fee-processing-guy (named IAN by the way!) is on the phone, and ignoring me intently for a few minutes... I'm not going to make him mad by ignoring the "several" signs which warn "do not interrupt the agent when they are on the phone".
good thing too, as he's checking how he's supposed to process my baggage charges.
process is slow, (and strangely manual = no computer printed tickets and receipts here, handwritten baggage fee receipts!) but I end up paying either $411 or $311 in excess (I say "either", because I swear he told me $411, but the receipt is only for $311 = guess we'll find out when the creditcard charge actually goes through). it's still way less than what I paid last year - so I'm pleasantly surprised.
first crisis averted, I'm now RUNNING to the security and customs area (other end of the terminal, and next level down)...
"...boarding pass please"
I hand over the ticket thingy that the hovering agent gave me = "this will send you through security a little quicker because you're late"
"...yes that's your express security pass, but I'll need your boarding pass please sir."
"...this is all that they gave me."
"...you'll need to go back upstairs and get your boarding pass printed please; I can't let you in here without one."
"...F*ck!... sorry... I'm not mad at you mr security guy, it's just been an interesting morning..."
...upstairs *well a slow moving lift actually
...run across the terminal again, "hey guys, any chance I could get a boarding pass?"
..."didn't you get it at the excess baggage counter?"
..."grrrrr" let's just focus on what needs to happen now please...
re-print, and hovering agent now becomes an escort to the security area (mr security guy waves me through WITHOUT looking at my freshly printed boarding pass = WTF)
security line up - take out the laptop (external HDD and Mac mini can stay in the bag)...
"...is this your bag sir?..."
"...take out the laptop and re-do the security line up please..."
...ok...? I'll do whatever you ask of me, just need to get on the plane (mac-mini = laptop now, that's a first)
...at least mr customs guy is friendly and fast...
..."new" escort to take me straight to the gate where they are packing up the signs etc...
I'm now on the plane, and it's 6:35.
"just another moment folks" "we've been informed that the pattern is still a little full and we'll be pushing off in another 5".
I'll never know if the captain was covering for the "stressed and late" final passenger, who's sweating and out of breath in the window seat of the aisle 25 or not; but I'm finally on my way
here's my view -
wing-side and sweaty, but I'm on my way :)
it's a beautiful morning
the most amazing sunrise (from my taxi-ing plane)
the gateway bridge frames another jet (busy take-off-time)
we were treated to the most fantastic view of Brisbane taking-off to the south
closer view = is that the bridge?
even closer = wow! look at that...
touch-down sydney :)
now that my journey is under way, I can finally seek-out my first coffee of the day ;)
sydney international terminal duty-free and cafe's
Back in the air for the non-eventful 14 hr flight-time to Vancouver...
that's a strong red-wine for dinner (sleepy-times?)
still way too far away from the east coast of Canada! :(
arrival in Vancouver :)
what a lovely day
so after buying a towel (didn't pack a big one) and making another coffee, I'm back at my old place in North Vancouver.
not much has changed (a few new room-mates), and the landlord is away on business for a few days (we almost managed an airport pass-by as he left the car for me)...
you know what, it's so lovely I think I'll go for a quick run up the trail...
probably wasn't the best of ideas, but I needed to get the blood flowing again (hate the sitting down part of air travel)...
another shower, and time to "unpack"...
managed to stay up to watch the hockey (LA wins game 3 of the western conference NHL finals), and message some people out east before crashing into the couch at around 9:30pm local time (aka 1430 the "next" day brisbane time!!!)
So I'm in Vancouver for a few days, till I can catch-up with my old land-lord; upon which time, I'll start my mega-super-cross-country-odyssey!