Monday, April 7, 2014

The First Two Days

Wow. Where to begin?

My trip started with a bang, to say the least. As I boarded my flight from Abu Dhabi to Sydney, I was excited to finally be on my way to New Zealand for surf and adventure. Unfortunately it didn't quite play out as one would hope, at least initially. With about four hours left before arrival in Sydney, my stomach began to turn flips. Food poisoning. As each painful hour drug on, I found myself spending more and more time on my knees in the cramped airplane lavatory. By the time we landed, I was so weak and dehydrated that I couldn't make it to the toilet without assistance and had to resort, for the first time in my life, to a little white barf bag. A wheelchair was waiting for me in Sydney, and I was rolled off to St. Vincent hospital where I spent 5 hours on an IV. Needless to say, I missed my connection to New Zealand.

When I finally exited the hospital, it was a bright, beautiful fall day in Sydney. I caught a cab back to the airport with high hopes that I might still make it to Auckland in time to pick up my rental camper van. On arrival, I was sadened to discover that I had missed the last flight to Auckland provided by my carrier. They told me that they would happily put me on the first flight the following day and that unless I was willing to pay a different airline, that was all they could do.

I reasoned that my luggage was already in Auckland, and that with only two weeks to see the country, it was worth the money to go ahead and get there the same day. I booked with Quantas airline just in time for boarding and was soon on my way. Two hours later, in Auckland, I discovered that Virgin Airlines had not only poisoned me, but also lost my luggage. I had just paid a hefty 400 dollar fee for a plane ticket the same day and to top it all off, the rental agency was closed and refused to refund my money for the first day despite the fact that I had spent it in the hospital.

As you may well imagine, I was beginning to experience a full gamut of negative emotions: anger, frustration and discouragement. I booked a room at the cheapest motel I could find and promptly went to sleep praying for a better day tomorrow. The next morning, I arrived back at the airport only to discover that the airline still had no idea where my luggage was. It wasn't until mid afternoon that they located it and it wasn't until well after 10 at night that I had it in my hands. With two days down the drain, I called back to my boss and begged for an extra day of leave to make up for my lost time. Of course, he said no.

I hit the road in my shiny green and purple camper van and headed for Raglan, looking forward to a sunrise surf session to wash it all away. I drove for three hours, parked my van along side the road overlooking Manu Bay, crawled in the back and closed my eyes, dreaming of blue, curling waves. When I woke the next morning, I was rewarded with this:

Lines of swell to the horizon, arriving at two of Raglan's three world class point breaks.