On our last day in Christchurch we went to brunch at a healthy Vegetarian joint that had 4.7 stars. The place was not accessible but we were determined. Becca had to carry me into the restaurant. If I were Vegan I probably just could have floated up with my mind. But alas. I ate scrambled eggs with garlic, tomatoes, and herbs with toast. Becca ate a falafel masala potato hash meal with toast and greens. She also had a vegan hot chocolate and I had a probiotic greens drink. Both were excellent.
Then we headed back to the hotel to pack. We thought about doing one last quick thing back downtown but I was mentally checked out of our trip that we ended up going to the airport slightly early. But not before we went to the gas station to fill the tank back up to half way…where it was left. The car rental place is called “Scotty’s”. I’m starting to think it’s just a dude named Scotty renting out his car. Becca dropped me off with all the bags and then took the car to the rental place. It was such a low budget place that there was no shuttle back to the airport. The desk attendant ended up driving Becca back to the airport in the same car she dropped off.
Turns out it was good we went to the airport early. There was a very specific weight limit for our bags. If we went over or had an extra bag we had to pay $250. We spent about an hour rearranging our bags… and putting on extra layers to reduce weight in our bags. It was a little stressful but we managed to make it work. We were also supposed to have a carry on limit which we exceeded but no one stopped us so we didn’t say anything.
Our flight agenda was supposed to be from Christchurch –> Aukland –> SF. Our flight from Christchurch to Aukland ended up getting delayed by an hour and by the time we arrive to Aukland we only had 20 mins to transfer flights. Seeing as how I’m always the last off the plane (#lenadeplaneslast) we were a bit stressed. The flight attendant was trying to encourage people to let those with connections to leave first, but we all know that never really happens. 20 mins before we landed the flight attendant said she rebooked us on another flight that left a few hours later. Less stress, though we were now not flying direct to SF but instead to LAX and then SF. This at least gave us time to eat dinner at the food court before boarding the plane. I ate a place called the Ugly Bagel. I had a bagel with avocado, tomato, basil, and lemon fennel olive oil. As well as a “King Kong” for dessert which was a chocolate bagel with banana caramel cream cheese with almonds and chocolate sauce. Becca got Spirulina and veggie dumplings.
Then we headed to our gate. The TVs said it would be a 20 mins walk to the gate so we hiked our way up. There were moving walk ways, but those are for suckers… and Becca. I raced her up a slope. It was a good workout. Then after the second walkway (it was on carpet) I was tired so I opted to ride the third moving walkway. I wasn’t supposed to. There was a sign explicitly stating no wheelchairs. But I didn’t care, because I’m a rebel.
By now it was about 10:30pm so we used the restroom for the last time for our 13 hour flight. We also brushed our teeth. Bed time.
We boarded the plane (#lenaboardsfirst) and since we were rebooked to this flight, we were the. very. last. row. Row 63. Who knew planes had that many rows. As I was being pulled on the aisle chair, each section of the plane kept getting narrower and narrower. First class, of course, has the most room to maneuver. It’s great you get to see what you could have had (couches and lounge chairs) if you spent more money. Then there’s the second section which has more leg room and more sitting room. But less aisle room, still nice though. Then there’s the third section. Where everyone is squished together and there is hardly any aisle space. This is where we sat. There was not enough aisle space that the aisle chair i was in got stuck. I couldn’t even reach the last row of seats where I was sitting. The flight attendants had to set up their special on-board aisle chair and have me transfer onto it by the bathrooms. I’ve never had to double aisle chair transfer. That was exciting. Then they pulled me to the last row. The ones in the middle with 4 seats. Also the best part was that the “accessible” bathroom was in the middle of the plane. Very far from the last row. We laughed. We ended up sleeping most of the flight since it was midnight by the time we got in the air and settled. We slept as well as we could in the back row of the peasant section. One weird thing was that they served “dinner” around 2am. I don’t know why they would do that. That is not a dinner time for anyone. By the time we woke up we only had 3 hours left in the flight. So that was great! It gave me enough time to watch “Blinded By the Light” about a Pakistani boy in England who loves Bruce Springsteen.
We had about 3 hours between landing and our next flight to SFO. We thought that was a lot of time and was going to try to get a sooner flight. Turns out going through customs in the US is not fun and takes time. They did not like all the chocolate we brought back. And rifled through it grumpily several times. We also had to walk to a new terminal in LAX. The airport helper lady said we could take the secret tunnel to our new terminal which would take 30 mins. Or we could walk outside for 10 mins. We opted for the 10 mins option.
Once we got to our gate we only had about 10 mins before boarding. Good timing. In line Becca met Tom Proulx’s (founder of Intuit) son. She did a music video for his sister Audrey. Full circle. The son was trying to get an earlier flight to SFO and was willing to opt out of first class. We all made the 30 mins flight to SF safely.
All in all it was a good trip and we are happy to be back and away from the volcano.
And that’s the story!
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