Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: Getting There is Half the Fun

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  • Susan Snowdon,

    Sorry, tears ran down my face. Of laughter. It must get better now,much better...

    Since Mar 2008 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    At the airport, I sponged the worst of the blood out of my beard, and mailed a last-minute package to Russell Brown.

    For which I -- yikes -- have not till now thanked you. Thank you!

    (In my defence: illness, injury, travel.)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Oh I've been there, never had to fly all the way to Europe with kids luckily - I do remember deciding to stop over in Rarotonga for a day on the way back home to NZ, my son slept that dead sleep, we tried to wake him to go to the beach the next day - he got up but there was no one there, quite scary.

    When they were young we tried time after time for one of those bulkhead seats with the bassinet, airline booking systems were not up to the challenge, or maybe bulkheads move of their own accord - we never ever got one ... except that time on Continental when we got a bulkhead but a bassinet with fitting for another aircraft - that was the time we promised to never ever fly Continental

    Then there was the time, before direct flights over the Pacific when we flew out to Hawaii in the morning to spend the day at the beach, got to the airport at midnight (3am body clock time) with not-happy kids to find the plane had been canceled ("didn't they tell you the ongoing plane was canceled when you left California?" we'd flown out on United, but the week before United had rebooked us on the hated Continental)

    Mostly though our kids were OK on planes, at some point I promised myself I'd never ever get annoyed about other people's kids on planes, and it works, I just let it flow over me, travel is annoying enough as it is

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2031 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Susan Snowdon,

    Highly delighted that our suffering has not been in vain, Susan -- and has, in some small way, brought pleasure to others. (Well, one other, at any rate.)

    The trip back has a fortnight in the Jennifer's former home of Chicago, so should be much less painless.

    I do know of others who have had much worse journeys than us. We have a friend who travelled more-or-less direct from the UK to NZ with a toddler who had ear-ache. Our friend refused to go on a plane for about three years afterwards.

    P.S. In case anyone was wondering I also had ear-ache on this trip but was too brave and/or stoic to mention it.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Jeffrey Holman,

    Dear David, Jen, Bob and Polly.

    I am sorry to say that the travel miseries of other people can seem very funny when they are written down with such class.
    Why is that? If I had been you, I would undoubtedly have been in jail by Hong Kong, arraigned before a hanging judge for infanticide shortly thereafter.
    Sainthood is yours. Enjoy every sardine (I channel, with a Nordic twist,the dying Warren Zevon here).

    Since Feb 2010 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Russell Brown,

    For which I – yikes – have not till now thanked you.

    No worries, I figured (also from your atypical Hard News silence) that something was up. Very much hope you're over the illness & injuries.

    Wait until you're fully well to read the book. It's a hell of a story, but needs a strong emotional constitution to tackle (in some parts, at any rate -- other parts are very funny).

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Jeffrey Holman,

    sainthood is yours. Enjoy every sardine

    Thanks, Jeffrey!

    Indeed all the sardines and herrings you can eat -- and more! I'm just glad that I'm not a vegetarian; I'd be pining for tofu and fresh vegetables by now.

    P.S. Funny you should turn up just when I was mentioning a particularly good book that I've just read.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    that was the time we promised to never ever fly Continental

    Oh God, I've also enjoyed the pleasures of Continental and made the same vow. It's rumoured that Continental used to send their staff to Aeroflot for customer service training.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Hamish,

    Arg, my PTSD. I’ve done Finland with a 6 month old, and we’re going to attempt it again next year with a 4 yr old and a 1 yr old. Your “Fight Club” flight brings back memories: it’s that last leg that destroys you. I hope to never be more exhausted again. It's deeply unpleasant turning up at the in-laws apartment experiencing waking hallucinations.

    On the upside, it’s much easier coming back. Getting the short hop out of the way at the beginning makes you feel like you’re only starting your trip in Frankfurt.

    The A.K. • Since Nov 2006 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to David Haywood,

    I’m not a vegetarian

    Huh? When did that change? Was it Bob deciding burnt meat was good?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3217 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I’d never ever get annoyed about other people’s kids on planes

    You a better human than I. After 10 hours on a plane I struggle to let bureaucracy/security/queues just wash over me. My limit is children, at other times I can just be a grumpy old man about children, but after a 10 hour flight I start dreaming of evil scientific devices that automatically silence voices over a certain volume/pitch.

    I also feel a kind of admiration for people who continue to breed after experiencing a toddler meltdown.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3217 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I do have to ask, you and Jen are both intelligent, you've both heard other peoples travel stories, what made you think 55 hours non-stop was feasible?

    What made you consider experiencing that zombie like state when after 12 hours in a noisy cramped bus you have have to straight faced answer the world stupidest questions from men and women wearing uniforms who can and will make you life more miserable than it already is?

    What made you want to experience the the deliberately confusing morass of flight information and airport information maps using a brain that had decided 3 hours ago to just go to sleep and leave your body to move around on it's own with no functional guidance?

    Really all that AND wrangle children?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3217 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    > I’m not a vegetarian

    Huh? When did that change? Was it Bob deciding burnt meat was good?

    Just a bit of gentle vegetarian irony. Norway is not good for my people (although it's lovely in almost every other way).

    I do have to ask, you and Jen are both intelligent, you've both heard other peoples travel stories, what made you think 55 hours non-stop was feasible?

    The nice European university who paid for our tickets made a decision (on our behalf) that it would be fine...

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Hamish,

    On the upside, it’s much easier coming back.

    I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that... and, by the way, I'm very sorry to trigger your PTSD. I'm thinking maybe a week halfway would help things on your next trip to Finland. Any friends in Canada?

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to David Haywood,

    No worries, I figured (also from your atypical Hard News silence) that something was up. Very much hope you're over the illness & injuries.

    Nothing serious, just something of a 12-day blur involving finishing Media3, finding short-term work, coming down with the flu, consequently missing an important day's work MCing NetHui, and staging a Great Blend, all the while continuing to drown in my own snot and sputum. And the injury was not mine, but Fiona's: she turned her ankle in a dark cinema, which meant a few hours at a White Cross making sure it wasn't broken.

    On the other hand, your account of your travels has brightened both our lives with the gift of laughter. I hasten to add that the fact that we were helpless in our mirth does not mean that we take any pleasure in your misfortune.

    Also, as I staggered back through Wellington on Friday, I managed to arrange lunch near the airport with two dear friends. They'd missed the Great Blend two nights before because he'd dug an axe into the back of his hand while chopping kindling and couldn't drive, and she wasn't greatly comfortable with driving both ways, in that she was recovering from heart surgery. By Friday, her birthday, in ludicrous Wellington weather, they were feeling morose and my friend had received no presents whatsoever. I couldn't even give her a birthday hug for fear of passing on a potentially dangerous infection. But in the five minutes I had for shopping, I bought her a book by Julie Burchill. It seemed to help.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    "My nose was throbbing like a bad nightclub...."_

    Magnificent simile.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But in the five minutes I had for shopping, I bought her a book by Julie Burchill. It seemed to help.

    I... can't... even... What?

    I do have to ask, you and Jen are both intelligent, you’ve both heard other peoples travel stories, what made you think 55 hours non-stop was feasible?

    This is making me feel so good about our scheduled return journey from Amman...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    I call it my traveling stance - I try to mentally reduce my IQ to the level of whoever designs aircraft and the systems by which the self-loading baggage are herded on and off.

    This made me laugh out loud. In a supportive way.

    I have discovered two tricks in the years of traveling with small kids (and on my own - one recent year I did 30 long haul trips).

    1. Pay the extra, go via SIN. They have cheap day hotels and an airport with playgrounds. And it is compact.
    2. Never under any situation leave airside during transit. Bags get transferred. You avoid immigration. Nuff said.
    3. Spend $100 each on a portable DVD player and let them get used to it / choose their own entertainment in advance.
    4. [And this is the most important one] Give them drugs, but try them out in advance.

    I await with eager anticipation the feedback on #4.

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Hamish, in reply to David Haywood,

    Any friends in Canada?

    Actually yes. The last time (1 x 2.5 yr old) we stopped in Vancouver for a friend's wedding. That was downright pleasant.

    Also: Air NZ & Thai are superb with children. Luftansa, on the other hand, are… sub-optimal.

    The A.K. • Since Nov 2006 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • Jen Hay,

    The nice European university who paid for our tickets made a decision (on our behalf) that it would be fine

    I need to defend the Nice European University, as they would've in fact paid for whatever route we chose. Being an educated person, I certainly did NOT think a non-stop trip was feasible. Hence the night in a hotel in Hong Kong which was supposed to make everything ok. But didn't.

    A longer stopover somewhere would've required an earlier departure, and would've thus required us to miss an important Pirate Party. As it was, the timing was perfect. Because hosting a band of 6 year old pirates in the rain was a ideal pre-departure activity, and prepared the house beautifully - ready for handover to our lovely housesitters.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R,

    Finland air now do a direct flight to/from Helsinki to Hong Kong, so my next trip to Finland will be that way. It will probably shave 5 hours off the trip by not having to muck around in Frankfurt or some other hub.

    We had some friends from Helsinki come over for a month with their 9-month old daughter, and she learned to walk in our (not child safe) living room. Those friends said the trip back was much worse because the daughter was no longer content to lie down and play with the toys she could reach - she had the ability to explore, and she wanted to use it!

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to David Haywood,

    Oh God, I've also enjoyed the pleasures of Continental and made the same vow. It's rumoured that Continental used to send their staff to Aeroflot for customer service training.

    I have good news! Continental no longer exists.

    I have less good news. They merged with United. If you book a flight to the East Coast of the US through Air NZ, your internal journey will be with United. Plan accordingly.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2092 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    You’re so brave to tell this.I held my sides laughing – silently because half the household have been semi-poisoned by last night’s black bean chilli and have spent the night writhing or throwing up. I am feeling like incompetent mother of the decade, coming as it has on top of a five-week hell flu with complications for all four of us, my partner's redundancy settled Friday, and a litter of puppies born at about four hours’ notice to an old dog who we didn’t even realise was pregnant.

    IMHO, A 55-hour trip with Bob and Polly looks sane and well-thought through. Enjoy the rest!

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2552 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Emma Hart,

    But in the five minutes I had for shopping, I bought her a book by Julie Burchill. It seemed to help.

    I… can’t… even… What?

    Her novel, Ambition. I gather it's a good read.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Hebe,

    ... and a litter of puppies born at about four hours’ notice to an old dog who we didn’t even realise was pregnant.

    Soz, but my injured darling and I did actually laugh when I read this out loud.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

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