Life as a falconer, insect systematist, and double Masters Student (or a look into the mind of someone who is questionably sane).

14 December 2011

The return

13 xii 2011

1714- on the super shuttle heading to the airport
1900- waiting for our flight from Christchurch
2031- flying between Christchurch and Auckland
2327- souvenir shopping

Lunch- slice of meat lovers pizza and a coke
Dinner- beef and rice and shrimp tempura

Random fact- Penguins have lice.  I actually knew this at one time (I had downloaded the paper back a few years ago when Aub and I were looking for excuses to go to Antarctica), but had forgotten.

I was woken up entirely too early, about 740.  We loaded up the van and set off. Turns out we had forgotten to take the table off the top, so that slid off just after we got on the highway so we had to go back for  it.  Then we were off again.  The drive was uneventful, my mom kept passing people apparently no one wanted to drive a reasonable speed today.  We got to the super shuttle place shortly after 11, got everything unloaded and Bones checked in.  Since I was meeting Emily to get some leafhoppers we couldn't check our luggage yet so we went in and got something to eat.  From where we were sitting we could see the Antarctic terminal.  The shuttle driver said the plane flew down yesterday and one flew back up earlier today.  The one I could see was an NSF plane and painted grey.  There was a sign on the building saying it was the US's Antarctic program.  One day I will go there.  I met Emily in the drop off area and got my leafhoppers and talked to her for a few minutes.  She said her major professor was excited to get some US lice and that any raptor lice can come my way.  She also mentioned he worked on penguin lice for his PhD, which answered my thought from last night about penguins having lice or not.  Once she left we went and checked our luggage.  Turns out we were allowed an average of 20k each, and since we were below that we also checked my poster tube.  Along the way my mom found her new favorite store- it was full of cute and semi functional things, right up her alley.  Then we went through security and eventually boarded our plane.  I slept most of the way,  just waking up long enough to take a picture of the coastline.  Once we landed we collected our luggage, put it on a cart (aka trolley) and walked to the international terminal about ½  a mile away, where we found out we couldn't check our luggage in until 0400.  After consulting various people we decided the best plan would be to get a locker at the station by the ferry docks.  While we were standing there my mom saw someone associated with the Pittsburg Steelers, who was wearing team logos and a super bowl ring…  All kinds of interesting things going on in the airport- some guy was checking his surfboard, and another guy was pushing around a small kayak on his luggage cart.  Also, the display boards were fun to watch because instead of being digital they used flip cards to post the schedule so whenever it updated there were cards flipping all over.  We caught the bus to the harbor, and ended up stuck in pretty bad traffic- the Foofighters were playing in Auckland tonight and apparently most people were catching the bus near the harbor.  There were people lined up everywhere.  We eventually made it to the ferry dock, found the lockers and deposited our stuff.  Then we wandered around the area getting Christmas presents and souvenirs.  We grabbed dinner at the Food Alley again and then wandered around the docks.  Mom discovered the joys of night photography and got some awesome pictures of the skyline using the cleats as a tripod.  We got some gelato, and watched the ferry come in.  An ambulance showed up and took someone off- it looked like one person and fallen in, maybe 2 people, and one of them got wheeled off.  If we had timed things just a bit better we actually could have caught a ferry this afternoon and played around on it, coming back at about midnight, too bad.   We then got our stuff and caught the airport bus just before 2300, and are now hanging out at the airport.

14 xii 2001
Today will happen twice, thanks to a crossing of the international date line…
0802- sleeping in the airport food court
1023- getting through security
1553- landing in Brisbane
2352- Flying somewhere over the Pacific

Lunch/Dinner- chicken pot pie, mashed potatoes, a beer, and some wine

Random fact- Insects and food are on the same declaration line of the US customs form.

Slept pretty well on my food court bench until my parents woke me up about 0400 to go check in.  Once we had our tickets we waited for immigration to open (no exit stamp) then my mom picked up her duty free stuff while I napped.  The parentals got breakfast then we boarded our flight to Brisbane.  I slept off an on but the flock of kids sitting in front of us was screaming their heads off and the baby kept climbing over the seat and trying to steal my soul.  I hid behind the airplane safety card while I ate my chocolate croissant in an attempt to keep my soul.  I hate kids.  Since our layover was only a couple of hours we didn't go through customs, instead we went to the transit desk and got our new boarding passes.  This took ages because there was only a single person working there and the process was rather slow.  My parents were hungry so they got food, and got me a brownie which was pretty good. Eventually they opened our gate and we went over, showed our passports and waited around.  There was an announcement that someone had left a cell phone back in the transit desk area and sure enough, my mom was missing the little phone I'd given her so I went back and got it.  Our boarding was delayed because the winds were so favorable our flying time was an hour less than expected and they wanted us to arrive around the correct time.  First time I've ever had that happen.  They boarded us about 1100 and we departed shortly after.  I was a row up and a few seats over from where my parents were seated.  I played some trivia and read my book before eating my dinner- chicken pot pie.  I'd really wanted the lamb, but the flight attendant claimed they had run out (although magically the person behind me was able to get lamb).  The pot pie was pretty good though so it worked out fine. Slept almost the rest of the way to LAX, waking up just in time for breakfast.  We landed about 0530, and were able to deplane after the paramedics came on and took a guy from the back off who wasn't feeling well.  Immigration wasn't bad- there was a screaming kid that they let cut in line, but luckily we got called up just as her family was brought forward.  We stepped back to let her go to the booth we were going to, but the guy called us up and said to come up anyway (and then told us he didn't want to deal with the screamer, and hopefully none of us would start crying).  The guy was pretty funny, made some jokes about wanting a loan if we had over 10000 in currency.  Picked up our luggage and cleared customs.  They didn’t even want to look at my bugs, it was strange.  Then it was off to the rental car place and drove to my grandpas. 

No comments: