Thursday, April 14, 2011

Oakland To Auckland

Yesterday we flew 12 hours from Oakland to Auckland in New Zealand.

Me arriving at Auckland Airport
Cy, Kevin and Tallulah at Auckland Airport

That half day, totally captive in one seat, meant I could finally force myself to make a start on that romance novel I had always skited (bragged) about. At Uni many of my (girl)friends agreed we would write one. But one friend, Bronwen, actually has.

Pressure was on and pen in hand I had the time to make in-roads into plot and character development and research Medieval times. (Or Georgian maybe, though I never fancied those shower-cap bonnets). I might even have some time left over to eat three large meals, catch up on the last 10 episodes of Glee! and view a couple of hard-to-watch documentaries on which I could later pontificate.

In the end I did none of the above. I had a wee nap which lasted 10 hours, chatted to a fantastic flight attendant Colleen about the joys of the Kiwi fizzy drink called Lemon&Paeroa  (it's lemony, it's fizzy, gingery and just CHOICE, as advertised)

Flight Attendant Colleen
...and watched talked the funniest in-flight video I have ever seen.

Unbelievably I also watched quite a lot of the kid's movie Tangled. But not on my screen and without sound. I watched a screen further up the aisle. Why I didn't just turn on the movie for myself I don't know. Clearly, flying has a soporific, brain dulling effect on me.

Bizarrely this seemed like a shorter trip than when the kids where tiny and driving one hour to Stinson Beach felt like a century.

It's all about perception you see. And expectations. Last summer I wrote about travelling with kids and called it The Five Stages of Grief. At the risk of regurgitating - er, re-inspiring - with an old post I'll give you a wee run-down of my thoughts. There are vacations, where child-care and kids clubs are present and everyone has loads of quality time together... and apart. And then there are trips where you are together all day. You mourn the vacation you envisaged; lingering shopping, mooching around museums, leisurely sips of coffee, reading a book by the pool...And finally there comes acceptance and you have a different good time.

My sisters Pietra and Sharon and her two children, Finn, 11, and Leah, nine, - who had a broken leg - had waited nearly two hours for us at arrival. We were the last ones out and it seemed we had neglected to get in the fast family line. (Oh heck, sorry...)

Leah, Sharon, Pietra and Tallulah

We waited a while for our next flight, then Sharon had to take Finn to sing at his school's final assembly. Finn gave us a preview of the song, simple but true:  "NZ is cool, man. NZ is choice. NZ is the place to be for all girls and boys" If you say this with a "New Zild accint" then "Choice" does indeed rhyme with "Boys."

We boarded another plane for my old University town of Wellington. Anyone who thinks bungy jumping is the scariest thrill Downunder should fly into Wellington.  Ready for landing? The winds are fair whipping up the skirts of the seas. The plane starts bumping and thumping from the gale force Southerlies, it turns low over the open seas thumping, bumping and now swaying, swoops down low over the stormy seas and then straight onto the runway.

Flying into Wellington
That night we headed out to see my old Uni friends, Georgina and Snow, where they live in a seaside town Eastbourne. Their son, William, eight, showed my kids around the beach and we ate George's barley and lamb shank stew.

You may have met Snow and George when I took Tallulah to NZ last in January. On seeing Snow's photo an Oakland friend said: "That has got to be the happiest guy in New Zealand." The expression "grinning ear to ear" is all Snow.

And I was the second happiest person in NZ last night just being with them. Their home is filled with comfortable Wairarapa antiques as well as blankets and rugs from when their lived in the Middle East. We sat on the velvet chaise. "It might look a bit formal" Kevin said. Georgine laughed: "Just wait for Snow to sit between us, no formality there."

Georgina, Snow and me
So, it turns out Bronwen's romance novel is a lot racier than I realised. I had envisaged writing a more Jilly Cooper version with horses and high jinks. Could I do the racy? Let's see: "The wind is whipping up the skirts of the sea?"  No, I'll leave it to the experts like Bronwen.


  1. I love all of your family adventures! The photo of the flight attendant is so adorable and funny! And did you say your friends name was Snow, what a great name. And I love the photo of your daughter hugging your sister, so sweet. Looks like a great time! Cant wait to read more!

    Good luck on your book, sounds like it will be great.

    And did you say you watch Glee! WE love watching Glee! Its new next week!

  2. so excited your having a great time and love your travel funnies!!! cant wait to hear more

  3. flight attendant colleen looks really nice! :D i always do that whenever we're on a long flight too - i plan on doing something i've been putting off, but end up not doing it, haha! ;) i hope you have a great time in auckland!

    <3, Mimi

  4. Maybe you didn't write a romance novel on the plane but you still produced a great post. Worth it for Colleen alone!

  5. we'll wait for your romance novel. ;) you tell the best stories about traveling...have a fantastic time in NZ...

  6. Have a wonderful time, and when that romance novel is written, I'll be one of the first few to buy it. :)

  7. Sounds like a great trip! Have an amazing time!! I know you will. :)

  8. You look so glam! I hate traveling with little kiddies but it does get SO much easier

  9. So glad you made it! I am so jealous seeing how beautiful it is out the window of the plane, and am sure it's even more stunning in person! Hoping you have a fab time reconnecting with everyone and no worries--there's plenty of time to write a romance novel when you get home!!! Maybe you could start importing some of that L&P - it sounds like just the sort of pop that I'd really love!

    xo Mary Jo

  10. Enjoy your time back "home". I was going to ask you to coffee as I am in California (!) but we will have to wait for the summer instead. xx

  11. OH MY GOSH - small world. I remember Colleen, she's awesome. I used to be an Air NZ international flight attendant too. Got to love L&P!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...