The Return Journey

30 Aug

You would ‘think’ that traveling should, would, could, fuckin get easier as your children get old enough to do shit on their own!! AND, in hindsight, I guess the day would have been a LOT harder had they been younger and in need of me carrying them as well as all their bloody shit.

It has basically taken us three days to get home. Night three of hotel staying tonight though and I am kind of over it. Night one was through choice because I wanted to break up the 5 hour car journey to Auckland. We stayed in Rotorua a night. At a hotel called the Millennium, which to date, have the comfiest beds and pillows I have ever slept with. Like ever ever ever. Twas like sleeping on big fluffy cloud, but not too fluffy so that your face gets engulfed by pillow and you have to remember to come up for air. The only fuck off with this hotel was that it only had wifi in the lobby. I couldn’t even pay for it in our room. Considering I accepted a translation, albeit quite short, the day before (due tomorrow morning) this was annoying and in my book a hotel with so many international visitors MUST HAVE wifi.

But shit those beds were bliss. Bedgasm right there.

The next day, through necessity, we had to stay near the airport. I chose the hotel that is practically joined to the international terminal – the biggest airport in New Zealand and they too had limited wifi. I rang up to ask for a code to pay $5 for like 10 seconds and they said if I joined their club I got a night free wifi – so I joined the club. But still, the only hotel at the biggest airport in a country who has as many tourists as New Zealand ???? How the fuck do they get away without free bloody wifi? The service was great though, including actual real size bottles of wine in the minibar and not those 200 ml sniff and its gone waste of time ones.

Now to today, the grand event.

I got up at half 5, had a shower, and realized that as per my very specific 28 day menstrual prediction I would be facing international hemorrhage day on a long haul flight on Korean Air – who are seat belt nazis. I contemplated a yoga mat but in the end went for a super heavy night pad, a long jumper to cover up the imaginary bulk you always feel when you have to wear the equivalent of a yoga mat for small people in your pants, and sitting on my jacket – just in case. I mean seriously. It can get that bad. Usually if I’m just sitting for ages I can feel it all happening but it doesn’t quite make it out the saloon doors until I stand up and do a few star jumps ya know!

We get to the airport at 6:30 and ‘haven’t quite’ missed the check in buzz. We wait for about  40 minutes, all the while the boys are on some kind of question show and tell about seriously inappropriate stuff, in both languages, and then mimicking people’s Korean. I tried my calm parenting skills but in the end I just ignored them and pretended they weren’t mine until it was time to show our passports. Seriously, it was that or pinch them discreetly under the arm while saying positive parenting quotes like ‘you can be such a good boy and mummy would just love to see that good boy right now OR ELSE SHE WILL POKE HER EYEBALLS OUT WITH  A FORK AND SKULL THREE BOTTLES OF DUTY FREE TEQUILA’

Yeah, those kinds of quotes.

After checking in we grabbed some breakfast, filled out departure cards, and watched Shou get a real hang of his new Wheelies – sneakers with wheels in them. You can walk normally (kind of like a dork) or wheel on them. He wheeled right through customs and security and got completely patted down and asked to show up under his trousers legs. In reflection I guess that bit was all quite uneventful other than that I felt like I was just repeating myself a zillion times and that neither of the boys were listening and fuck, it was too early to drink and well, yeah, as I said. Too early to drink. One must at least wait until 5pm. Or so the family motto goes.

Our flight from Auckland to Seoul ran ten minutes late, which left me in a cold sweat as the transfer time to our plane to Fukuoka was only 45 minutes as is. Yeah, I’ve done a time that short in Auckland when we went to Australia and had to run between domestic and international terminals – cause its quicker than the shuttle bus, swerving in and out of people saying ‘sorry, boarding in 7 minutes, must dash’. But in Fuckin Seoul they have a new separate terminal where our NZ plane ALWAYS disembarks. I don’t ‘think’ its where all planes arrive – perhaps just the ones from pleb countries like NZ, I’m not sure.

Anyhoo, you have to run for approximately 300m (this involves an obstacle course of walking elevators (escalators / pathways) and real up and down escalators, ten thousand Koreans and the odd cleaning truck. You then get to the underground subway thing that takes you to the main terminal.

We ran the whole way and JUST made the subway thing – if we had missed it we would have had to wait another agonizing 320 seconds, which if you have ever tempted this feat you will know is like bloody gold. It COUNTS.

So before we even get off the subway thing I’ve positioned the boys and said in every language I know that we are in a super duper hurry and must be slightly rude and just RUN LIKE THE FUCKIN WIND BOYS.

Straight up a sixty step escalator. Ryu did a stellar job, I just about went into cardiac arrest and Shou was waiting for us both at the top.

We then had to run another 400m to get to the transfer security check point, where approximately 300 people were lined up. I flashed my boarding passes (that said the plane started boarding 2 minutes ago) to a nice Korean lad who let us in the express lane – only to be overtaken by a single woman boarding at the same time who for some reason or other thought it would be more difficult for her to run the remaining 800m than me and my two children. I just about punched her. I reckon we lost an additional 413 seconds by not being more pushy.

Fuckin good natured kiwis.

We got though security excruciatingly painfully slowly (our plane was scheduled to leave in FOUR MINUTES) , ran up another fuckin escalator, raped a trolley man for a trolley, loaded the bags and Ryu onto said trolley and then ran, while Shou wheeled.

At about gate 10 I started to have a few heart palpitations and realized I couldn’t Bolt it to Gate 6 so gave the passports and boarding passes to Shou and said wheel boy, like the wind, tell the man your mam and brother are huffing and puffing just as fast as they can.

And the boy set off. Like the wind. Like he had been given the coolest task in the history of important tasks.

I lose sight of him.

A minute later Ryu and I and the trolley of bags (and in my head right now I’m saying this completely in an Irish accent after writing ‘run boy, like the wind’….. ) bring up the rear only to realize that the departure gate is still chocker block full of people.

I see Shou, who wizzes over, and realize that the flight has been delayed by 30 minutes.

I hadn’t have broken into a sweat at all.

And of course while all this is going on I am having to go to the airplane loo every hour to make sure I’m not leaking!! I never did but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have excruciating minutes of thinking, shit, was that just a fanny fart or have I leaked my insides over the planes interior. . .

We board the connecting flight to Fukuoka. The flight is uneventful bar the boys being so tired they aren’t listening. I’m so tired myself I even let them play Street Fighter. Ryu is stoked to realize he has a character named after himself – I might have posted years ago but once when we were coming through customs in New Zealand the customs guy looked at Ryu’s passport and asked me if I had named my second born son after a character on Street Fighter…)

We get our bags and then I decide to go to the ladies and get changed before heading out the departure gates to meet hub and Marina. I mean I felt manky. I wasn’t going to put on makeup cause I was so sweaty and well – the fact I didn’t have an army of makeup artists and all. So I change my undies, my trousers, my top and my nice over top thing. I EVEN put on a necklace and sprayed some perfume. I also changed from my runners to my nice new pumps people. I can’t usually fit pumps after a long haul cause my feet swell up but I was extra careful – didn’t drink on the flight (well no alcohol anyway and only really enough water to keep the hemorrhaging going and not backing up) and did ankle exercises and shit.

We then made a triumphant wheeling of our suitcases out to the departure gate…

Only there was no sign of Hub or Marina.

Marina’s two page summer schedule clearly  (I just checked) states that we get home at 7:55pm on August the 30th. Sunday. Like TODAY.

I have had a couple of conversations with hub where I said it would be too late for Marina to come because we won’t get home till close to midnight. He said he couldn’t leave her behind with Granny K, she was too excited about coming. I EMAILED my lovely husband this morning from the hotel in NZ to say that we were just off to the airport and that we would be in just before 8 and remember the blankets and pillows for the car (three hour drive back).

He replied with ‘got ya, have a safe trip’.

At first I thought they must have had an accident and after no sleep and 15 hours of long haul travel you start thinking shit. So I rang him.

  • Hi, its me. Where are you guys?
  • What? where are YOU!! You aren’t at the airport are you?
  • Yes, where the fuck else would I be expecting a pick up.
  • But you said the 31st.
  • No I didn’t. And I emailed you this morning.
  • no, no, no, no, damn, damn, damn, what?
  • Oh fuck it, nothing we can do about it.
  • But how did this happen?
  • We’ll get a hotel. I’ll talk to you later. BYEEEEEEEE (fuckwit)

And here we are. At a hotel in Hakata with plans for the hub to pick us up at half ten tomorrow.

Not my ideal welcome and he does feel bad but for the love of god, it was written on the schedule. Shou has school on Tuesday. I start teaching. Monday was our ONLY day to sort our shit out.




7 Responses to “The Return Journey”

  1. Kay Howe August 30, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

    Glad you are home (said choking with laughter). What a wonderful trip!

  2. colorbynumbers August 30, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

    ohh Id be mighty pissed too..glad you had a good time in NZ and hope the transition back isn’t too painful..

  3. Jo August 30, 2015 at 10:56 pm #

    Glad you finally made it back. Selfishly I am kind of happy about the dramas.. it gives me something to read with my breakfast! But if I was in your shoes I think it would probably be more than a little pissed! Hope the final leg of the trip goes well. Looking forward to seeing you when things calm down.

  4. Debra August 31, 2015 at 12:45 am #

    OMG that sounds stressful. I hope you get a good night’s sleep.

  5. Rachele August 31, 2015 at 1:35 am #

    Holy crap! Well, hope you got a comfy posh hotel and are enjoying one last night of freedom from vestling villagers.

  6. littlebelgianwriter August 31, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

    Glad to hear that you made it home. What a mixup!

  7. xanaxjunkee September 1, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

    The husband, ah the sweet sweet husband, is also why my plans for returning from abroad NEVER include him picking me up. I would be picked up late by hours to a day late and my temper is nothing to be trifled with when it comes to being on time. My hubs is a chronic late person. I am a chronic timely person, with impatience issues when it comes to late people. He better have some plans to make up for his space-cadet move.

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