Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: Getting There is Half the Fun

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  • Hebe, in reply to Russell Brown,

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

    Ditto for your post. Laughing with not at.
    Hashtag: Dogs Don't Do Menopause.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2899 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Jen Hay,

    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.

    Ah I see now - well that makes perfect sense - completely logical - besides how bad could it be?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen,

    On slightly practical note - a while ago I splashed out and bought Bose noise cancellation headphones - in the US because the NZ Bose agents seem to think doubling the price is just fine.

    The difference in how I feel after a flight with or without the headphones is amazing. I find the constant loud drone (eliminated by the headphones) seems to tire me out completely out of proportion to the actual duration of the flight.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Mike Dickison, in reply to Jen Hay,

    That would explain the odd pieces of piratical paraphernalia I keep finding. You'll be pleased to know, though, that the last traces of David's blood will have been washed from the driveway by the torrential freezing rain we've been having in Dunsandel.

    Since Feb 2010 • 12 posts Report

  • Ross Mason,

    And I’ve never liked the idea of flying Cathay Pacific because I don’t like their logo, which is a stylized image of a burning plane.

    On my flight to Hong Kong from Auckland on Cathay Pacific, there would have been no image of a real burning plane on the internet. The "toiletry sourced fluid" on the floor was acting as a very good fire retardant. (Boeing 747 BTW)

    It is with profound relief that we never took kids on long haul flights. I would concur that humour must be present in spades if Travel Troubles and Tribulations are to be survived. Most certainly, David, it then requires a perverse humorist to write of it. Heh!

    One must thank those designers of these flying tubes for enabling one to get to Norway in 54 hours!!!! But with Fox TV stations broadcasting "facts" it makes you wonder how on earth the yanks sold any to Asian countries....

    ....I wonder what parents did on sailing ships for 3 to 4 months?????....Jeez. The emergency hatch would exit onto the seven seas! Health and safety....what?

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to slarty,

    go via SIN


    Everything about Singapore airlines and the hub at SIN is worth the extra money, especially if you are larger than the size other airlines decide is sufficient* for seat spacing.

    *sufficient meaning unlikely to result in class action suits for inhumane treatment of animals

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Everything about Singapore airlines and the hub at SIN is worth the extra money, especially if you are larger than the size other airlines decide is sufficient* for seat spacing.

    It’s fascinating to note the difference between transiting in Singapore and doing so anywhere in the continental US. Both countries have security issues, but in Singapore that oddly enough doesn’t mean that all passengers must be treated like political prisoners.

    The awfulness of transit in the US seems to me to be a bizarre failure of capitalism. At least in Singapore they understand that bored travellers are likely to be particularly willing purchasers of goods and services.

    Our experience, years ago, returning to NZ from London with our four-month-old firstborn, still dumbfounds me. I recall thinking, as we were herded into a bare, dirty, crowded “lounge” at LAX, where we would be for several hours with our baby: Why are they doing this to us? This is stupid.

    And that was before the War on Terror. Does anyone have a theory as to why American airports are so rubbish?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to David Haywood,

    Indeed all the sardines and herrings you can eat – and more!

    I was tempted to try the hvalbiff I saw in a fish market in Trondheim - having just spent a year in Changsha I'd certainly seen and eaten weirder. But I did meet one vegetarian in Trondheim. I have no idea how he survived, because other than him and his girlfriend (who claimed to be the world's first blonde Goth), every Norwegian I met considered a healthy, balanced meal to be a large pile of meat and a couple of boiled spuds.

    Definitely go to Nidaros Cathedral, it's amazing!

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I have been to Trondheim (for work) - it's like an antipode of Invercargill. Are you aiming to sell your children into the oil industry or something?

    On US airports, they are typically operated by local government. The dominant ideology of the US is that government is terrible at running things, and they work very hard to live up to this. Also, after the fashion of the imperial Roman and Chinese empires, they consider their society and practices to be perfect and refuse to comprehend any improvements that may have occurred in the barbarian lands beyond their borders.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report

  • Alice Ronald, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I transitted through LAX in 1999, the most vivid memory for me was the floor to ceiling plate glass window in the transit lounge. We could look out into the 'real world', seeing people go by, with food & drink. We were stuck in this tiny lounge with a 2 hour wait for the toilet and telenovelas with the sound off on a TV behind a locked cage. And since we were going to Germany, none of us had US dollars to buy drinks, so we kept staring at the vending machines and swearing.

    Singapore was lovely. I got a foot massage and a shower, found a charging station for my phone & checked up on FB etc with the free wifi while watching the planes, then visited the 4 different garden areas to see the orchids, butterflies and koi fish.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 63 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    Just what I needed after a morning at Wellington airport among the delayed crowds including many restless children. Southerly so strong and freezing that the light sticks used to guide the plane to the right parking place were blown from the ground-person's icy fingers. Waves at Lyall Bay looked like geysers.shooting into the air and over the road.

    Your post reminded me of travelling on United across the US. They have a random seating policy meaning family members can be placed anywhere on the plane. So you are likely to be seated next to an unrelated toddler while the parents are several rows ahead.

    Lucky you being in Norway - when I was there once, in one of those summers when it never gets dark, the only bad thing was the whale meat for sale in the market.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    while the parents are several rows ahead

    snort ... and you thought that was an accident

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Bose earphones a must (bought on Trademe) and be nice to the parents of young children as it is unlikely they are having a good day

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report

  • Lilith __, in reply to Mike Dickison,

    the last traces of David’s blood will have been washed from the driveway by the torrential freezing rain we’ve been having in Dunsandel.

    Sounds like Alan Bollard has paid a visit!

    David, I was feeling sorry for myself today, but your column has cured me! And the tears of mirth helped, too. I’m sorry you and Jen had to suffer to cheer the rest of us up.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3895 posts Report

  • Carol Stewart,

    Singapore airport is indeed a lovely place to have a transit stop. Massage chairs! Oases of tranquillity! Comfortable public sofas!
    I can only agree about LAX, but I think the transit experience has improved a little over the past couple of years. I had a worse time flying out of Dulles airport, Washington DC. Inexplicable and tortuous queues, stressed people everywhere.
    As for Norway - what a fabulous country, and as Hilary said, a great time of year to be there with long, long days. Norwegian food is very strange. They are big on pickled herrings and the weirdest cheese ever - brown with a peculiar sugary texture.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 830 posts Report

  • George Darroch,

    You wouldn't have realised this, but the emergency exit doors cannot be opened while the plane is at altitude, or even while it is moving, as safety locks activate and prevent it from occurring. At cruising altitudes the pressure differential makes the force required to open the door equivalent to lifting a small car, rendering the locked door doubly secure.

    As soon as the plane starts rolling down the runway, your child may attempt to do so, with impunity. This may not endear you to long-suffering flight attendants, or provoke the warmth of other passengers, but for a brief moment your loved one will experience pure joy. That, surely, is worth something?

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report

  • Danielle, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And that was before the War on Terror. Does anyone have a theory as to why American airports are so rubbish?

    Because all queuing in America, for anything, is horrendously lengthy, inefficient and officious (like every form you have to fill out for anything ever). I theorise that it's some sort of organisational culture thing.

    That being said, LAX is particularly bad. I like SFO a lot better.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    the weirdest cheese ever – brown with a peculiar sugary texture.

    And toothpaste tubes of "caviar", or at least, some kind of roe.

    Funny thing is, every Norwegian I met hated fish. They associated it with poverty - something to do with a famine in the 19th century, during which Queen Vic took pity on them and gifted them fishing rights to a huge slice of the North Sea. They were quite happy when the oil was discovered, but fish retained that association. At least, that's my barely half-remembered version of what I was told.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report

  • Danielle,

    Oh, coincidentally, I lived in Trondheim for a year as a toddler. My best friend was the small boy who lived in the house next door. He was called Cnut.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report

  • Rachael J, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    I dated a Norwegian in my youth. He was uncommonly fond of the weird brown (?goat) cheese and would bring a block back to London any time he went home for a visit. I never quite developed a taste for it myself.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2007 • 7 posts Report

  • Danielle,

    And I must serial post to note that this hilarious piece, David, is how I imagine any future long-haul flights with my children will turn out. In 2010 we took one nine-month-old, non-crawling, placidly fat baby to America for Christmas. On the plane he sat calmly in his car seat and ate fruit purees, then slept for hours on end without stirring. At any moment of possible sadness I stuck a boob in his mouth and he chilled out. It was about as stress-free as any flight with a child could be. Now, however, we have child two: he is 18 months old, spends most of his free time rampaging through the house and screeching piercingly at me for parental crimes I have committed that he cannot yet adequately explain, and has still to cut thirteen teeth (the appearance of each previous one has been heralded by epic rage and sadness). The thought of taking them both to visit our relatives now breaks me out in a cold sweat. Even the placid first son might crack under the strain. No, we will have to wait until both of them are capable of watching twelve straight hours of television at a stretch.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Danielle,

    LAX is particularly bad

    I almost get the feeling that LAX prides itself on being the most unfriendly airport in the US. It's weird but nowhere in the US have I found the same combination of ugly hostile buildings with staff that will do anything to make themselves less helpful than they could be.

    I get that working in an airport has got to be a not fun job, but LAX seems to be better than anywhere at passing that work experience on to the customers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • JonathanM,

    Ah, 55 hours of travel hell only to find you've only just arrived in Hell (the town closest to Trondheim Airport.)

    At least in this case Hell wasn't frozen over, it being summer and all.

    (I was greatly disappointed to have to get a new passport and thus stop using the old one with the "Hell" stamp in it).

    Thanks for the great read, and enjoy your time at NTNU.

    Since Jul 2012 • 64 posts Report

  • JacksonP,

    Your story is beyond comprehension David. Glad you survived, and best of luck for the return journey.

    We seem to be blessed with good travellers now, although I recall vowing never to travel again after a flight with 3 under three, but somehow the actual reason has slipped from my memory. Selective amnesia?

    In regards to American Airport security, and how it has changed, we had a few experiences in 1993 which just wouldn’t happen these days.

    The most unlikely was at Washington Airport, a stopover between New York and New Orleans. We arrived at the check-in to be told our flight had unfortunately been cancelled. We prepared ourselves for an unexpected stay in Washington.

    But our helpful check-in person had other ideas. ‘Wait, there’s a flight leaving. I’ll just ask them to wait’. She made some quick calls, and then said ‘come with me’. She grabbed my MacPac, it being the largest piece of luggage, summing up my athletic abilities, and told us to jump over the luggage check-in. Then used her security card to walk us through the controlled areas, mapping the fastest route to the gate.

    At the gate she encountered a less capable human, pushed her out of the way (literally), and made the necessary entries to the flight record, then pointed to the plane waiting on the tarmac. ‘That’s your plane. Off you go.’

    A few of the passengers smiled as we lugged our over-sized bags down the narrow isles and found a seat. But not all of them.

    I suspect that all three of us would be arrested these days, or worse.

    ETA: I think I've told this here before. More amnesia. Oops.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2450 posts Report

  • Paul Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    LAX provided one of our worst experiences of years of traveling with our daughter. She was about 4.(just pre 9/11) We arrived to find a huge queue at immigration. After 2 1/2 hours in the queue she went into full meltdown. Such was the commotion they put us in the faster American queue. When we got to the counter we were sent for a further interview. The reason being that, although I had a work visa my partner and I were not married. After a half hour of being interrogated we were allowed to leave with the parting words of the interviewer " Perhaps this will teach you to get married now"

    Part of the problem in the States is the chronic inability of the immigration officials to realise that there are people in the world who do not wish to live there. I am in the States now so I hope the NSA are not reading this.

    Piha • Since Nov 2006 • 19 posts Report

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