Catching the plane in Christchurch
By coales, Mar 4 2012 02:00PM
An eventful morning.
6am - dark and pouring with rain. I tumble out of bed and pack up my things. Make my way to catch the bus to the airport in Christchurch. Stand waiting at bus-stop in rain for over half an hour. Two buses fail to turn up (despite seeing them running in the opposite direction).
Try to hail a cab - realise that although their sign is lit up, they are carrying people and not available!
Try calling a cab on mobile phone, number not recognised.
Now in mild state of panic, I stumble into a nearby petrol station shop and ask if they have the number for a taxi - they offer to call for me - I gratefully accept their offer of help. Silence as they are on hold waiting for taxi firm to answer. 'Busy morning' says the petrol guy, 'everyone's looking for a taxi in this weather.' I manage a half-hearted smile.
Rashly ask random man standing next to me in queue if he's driving near the airport. He is not.
Petrol guy trys another number. My heart sinks as I glance at the clock and realise my flight departs in less than an hour.
Petrol guy gets through to the taxi company, they are sending a car straight round. The next five minutes feel like hours. Car arrives, pile my bags in and explain the situation. 'Should be alright' he says. I hold out little hope, it is now 50 minutes until my plane departs. I know the bus takes 30 minutes to the airport, I hope the taxi is quicker!
Not moving. Stuck in traffic. 'Roads are terrible since the earthquake' my driver muses, 'worse time of day to travel, rush hour.' Yes, thankyou, I'd realised that!
Taxi driver takes a few short cuts. I am grateful but we're still moving slowly.
8am news comes on the radio.
Sat still at traffic lights. Car rocks slightly. 'Did you feel that?' asks taxi driver. Yes. 'Tremor....aftershock.' Wow! My first. He tells me there have been thousands since the quake a year ago and recounts his own experience of the February earthquake and the effect it had. Momentarily, I forget my haste and sit in wonder.
8.15am, arrive at airport. Overpay driver because I am just so grateful to finally be there!
Plane leaves at 8.40am. I am resigned to the fact that I will have to pay for a new flight and may miss my connection. That's what Barclaycard is for.
Hurry into terminal, and with small glimmer of hope, glance up at departures board.
My flight is still open!
Within 15 minutes I am caterpulted from taxi cab, to check-in desk, past security, through my gate, and into my plane seat. That would never be possible at Heathrow!
With ten minutes to spare until the plane takes off, I sink into my seat and let out a grateful sigh of relief.
Wow - stressful and glad you made it. Happy Trails !