Finally we are home again.
And for me the trip from Saigon was not without some additional stress. I packed my bike and we checked out from the hotel without problem. The hotel arranged a taxi to the airport and Adi was able to carry my bags as she was of course without cycle. So that part was easier than usual. Poor old Adi it was difficult for her to leave town without her cycle and gear.
We had given ourselves plenty of time at the airport so for the first time ever, and for additional security, I decided to get my bike (enclosed in its bike bag), plastic wrapped. I then checked everything in and was advised by the airline staff to leave my bike over in the corner to be picked up by the oversize parcel staff.
That’s when I felt the need to advise them that there was no way I was going to leave my bike in a corner of the terminal since earlier in the year I had done just that in Rio, and British Airways had then conveniently forgotten to place it on the plane I was on to Morocco.
Chief ruling Air Malaysian check-in man said “That sort of thing doesn’t happen in Saigon and never on Malaysian Airlines”
I asked for that in writing and of course got the, no we ask you to sign, relieving us of certain obligations but I can’t imagine us signing anything. At this point two men in blue overalls with Malaysian Airlines logo turned up and threw my Mercian on a trolley stacked with other luggage so I assumed all was well. I did however ask the Chief Check-in man whether he recognised those men. You can’t be too careful when your bikes concerned. Something that we should have been more concerned about two days ago when Adi’s bike was nicked.
|Airport Fun and Games.|
It was a two hour flight to Kuala Lumpar and then because the airport hotel was full another ten hours trying to sleep on a bench in the transfer lounge. I watched three movies on the ten hour flight from KL to Auckland when I probably should have been sleeping. Due to an overkill of Jason Strathan movies and not a lot of shut eye, I arrived in Auckland at 11.30pm in not the best of spirits.
“I’m sorry sir, all the oversized items have been unloaded are you sure you had a bike on this flight?”
If I didn’t know better I would have thought that they lost my bike on purpose. But I do know better, and realise that they would have to be organised to do that, so it just had to be chance.
Another sleepless night in Auckland wondering what the chances are of ever seeing my Mercian again. And no real sympathy from Adi as she was in the same boat already. I should have been celebrating our return to Aotearoa . Instead I was trying to get my head around how two cyclists can leave the country for a month’s holiday and then have to return with nothing except their hand luggage!
Breakfast was nice. Toast and marmalade. Adi got real muesli for the first time since we left home.
No-one needed to help us with our bags when we boarded the taxi to the Auckland domestic airport. Since by this stage we had been reduced to one bag each.
Thirty minutes prior to boarding our flight to Nelson the baggage service guys rang me to say they’d found the Mercian and he had cleared customs and would be on my flight to Nelson.
And just to finish the whole episode off, Adi and I almost missed the flight to Nelson! I don’t know how that happened. Forty passengers and my bike patiently waited ten minutes for us to realise that that was our plane with chocks away and pointing skywards at gate 1.
A quick word to the loaders as they closed the rear loading hatch to confirm that there was a bike on board and I could finally relax.
Air New Zealand coffee never tasted so good. And two boiled sweets offered, let’s make it four I could do with the sugar.
|Adi's Step Dad Jim Painted Her a Great B'day Card.|
Home again. With the Vietnam chapter at an end I can now concentrate on getting another part-time bike shop job and getting back into long distance cycling.
Paris –Brest –Paris 2014 beckons.
And of course I have to rebuild Adi another Zaskar Urban Machine (ZUM). I’ve got the frame I just need to rummage around in the workshop and find a few bits.