A Travellerspoint blog

June 2012

Trains, Taxis and Aeroplanes

Leaving New Zealand

To say leaving New Zealand was stressful is the understatement of the century. Infact, had I known what the next 48hrs entailed I probably would have set up a camp for a few days. It's not through lack of organisation or that our plans were incompetent, its sometimes things happen that are way out of your control......I call it environmental factors. I'm not making any excuses just see for your self.

So taking the motorhome back we were a good 1/2 hr to the destination so we stopped for a toilet break....literally seconds. Back on the road the usual empty lane was backed up.....a tailback. I got out to check....a fatal car crash., could we have been involved had we not stopped? Who knows. We had to divert which took about 2 more hrs and we were very nearly late for our drop off.

Fortunately that side went smoothly and we were dropped off at the airport where we had to spend the evening....til 4am that is so no sleep.

The flight to Singapore was good, left at 6 am sharp and we had a pre booked entertainment package lined up for our tired eyes. Plenty of films and games. We only had one night planned in Singapore maybe not even enough but we made the most of it taking a tub boat up the river, going on the equivalent to the London eye and generally wandering around. There's quite a lot to see, we made a special stop at Raffels for the famous Singapore Sling....definitely worth it.

We were on track to get to the airport when the environmental factors kicked in....the tubes were delayed and we had to wait over half hour extra for the journey. When we got to the airport we had to get a bus to the otherside which took forever to arrive and it was then I knew we would not make our flight. We got to check-in desk 10 minutes after it closed and despite it being delayed for another hour, we were not allowed on. We made the most of it by staying nearby in a nice hotel so we had our first decent night sleep for a while with a beautiful buffet breakfast to boot.

Nothing was going to stop us getting this flight! Kuala Lumpur....arrived on time with about 5hrs to spare until the next flight. We decided to do a bit of shopping which is about 40 mins from the airport. I timed it that if we left at 5pm we would be at the airport for just before 6. The latest we could leave would be 7. Then the environmental factors came into play again. After shopping we went to get a cab. You have to get a ticket and stand in line. We were ushered into a taxi which already contained two people....great! They were getting dropped off first, but the driver got lost! I began to get concerned "we have a flight to catch....we need to go to the train station" I said firmly but was placated with "ok yes yes" He would not drop us off until he had dropped them off. Finally we got to the train station at one minute past 7. The train had gone, it was ground hog day on missing planes. I was too tired to even get upset about it so I decided we should see if this time we would get on by the skin of our teeth. We hatched a plan of Chloe collecting the luggage whilst I stall check in desk until she arrived. I ran to check in and rifled through my bag for the paperwork apologising as I went, looking over my shoulder for Chloe. Luckily for us the lady at the desk bore with me and we got checked in at the last hour! We were so relieved dragging our hand luggage through....."stop....we need to weigh your hand baggage 7kg is the limit" Cringing at the scales revealing 16kg and that was just Chloes bag. After swapping aloud of stuff around we were allowed through. How relieved was I to be sat in the plane. Nothing was going to move me. "Excuse me you are sat in our seat" came a voice. I ignored it knowing full well I was in seat 28a as my ticket said. Chloe dealt with it but the girl still went on about it so I got my ticket out and showed the girl "28a...see" I said confidently. "Yes ....but this flight number is different"

I haven't moved so quick....environmental factors had the attendants put us on the wrong plane! Seriously who would have thought that could happen but it does. We managed to push through the people off the plane and got onto our plane and I had just about had enough.

Travelling is all good fun but sometimes ......it can be soo stressful!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 19:59 Archived in New Zealand Tagged planes trains travel new_zealand trip journey vehicle mother_daughter blog world_trip back_packing chloe_bailey flash_packing motor_home Comments (0)

Sky Dive Queenstown Friday 13th

NZONE

sunny

When someone tells you something about their visit to a town you listen and consider their view. Now its not always going to match up with your own point of view but you have a general idea of what the town is about. Queenstown is a different story, I don't think I spoke to one person that actually liked it. I had read a lot of raving reviews but the general consensus was it was built up, too commercial and lacking charm.

Bearing all this in mind I wasn't quite sure what to expect. All we knew was we could go sky diving and white water rafting here which was good enough for me!

Pitching up in the caravan park was a different story, it was more like a large car park ....this was the commercial side. It was also a lot more expensive than any where else. You had to pay to use the shower....I think it was 50p for five minutes.....who has a five minute shower? I leave my conditioner in for two minutes so has to make use of the time. I knew I would go over so when the water stopped and I still had conditioner on I was glad I anticipated this and brought an extra coin. It did annoy me having to pay for a shower when the fees were so high. Again...WiFi was a fortune package you could buy. I wonder if its like that in the UK?

Anyway we decided to go the whole hog and book two adventure trips....sod the cost...this is why we were here. Sky diving in the morning followed by white water rafting in the afternoon. Great!

Queenstown is lovely, I haven't got a clue why people moan about it. Ok its larger than most New Zealand towns but is no bigger than the smallest UK town. When they told be built up I imagined sky scrapers etc....none of them just lovely little houses, some good shops tastefully pulled together for a shopping center, pedestrianised of course.

Right next to the town is the lake which is huge and you can see the beautiful mountains reflecting off the surface. There are a few walks along side the river which are pretty, I did a few hours walk one day after Chloe and I had a spot of campervan fever and we needed space....any one read Lord of the Flies? Well the campervan could have represented the island!

There's a huge steam boat giving out pricey trips around the lake. We didn't do it but watched it sail out one day with the smoke pouring out of its chimneys, lovely sight to see with the mountains in the back ground.

Theres a 'world famous' takeaway joint there to which honestly had a constant stream of customers queing up for food. Their speciality is burgers and they were huge! Unfortunately they didn't cater for veggies but if I was a meat eater I definitely would have had one. So many people can't be wrong!

The day came for the sky dive and I wasn't nervous at all, seriously I wasn't but I didn't want to talk about it either....didn't want any anxiety! Chloe was very excited and wanted to talk about it, I think she was trying to wind me up.

Arriving at the shop we were ushered into a back room where there were a few rows of seats facing a large screen. There's always a gimmick for more money, this one was to see if anyone wanted to upgrade to higher heights, we were doing 12000 feet and to see if you wanted photos and or dvd of the jump. I'm telling you the price of the photos/dvd was nearly the same price of the jump itself so the figures buzzed around my head. I had the devil and angel shoulder thing going on now...."that's too much money...you'll always have the memory" and the other one "just buy the whole package! You'll watch the dvd when your an old woman and see how much fun you had....buy it!" So I bought the whole package which meant me and Chloe had our own photographer with us the entire time and being camera shy.....umm wasn't sure about this!

We were strapped up into our jump suits then our harnesses were put on. I failed to mention they were tandem dives, which makes it easier. Still without nerves I patient awaited for the air craft which was a small plane with the nose painted like a sharks mouth. There are no seats, you sit on the floor with legs out in line ....just like 'ooops up side your head' I think that's the name of the song.

Now for the important bit....remember I wasn't nervous, just as we were about to board my tandem buddy said to me "Ready? Just remember to breathe up there." What did he mean? Breathe...panic set in. "Why did you say that? Can't you breathe up there?" I asked sensibly. It appears that when you are up at 12000 feet the wind is so strong that it forces its way down your throat, making it hard to breathe out. The best solution, I was told, is to lift your head up and blow out hard.

Back to the plane....so...Im the last one on which meant I was sat next to the....not door because there was no door ....clear shutter....a type of door that pulls down just as it pulls up when you sit there legs dangling in the sky waiting to fall. So im sat there by the shutter wondering if I might pass out in the sky because I couldn't breathe or if too much air gets in my lungs and I explode....all sorts of ridiculous things were going through my head and now I was nervous. All about a simple thing....breathing!

Going in last meant I was first out, we shuffled out to the door and I heard "I'll rock back three times and then we go....don't look down yet....look up." I felt the rocking and I kept my head up....good job to...I don't think I could have done it otherwise. Amazingly I didn't even wonder how Chloe was feeling which later made me feel abit guilty but her beeming face of excitement didn't make me feel any easier. Before I even knew it we were outside and the whooshing noise of the air blowing around us reminded me to lift my head to breathe. He was right, it was difficult! So I am 12000 feet high puffing air out with a face like a blow fish and I see a man infant of me filming........disaster. I've never been photo genic and now I have a guy filming me when I look like I am in a panic. Despite this it was amazing! It seemed like 30 seconds before the shoot was pulled and then everything changed, a slight breeze, ability to breathe and the quietness.

I had a bizarre conversation about "what a great job you have doing this every day" he probably hears that with every jump! If you know what I mean ;) It took about five mins to get to the bottom with a few tummy turning twists, major butterflies but worth every penny! On landing it was like a feather hitting the ground .... so soft.

Landing first I had the benefit of watching Chloe come down and I've never seen her face beem so much....she loved it!! We had to give a little interview for our DVDs which i'm too embarrassed to watch yet given my panic at 12000 feet down. Chloe said its my ego!

I would say everyone should do it...its thrilling! We had big smiles all day! Loved it....but not the DVD!!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 05:57 Archived in New Zealand Tagged queenstown travel new_zealand journey mother_daughter blog sky_dive world_trip back_packing chloe_bailey flash_packing camper_van Comments (0)

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