Gra Nomad Wanderings

Monday, November 05, 2012


If flight AA0008 had left at 4 pm as scheduled rather than 5:30 pm, maybe it woulda been easy to get the connection at Dallas onto QF0008 heading for Brisbane.
We’d arrived at Cancun airport around 1 pm (get there three hours ahead of the flight time, they say.) Even found somebody to share the taxi with, so we didn’t have to pay the full fare ourselves. Tipped the driver and took our own luggage into the terminal, despite efforts from locals to help us with that task.
Baggage and ticket check – fine, although the fella at the counter said we’d have to collect our booked-through luggage at Dallas and then put it on the Qantas flight. Didn’t seem a big deal at the time. Now all we had was our back packs, the netbook, a bum bag (Fay) and a man bag (me). Not a great effort to go through other aspects of the process – security check, customs, passport check. Finally we found a spot to sit so we could (a) work out how many pesos we had to spend, (b) what we’d have for lunch, and (c) generally relax before climbing aboard our 4 pm flight.
Then the fly in the ointment – flight has been delayed. Now due to depart at 17:20.  Hhhmmm. We were gonna have a bit of time in Dallas…now it seems it’s gonna be rather squeezy to make the connection.
Departure time did finally arrive, with us saying things like, There’s no way this baby’s gonna get away on time, as we queued to get on the waiting plane. Yep, we were right – it finally took off at 5:35 pm. Was there a time difference between Cancun and Dallas? Nobody on the ground at Cancun could tell us. They are pretty laid back there so even when I asked police, airport security and anybody else in a uniform, I got nowhere. 
Meanwhile, back on the plane we were trying to work out whether we had a chance of making the connection or not. I was a bit optimistic, especially when the captain said he expected we’d have a flight time of about 2:20 – below the scheduled 2:45. However, once we flew over land, things changed and airport authorities sent our plane on a particular route which would mean we certainly wouldn’t achieve the flight time of 2:20 as the captain had said. He apologised and knew there were people who were looking at making connections in Dallas. 

The plane did arrive in Dallas. We were somewhat anxious I guess. We were well down the back of the plane so it took us some considerable time before we started forward with our carry on. Time just seemed to hang. When we got to the end of the “tunnel” it was 9:30 pm. Our QF0008 was due to depart at 10 pm.
Have you been through an American airport lately? If you have then you understood how we felt. I mean, where the heck do we … oh forget it. When we reached the end of the “tunnel” there was an airport lady there with an orange sign – QF8 KEAST . 

She said… Ok, let’s go! We’ve gotta run! (Or words to that effect.) The next thing she did was to offer Fay a wheelchair for the coming journey. We both figured we could run…. Yep, even with all three crook knees and the one good one between us.   So we declined the wheelchair. (Did Fay look all that bad?)
Back in the resort Fay had done the final packing before we’d left. She had purposely kept our backpacks as light as possible. All the heavy items were in our booked suitcases. What a great move, Fay. Well done.
Mona (we learnt her name later), said we were gonna have to run. So run we did.
Fay isn’t really into running. Swimming - yes; cooking - yes; gardening – yes; bushwalking – yes; even some cycling. But running? No, not really. But like Henry Lawson’s Loaded Dog, both Fay and I were glad that when the chips were down, we’d remembered how to actually run. 
We’d only gone a short distance when my glasses fell to the ground – at the top of the escalators. Fay grabbed them in her stride like a good polocrosse player scoops up the ball. Within 5 seconds of that, a mobile phone bounced to the ground. That was Mona’s so I copied Fay’s agile style and grabbed it on the go.
The journey took us to the head – forget about lines – of the immigration check. People in the vicinity picked up on the urgency of the moment and stepped aside to let us through. The lady started to process us, and as per usual, I had to place 4 fingers from my right hand on the screen while later Fay was asked to do ALL TEN – yep, fingers and thumbs. I know my son Jeremy would’ve been tempted to ask if she wanted Fay to do the toes as well, but I worked out the scene when her answer to my only comment was, “We don’t work for the airline!” Once through there it was running again – yes, the three bad knees and the one good knee keeping pace with Mona.  Customs was excellent. He could see the urgency, took the completed card and let us continue. Security was pretty good but still thorough. We ran up to them and were instructed to remove shoes and belts and put everything in the trays which would go through the x-ray machine. Oh, don’t forget to take the netbook out of its case too. Then we went through the x-ray machine for people. The official asked me what I had in my pocket. I dragged out tissues, cards and my hand sized diary. He poked his nose and his white gloved fingers into the diary before saying we could grab our stuff and go. I knew he didn’t work for the airline so I didn’t make any comments at all.
Nearly lost Mona at this stage. She’d sped off ahead – did she go this way or that way? Oh, there she is! The gallop continued.
There’s the Qantas gate ahead. Looks like we’re gonna make it after all. Only Qantas officials in sight. The lady there took quite a while to punch stuff into the computer from our boarding passes before we were allowed to board. As we took our seats, storing our back packs in the overhead locker, the captain said, We have everybody on board now, so we’re right to go!
The plane took off on time. Thanks Mona. Thanks Qantas. How are your knees Fay? Only 15+ hours and we’ll be in Brissy. Short layover before heading on to Sydney.
That was the furthest and the fastest either of us has run for quite a while. Don’t forget, Fay was a sprinter in her heyday.
Oh, the luggage you ask? Good question! Well, there’s no way they made the connection so we just hope Mona was able to grab our two cases from the carousel, with all the souvenirs from 8 weeks’ travel and get them on the next flight to Sydney. I’ll let you know. I just remembered how many foreign number plates are in my suitcase!
PS Yes, we've actually arrived in Sydney! 28 beautiful degrees. 22.5 hours from start of the journey at Cancun to when we arrived in Sydney. Weary, that's for sure. All we need now is our case full of trinkets and number plates! Tomorrow?  Goodnight.


At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hilarious telling of a truly epic journey dad. I'm getting funny looks around the office while I read and giggle...
Hope you guys are ok and I do hope your luggage (with all my presents) is returned to you ASAP.
See you next week.
Love Pete

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

What an effort. Making connections is my greatest fear too glad to hear that you made it and pray that your luggage will arrive in one piece.
Having no luggage would have made it easy to leave sydney airport too!. HAve loved hearing of your travels yet again, your travels inspire us fo rour future travels too.


Post a Comment

<< Home