1) Sydney skyline
2) Chile airport at sunset
Santiago to Auckland - Wednesday 12 January to Friday 14 January
On the evening of Wednesday 12 January we arrived at Santiago airport and a couple of porters immediately grabbed the luggage and bikes and loaded them on trolleys and wheeled them to the checkin. When we entered the terminal building an official spotted the bike boxes and they were taken off to be weighed.
When we handed in our tickets a rather bemused looking Lanchile checkin lady asked why did we want to fly to Auckland and then Sydney and then back to Auckland. I explained that when we booked the flights last April Lanchile only allocated a small number of seats for round the world tickets from Santiago to Auckland which were all booked. The only way to do it was to book on the Santiago Sydney flight which had more seats allocated (although it is the same as the Auckland flight as it stops there en-route to Sydney) and then get another flight Sydney to Auckland.We explained that if we got off at Auckland the first time there we would be treated as a no-show for the Sydney - Auckland flight and the rest of our round the world ticket would be automatically cancelled. The checkin lady was by now way out of her depth and called in her supervisor.
There followed about half an hour of confusion but eventually we were sorted out and checked in.
The flight to Auckland (first time round) lasted 13 hours. On the flight there was a large choice of movies and I chose "Terminal" about a passenger stranded by beaucracy in an airport transit area for 6 months. Could the same sort of thing cause 3 passengers and their bicycles to be stranded in a repeating loop to and fro across the Tasman Sea?
The night was much longer than usual as we almost kept pace with the sunrise sweeping behind us. Then just before reaching New Zealand at 10.30 am Santiago time and 2.00 am New Zealand time we crossed the International Dateline and Thursday disappeared down a counterclockwise sinkhole and turned into Friday.
We landed at Auckland 4.00 am local time and spent an hour and a half gazing longingly out of the transit lounge windows at our destination before reboarding our plane to fly to Sydney
One advantage of all the time changes and different planes was that we had a second breakfast. After
3 hours we arrived at Sydney with 2 hours to change to a Quantas plane back to Auckland. Martin and I had several minutes of panic because we had left our watches on Auckland time which is 2 hours ahead of Australia and saw our flight on the board apparently overdue to leave and at the same time a last call was announced for a Quantas flight to Auckland which as it turned out was leaving 2 hours before ours. We were put right after rushing through the transit lounge to the gate.
After looking out of the transit lounge window at the Sydney skyline we boarded our plane for the 3 hour flight back to Auckland arriving 2pm.
We collected luggage and bikes (undamaged this time) and put the bikes in a pre-booked minibus and trailer to take us to our accommodation in downtown Auckland.
Posted by Edwin
at 8:09 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 18 January 2005 8:19 AM EADT