My bankcards & Visa card have expired...my best friend , who is also my agent, has been sent the new ones...but how to get them?
The mail service to Vietnam is erratic , at best, & it could be months before I saw them....& as I use them to access money from my NZ bank account, there was only so long I could survive on the money I withdrew, before they expired...
I thought I had it all organised, with a friend of the NZ Consul, coming to NZ this week, who would collect them for me, & have them back to me within 2 weeks....
But....all well laid plans of mice & men.....
He told me that he was now not coming until May/June !!!!
Total panic ensued!!!!
I decided "Bugger it...I will go myself"...& surprise my friend by turning up on her doorstep unannounced .."Hi...whats for tea? LMAO
So....then I had to find some cheap (ish) flights at the drop of a hat....
Air China had the cheapest (still not very cheap) , but the only flights available had me leaving within 5 days, & having to return 10 days later.
I'm nothing if not spontaneous, so here I am...at the drop of a hat...LOL
Air China does not have good reviews, but after flying with them yesterday, I do not understand why...the planes are modern & the staff pleasant & helpful...unlike other cheap airlines they still do all the frills...meals, movies etc...& 50 kgs free luggage !!!!
The only thing wrong was some weirdness !
As in....wherever you are going to or coming from, you go through their hub, in Taipei...which meant I left Saigon & went UP on a 5 hour flight to Taiwan...a one HOUR stopover...as we left Saigon 20 mins late, that cut it even finer than it already was.....it was the most confusing airport I have ever been in....there was no transit area, just ladies with signs sending folks in all directions...then we had to take a Sky Train to the gate area...by this time I was 5 mins off the last boarding call...
Then ...there was a security check!!!!
The line snaked along about 50 strong, & at the front was a tour group of Indians...the men all wearing turbans, & being escorted behind a screen (presumably to check for bombs...LOL)....
I was losing the will to live...I told one of the staff that my plane was about to leave, & she swung into gear....ushering me through quickly & then we had to gallop along 100 miles (well...it felt like it...LMAO) of corridors...she galloped, I huffed & puffed behind !
The flight attendants were holding the door for me as I crawled on, with all the passengers looking accusingly at me....humiliating!
The 13 hr (I thought) flight went smoothly with me getting some sleep, until the pilot announced "We will be touching down in Melbourne, in 30 mins...thank you for flying with us"
MELBOURNE? WHAT???? Am I on the wrong bloody plane????
I have to admit I panicked !!!!
I called for the flight attendant...who assured me I was going to ChCh, I just had to transit to another plane...
Now...here's the thing...at no point, not when I booked the ticket, not when I got my boarding passes, didnt anyone utter the words "Melbourne" ...WTF? ( I guess they were refuelling...as I got back on the same plane, same seat , etc) ...but you would have thought someone might have mentioned it, eh?
So...could we have just hopped off, sat about for an hour, had a coffee, etc?
NO, not even...Australian Immigration wanted to give us the once over...including the body scanner ! & they are not completely happy until they have made you feel like a criminall & been as rude as possible!
I had a problem ! I was smuggling cigarettes !!!!
Yep....I cannot afford to smoke in NZ, & the two packets they allow you to bring in wasnt going to last me 10 days...so, I had a carton of smokes ,secreted in various pockets about my person...Lol
I knew that ChCh doesnt have a body scanner, & I hoped that I would get away with it...if not I would just plead elderly ignorance...LMAO
But...this wasnt going to work in Melbourne...I took the cigs out from various points about my person & hoped for the best...
Bag through the x-ray & me through the scanner & nothing said!
Finally got to Ch Ch after 17 hrs in the air!!!
Also 17 hrs without a ciggie...tired, grumpy & over the whole thing....\
The wee dogs came around & sniffed us all, the custom man questioned me about plant material (the herbal pills I had ticked on the entry form), then I was through...ciggies intact ! LMAO
The story is to continue....