Posts Tagged ‘emirates’

Keeping The Very Needed Calm

May 28, 2014

Yes, her name is BEATRIZHELENA RESTREPODERETTENMUND! Yes, this is her passport number! The young lady in her globalism-diluted Arabia wear sitting behind the Emirates Airlines counter at the Auckland International Airport’s departure lounge types it all in again. But something does not seem to jibe. Beatriz and I are standing with a weary premonition amidst our pieces of luggage, which contain whatever we thought we might need during our half-year stay back in the lands of my origin. I’m leaning on the counter from our side and switch on my mind-over-matter accelerator. It has all happened many times before. Being born in Colombia and travelling the world is like looking for constant trouble, and it helps a lot if you know just how to best keep your calm.

We’ve had suffered through extra searches, answered all kinds of strange questions, walked many separate lines and received many more shapes and forms of special treatments when crossing the numerous borders of our modern world with Beatriz’ Colombian passport. So what is it going to be this time? The lady in the still shockingly bright red hat and matching lip gloss waves her slender wrist up in the air and signals for her supervisor. Soon there are three of those distinctly uniformed ladies standing behind the counter, furiously typing on the keyboard and staring at the screen with bewildered puzzlement. Enlightenment comes in a flash, as it usually does. ‘Does your wife have a transit visa for Australia?’, the supervisor, the tallest of the three red hats, asks, looking me sternly in the eyes. Australia? Our itinerary said we were to take off from Auckland bound for Dubai and then Switzerland! ‘All Emirates flights stopover in Australia, did you book your flight through our website?’ There was now a menacing tone in the lady’s voice. Of course we did not! We got it on the cheap, through And while those invisible folks do give you access to the lowest airfare rates on the planet, their customer service sucks! It just cannot be described in any civilized way. Soon after I had booked our trip on their site, they came fast and furiously after the money I had just saved. They wanted this much for reserving our seats and so much more for travel insurance, offers which I respectfully declined. Now that we needed something from them, they simply cut me off in mid-conversation during an attempt to reach their help desk through Skype and the half hour of free WiFi you are graciously granted at the airport.

To cut a long and miserable story short, one that is filled with intents to control upwelling anger, a row of apologizing officials at the edge of their goodwill, the eternal dance of one party blaming the other, and a series of politically not very correct discussions about rules, regulations and responsibilities, after our surprisingly unsuccessful visit at the airport we find ourselves once again at the cozy house of our friends Don and Denise in West Auckland. They are the proud owners of the beautiful Wharram cat ‘Katipo’ that sits peacefully right outside their home. katipodragon12 katipopanDuring the ample spare time of the three days it takes to go through the superbly useless exercise of applying for the Australian transit visa for Beatriz, so that she will be able to sail without too many hitches through her one and a half hour stopover at the Melbourne International Airport while the Emirates Airbus A380 will refuel her thirsty wings, the conversations turn to those amazing adventures on the high seas that etch permanent acidic traces in our subconscious memory, and then gravitate inevitably to the accumulated treasure troves of highly personal tricks and trinkets that help us survive the rough and rumbly wavy-gravy watery world out there. Even a visit on Don’s motorized tinny to yet another Wharram cat of world traveler fame is fitted in our leisurely schedule. Dave Vinnicombe’s Tiki 38 with the fiery name of ‘Dragon’ rests with a brand new coat of fine topside paint just behind the green promontory across the inlet from our host’s house, and a quick putter across its gently rippled waters brings us over there for the detailed contemplation of one of Aluna’s sister ships. She suffered alterations to James Wharram’s original design and the raised cabin tops make here lines just a slight bit more imposing. On her journey along the waste line of Mother Earth from South Africa to the shores of New Zealand she has no doubt brought her happy builders and owners improved comforts with the increased interior space this intelligent deviation from the plans must have created.katipodragon05 katipodragon04 katipodragon02katipodragon03katipodragon01

Three days later we drag our packed belongings through the Auckland International Airport once again, now with all the required paperwork at hand, but also an even bigger hole in our pockets because of the need to rebook our flight. We are now ready to begin this mighty journey towards economic recovery that will bring us also half way around the circumference of our beautiful and mighty planet Earth.