Couldn't sleep Thursday night, both from the pain of my surgery and
the pain of leaving my family, again. I flew out for NZ on Friday.
Still sore, hobbling and drugged. That right there pretty much sets
the stage for only bad things to come.
I managed to make my flight to LA in relatively little discomfort,
despite minimizing my painkillers in order to deal with the inevitable
problems getting ticketed and making my flight to Auckland. I had
first class for that leg and a wider seat helped. A lot.
It went downhill as I left the country. The LA/Auckland flight is
roughly 12 hours, or should I have said a rough 12 hours? I
alternated between sitting as long as I could and walking as much as I
could stand it. I ate roughly 3 weeks of painkillers in 12 hours. I
was drooling and couldn't quite speak coherently by the time we
landed, but I walked off the plane under my own power in Auckland.
Yeah, I was bent at 90 degrees with hand cupping my balls like a 90's
Quasimodo, but I walked off.
I was forced to stand in line at immigration for an hour and a half
and the first thing the agent did was to ask me what was wrong. I was
still drooling and sweating profusely. She made me fully explain what
was wrong and THEN turned red and apologized. Three minutes later I
found out my luggage didn't make it to Auckland with me. It took an
hour to deal with the "lost luggage" assholes and missed my connecting
flight. Caught the next one, but they had to hold the plane while I
ran across the fucking airport in the rain. That's right, the whole
fucking airport, not just a terminal. Outside, in the rain. With an
extra-large, painful sac. If you can imagine that 90's Quasimodo
trying to do an "OJ" through the airport, that was me. I was a
fucking mess for the whole flight and while finally waiting for my
last flight, I think I sat and cried for a while.
The drive from the airport was also kind of rough-a bit bumpy for my
condition. I tried to concentrate on the scenery and noted the
following: The trees were mostly coniferous (we are well below the
45th parallel) with a few palms mixed in. Palm trees and pines??
Also saw some smaller trees that looked to be a cross between a pine
tree and a cactus-they were kind of evil looking. All the vegetation
is wind-blasted and pointing to the dominant, down-wind direction
(looks to be ENE). Homes and businesses look much like their US
counterparts, but they drive a lot of funny-looking little cars here
just like Europe. I think this would be a nice place to live,
especially with the views of the Southern Alps.
By the time I arrived here, I somehow felt better and not only ate,
but took a short walk around town after checking into my hotel and
IM'ing PW to tell her I was alive. I took a good look around this
time, leaving my camera behind, choosing to actually just see things.
What a pleasant, little town, sidewalk cafes, MANY outfitters for the
huge backpacking tourism, Turkish kebab stalls, small Thai
restaurants, an abundance of book stores and music coming from at
least one business on each block. Cobblestone streets and lots of
trees. A fair number of turn-of-the-century buildings and artwork in
the squares and the middle of the roundabouts. It was pleasant enough
to bring me down from the pain and let me almost enjoy the HUGE
painkiller buzz I had carried all the way from LA. I had a good,
old-fashioned Donner kebab with sauce and salad, a coffee taken at a
sidewalk cafe and then slept the sleep of the dead. I dreamed that I
flew around Mars in a bodysuit painted like a hawk, riding the
thermals kicked up at the daylight terminator. Yeah, Oxycontin is
good for dreaming when combined with a healthy overdose of codeine and
Woke up at 4am and drank 8 cups of coffee to bring me out of my
stupor. First hotel room I've ever had that contained enough coffee
to make 8 cups. Thank the fucking heavens for that, I've still got
enough shit in me to keep me loopy for another week. Anyway, at first
light I walked the city for a while and took in another couple cups of
coffee once the sidewalk cafes opened up. Downed a nice, little
pastry from a small bakery that looked as if it had been in business
back before electricity. We bussed out for the port at 9am and found
the ship quayside dealing with yet another catastrophic incident and a
huge tangle of gear, being pulled apart with cranes, forklifts, most
of the crew and not just a few local blokes who looked like
professional wrestlers, or worse. Big, ugly fuckers with tree-trunk
Had a couple hours of hand-over with my opposite, got a bite to eat,
stood a gangway watch and called to find out my luggage has not been
found after 24 hours. Put the clothes I've been wearing since Friday
morning (ugh) in the wash with a towel wrapped around me. Going to
knock of early tomorrow morning and head back into town to buy all new
clothes, suitcase, toiletries and whatnot. Fuck.
We'll head back to sea sometime Wednesday, or still Tuesday for you
folks on the other side of the dateline. I miss you PW.