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Day 23 & 24 - Au revoir la France, Hello New Zealand

I try and do my posts daily when I travel as it gives me a better chance at remembering how the trip has gone, unfortunately sometimes that just isn't possible, especially when your travelling across a timezone where you end up loosing a day. 

So, the day has come for me to finally say farewell to France, which means... hometime, I won't deny it.... I've kind of been looking forward to getting home for a few days now, although I have enjoyed my trip and travels around Switzerland, Italy and France, sometimes it's just good to be home, especially in the heat they have had over hear,  weather wise, we have really only had 3 wet days while I've been travelling, and 2 of those were only for a short period of time.  I was afraid the heat was going to be too hot for my race, but thankfully 25 degrees felt nice after the previous week and a half of 34+ degree days, although I probably still would have preferring the 19 degree dlrwce start we had.  So... here's hoping when I get back to NZ it's good weather for me.  I saw footage the other day that the blossoms around Hagley Park are out, so fingers crossed they are still there when I get back, they are always lovely to see.

I caught my ride to the airport, traffic was rather busy in the city until we hit the motorway when the speed picked up, 130km apparently was quite normal on the motorway.  I got checked through pretty quickly and made my way to the gate, I had a little time to spare so I just sat patiently waiting for my plane to board, I would have looked through duty free, but it was all Louis Vuitton and other things like that.  I was lucky enough to be one of the first to board, probably because I was able to select my seats last night, I made sure I got some near the front seeing my transit times are short, I need as much spare time as I can get to the next terminal when I land.

The flight from Paris to Dubai felt pretty quick, probably because I watched almost 3 movies during the flight, all movies I had seen before (Ironman 1, 2 & 3), but I like the series so figured why not give them another watch.  Upon landing in Dubai, it was a quick exit from the plane where I headed straight towards the next gate, passing through the security check, getting to the gate only to find another security check... testing for drugs, obviously I passed, but I really don't get what they are expecting to find, what do they really expect has happened between one security check to the next.  I was lucky enough to also be one of the first to board the next plane, upon boarding I realised that with all the rushing between gates and security that somewhere along the way I misplaced my USB charger cable... It was initially in my pocket, so can only imagine I left it at one of the security checks. As it had at least 80% I was sure it would last long enough to get back home provided I didn't go crazy using it during the next couple of flights.

The flight from Dubai to Sydney was long, thankfully I was able to get at least an hour and a half worth of sleep during the flight, although it was all broken into 5 minutes here and there. I would occasionally get up to walk about the plane, although with the Isles so small, I couldn't freely walk up and down like I use to do, especially with kids legs sticking out across the isle as they slept. I managed to watch a number of movies of the plane, although I was unable to find the Australian movie that I was able to watch most of on the way over, so I never saw how it ended. There was an annoying guy in the seat in front of me who would always get up and bang into me as he walked past, or he would just stand up and place his hand on the seat in front of me and touch the screen with his hand, in turn it would always cause my screen to stop playing the movie and drop back to a news page and some new story would start to play.

Once the plane had landed in Sydney I had about 40 minutes until the plane was due to board, I got off the plane and made my way to the International transfer station, seeing a sign I hung a left and then noticed no one else was heading that way, I saw someone who advised that it wasn't operating and to go to the next one just through the duty free, so I did that, waited in line until I got to the customs guy who asked for my paperwork, I advised him that I was transferring to Christchurch, he said I needed to go back out and carry on down the hall to the next security check... so back out I go, and head down the hall, then around the corner, down another hall, through some duty free again, down another hall, it seemed to go on and on eventually getting to the security check which once again I had to take off my belt, remove everything from my pockets place my stuff though the x-ray again... seriously, what do they expect people to pickup between one plane and another I really do not know. Once through I ran to my gate, the furthest gate it could have been, arriving just in time according to the ticket, only to find boarding had been delayed by 20 minutes.

The flight back to Christchurch went by pretty quickly, I guess when your last flights had 21 hours or so between the two of them, 4 hours on a plane is nothing. It landed 25 minutes than it was suppose to, I felt bad as my friend Anna had told me she would pick me up at the airport. I messaged to let her know the plane had arrived and I was heading to pickup my bag. Waiting in the baggage claim area I started to get the feeling that my bag wasn't going to arrive. The layover between the two planes had been pretty short, the annoying thing was I had to wait until everyone else's bags had been collected before I was able to confirm, part of the reason why I didn't really want anyone to pick me up as it would just cause an even longer wait on their part. I saw others waiting for their bags as well, and after figuring out they had been on the same plane from Dubai to Sydney, it was pretty clear our bags hadn't made it. Once I had reported the missing bag, I headed out to see Anna waiting at the carpark for me. It was so nice to see someone I know and have them drive me home instead of having one of those taxi / uber drives home where they ask you awkward conversations... arriving home I was kind of expecting to get the cold shoulder from the cat, I walked I to my room to see her looking at me, and after about 30 seconds she realised it was me and ran straight towards me and starting cuddling up to me.

To sum up the trip in a few words, it was good, favourite spot outside of the race environment was either Milan in Italy, or Fountainblue in France, Paris is overrated. Geneva in Switzerland is lovely, but expensive. All and all, a great trip, but as always, I'm glad to be home now.

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