Jafa39 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (8 years 2 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3951 times:
I had to go to Christchurch recently and it was an interesting trip. I left the house at 04:50 in the morning, feeling seriously smug as I had bought a new (to me) car the day before, it was from a repossessed car auction and I got it literally half price.
It is a 1994 Nissan Cefiro, in the UK it would be called a Nissan Maxima, it is the luxury car of the Nissan range and is seriously smooth and quiet to drive, being a 24 valve V6 it is refined and powerful, and at lowish speeds the power delivery is as unobtrusive as a well-trained Butler, hovering at one’s elbow with a freshly pressed shirt, but in keeping with multi-valve engines, above 3,500 rpm things change and it is as if the aforementioned Butler has caught his master dicking his favourite parlour-maid and the power comes through like cutlery being slammed into position on an immaculate white table-cloth in that surly yet restrained way that only the British can master.
All of which will add up to acres of fun on my regular jaunts to Auckland and beyond.
I cruised down the dark motorway, trying to find a radio station that worked but I hadn’t fitted a bandwidth expander yet and without one of these a Japanese import car will only pick up the direst of local stations; I endured ten minutes of “Radio Coromandel”….. waves of “easy listening” punctuated by adverts for chainsaw servicing and dung removal, I flicked on the CD player in which I had hurriedly stacked my 6 favourite CD’s the night before, the first track up was (appropriately I thought) by a band called “The Departure”, the track, “Be My Enemy (It’s easier that way)”, so I swished through the dew-damp streets of AKL, blissfully happy and musing on the fact that the day before (12th Oct) was mine and Mrs J’s 22nd wedding anniversary….bugger! That is a long time! Especially when you consider we met in Mid-May and got married mid October, pretty good going for an impulsive gesture.
Now, I made an arse of myself by trying to check in at the QF terminal instead of NZ, I was booked to fly BACK from Christchurch with the Ozzies, not TO….D’oh!
Still, at who-knows-when o’clock in the morning, such errors can be had and a brisk walk to the other end of the Terminal Buildings saw me boarding the same yellow 737 that I flew back from WLG on last time out, such an event is really only exciting to total geeks like us but there you go, some people collect stamps and others wear bobble hats and write down numbers from trains, I casually observe the aircraft I fly on.
I boarded, sandwich in hand, gagging for an Earl Grey and nestled into my seat, the express terminals had yet again yielded a window seat near the back (22A) with an empty seat next to me, these computers you know, they learn fast!
We were away on time and belted up into the atmosphere to the East, this time I was prepared for a lurching turn to the left but we turned to the right and my breakfast sandwich stayed put with no palm-sweaty surprises to encourage it out from under my intestines, I settled in for the non-stop version of AKL-CHC.
But the flight was marred by a constant nudging and poking from behind me as some over-achiever wrestled with the minutiae of industrial growth management or some such boring stuff and there isn’t much room on the tray tables so his portfolio kept digging me in the spine. I didn’t look back to see who it was but built up a mental image of some OCD Accountant with a fetish for green pencils, scribbling furiously… at one point a rhythmic pulsing started and I was convinced he was masturbating…all mental images stopped immediately and I concentrated instead on the earthy beauty of NZ flight attendants and the wonderfully, chainsaw-raucous tone of their voices, a cracked, husky and ultimately sexy (to me) lilt that has a suggestion of late nights, whiskey and a no-nonsense down to earth sensuality.
The blonde one had a crazy look in her eyes and beamed smiles at the pax in such a way that no-one dared to refuse a Kiwi Fruit biscuit and hot drink.
The Brunette had a wonderful profile and dizzy hair that made me wonder if she had spent the night sleeping in a sackful of cats but it was early and I felt that obsessing over an FA’s profile at such an hour might end with me being blacklisted as a pervert and forced to fly in a straightjacket and dark glasses, early mornings you see, I am in some form of limbo between sleep and dysfunction at such an hour.
I turned away from my early morning reverie and gazed upon a sea of morning-lit clouds, heaving their way across the Tasman Sea to lurk unbidden on Sydney.
61 minutes of sky-gazing and making mental fists at the jerk-off accountant behind me and we were oozing in over CHC, a northerly approach with the beach to the left and mountains to the right, I spotted a car breakers yard, a house with a very nice pool and a golf course with villa accommodation, and all too soon the reverie was over, it was time to switch on my cell-phone, grab my hire-car and plunge headlong into what turned out to be a 16 hour day.
Christchurch is a very mellow city, I love it when I go there but this may be due to the fact that I only ever go there in summer, it had snowed 10 days before my arrival but all was now fully cakes and pies with a clear blue sky and shirt-sleeve temperatures.
I was late for my first appointment because Jess (not blonde) had forgotten that it takes a few minutes to get off the a/c, grab one’s luggage and pick up a hertz rental but it didn’t matter, this is NZ and there are worse sins than lateness (Supporting the Springboks in the Tri-Nations for one!) this was followed by an hours break before a change of shirt and the addition of a tie was necessary before presenting some awards to a group of Special Needs kids and adults, a task I always relish as everybody seems so pleased to see me and one bloke was so excited and overcome with emotion at the imminent arrival of so powerful a being that he had to be spoken to and subdued.
Prior to this meeting I stopped off at the “Honeypot Café” for an all-day breakfast that at first sight looked as if it was going to take all day to eat but luckily it was just the pile of toast that the bacon etc was draped round that made it look so huge, I settled down with the NZ Herald, and tried not to look at the waitress, who kept calling me “Baby”, but a swift cappuccino soon brought me to my senses and I found myself pondering the fate of the nation and the all the horse-trading that goes with forming a government.
For once, my meeting at the special needs centre and the time on my parking meter were the same length and I sped off to a prison, which seemed far too nice a place to be a prison and the staff were all young and very casual, no frosty “screws” here.
It was then back into the Corolla to peruse the maps and soak up the balmy heat and tranquillity of the prison grounds before lurching once more into the fray…
By mid-afternoon I was wilting and my phone rang, exposing me to the full wrath and fury of a very pissed-off co-ordinator who had some issues with how my co-director had dealt with some issues he had raised about the timing of a meeting that had occurred a week earlier with the other 2/3rds of the management triumvirate and as luck would have it tonight was his meeting night so I scheduled him in for an 8:30 pm visit in order to deal with a raft of questions from his Rangatahi (youths).
I managed 40 mins at my Motel for a power-nap and with the evenings SKY schedule memorised and lending an urgency to the agenda for the rest of the day I headed back out into the leafy streets of CHC and at 6:30 pm I was back in the town centre looking for my evening carbohydrate fix, I found a very nice “Gourmet Fish and Chip bar and after briefly considering the “Macadamia Crusted Barramundi” dealt to a perfect “Moroccan Marinated Hapuka with hand cut chunky chips” which left me in very good spirits for the final two rounds of ordeal by meeting.
Finally, I made it to the last meeting and it all went very well, I mended fences, bridged the communication gap and resolved some queries to the satisfaction of all concerned and turned in to the Motel a wiser, man having saved the organisations reputation with a fellow organisation with whom we share a basic Kaupapa (Mission Statement).
The following day held only the spectre of a 3 hour training event at which the audience were all women of a certain age, lively, frisky and well versed in the art of “doing lunch”. I had a ball, marred only by my inability to find the toilets without help, I finished the tour with a very agreeable Lamb Burger marinated in whiskey and maple at “Bridgittes”.
Yawning my way through CHC’s pathetic excuse for a rush-hour I managed to remember (for once) to fill the hire-cars tank before attempting to return it and checked in (correctly this time) at the QF desk.
Watching a doco the previous night about the Concorde crash hadn’t induced too much paranoia and the words “Most air crashes are not caused by a single event, but rather a chain of bad decisions” I paid special attention to the interaction between pilot and FA’s at the departure desk, listening intently for any suggestion that we may be overloaded, taking off downwind or missing any wheel spacers, I prepared to put my faith in Boeing once more but more than that I was aching to lay down and sleep, so much so that I accepted 14D on the assumption that I would not be conscious long enough to require the use of a window.
Boarding was on time and swift as, I requested headphones, turned on the Classical Music channel and half watched the safety demo through one glazed, drooping and almost disinterested eye.
We took off (upwind and at target weight), I was asleep and drooling before the gear was up.
Refreshed and eager to re-acquaint myself with my new wheels I was majorly glad of my error of the previous morning as my car was in the QF car-park so I didn’t have to run the gauntlet of too many over-friendly and cash-starved taxi drivers.
After gazing at a South American 340 (either Lan Chile or Aerolineas Argentinas, I can’t remember which) and watching the arrival of a QF 747, I cruised back through the heat of an AKL afternoon, oblivious to the traffic as the Red Hot Chili’s advised me that “This life is more than just a read-through”…spot-on mates, spot-on!
Mhodgson From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2002, 5047 posts, RR: 27 Reply 1, posted (8 years 2 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 3781 times:
I particularly liked the way you describe the car
Quoting Jafa39 (Thread starter): the power delivery is as unobtrusive as a well-trained Butler, hovering at one’s elbow with a freshly pressed shirt, but in keeping with multi-valve engines, above 3,500 rpm things change and it is as if the aforementioned Butler has caught his master dicking his favourite parlour-maid and the power comes through like cutlery being slammed into position on an immaculate white table-cloth in that surly yet restrained way that only the British can master.
No trees were harmed by this message. However, several million electrons were terribly inconvenienced
BAViscount From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 2338 posts, RR: 4 Reply 2, posted (8 years 2 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 3736 times:
Quoting Jafa39 (Thread starter): at one point a rhythmic pulsing started and I was convinced he was masturbating
Might I suggest that you weren't in the company of an OCD Accountant, but rather an over-enthusiastic a.nutter with a penchant for yellow 737's??!
Quoting Jafa39 (Thread starter): The following day held only the spectre of a 3 hour training event at which the audience were all women of a certain age, lively, frisky and well versed in the art of “doing lunch”.
Oooh, I bet they loved you!!
Quoting Jafa39 (Thread starter): I managed to remember (for once) to fill the hire-cars tank before attempting to return it
If I had a brass farthing for every time I've forgotten that one (it happened just this Monday, funnily enough, at SNN!).
ScarletHarlot From Canada, joined Jul 2003, 4673 posts, RR: 57 Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 3696 times:
I always laugh, smile and cry (well, maybe not cry) over your TRs. This one doesn't disappoint. You always have the best way of writing so we can imagine ourselves in your shoes. Can't wait for the Kiwi Times book!
Mr AirNZ From New Zealand, joined Feb 2002, 800 posts, RR: 1 Reply 6, posted (8 years 2 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3661 times:
Just a question Jafa, how do you (seeing as you are what I would call one of our more frequent flyers) find the ex. Freedom aircraft in the fleet (SJC, SJE, soon to be SJB and now occasionaly FDM). I got stuck on SJE on staff duty travel the other day and it felt like I was sitting on the tray table in my seat back. No padding whatsoever. Nothing like NGO which I had going the other direction.
I agree with you about the seats, they seem a bit thin and the pitch seems to be less than the white a/c, I am glad I never took one of these to Oz when they were doing the Tasman run as 3 hours would totally suck.
Only flown SJC but from your comments it would seem to be a fleet thing.
Well, got ZK-FRE on AKL-CHC NZ513 this morning.. Yeah I'm pretty sure there was a difference..
The flight attendants need to freshen up their intercom skills.. They also need to say the same things like electrical equipment aren't allowed until after takeoff and before landing - this person said that they weren't allowed at all during the flight and no, there was no turbulence. What a smooth ride...
In transit to DUD, I took a self guided tour around the airport. Couldn't believe how desserted the international terminal was.. and expecting this to be the 2nd biggest in the country! The departure lounge had a sign saying Will re-open at 11AM.
Mr AirNZ From New Zealand, joined Feb 2002, 800 posts, RR: 1 Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3302 times:
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 11): Well, got ZK-FRE on AKL-CHC NZ513 this morning.. Yeah I'm pretty sure there was a difference..
FRE may be ex. Freedom but its been in the mainline fleet for years and has the standard 733 layout and seats. FDM currently operating services (due NGM being out of action), SJC and SJE maintain their Freedom seats (heck they got a variety of seats in each aircraft!)
NZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6115 posts, RR: 40 Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 month 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3212 times:
Quoting Mr AirNZ (Reply 13): SJC and SJE maintain their Freedom seats (heck they got a variety of seats in each aircraft!)
Haha Guess what? Ended up getting SJE on the return journey (CHC-AKL, NZ546).. We missed the earlier flight NZ548 due to one of the AT7's having trouble (anyone know what happened?).
Waited at DUD for ages (btw very nice new part of the terminal) as our flight (5350) was held back to cover 5390 (i think) and the plane was full. Info was telling us to go straight to the next plane but when we got onto the ground we were told that the gate was closed and so we waited for the next flight. Both of them were freedom or ex freedom planes (the 548 was the one still in freedom colours).
Quoting Mr AirNZ (Reply 6): it felt like I was sitting on the tray table in my seat back. No padding whatsoever.
Ouch, yes. I felt the metal frame. Did it feel like a tray was in your back or nearer to the tailbone?? (14A) Are the back seats worse than the ones at the front with no "wing" headrests?
Just one more question, how often do pilots use the spoilers from 15 or so mins from landing and keep them out till the final crosswind leg? Man he must have been in a hurry! Great flight.. The setting of the sun was spectacular with some clouded mountains in the foreground.
Mr AirNZ From New Zealand, joined Feb 2002, 800 posts, RR: 1 Reply 19, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3090 times:
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 16): Ouch, yes. I felt the metal frame. Did it feel like a tray was in your back or nearer to the tailbone?? (14A) Are the back seats worse than the ones at the front with no "wing" headrests?
In the middle of my back and yes the back seats are worse (not that I ever sit down the back. It's so good to be able to assign yourself a seat days before )
BNE From Australia, joined Mar 2000, 3164 posts, RR: 12 Reply 21, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3037 times:
Quoting Jafa39 (Thread starter): I cruised down the dark motorway, trying to find a radio station that worked but I hadn’t fitted a bandwidth expander yet and without one of these a Japanese import car will only pick up the direst of local stations; I endured ten minutes of “Radio Coromandel”….. waves of “easy listening” punctuated by adverts for chainsaw servicing and dung removal,
That explains why my NZ rental car only picked up a couple of dodgy radio stations.
If I had a car like that the first thing I would fix is the radio, can't have a car without music.
The rest of the report interesting, lucky you can sleep on a plane.