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A Decade, Today - Retrospective

Fri, September 28, 2001 07:25:11
Departure Day

It’s a good thing I changed batteries, as battery number one showed no charge. They are both charged up now and ready for the long flight. My world time program is showing me it’s about four P.M. in Sandwich, so I may well try calling Sister this morning.

Fri, September 28, 2001 19:06:14
Transcriptions Over the Pacific

28/9/01 13:00
Chch Airport

Called sister S & G, G’s reactions follow.
M: Hi, G, it’s Mad.
G: Oh hi, Mad. How’s things in Fl?
M: Well, G, I don’t have any idea. I’m calling from Christchurch, New Zealand.
G: New Zealand? As in New Zealand New Zealand?
M: Yes.
G: Wait, I’ll get your sister. (S! Come right away!) Wow, it sounds like you’re right next door. (Because he’s calling from Chch, New Zealand!) Here she is.

Great call. Some problems with M, but other wise S sounds really good. She didn’t say anything about K, and I didn’t ask. S enjoyed the visit. She was concerned about the cost at one point, but I reassured her that’s OK, it’s pre-paid and no refund so talk away. She also commented on the quality of the phone connection. She really enjoyed my telling her to tell everyone, I got a phone call today from my brother tomorrow.

Our aircraft may have just arrived. Behind a bit, probably weather. Sunny this AM, but socked in by 08:45. So we arrive, and depart Christchurch in overcast.

These notes are being handwritten first partly to save battery, but mostly for ease of maneuvering. I’ll unship Calf when we board the international flight. Calf and the Y because the headphones on the international flight might fit and work, so I’ll leave headphones in the bag. Already put the Don’t Know Jack game into the CD.

14:00
Last photos in NZ and via the Canon, so who knows if they’re fogged or not, of the International Duckling Rescue Effort. Ducklings fell down a sewer grate on Armagh Street. Two police and several more gents working on rescuing the ducklings. Had to move a Mercedes to free up the sewer grate.

The last shots altogether were made with the Point & Shoot (P&S) included potentially some of people unawares. We also found the duck with her brood of seven, all rescued. They were staying quite close to mother.

Could have put more film in P&S; chose not to so as to have empty cameras at airport security check. That proved relatively painless. We’ll see what international is like, and then what domestic U.S. is like. I wonder if they will be stricter or not. I expect them to be.

I also wonder about domestic U.S. connections. Heard many flights canceled due to travel cut backs. Not been able to confirm Delta flight yet — may try in Auckland.

It is time to go home, and yet I am sad. Sister was very certain I will move to NZ. She commented that NZ has all the things I like. It does, so does the USA. Spectacular scenery. Good food. Outdoors life. Bicycles. People and places to photograph. High tech and rural charm.

Four years. In four years I will be at 25 years for Hospital. There will be a change. Will it include NZ? God knows. God also knows it will not if I don’t plan ahead.

I bring my nursing skills with me. This makes me valuable and attractive.

15:29
I am moved to tears/at the death of six thousands/not by pre-meditated act of murderers/but from Kiwi touch/draping Old Glory in mourning.

17:17 (aboard the flight)
Best way to go and live and work in NZ, on an American payroll. Advice from another American flying back to the States, works in Australia. Look into this very seriously.

Also, flight to States is very nearly empty. Perhaps 50 passengers on this Boeing 747.

Fri, September 28, 2001 19:22:20
Across the Dateline
We’ve just crossed the International Date Line, making it now Thursday, but not for long since it’s now midnight in California and the Pacific Time Zone. I’ve transcribed my hand-written thoughts, and a poem I composed on Tuesday. Having caught up with that, eaten dinner (lamb casserole), and watched a movie (Brigid Jones Diary) it’s now time to read what little e-mail I have.

Fri, September 28, 2001 21:17:22
So On We Fly
We’ve now watched two movies, and a television drama is on the video. This trip has better video entertainment than the out-bound trip; some consolation about going home, I suppose. I should be making an outline for my presentation to the Chapter this next meeting.

What would I outline? The subjects I went to see. Error control (first session on Tuesday); Reusable, Reposable (Japan is re-using everything); Hazards in Workplace (Kay Ball’s presentation); most definitely World-Wide Nursing Shortage; Transplant Program in New Zealand; Cultural Safety; and Closing Session.

General idea is to make a slide with title of the presentation, and another (or same) with the bullet points summarizing the session. Background of each slide, a different photograph from New Zealand. In between point slides, a clear copy of the previous background slide, perhaps with the title or notes I’ve made for each slide. I’ll need to transcribe those photo notes soon.

I’ve taken my first walk about the plane. I suppose I should remain consistent with my Kiwi English and say tramping. :-) However, that’s up to me, and while I will recall this time fondly, I am returning to America. An America affected by the events of 11 September. I still don’t know if our Delta connection is flying, or if we will be trying to get onto a different flight. Nor can I do anything about it until we get to LAX.

Twenty-eight pages to the September journal. The trip accounts for this prolific bit of writing. I’ve made a note on a World Conference card: Fantasies, or Daydreams. Move to New Zealand, work as a nurse, see more of the country.

Sat, September 29, 2001 02:23:10
Body Time
My wristwatch agrees with the computer, but the lights have just come on in the aircraft and dawn light is showing through the starboard windows. Side-kick’s World Clock shows it to be 07:25 on Friday, September 28, 2001. Breakfast is now being served. Now starts the confused jet-lagged experience, because body time says we should be sound asleep, but world time says it is early morning, yesterday. Indeed, the time in Sandwich, Massachusetts is now only a couple hours after I called my sister S from Christchurch. Won’t Sister love that when I put it into a notice.

Fri, September 28, 2001 07:31:54
Computer Time
I’ve just adjusted the clock on the computer to allow for the time zone changes. I’ve chosen Pacific Time Zone, and it’s showing San Francisco. Confusion, confusion. I probably need to update everything, even setting the time to Eastern Daylight Time. I probably won’t though, until later today.

This is going to be one long Friday. This particular entry about computer time is only about five minutes after my entry about being glad I changed batteries to charge up the second one. We’ve just gotten up; twice on the same day!

Speaking of battery, this one is just a bit over 50% right now. I thought I’d put the machine into stand-by the last time I made an entry, but when I opened the case and pushed the button, it seems I turned it off. I can’t remember if I’d written anything else between the 21:17 entry ended. I don’t think so, but I can’t remember.

The movie we’re watching is something other than what Herself expected. From reading the on-board magazine (Do I want to take that copy with me? I expect not.), she thought we’d be watching Shreck. This is some love story. Amusing, but not Shreck. Well, we’ll just have to rent that film on video. She’s just checked in the magazine again. We probably slept through it. The movie we just watched while eating breakfast was “It Had To Be You.”

Yes, the sun is now up... well, so are we, but there’s only about another hour in the flight. I’ve left my wristwatch set to Christchurch time, and we were told the flight would last 11 hours and two minutes.

Our on-board update informs us that we are 54 minutes from arrival. I expect I shall be shutting the computer down soon. On the list of things that either we didn’t do or which didn’t work during this trip is play You Don’t Know Jack and watching a DVD movie. I think I know why it wasn’t working. I did not re-set video resolution, and probably need to.

We’ve traveled 9,958 kilometers plus, and in fact are about due south of San Francisco right now. We’re moving at 1001 kilometers per hour, and at an altitude of 11800 meters. As I’ve done for most of this trip, I’ve got foreign currency in my wallet, but now, it’s no longer the local currency. Now, it’s souvenirs, or money waiting for my next trip to New Zealand to be spent.
I’ve collected a small pocketful of NZ$2 coins. One at least is going to be kept for myself, maybe (we do have the boxed sets). The others are going to be used as part of the other valuable considerations when I photograph specific nudes.

I’ve an envelop full of receipts that I have entered, and another with receipts I haven’t entered. These will need to be caught up, but I expect I’ll do it after we get home. I may set ourselves up by doing the cab fare now, since I can recall that, and the exit tax as well.

Fri, September 28, 2001 12:33:39
Out of Los Angeles
Air New Zealand arrived a little bit late, not much. Clearing Customs took hardly any time at all, despite our claiming to have packaged lunch meat from, and having visited a farm in, New Zealand. We grabbed a trolley to move the luggage; probably should have grabbed two, but it worked.

Ground transportation left a great deal to be desired, and trying to get over to the Delta terminal in time for our direct flight to Orlando proved a deal more difficult than on the outbound trip. There simply was not enough time, and would not have been enough time, to make the connection even if ground transportation worked. The only thing that might have helped is if we could have checked the five bags for airport handling from the Air N.Z. terminal instead of moving them ourselves.

However, the ground security clearance took enough time as it is that we probably would have missed our flight anyway.

All of the film boxes needed to be opened, though not the foil packets around film. It took three explanations to the security people that no, this particular film package could not go through the x-ray machines at all, the infrared film is particularly sensitive. The laptop came out of its case and was checked for explosive residue. I’d expected that they would want it turned on, but the residue check was sufficient.

I encouraged the security guard to open the packets when she asked, saying to her, “Ma’am, you do what you have to do.” Behind us in line was a gentleman arguing about discarding a $50 pair of scissors. His travel partner kept repeating 'Loose the scissors. I'll buy you new scissors. We need to make our flight.' I’m very glad I heeded the news in N.Z. and packed the pocket knives in checked baggage. Back in N.Z. The security check people offered to box up pocket knives and scissors and such to put into the hands of the flight crew, to be returned on arrival. Not here. Into a trash bin they go. From now on, if Dad’s pocket knife travels with me, it travels in checked baggage.

At any rate, we are now in flight to Atlanta, where we will change planes for Orlando. This gets us in much later today than we’d planned originally. I am not upset at all (though I was with dealing with heavy baggage in a smelly, unfriendly airport), because we will still get in before Sunday. Saturday afternoon or evening (depending on how well Herself and Mother get on) we will drive back to the ranch. I am willing to bet we leave in the afternoon rather than the evening, but we’ll see.

I switched batteries just before boarding in Los Angeles. The previous battery, as noted above, was down by about half charge. So there’s still some reserve, if I decide to keep typing away. I saw some earphones in Christchurch, very compact by dint of being earplugs only. Didn't buy them then, and now they do make sense to me. Actually, they made sense then too, but I was conserving money at that point. I’ve still got about eight-five dollars New Zealand in paper money, and Herself has some also. That’s not counting coin, and I’ve already discussed that.

We are back in the U.S.A. I’m already saying I miss New Zealand. Los Angeles International Airport provided a very mixed greeting to an international traveler. The Delta check-in clerks were friendly, and the Security guards were friendly, but others are appearing to my now educated eyes as Ugly Americans.

Fri, September 28, 2001 18:17:33
Incredibly Bored
So much for playing games. I haven’t done so yet because of power conservation; even making my journal eats power, but with minimal impact. Constant CD access eats power. Also so much for my power adapter to plug into airplanes (primary reason for getting it) since I have yet to find the airplane it plugs into. It does also work in cars, and that helps. Could have used it that way in New Zealand.

Did sleep a little bit on this flight. Did also get up and walk a short distance. Just too darn bored. I know Herself is also, though she hasn’t said anything.
Kiwiland Photographs

I shot 59 rolls of film in New Zealand. Herself shot nearly as much as well. We’ve processed all but five rolls, I think. No more than that. Contacts with some photography people in New Zealand, two by snail mail post. One more by e-mail, possibly more, no less. And Croydon House will remain on our mailing list.

We’re beginning our descent into Atlanta, so I’m going to shut down again.

Retrospective
I mentioned yesterday how empty the trans-continental flight was from LAX to Atlanta, then how full from Atlanta to Orlando. I'd not forgotten (exactly) how empty the flight from Auckland to LAX was, post 9/11 travelling to the US. Going to N.Z. the place settings for meal aboard included metal utensils, but coming back was odd... plastic knives, but metal forks and spoons. Other than that, no real difference between things.

People who wanted to sleep on this flight put up all the armrests in the center sections and stretched out. The upper deck in First Class was closed, but otherwise...

Otherwise, I meditated on the fact that on our flight from Auckland to Christchurch on arrival, we walked up to the domestic gate without going through any security check. Coming home, we did go through a security check in Christchurch. The newspapers I'd read said the process was temporary. I wonder, now, how temporary that proved to be. In the International terminal in Auckland, we went through a security check to get in (again, 'temporary') and then another to get onto the flight to the U.S.

We called Herself's parents from Atlanta to tell them the change in flights. We were still ahead of our original scheduled arrival in Orlando, where they would pick us up. There Mother Mary came in to greet us while Clyde drove around the loop, our first experience of the 'new' aspect of U.S. airports, no stopping without someone right there to pick up right now.

It's been 10 years. We've not moved to New Zealand. Every now and then, though, we think about it, out loud, to each other.

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