March 5, 2011

SF -> CHCH 2011

On the eve of my departure to New Zealand I dreamt of sharks circling me in icy blue waters. But they did not devour me.

My flight was for Christchurch. Just recently though, Christchurch suffered a devastating earthquake. My initial thought was that it might be cool or interesting to see a crumbled city. But as my departure date neared and I read up on the situation there in Christchurch I came to realize that's it's neither cool nor interesting, just very sad.
My mom urged me to rearrange my flights, to fly into Auckland instead, and I told her I'd deal with it once in Australia.
On the way over from Los Angeles I still had thoughts of going through to Christchurch. "There might not be anywhere to stay," I thought, "but I've got my sleeping bag and I can crash in a park and it'll make for a good story." But I recognized these thoughts to be similar to bad ideas I've had in the past, and so I decided that once in Sydney I would arrange to fly to Auckland.
The 14 hour flight was actually not at all bad. I played it well. Stayed up for the first five or so hours, watched a movie, had some food and drink, popped some pills and conked out . Woke up with three hours left on the clock.
Once in Sydney I learned that my bag was checked all the way through to Christchurch. I'd have to act quick if I was going to get a flight to Auckland and then have the bag intercepted and sent along with me. I was to go through security, and it was there that my skateboard was confiscated.
"You can't take that through," she told me.
"What?! Why?"
"No sporting equipment, love."
"Can I check it somehow?"
"No, too late."
"Can I carry it to the gate and have them stow it for me?"
"So I can't have my skateboard anymore?"
"Sorry, love."
She went on to tell me that if I went to the gate and made a big enough fuss they might make and exception for me, "but you didn't hear that from me," she said.
I tried to fuss twice and flirt once. None were successful. Each time I was greeted with a rules-are-rules attitude.
This attempt to rescue my dear friend took up any time I had to arrange for a flight to Auckland, and so I boarded a plane headed for Christchurch. Not surprisingly, the plane was only half full. The flight attendant offered me a newspaper. It was from Christchurch, and the headlines read like this:
"Central City 'could be closed for months'"
"Tributes laid in shadows of city's broken heart"
"Searchers to begin hunt in cathedral for bodies"
"City chokes on clouds of clogging dust"
"This is NZ but it's 'like a zombie movie'"

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