So here we are back in Staufen, Germany, after 3 months back in New Zealand. The trip to NZ, a little unexpected, was a great opportunity to meet up with old friends and to meet new ones. We were also able to stay with our kids & son-in-law in our house – bought in 2008 but never actually seen … What a summer, with the hottest NZ summer on record following the wettest December on record in Hamilton, with loads of opportunities for extended work around the garden etc. Even got down to Raglan a few times to get into the surf. A big thanks to the kids for putting up with us for 3 months, to the Stevenson’s and Mike, Amanda, and our new neighbours, the Birnies.
Jump ahead to departure, Auckland airport – this after catching the 5:30am shuttle from Hamilton. Get in to the airport just after bus loads of folks returning home on China Southern, bound for Guangzhou. Much later, get to the check-in counter to find that having a desktop computer in the suitcase took us well over the limit. Take computer out, off to the bag-wrapping guy who does a great job. Back to the counter to be met with the dreaded question: ‘Where is your onward journey or return ticket?’ AAARGHH! So after lots of hand-wringing and the involvement of a supervisor it seems that Frankfurt doesn’t really care if you come in on a one way ticket. Heads up for all the illegal migrants out there …
12 hours to Guangzhou was just the start. No problems with the airline, the stewardesses were great … But! There is this ongoing issue of males with unbounded self-confidence but short penises that result wet floors in toilets. Not pointing fingers at any particular group or nationality …. Not really …..
Then, 4 hour layover in Guanghzou which went something like this: Disembark, proceed through X-ray machine with luggage. Queue for immigration. Get to head of queue, move to new immgration counter as we have to have an entry permit … (I promise I’m not leaving the airport in the 2 hours left before boarding ….) Passport taken away for entry visa, passport returned half-hour later with no visa. Queue for new immigration counter, get visa. Proceed to Arrivals. Queue behind 600 people putting bags through 2 (2!!) X-Ray machines. Proceed to Departures via Arrivals (I know, I know – not really logical). New X-Ray machine. Passport check. New X-Ray machine and pat down. Wait in Departures. Next passport check. 15 minutes until plane departs – Who knew time would fly by so quickly? 4 hours of sheer bliss…. Followed by 1 hour flight to Changsha – more X-Rays and passport checks, followed by 11 hours to Frankfurt, more difficult passport questions – ho hum, illegal again.
So here we are, Saturday night with Susi and family, with the Van packed and ready, sort of, to head off Sunday morning.
Well, big change of plans. The intent was always to head off to Morocco. That’s changed. Blogs etc from Morocco travellers indicate the expected degree of beauty & chaos – I think we are going to be experiencing pretty much the same in Angola. So, quick change in plans sees us heading off to Austria on Sunday, followed by Slovenia, Italy, Greece, back to Italy and then Sardinia, back to mainland, and then reunite with our household goods in France before we send that back to NZ, with a detour to an Angolan embassy somewhere in Europe for the necessary visas to start August at least on the correct continent. This may well explain why my finger had a tic when on Amazon yesterday, resulting in a 4 bottle order of whiskey which, fortunately, arrived this morning.
So, as we head off, again, the one certainty is that the immediate future looks entirely unpredictable. Another drink, Sir?
Oh, yes please!