Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Long Haul even Longer, Arriving in Canada

Vancouver Aiport, still in summer clothes but Grandpa had gifts!

Kids trying out their Olympics Gear and famous red mittens

At the airport with Grandpa, looking a bit jaded

What an adventure! Saturday the 16th we noticed several flights out of New Plymouth were cancelled due to the foggy misty rain that had set in from the north. Sunday, our day of departure, we woke up to heavy rain and didn't think there would be a problem. Logging onto the website at lunch I noticed that the flights had all been delayed in the morning and I rang Air NZ at the airport to get a clear picture of things. Unfortunately, the guy I talked to was a "glass half empty" kind of guy. It was only luck that brought those planes in, chances were 50/50 the flights were going to get through, and visibility was next to nothing. The panic set in, as it was already 12:00 pm. A quick call to our travel agent and she confirmed, if we missed our flight out of Auckland, we were up the creek as far as getting to Canada. She advised us to get in the car as it just wasn't worth the risk. So get in the car we did, as quickly as possible and managed to leave 1 Becklands Place by 1:45, cutting it fine indeed. Thankfully we were blessed with clear roads all the way until the Auckland Expressway which was anything but express. Arrived at Auckland International at 6:00 pm and a friend of ours was there to collect our van.

On the plane at 8:45 pm and we were told the 13 hour flight was actually only going to be 12 hours 15. It was an awesome flight, although none of us slept much. Watched a lot of movies though! The girls were thrilled with their selection and Sam enjoyed the games as well. Arrived in Vancouver at 12:02 pm local time. Got off the plane quicksmart, seasoned travellers that we are and knowing that at Vancouver airport the queues at customs are diabolical. Our plan worked and we got through very quickly, only to have to wait quite some time for our four bags (apparently we pack light for a family of six--little did they knew we'd packed a bag inside a bag to stock up for the trip home!). Waiting in the meet and greet spot was Grandpa and Auntie Marilyn who lives in Vancouver. I was extremely proud of the children who gave big hugs straight away and thanks to Skype, were not at all strange with Grandpa. He had Vancouver Olympics gifts for the children which were a huge hit. Fantastic clothing which will be worn often.

After a little visit at the airport with Auntie Marilyn (thanks for the photos!), we drove the half hour to the ferry, and made it easily for the 3 pm crossing to the island. It was a beautiful sunny but oh so cold afternoon in Vancouver. Think going up the Maunga to see the snow, but with no snow. Very thankful for the kids' warm gear and thinking Paul and I will have to find that shop or something similar for ourselves! I had forgotten how cold winter can be, spoiled as we are in the Naki. The kids didn't even know what mittens were! The ferry trip was uneventful unless you count Violet's behaviour (just a little over-tired). Abby enjoyed some special grandpa time and I think they've got a bit of a bond now. Arrived at Grandma's house at 5 pm to be greeted by my sister and her family as well, who stayed for a meal that night. Lovely to be here, to finally relax and had a great night in our beds. All of us slept in until 9 this morning. Fantastic!

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