Yes folks, it seems Murphy's Law has been proven by Maryke Slager's journey from the Netherlands to Rotorua, having departed Sunday 12th July at 2.30am and eventually arriving in Rotorua on Wednesday 15th July at 2pm.
It started well with the flight from Amsterdam to London going smoothly, but then Maryke was not allowed to check in to the next leg of her journey [London to Los Angeles] because she did not have a visa - a requirement even though she was only in transit there.
Application was made via the internet cafe in Heathrow, and after thwarted attempts due to timing out of the internet at the very end of the process, payment for the visa was made, and was followed by a message that the visa would be issued within 5 days!
On the advice of the airport staff, a photo was taken of the screen and back to the check-in desk went Maryke. The lady on the check-in desk was not sure if the photo would be enough, so she phoned and spoke with her boss - a lengthy process. Meanwhile, the gate for the flight was closed, and Maryke was told to come back for another flight...tomorrow!
With no English cash, she could not take a cab, [the hotel bus driver wasn't happy with that either, but took pity on her and let her in] and after a night at a motel, she returned to the airport to continue her journey, with an extra £50 being added to the cost of the flight due to having 'missed' her previous connection.
When Maryke eventually arrived in Los Angeles, she needed to pass through customs due to a change in terminal [hence the reason for the need for a visa], On the transit to the other terminal, Maryke's carry-on bag disintegrated! [I guess it had had enough by then.] She went to the gate early - safety first - she did not wish to be late this time. After a one and a half hour wait, Maryke heard her name called on the speaker - she was at the wrong gate! [There were two flights to Auckland, and she was waiting for the wrong one. Of course, the correct gate was at the opposite end of the terminal, and a desperate dash to the correct gate ensued. Enlisting the assistance of the airport staff, Marjke caught a cart, and made her flight just in time, the doors closing behind her - the last passenger. At last, she was on her way to New Zealand.
Arriving in Auckland after an overnight flight, she had another two hours to wait for the flight to Rotorua. Meanwhile, she was able to catch up on other POWERtalk members who were travelling on the same flight.
As boarding time approached, then past, the nerves started to twang again. Then, five minutes prior to scheduled departure time, the dreaded announcement - the flight was cancelled, due to bad weather in Rotorua.
Waiting in line for rescheduling [which would need to be next day as all current day's flights were already full] or to be put on a coach provided by the airline, Maryke met fellow member, Mary Wong who had decided to hire a car instead, and drive. Mary invited her to join her and they set off on a journey through the New Zealand countryside.
Two hundred metres out of the airport, wondering why the road noise was so strange, they realised the car bonnet was not properly latched and needed to detour down a muddy lane in order to find a safe place to stop and remedy the situation. The detour afforded stunning views of farmland and a beautiful historic home, and seemed to set the tone for the remainder of the journey- it seems that the GPS was set to the scenic route, as we were directed off the highway onto small and winding country roads - very scenic, but a little concerning as there were no signs directing us to Rotorua. Thankfully, a farmer was able to direct us back to the main road, and the man on the GPS was informed that we were no longer listening to his directions!
Finally Maryka arrived in Rotorua....after a journey of three and a half days!
Yes, folks, Murphy is alive and well!