Friday, October 14th, 11 in the morning, we started our holiday by train. One hour later we arrived at the airport and checked in at the Emirates desk. The lines at security were long and slow and the electronic passport scan failed for many and had to be reset a number of times making the lines at the “human” border control a better choice. It took more than an hour to go from check-in to the gate.
Soon we saw the Emirates B777 arrive and after some more waiting we could finally board for a 6.5 hour flight to Dubai. As expected we could watch a few of the newest movies to kill time.
Just before midnight we were at Dubai International Airport T3 ready to try and find our hotel. As we arrived at the far end of Concourse A it was a long walk after clearing security to get to the train that bought us to Concourse B where we found the hotel reception. Originally booked for a room in Concourse C (another 15-20 minutes away) we were given a room in B as our flight would leave from gate B5. It was well after 1 when we finally could get to sleep.
After a few hours of sleep the alarmclock woke us up and it was time to get moving again. We got breakfast at Costa where the Emirates vouchers got us a basic meal before we headed to the gate where boarding just began.
With 21 hour trip ahead of us there was ample time to watch a few movies and series, fortunately Emirates has about 2700 different titles in it’s collection.
The first part of the flight brought us to Bangkok at sunset were we got off the airplane, through security (again) and back to the gate. The second part was the longest and as it was dark we tried to sleep a bit and adjust our internal clock for the right timezone. Of course, economy airplaneseats are not designed for comfortable sleeping but at least we got a little rest. By morning we deplaned again in Sydney, went through security (as if we could to something in between checks) and again went back to the same gate. The final leg of the trip was a measly 2100 Km and got us to Christchurch in 2 hours 30 minutes but still half an hour late.
New Zealand Customs were friendly but during “small talk” they try to find out if your really just visiting. All luggage was then X-rayed, others had to open all suitcases.
Next stop the Vodafone shop. We got a data SIM so we can get online on the road and another SIM for our phone for emergencies and for last minute changes.
Once outside the airport we looked for the APEX rental car shuttle that got us to the car depot and offices. Here we hit our first problem, it seems the law changed this year and we needed an international drivers license. Unlike in Australia last year our Belgian license was not good enough. Fortunately this could be fixed even on a Sunday (for a price) but it took an hour for a valid translation to be mailed in. When we finally made it to the B&B it was already 18:30. We checked in, dropped off our luggage and went for a quick dinner at a nearby McDo before getting to sleep.
In all it took us 48 hours door-to-door to get here. Now the fun can start.