maandag 28 februari 2011
Its late night, so not having energy nor the time to write a long story. But today we had arranged the flight change and after many hours and again disappointing services (or the lack of it) of Spaceships car rentals, we finally have our spaceship and the journey can begin tomorrow. Of course, there was again a setback… the week we did not have the camper… we have to pay anyway they said. As its related to a natural disaster, they leave all the risk with the customer. So much joy we get from these people… when back in NL, this for sure gets my focus again. First time in my life, I get tired, sad and stressed of a holiday. now first leaving this kind of shit behind and enjoy the real holiday stuff… ‘cause that is soooo much needed right now.
zondag 27 februari 2011
After a 35 mins call with an Indian call center of Singapore airlines, I was after many talks, explanations of the (earthquake)situation and repeats(due to the bad phone line) able to get our flights changed at no charge on March 31. Not to fly back from Auckland (which would cost us again 3 days and 1072 km of travel) but from Christchurch. A challenge completed with success, but after all I am working for a few years with India, so I was able to have a good call with the lady on the other side of the line. And I gave here a 5 out of 5 score in the survey I was asked to do. :-)
An other success was the fact that I discovered myself a kind of bug in the iPhone, that repeatedly is trying to sync data of my address book between iPhone and gmail on the web. While not having an internet connection, not getting error messages, the phone kept trying endlessly this was draining my battery every 6 hours or so. Now that I discovered this, I removed the gmail account on the iPhone that syncs with my address book. Now my iPhone lasts the good old standby time of some days, like in NL (where I do not have that problem, as I always have wifi or 3G).
One thing left, is to bring back the rental car and exchange it for the Spaceship campervan. Also arrange for the bill, as we payed for more days, than we now will actually have it. So I want a reduction. Not sure what can be done with the 1072 km and 3 days travel we had to do, to get this spaceship. Lets see later today.
PS The sunshine is replaced by rain at the moment, but my feeling is that our holiday is starting anyway…. we do not melt from rain. :-)
woensdag 23 februari 2011
23 Feb 2011
I am not allowed to complain, compared what the people in NZ are going through, so I don’t. Fact is that our travel plans are messed up badly now too. First we were stuck at Singapore Airport, not able to do anything as we had to stay close to the flight information sources. In the meantime we tried to get contact and information of WorldTicketService and Spaceship, but they were unable to provide information, so we had to stay with the Singapore Airlines information and plans.
They flew us to Christchurch, with a stop at Auckland, but we were not able to get off at Auckland. While in the plane in Auckland we used the roaming option on our phone to connect to email, at 10 Euro / Mb. The email we received was not good. Spaceship depot was crushed and so were the campervans. Also nobody was going to Christchurch anymore, so no vans were returned either. With this information we rather got off the plane, but were not allowed to, so flew to Christchurch knowing we had no transportation, no place to sleep and no back up plans.
The arrival was smooth, nice weather here. At the airport we phoned a lot with spaceship, who tried to help us with alternatives, which were minimal. Expensive flights back to Auckland, rental cars, pick up spaceship vans in Auckland after a day or 3, bottom line in Christchurch nothing was possible.
At the moment of writing, we are waiting for more news on the possibilities for us with spaceship trying to get a flight and rental car to/on North Island where we than would have 3 days to drive the car back, do sight seeing and pick up the campervan, to really start our holiday. Until than, even after 4 days travelling, it has not really started yet. I keep thinking, for us its just bad luck and inconvenience, for the people here who lost people, its a disaster.
23 Feb 2011, Singapore Hotel.
So our journey started a few days ago, with the flight from Amsterdam to Singapore. A long flight, bit bumpy now and than but with good service and meals. At the Singapore airport we arrived at 6am local time in a quite, modern and spacey airport. The check in at the Ambassador Transit Hotel inside the airport, was smooth and simple in Terminal 2. 107S$ for 8 hours, +/- 50Euro. Simple rooms, with showers and the most important, a bed to sleep.
The next morning, well morning for us, but 15:00 Singapore time the alarm went of and we prepared for the day. Got some cash from the ATM and try to make arrangements with Egon, a former colleague who now lives in Singapore with his family. It would be a very tight schedule to meet in the center, have a beer (again its late afternoon local time, but my stomach was more into Cornflakes with milk than a beer, but… what the heck it was holiday ;-) ) and than go quickly back to catch the flight to Christchurch, New Zealand.
At the internet spots we went online to book the campsite for the first two nights in Christchurch so we could explore the city and the coast area’s. While posting on Facebook our status and next spot, I got a reply from a girlfriend of ours in The Netherlands on this Facebook status update; “Did you hear about the earthquake in Christchurch?”. We immediately went to www.cnn.com to check the news. 65 death, major impact to the power-, water- and road infrastructures. Buildings collapsed, landslides and people still being trapped under the bricks etc.
The airport information desks had no information yet. A bit later we got information that at 18:00 hours they would provide more information and in the meantime we were allowed to grab dinner at the cost of Singapore airlines. In Terminal 3 we went to a Japanese restaurant and had our dinner. The flight was indeed cancelled and we went to a well prepared counter for our cancelled flight. They explained precise what was planned. Providing all our names and phone numbers, so they could reach us later when needed. Get a sticker, that would indicate we were people from the cancelled flight. Which helped with getting through customs, get a free taxi, check-in at the brand new (it smelled new still) Parc Sovereign Hotel in the centre of Singapore.
Hotel was good, dinner there was so-so, not too good, but it made your appetite go away for a long time afterwards. Which was a good thing, I think. ;-) In the evening we went to the close located, Little India District. Many shops already closed, it was 21:00 hour, but still it was fun to walk around. Very hot and moist though, so even walking very slow made me sweat.
The next morning we had a paper under the door with additional information, although not clear if the flight continued today or not. At 10:30 they had a briefing in the lobby, we would check out, get into a bus and go to the airport for the flight at 16:00.
In the meantime we read the newspapers reporting about the quake and the damage it caused in the 350.000 people city.