14 October 2008

A Weekend in the Country

"Anyway, after 'swabbing' all over my clothes and mobile phone I was declared clear. Obviously I wasn't a danger to society and cardamons don't create explosives!"

Last weekend No Worries and I took our two daughters up to the North Coast of NSW to see their Grandmother and two Uncles. Naturally the gals were excited to go, not just to see their relatives but also because they would be flying there. In fact, they couldn't wait to catch the plane!

As most parents would know if you plan a holiday away (albeit ranging from a weekend to a few weeks) it becomes a logistic exercise. Not only do you have to pack things for yourself but you have to get things ready for your children. Anyway, the few days prior to leaving I kept cajoling No Worries to start packing.

Naturally, No Worries wasn't too concerned about doing this. She replied in her usual way. "No worries, it'll only take 15 minutes to pack. We can do it on Friday night". I wasn't too sure about this as, based on previous experience, it normally takes much longer.

Friday night came and I reminded my wife that we should start packing as we had an earlyish flight in the morning to catch. No Worries was very relaxed. "It'll only take 15 minutes to pack and then we'll be ready". Again I doubted this. So after a few prompts we started packing for the flight.

One thing I have learned about people of Indian background is that they will say one thing such as "our house is a couple of doors down from the cafe" when in reality its at least a 2km drive and 50 houses away! No Worries says things like this all the time. What I do is multiply her comment by 4 and then I get close to the correct answer.

The packing took longer than 15 minutes. For some reason 3 hours later we were still packing! Not sure why, but we were. I also took a few moments out to pre-order a cab for the ride to the airport. That was quite interesting. I rang the taxi company and got one of those voice activated menus. Despite saying where the pickup suburb was, the computerised voice would give me a different suburb. Obviously my accent was confusing it.

After about 5 goes and being informed of suburbs all around Sydney I finally got to speak to a live person. This person also had problems locating my suburb even though it was no more than 5kms away from the taxi company!! To say I was getting frustrated was an understatement. Eventually the cab was booked and we could grab a few hours sleep before getting up early in the morning.

The alarm went off and we were into a military style operation to ensure our daughters were ready for the cab ride to the airport. Our phone rang a little later and the cab driver was outside. I told No Worries to hurry up as we had to go now. My wife, at this stage, was in the kitchen making some Indian chai. She gave me one in a disposable coffee cup as well as having one herself. Finally, we were in the cab and were on our way.

Before we had gone 100 metres I told the cab driver to stop. My chai had been filled to the top and was spilling copious amounts of the flavoursome tea all over myself and the taxi driver's car. There was only one thing to do. I got out of the car and poured all of the chai away. No Worries was aghast at my action. However, it was the logical thing to do as I had visions of having my jeans smelling of cardamon seeds all the way to our destination!

We got to the airport and checked in. This was straight forward enough. However, when I got to the security checkpoint I was pulled over. Surely having spilt chai on my clothes wasn't illegal or was it? I was informed politely that I would be checked for explosives and had been chosen at random. This would be fun, I thought. Anyway, after 'swabbing' all over my clothes and mobile phone I was declared clear. Obviously I wasn't a danger to society and cardamons don't create explosives!

Following this,we made our way to the departure gate and was advised that there was a delay. I enquired as to the reason (thinking that the plane was held up at another airport) and was advised that the plane was ready to go but was missing a co-pilot! Naturally this was an issue. So we waited for about an hour before the replacement co-pilot turned up. When he arrived he humorously pointed out that he wasn't the cause of the delay!

Soon we were on the plane (a Saab 340 for the anorak brigade amongst you) and high in the sky. The girls were enjoying the flight and taking lots of photos of the clouds outside the plane. We were getting close to our destination and the plane started descending. All I could see out of the window was lots of cows, sheep and even some horses. No high rise buildings or even a lone house could be seen.

Finally the plane came into land. I looked out of my window and saw cows happily grazing next to the runway! Welcome to rural NSW, I thought. How many airports have cattle next to its runway? Actually the airport is really a large shed but to be fair it has a charm about it that bigger airports don't have.

We got off the plane and made our way to the terminal where we picked up our bags. We were greeted by my My mother in law and started our weekend away in the country. We soon found out that life in the rural areas travels at a much slower pace than in the cities, which made a welcome change.

We had a great weekend with No Worries side of the family and before we knew it we were back at the airport ready to fly back to Sydney. The cows were still there munching away, and this time the co-pilot was already in the plane!

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