Communion Of Dreams

Scenes from a trip: Up, up, and away.
November 11, 2011, 12:40 pm
Filed under: General Musings, New Zealand, Travel

I’ve been thinking a lot about clouds recently.

This sort of thing usually happens from a change of perspective. Like looking at clouds from above, while flying somewhere.

* * * * * * *

The St. Louis airport is still being rebuilt following the tornado damage earlier this year.

I remember the airport from when it was still quite new, and much smaller. And when it was still a major hub. For much of my time here in mid-Missouri it was the default airport for us – closer than the KC one, plugged into the air transport system completely enough that you could easily get a flight from there to almost anywhere.

We parked the car in one of the distant lots, caught the shuttle to our terminal. Checked in, sent our bags for questioning, went downstairs to get ourselves through security.

The security gate was a mess. Still undergoing basic construction. The agent who took my documents apologized. I took off my sweatshirt and vest, getting ready for whatever flavor of exam I needed to go through. The agent took one look at the t-shirt I was wearing and cracked up, had to point it out to the other agent nearby. It said:

“The ONLY thing we have to fear
is FEAR itself…
…and spiders.”

Everyone laughed. My wife said, loudly to all watching, “yeah, he’s been known to use firearms to deal with spiders.”

I cringed, waited for a trap door to open beneath my feet.

Everyone else just laughed again.

* * * * * * *

We got to LA a day early. Initially a mistake, thanks to the info provided by the company organizing our tour, but one we decided to treat as fortuitous, as it meant a day to relax and break up what otherwise would be a very long day of travel.

So, we got a hotel room not too far from the airport, and did just that – relaxed. Walked through the neighborhood. Had some great gyros at a little mom & pop place, or rather I should say a mamá y papá place, since the folks who ran it were Hispanic. There was Sriracha sauce instead of ketchup on the counters. Classic.

* * * * * * *

Our flight for New Zealand left at midnight. As we waited at the gate through the course of the day, more and more members of the Choir drifted in. At some point we went from being a minority to being “the group.”

It was a long flight, some 13 hours, to Auckland. We arrived there about 10:00 AM two days after we left. Crossing the international date line is weird.

* * * * * * *

We weren’t the entirety of Choir and traveling companions, but we were the bulk of it. Our guide met us at the airport, had a bus waiting.

New Zealand drives on the left. I think this helped to kick my mind into expecting it to be like England or Wales. But it isn’t – culturally, it’s a lot more like the US. I found this a little hard to get used to, at first.

It was still late October, but it was a warm spring day. The flowers around the airport were glorious. The sky was a brilliant blue. And there were clouds. Clouds, easy to define at a distance, with clear beginnings and ends.

We went to the hotel, got into our room.

Jim Downey


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[…] mentioned in the first entry about this trip that I had expected New Zealand to be more like the UK than it actually is. Getting […]

Pingback by Scenes of a trip: Three. « Communion Of Dreams

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