Thursday, November 22, 2007

time travel and the longest friday ...

It could have been the scene from Superman where he flies around the world to turn back time, or perhaps it was tuning in to the latest episode of Dr. Who every Saturday teatime with an almost religious fervour - but I had developed an interest in the possibility of time travel from a very early age.

As we prepared to leave New Zealand the time had finally come to realise my long-held ambitions, at around midnight that evening we would be flying across the international date line right back into Friday morning. To further confuse matters we would also be crossing the equator and swapping spring for winter, plus it was going to be warmer.

I'll give you a few moments to digest that lot.

Our schedule would first take us to Nadi in Fiji where we would change planes for our final destination of Hawaii. Changing planes isn't a great recipe for a relaxing overnight flight, but just after boarding we realised it could be very good news indeed for the beer league.

The surly attitude of the airport staff at Nadi airport hardly filled us with entusiasm for a return visit, but a quick visit to the restaurant confirmed the precence of 3 local beers which I would have the opportunity to sample before our flight left just before midnight. It yielded the very reasonable Fiji Bitter and Fiji Gold, plus the absolutely horrible Fiji Export Bitter which tasted like a cross between old socks and Ouzo. I couldn't help thinking that between the airport staff and brewing industry something is going very wrong with attempts to develop promote Fiji to a world audience as a tourist destination.

After being singled out for an additional security search as we boarded the plane which included the farce of being waved over by an obviously faulty metal detector wand (I know this as my belt buckle always sets the ones that work off), we took off on time and just 30 minutes into the flight were informed over the tannoy to adjust our watches. One hour forward, one day backwards.

We arrived in Honalulu airport at 7am. It was a full 10 hours before our departure that evening from New Zealand ... and not a Dalek in sight.

In just five more days my moustache will be fully matured, so I'll post a more extensive photo gallery at the end of the month.

Despite my altered appearance I made it through US immigration with no more difficulty than being required recite the ingredients of the bag of bombay mix I had declared on the customs form, having had my request to be allowed retreive it from my luggage and actually refer to the packaging refused.

Given the various recipes for bombay mix we quickly reached an impasse after I vaguely admitted that I didn't actually know the precise ingredients of the packet in question. Matters only became more confused by my repeated reference to the only ingredient I could be sure of - in the confusion of time travel I had completely forgotten that chickpeas are called garbanzo beans here in the US. Thankfully the immigration official seemed to tire of the game pretty quickly and I was allowed to proceed after giving solemn assurances it didn't contain any pork or beef. Or chickens.

My most immediate concern now is whether or not I will find a tell-tale white patch when I finally shave off the mo' next weekend ...