Saturday, May 27, 2023

Quick Pivot

Vanu-what? Vanuatu! That’s where I am.

I came to see Naghol land diving (Saturday), and a volcano (Sunday). But Air Vanuatu’s big plane broke, so I was supposed to be stranded in Sydney until Sunday. Yes, even after the call center agent had promised me the delayed plane would get out on Friday night.

When I got back to the Sydney airport after my visit to Taronga Zoo, the Air Vanuatu agent was handing out hotel vouchers...for TWO nights. Folks heading out for a week's vacation were quite upset. "We drove two hours to get here! Where did you come from?"

"Los Angeles." They looked horrified...and continued to wait for their hotel vouchers. Not me. I raced to the shuttle bus to the domestic airport. Maybe there was a way.

While on the bus, I bought a one-way ticket to Brisbane. I got to the bag check two minutes before cut-off. Then at the gate, used the airport wifi to buy a discount ticket from Brisbane to New Caledonia off one of those sketchy sites, then bought a ticket for Saturday morning from New Caledonia to Vanuatu. 

An hour later at Brisbane, I raced from the domestic terminal to the international terminal. I got to the gate six minutes before they shut the door—I was improving. While sitting on the plane waiting for takeoff, I was able to google and ascertain that I couldn't sleep in the Noumea airport, and there were no hotels at the airport. So I booked a shuttle and a hotel room. A few hours later, I was on a shuttle to a hotel in Lemon Bay. I didn't see a lot of Lemon Bay since the return shuttle was due in at 5:25 a.m, but I'd be back to Noumea later in the week.

After all that, I got to Vanuatu two hours after the Naghol Air Taxi left for the land diving. Curses.

I’m sorting out how to go to Naghol on 3 June instead (it’s complicated), but in the meantime, today is volcano day!

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