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Australian XC Ski Team
International Progam 2006/2007

Canada Report #1 - Neil van der Ploeg


Yes, it's me!

Flight Report, December 9, 2006

The trip to Canada is a long one. My brother Mark and I set off nice and early at about 5:00am to catch our first plane flight from Melbourne to Auckland. Things ran smoothly from the get go and we were very pleased to find out that Air New Zealand had the fully interactive entertainment system. We were lucky enough to be flying the majority of the flight on Air New Zealand so from Melbourne to Auckland, and from Auckland to Los Angeles time flew. I actually really enjoyed the time spent on the plane. With heaps of movies to choose from and classic games I was almost disappointed when we arrived in the US. I found the form of my life in tetris (over 150 lines) and also put in some solid games of chess against the computer, who to my surprise, every now and again decided it didn't want to make a move, and so made me make two in a row! [Note - after losing to Georgia straight after teaching her how to play chess perhaps this is the only way Neil can win]

Inevitably, things got worse from there. The transfer from LA was the least enjoyable experience I've had in a while, to put it lightly. The lack of sleep (made worse by staying up too late playing tetris and chess) probably caused us to think a little cloudy but I'm sure it must be one of the most complicated transfers going around. When trying to get through customs most of the passengers were laughing in disbelief at the way we were being herded in and out of lines, none of which seemed to be getting smaller. By the time we got our bags we were already running later than we hoped. After we dropped them off we were getting sent all over the airport, queuing up here there and everywhere, only to find out we were in the wrong line. Eventually, we were directed into a very long line of people checking in their baggage for various United flights. With the line moving painfully slow we watched our designated departure time tick by, relieved that it had been delayed 46minutes. By the time we got to the front and were called up we still nearly missed the delayed flight, another few minutes later and they wouldn't have let us on at all.

The rest of the trip wasn't too bad but we were extremely relieved to see Finn ready and waiting at Kelowna and all of our bags.

In total, from leaving home to arriving at the house the trip was a total of around 31 hours, with about 4 hours sleep. I don't think I've ever slept as well as I did that night.

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