After the huge relief of actually getting to Istanbul airport in time to make my connection on Emirates to Dubai and onwards, the following 24 hours just floated by in a haze. Emirates have just opened their new terminal at Dubai aiport which wasn't such a bad place to spend 5 hours and besides being served dinner when my watch said it was 6.30am, the onward flight via Melbourne was uneventful. After a quick stockup at Auckland dutyfree, my pack was already waiting on the luggage belt, then straight through customs and immigration, don't you just love Auckland airport. It is always so nice coming through to a great welcome and a big group hug.
Over the next couple of weeks the days were filled to the brim. Mum had done a great job and had already started packing, we had boxes stacked everywhere. We needed to sort out the "what is to be sold/given away or thrown away pile" and this took priority. We took photos of everything to go and loaded them all at my sister Denise's (faster internet access) on to http://www.trademe.co.nz/ which is New Zealand's answer to Ebay. It is absolutely amazing what people buy, and I think we had only one item out of 28 that didn't sell. We also had a garage sale that we advertised in the Saturday NZ Herald, the cars started turning up by 7am and it was all over with only a handful of things left by 11am netting a few hundred dollars to go towards purchases for their new apartment.
We went out on several shopping excursions, with Christmas fast approaching and a recession in full swing there were many bargins to be had, and we made sure we got every single one of them!!! Mum and Dad's new kitchen is fitted out with lovely new brushed stainless applicances and ended up costing 1/3 of budget due to some very diligent shopping, might have taken a little longer but literally saved many hundreds of dollars. The best thing is they just look fabulous.
Change of addresses, lots for Mark and I and plenty for Mum and Dad took over a day, along with organizing final readings, cancelling direct debits for utilities, setting in place new accounts. We were surprised at the time everything took when you sat down to do it all in one go. Eventually things came together, all the boxes sat neatly in the garage and moving day arrived. Of course it rained, no surprise there, but not too much and things didn't get too wet, the delivery company was excellent and all went to plan.
After a few days of unpacking and trying to make a 3 bedroomed home fit into a 2 bedroomed apartment we started to get on top of things. Shelves were purchased and fitted, all the pictures and mirrors went on to the walls and slowly but surely it has become their home and long may they enjoy it.
Mum and Dad's apartment is in the brand new Edmund Hillary Retirement Village in Remuera, they have built a range of accommodations suitable for all situations and Mum and Dad's is a self contained apartment on the 4th floor with a lovely view out over the gardens and across to One Tree Hill. There are beautifully manicured communal gardens, a bowling green, swimming pool, spa, gym, pitch n putt, free bus excursions, complimentary morning and afternoon tea daily (with hot scones!) and weekly happy hour complimentary also. Better than being in a marina, we don't get the free happy hours!!!! There is also onsite care and support if required and it's all secure and safe. We are very happy now knowing they will be safe and with loads of other people to enjoy life with.
The days flew by, I didn't take nearly as many walks along our beautiful Tamaki Drive in the sunshine as I would have liked, but Denise and I squeezed in as much as we could, always having the excuse of taking Poppy for a walk. My month was up before I knew it, I had achieved what I went home to do so it was a very successful, if short, trip.
With my backpack and dayback jammed to capacity with yummy huge Christmas Cake and Mince tarts fresh out of Denises oven, lots of boat bits (of course), a new laptop - well they have funny keyboards in Turkey, christmas presents, honey and marmite my pack weighed in at 22.1Kilos, not, I thought, unreasonable when the allowance is 20k. But what would I know, the Customer Service lady at checkin said I needed to take 2.1kilos out. Shame they didn't give me a credit on my outbound when it weighed 9.8k but it doesn't seem to work quite like that. So by taking the laptop out of the daypack I then had 800g I could put in there, mmmm still 1.3k overweight. You are allowed 7kg hand luggage plus laptop plus handbag, now my handbag is tiny so the 1.3k couldnt go in there. By this time I was losing my sense of humor so tried one last thing, I pointed out to the check in lady that I was the lightest person in the queue and that should count but what I would do was take out 1.3k of clothes and stand there and put them all on and that would be that. At last, after about 15 minutes, she agreed that everything could stay as is and we completed my check in. Personally I thought this was a total waste of time, it was all coming with me, one way or another, and in total I was not overweight. I must add that she was very nice during this whole incident and really was trying to help but they had obviously been briefed that day and no excess baggage was to sneak through.
And so the journey back to Balvenie commenced. Auckland to Melbourne then the biggie nonstop through to Dubai. If you are on Emirates and your connection is over 8hours in Dubai you get a free hotel with transfers and meal vouchers. My stopover was just over 8 hours but by the time you clear customs, find the transfer desk, wait for the transfer, check in, go to your room, have a shower, zoom down for a quick meal there was only 3hours left before the transfer back again. Still I am not ungrateful and 3 hours snoozing horizontially is certainly better than none. They transfer you back at Dubai aiport 3 hours before the next flight so lots of time to kill. There is free internet outside departure gate 123, this is a very long walk from the new terminal 3 but gave me something to do (about 10minutes each way). Some of the departure lounges have chairs with attached footrests that are reasonably comfortable to stretch out, there were lots by gate 201.
Finally I arrived in Istanbul, about 1/2hour late so pleased I hadn''t booked the flight to Dalaman which was a very tight connection. I caught the subway to the bus station, straight forward enough and can take trolley right to top of escalator above platform. The bus station is all outdoors and it was very cold and wet. I had not booked the bus in case something changed with my flight, big mistake, it was Saturday night and the end of a week long Muslim holiday, all the buses were full. I finally managed to get the last seat on an extra midnight service with Pammukale Coaches, just another 5 hours to wait then a 13hour bus trip. I called Mark with my eta and waited. The good news is it got in 1 1/2hours early so I jumped in a cab and was back to Mark before he left to meet me. Total time door to door was 55 1/2hours, phew. Skipper had been working hard Balvenie was gleaming inside and out, it's good to be back to the two of them.