Airport Emergency and Earthquake Aftershock

Trip Start Nov 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 01, 2011

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Where I stayed
The Old Countryhouse Christchurch
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Monday, March 21, 2011

So on the morning of the 19th we had a 9am flight to Christchurch, New Zealand and we got up bright and early at 5:30am to catch the shuttle to the airport. At the airport the check-in line was quick and we got to the counter in no time...but this is where it fell apart! (This is yet another example of the Jackie `n James way! lol)
Tourists need a flight out of New Zealand booked before they let you fly into New Zealand and we had booked the flight and wrote down all the details but we had forgot to print the actual confirmation for the flight, so the lady simply told us to go downstairs to the internet kiosks and get one printed. No big deal right?
WRONG! When I (Jackie) got into my e-mail account there was no confirmation e-mail sent from VISA, which was who we had booked our flights through. They had only sent one for the flight TO New Zealand!!....still not really completely worried yet though, I could just call VISA and have them send me the confirmation or go upstairs to the Malaysian airlines office (who the flight was with) and get it from them (thatès what the airport concierge suggested).
Well I went upstairs to the office, cz I figured that would be quicker, they were not open yet. Then I went down to the main floor and hunted down a pay phone to call VISA. Turns out I dont know how to make the collect call to our VISA travel service on a pay phone. I tried numerous ways and just could not get it to work....phoning was a FAIL.
At this point I was pretty much shaking and meanwhile James was sitting on a bench with our bags left wondering why I was running up and down the stairs and past him multiple times...and also feeling like he probably shoulda taken care of it cz I was sure to be stressed to my limit and about to break.
Well he was right, at this point I found another little info desk with a little old lady at it and I was wondering if she knew of how I could call this number, if maybe her phone would work. Since it was a collect number she tried but I guess their info desk phones are unable to. As she was asking me more questions and I was trying to explain things again I could barely keep the tears back and then I was also apologizing for barely being able to talk while I tried to get control of myself again! Just a little embarrassing. I then thought maybe the phone at the concierge service would be able to so I went back down there.
When the guys tried at the desk downstairs they couldn't either. When they asked me something and I was trying to explain it to them again my voice started to crack again (although by this time now we only had an hour and a half till our flight left and I was sure we wouldn't be allowed to check in) all of a sudden one of the guys just gave me his phone to use. Thanks to his generosity I was finally able to get through to VISA, who seemed to be having trouble with the reference numbers for the flight I had booked and getting the e-mail I should've had the day before to me. After a while on the phone with them the concierge guy gave me their e-mail adress there and VISA was able to send a confirmation to them and they printed it off for me. Those guys were my saviours for the day!!
We now had only an hour to our international flight departing and were extatic that they let us check-in but still bolted down the airport to the security check and then again to the gates where we found the red tape closed and the check-in people gathered around the computer. We thought we had missed it but lucky us we still had 20 minutes to boarding! haha.
Finally we were able to relax and had a great flight!
We made our way on a free city bus to a road just outside of downtown (which is barracaded off cz of the earthquake) and then walked and walked and walked some more till we finally arrived at our hostel.
The hostel in Sydney had left us with a scary picture of hostels being dirty, filled with people that have no respect for privacy and rooms and such but this hostel has been completely opposite of that. It`s clean and quiet and filled with people who actually want to talk to you and aren`t just a bunch of drunk kids practically living at the place so they do whatever they want (like in Sydney).
Since it was Sunday and a lot of the businesses were closed by the quake anyway we ended up having lunch and supper both at Subway and then we just sat at the common table in the kitchen with a bunch from the hostel playing cards, chatting, and (because they all ended up being german, with the exception of one sedish) learning a bit of German. It was pretty comical for them trying to teach us a few phrases and I think we actually did well, except James for some reason couldn`t help bugging his eyes out and really getting into it when he was trying to repeat the words! Haha.
We also felt our first aftershock. It didn`t last for too long andwasn`t strong enough to knock anything over or anything like that but for us it was a pretty intense feeling and made our legs turn to jelly and the whole room went silent. In the morning we actually found out it had been the biggest aftershock since the earthquake on Feb 22.
Today we got up and booked a campervan to pick up tomorrow morning and tried walking to a mall to get some groceries but turned out it was shut down for repairs cz of the quake as well. So we turned back to the hostel and got some stuff at the mini supermarket nearby...and then pretty much went back to bed all afternoon, apparently we were completely wiped.
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