Monday, February 25, 2008

Around the World in 24 Hours or Bob-o Made it to Taupo.

Man that sounds like a crappy title for a blog post, but what the Hell it’s the truth.

Phase 1 The Angry Express:
The Angry Runner showed up at my door step at 6:15AM, a little later than he wanted too but alas that is the curse of the snooze button. We hit the “road” after I crammed my shit load of gear into the sexy Mazda 4x4 (technically a Ford Ranger but hey, this was before the whole “zoom-zoom” phase so they could get away with it.) I use quotes on ‘road” because for the most part the side streets were snow covered trails but once on the main roads and the highways there was nothing but clear black top. We took 84 to 684 to the Hutch, driving the route my dad and grandpa used to storm troop when they would haul my ass back and forth to Fordham University, ahh those lost college days. Any way we kept ourselves entertained discussing markets, Angry’s Ambition to become a State of Connecticut DOT plow driver, making fun of the “colorful lyrics of method man and the WU Tang Klan…man these kids today don’t know the shit they missed out on. Apparently NY & NJ don’t have the clear car law ( Thanks Gov. Rell.), we noted this as we passed several vans, and little rice burners covered in snow except of course for a tiny eye slit on the windshield . Regardless we got to JFK @ 8:30AM not bad for a gas stop and piss break. As well pulled into the American Terminal, Angry had to “find the bathroom” tossing me the keys to the truck as I struggled to cram my overcoat into my suit case.( The coldest it’s going to get in Taupo is 50 degrees so my bringing it is useless until I fly back to “The great White North.”) Anyway the traffic control officer (over glorified meter maid.) Came over and asked it the truck was mine….oh how badly I wanted to quote the dopey Air traffic control guy from Outbreak ( My pilot’s takin’ a leak.)Anyway, Angry soon returned wished me luck and told me to kick some major ass and I entered the terminal.

Phase 2: JFK
I got into the terminal and after some initial confusion managed to check my bags ( and the didn’t get hit with the $80 bike fee! I am the Ben Gordon of Baggage Check! Boo Yah!) then it was off to security, some Hatian couple didn’t want to check their luggage and they were giving a load of Shit to the poor TSA guy and French Translator. Anyway I went threw and then had to strip off all my metal shit and unpack half my carry on. Seriously one day I’m tempted to wear a speedo under all my crap and strip down to it when I go through security, ludicrous but if I had a harder body it might give the TSA chicks a good laugh.
Any way I got through security and then began the 10 min. task of repacking, after all that was said and done I got a extremely overpriced water at Hudson News and went to my gate. Because my laptop doesn’t have wi-fi I started typing this post on my laptop via Word and decided I will save it to disk and upload it to my blog when I arrive at the internet café. Also my flight as of 10:09AM as I wrote this was on time. Boo-Yah old man winter Boo-Yah!

Phase 3 American Airlines Flight 3:
I got on board and started talking to this “Hot Young thing.” Otherwise known as Ruth sitting next to me. She was cute, friendly, and taken…..dude whoever you are you are a lucky man. Anyway we got to talking, she was flying back to San Diego from a med-school interview in NYC, I told her about my plans of Ironman Glory. She revealed that her mom was from NZ and had family in Wellington and Taupo, told me Air New Zealand was well known for its service, even in coach they treat you like a god. Anyhoo, the flight was delayed about 15 min. for de-icing. I tried to sleep best I could on the plane…I got about two hours, before breaking out the lap top and the i-pod. The i-pod shit the bed and is stuck on this peculiar screen, I figure it should die before I reach Auckland and I can recharge it later. The flight suffered a little turbulence and a “scenic route” approach into LAX . We landed at about 3:30PM PST 6:30PM for my homies on the East Coast.

Phase 4. LAX:
After bidding adieu to the Ruth she was off to her connection and I was off to baggage claim. Now I maybe a hater on New England Weather, but I will say our airports are nicer ( and Yes that includes Bradley for my Connecticut readers.). LAX compared to JFK, is like stepping back into 1970’s flick. Only thing the I was surprised didn’t happen was a dude with a fro and chest hair…oh shit that did happen never mind. The staff was friendly in directing my jet-lagged self to the terminal shuttle bus, a couple of shuttle passengers helped me finagle the Bitch Stomper’s Sarcophagus on to the over glorified city bus. A couple of passengers asked about the massive load of luggage I was carrying. When I told them I was doing Ironman New Zealand. One person commented, “My trainer did that one once.” Which lead to another conversation and round of well wishes. I got to terminal two and entered the ground level, then came to the realization that it was arrivals and ticketed passengers only. I searched for an elevator ( no way I was going to be able to manage stairs with all my crap.) I got up to the Air New Zealand ticket counter. Now the Kiwis do shit right, my ass is jet lagged and functioning on 4 hours sleep, I can barely walk straight ( as evidenced by the fact I nearly did that whole zig-zag maze but there was only one dude in front of me. After a quick redirection from the staff, and explanation that I was just coming off a six hour flight and a “No worries mate.” My bags were checked in. The chick at the ticketing counter asked if I wanted a window of middle seat….
“Well I’d prefer an aisle.” I said sheepishly.
“ I’ll try to find one for you.” She said with that polite tone of holy shit they’re all taken what is this crazy jet lagged bastard trying to do to me, but I’m going to try to be friendly to him .
upon hearing this in her voice/
“ I can take a window if it’s easier.” I said trying to be apologetic, afterall I was probably going to be looking at the back of my eyelids for most of it.
“ No Mr. Duguay, it’s a long flight and I want you to be as comfortable as possible.”
She directed me to drop my crap with TSA, which I nearly botched up yet again….(note to self if I’m doing this race next year I’m flying with United so Ken can just have my crap auto transferred, instead of all this shit.) After having TSA explain they needed to open the bike case, I tossed them the keys and waited for them to open the case see it was a weapon but not of mass destruction, and got my keys handed to me. About the same time, Check out counter lady came back with my boarding pass, She managed to find me an Aisle seat. I went to TSA feeling triumphant.
For the second time in 24 hours I had to be pseudo Strip searched once again. This time as I was doing so I was shooting the shit with this German dude and his French Girl Friend ( seriously I don’t know what is with me a German dudes getting along, I mean I’m shooting the shit with this guy and his girl, I shot the shit with one dude a JFK, seriously I’m thinking that maybe I should learn the language and sign up for Quelle Challenge Roth or Ironman Germany, it might be an omen. Well anyway I got through security, grabbed dinner, a rather overpriced Hamburger, but it was good nonetheless. I with drew $20 from the ATM figuring I would exchange some currency before I left. But upon hearing they were charging $5 and giving me a crappy rate compared to the current exchange rate. (they were paying $1 NZD = $0.93 USD when the rate at the sites I saw on the Ironman NZ website had the exchange @ $1NZD= $0.76 USD like I said the Kiwis do shit right!). All that said and done I went to a socket to charge up my laptop. As this segment is being written I am waiting at the gate for my Flight to the land of the Kiwi Bird and the Long White Cloud.

Phase 5: Air New Zealand Flight 5.
After much ado and hoopla, We finally boarded at about 9:15PM, apparently some Air France Jet docked at our gate and well there was a whole shit show. It was about this time I ran into Justin (American 2 of 3 in the 18-24 age bracket.) Dave, the Iron Vet. ( Veteran not Veterinarian, please refrain from talking to Dave about your sick little puppy.) I bumped into Paddy, Britain crankiest traveler, granted I would be a little cantankerous after paying 1500 quid, for a 12 hour flight and having half my luggage lost. But irregardless, I boarded the plane and made myself ready to enjoy my aisle seat. It was about that time the LOL and LOM (little old lady and little old man.) Little old Lady made the comment that she might be getting up often so I voluntarily moved to the window seat. Now I’ll tell you once again that the Kiwis do shit right…plenty of leg room, a personal entertainment screen, the food was somewhat descent…seriously I regret they don’t fly out of Bradley because the service was terrific. Little Old man apparently suffers fainting spells, hence why LOL want the Aisle seat, sure enough he suffered one mid flight give the stewards “dreadful fright.” I slept through the whole thing, LOM recovered from the incident that might have been enough for LOL to have an MI and be RIP.anyway the flight was good, 5 to 6 hours of sleep and two meals later we touched down in Auckland and the next phase began.

Phase 6: The Bus Ride
After leaving the Airport and meeting a couple of otther triatletes, most Notably Jonathan from USC ( He's alsoa blogger so I should have hhis link posted shortly.) Itt was time ffor thhe 2-3 hour busride from Auckland to Taupo, Now I will tell you tthis, the countryside even on the North Island is beautiful. Our "guide and driver were hysterical. After about 3 hours wwe arrivved in Taupo, annd tthe next part of my ironman journey was ready to begin.

The Jet Lagged Triathlete


Speed Racer said...

Ugh! Just READING about it makes me tired!

JFK! Eeeeeewww! That's where the TSA officials beat you with metal detecting wands.

Eeeeeeeeeew! LAX! Eeeeeeeewwww! That's where 500-lb baggage handlers play soccer with your luggage.

I'm so jealous of your traveling! I hope you brought a camera! I can't wait to read about the rest of it!

Angry Runner said...

"I am the Ben Gordon of Baggage Check!"

I am so proud. Ben Gordon would be so proud. Glad you are there without incident. I did wonder publically how your travels went. Good job. Run fast.

rocketpants said...

Glad you made it with little incident to the land of the long white cloud. ENJOY!! Taupo is a cute town, enjoy the city.

Ken Schulz said...

Good luck! GO FAST!

iron-boyer said...

whats up with those Germans? :)
how about we do Ironman Germany together next year. I will be your translator for the time. Maybe we can find a cute little German girl for you...what do you think?
I hope you BS survived the travel in my case. I am so jealous that you are there. I am excited to see your race updates.
Good luck and keep us posted.

Runner Leana said...

I was wondering how your travels went! Glad to hear you made it safe and sound with minimal incident. I have terrible luck getting seated next to people on a plane too. Flying from Singapore to LAX I got a thirty something Asian lady that kept scarfing the champagne down like nobody's business, then later had to get the air sick bag out and wound up spending at least 2 hours of the flight in the bathroom. Good thing she had the aisle...

Anyhow, I digress. Best of luck down there! Hope you are enjoying NZ!

Mr. Satan A. Chilles said...

Whew! I had 11 hours of air travel time on Monday night/Tuesday, and that ain't nothin' compared to your journey. I would've been too 'grumpy' (for want of a better word) after a trip like that to post something positive.

And I'm glad the Angry Express got you to JFK safe and sound in the face of wintertime. Since I was out of town, I was a little dissapointed to not be able to snag you for a 5-minute between trains pep talk at Penn Station or Grand Central, but since you took the more reliable mode of transportation, that wouldn't have happened anyway. Maybe next time I can stand with a little chaffeur-style sign (printed: 'Mr. Bob-O') as you exit the gate.

Anyway, thanks again for the updates, nice to hear of the happy traveling...