Early morning airport run anxiety
You'd think someone who's been a travel writer for almost 15 years would be pretty nonchalant about getting to the airport on time, but alas, I am not that travel writer. I have no nerves about the actual act of flying, but for some reason am the most highly strung version of myself in the build-up to arriving at check-in and dropping off my bags.
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This means that if it's an international flight, the absolute last thing I ever want to do is a farewell bite or beverage with well-intentioned family or friends before the act of "going through". I can't relax until I "go through"! Not until I've put my belt back on, returned my laptop inside my backpack and made sure I haven't left my passport in one of the scanning trays can I return to a normal heartrate. At that point I know that no random security event or unexpected queue is going to get in the way of me boarding my plane.
With the anxiety of missing planes something of a lifelong affliction, I'm afraid to say Uber has let me down on no less than three occasions. I love Uber, especially in a country like New Zealand where taxis have never been plentiful nor cheap enough. But if I'm booking an airport run — in particular an early morning airport run — it's got to be a taxi.
Even though you can still book in advance and set the time you'd like, early mornings and Uber appear not to be overly friendly bedfellows. In a nutshell, twice they've never turned up and once they were about 20 minutes late. In fairness, the two times they didn't show they may've only been 15 minutes late before I cancelled, but irrespective of my missing-the-plane-anxiety, you can't afford to be that loose with time when people are airport-bound.
On these three occasions it appears that the previous day's booking is more of "booking". As in, it's registered on the app, but perhaps is still determinate on drivers being willing and available at the requested pickup time, as opposed to having committed when the "booking" was made.
Generally this system works for Uber and I'm a bonafide fan of the app, but take it from me, if it's a crack-of-dawn flight and you're a bit of a stress-pot about getting to the airport, be old-fashioned and order a taxi.
Undies, undies, undies, togs, togs, togs
Summertime means many things in New Zealand, including far more casual dress sense. Mostly this is good — jandals in the office? Yes! For about two weeks while the boss is away anyway. But one thing remains the same: undies are still undies.
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Last summer my wife and I took a motorhome along the Pacific Coast Highway that runs between Opotiki to Gisborne. This is remote, wild country and in many ways feels like you've jumped in Marty and Doc's DeLorean from Back To The Future and transported yourself to a New Zealand from several decades ago.
Be that as it may, whether in the present day or way back when, I'd suggest it's unlikely it was ever socially acceptable to pay for petrol in your undies.
The scene of the crime was Gisborne and there was another motorhome across from ours at the station reloading on fuel and supplies. It was when both me and the other driver went inside to pay that I realised the unthinkable was happening: this fellow tourist was in his undies. Sure, they were trunk-style undies, but undies all the same. He ordered some cigarettes and from the accent I believe he was French.
My somewhat limited research tells me this is far from common behaviour in France, indicating instead that perhaps the chap thought this was the Kiwi way. If I'd had the guts I could have informed him that immediate proximity to water can magically transform undies to togs, but indoors at petrol stations means they're 100 per cent undies and 100 per cent a no-no. Sacre bleu!
Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB's Weekend Collective and blogs at roxboroghreport.com.