We are nearing the end of our second plane journey from New Zealand to Rarotonga. The transfer between flights sounded seamless. The airline would transfer our big cases from one plane to another and all we had to do was pass the three hours between flights shopping in Duty Free. No problem to me I thought! Except it was. We walked from the arrival area along the corridor to the International transfer. The cheerful staff told us we just needed to go through the security/x-ray/checking for liquids saga again. No problem because we had had confiscated all forbidden items in Sydney, or had we? The customs man spied the bright garish yellow plastic bag in Byron's hand. It contained a 1 liter bottle of an expensive Scottish Whisky that we had treated him to in the Duty Free in Sydney. It had been exempt from the 100mls liquid rule because it had been bought within the safety of the airport. What no-one thought to check in our case (and the case of many other families) was that once we landed in New Zealand and tried to board a different flight the bottle then fell foul of the 100mls rule. The only solution was letting the very cheerful customs man confiscate it, find some whisky enthusiasts, sit down and have an impromptu party, or more sensibly have Byron go through the customs arrival system step foot on New Zealand soil and re-queue to re-check in to the Rarotonga flight and have the Whisky taken off him and checked into the main luggage hold. Option one was out, option two, Byron did actually try, even going so far as to ask the customs man what time his shift ended, but eventually option three seemed the sensible choice.
We said goodbye to Mr B, his passport, boarding card, all our New Zealand cash and his 1 litre bottle of classic single malt. The customs man advised me to go through security with the kids and camp out in the Burger King upstairs. We watched Byron as he went through the Arrivals doors with a spring in his step and wondered if we would actually ever see him again?!
I walked into the x-ray department and found it empty and four customs officials ready to search us. And search us they did after Gareth set the alarms off by walking through the metal detector with a small toy car in his hand. Yes, maybe we looked suspicious, or maybe word had spread about the dangerous Baynhams but I got the full on "spread your arms and legs Ma'am"
I had explosives wands passed up and down and in between all sorts of places as the kids stood watching wide eyed. Next came the computerised explosives detector where I was rubbed with a small piece of tape and it was fed into the machine to find minuscule nano bits (?) of explosive. I held my breath as the machine thought about whether to make my day a good one or a very interesting one. Luckily I had avoided playing with fireworks this morning and we finally got the nod to go through. I was able to breath again. That is until Gareth stepped into my spot and spread his arms and legs and looked up with big twinkling eyes and said "Me next?!" It was a great ice breaker and the lady laughed and said not today, she said he looked pretty harmless and we could head on to Burger King.
We thought we were in for a long wait for Byron but with all the time spent in security he walked up shortly after us. He had not had that straightforward a time as the customs officials were very suspicious of him checking out when he was due to be on another flight so soon. After much persuasion and another offer to just sit down and drink the Whisky they let him through and he was able to rejoin us. And so we find ourselves on our final leg of our journey to paradise.
The plane is just starting its descent and my ears are beginning to pop. We have just passed the International Dateline and now instead of being Saturday night it is once again Sat morning, we have just officially gone back in time. Good bye and next time we talk we will be in Holiday Mode!