After weeks of waiting, everything happens at once.
I had to go to Christchurch for a specialist appointment about my feet and knees. It was awesome, the specialist was better than the one on Nelson. He saw all the problems straight away, and agreed the knee problem was caused because of the foot problem, and it was only sensible to fix both at the same time. Surgery was booked for 5 days later. That put me on such a high. Two decades of pain finally getting fixed. I was so ecstatic I didn't mind the long trip home.
12 hours driving in one day is a lot, but the high stopped me getting tired at the wheel. Never-the-less, it was a long day, only to get up early for the early shift at work. So with my bike in the back of the hire car, I dropped it off after work, and cycled home via the supermarket to do the weekly shop. I was very jaded. So after dinner I thought I'd check for emails from Niel before going to bed.
Help! Where are you? I need HELP.
oh my god! What had happened. Niel had made it to Casablanca in Morocco, but nothing else had.He was trying not to bawl his eyes out. His beloved bike and all his gear was lost, gone, disappeared, or - god forbid- stolen.
Now let me explain something here. Niel LOVES HIS BIKE. It's his best friend, a piece of art and a useful means of getting around sure, but more than anything, it's his alter ego, loosing it was like loosing his soul. Yes his gear was gone too, he didn't even have a toothbrush, let alone a jacket to put on in the chilly 14 degrees Celsius.
He pleaded for me to try and find it by computer. It boarded the plane at Rio De Janeiro, there was no record of it on the plane from Heathrow to Casablanca. British Airways had lost it. A lost luggage report was made, but true to form British Airways lost luggage computer site had crashed and there was no way of getting through.
You think this was straight forward enough. Think again. Put yourself in Niels shoes. Stuck on the opposite side of the world in a foreign country where nobody and I mean NOBODY spoke English He was dog tired with jet lag, stressed to the eyeballs and in total despair. On the plus side, he had a hotel, and his net book, and his wallet, and thankfully the hotel had WIFI, so he could get in contact. But the contact was tenuous and kept cutting out. Add to that our travel agent couldn't be gotten hold of as she was overseas.
OK that's Niels side of the story. I was working everyday until my surgery booked in 4 days time and I had to hire a car, pick up the car, get sedatives for the cat to take him with me, there was no way I was leaving him.
OK now you have a better picture. Massive stress on everyone's side.
In absolute despair and, while I still had time to organise it, an emergency flight home was booked [through another travel agent]. People don't realise that it was really the only option we had. Niel had to end his cycle race around the world. How can you cycle without a bike? I had to work all hours of the day organising my trip to Christchurch for surgery [ with the cat], go to my job and be on the computer virtually 24 hours a day to try to keep Niel from going insane.
The day before he flew home, his bike turned up. No explanation, no apology, nothing. I think that is appalling, surely someone knows what happened to it. Do they realise they destroyed a man's dream.
The minute I'm being administered general anaesthetic, Niel plane lands in New Zealand. He was there, when I opened my eyes back in my room. Sounds romantic, but I was in lala land. We were both so tired. Niel from stress and jet lag, and me from stress and anaesthetic. We've been sleeping 12 -13 hours each night.
A few days later, with Niels bike, gear, and the cat on board, we drove back to Nelson.
How's that for a busy week?