Friday, 13 January 2012

Queenstown - Disaster narrowly avoided

There is still two days to go before the Queenstown International starts, and already there is plenty of excitement.
My journey got off to less than auspicious start when I checked in at 7:30 am to be told I (and my son) had been moved to a 7:05am flight. The Virgin staff were fantastic in fixing the problem, which turned out to be caused by the simple fact I didn't read the email informing me of the flight change. We were shifted to a later flight and made the international connection with time to spare.
Having never flown into Queenstown I wasn't prepared for the landing procedure, which reminded me of the rebel attack on the Death Star. The very large plane we were flying on swerved its way over, around and between the mountains, before touching down in the pouring rain. It was hardly surprising that this was met with a generous round of applause, and disappointing the kid at the back who was shouting "We're all going to die".
However I was substantially better off than tournament organiser Paul Spiller. Travelling to Queenstown with the entire tournament packed in his van, he was within 40kms of his destination when he was hit by another van who lost control on a bend. Although everyone walked away from the accident, the van was un-drivable. It took a few phone calls from tournament sponsor GM Murry Chandler to get the van to the venue, although it was on the back of a tow truck. Fortunately the tournament equipment was undamaged, although we had to shake the broken glass out of the boxes as we carried it into the tournament hall.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good luck! Well done to get there in one piece, but you are in New Zealand. It isn't Europe and no matter how much the 'chess herd' would like to pretend it isn't New Zealand, it IS New Zealand.
New Zealand is a "hole".