Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hula-Hoops and Bicycle Touring Families

Day 106
The Jailhouse to Christchurch Airport

We’re in the middle of the airport marathon. Our flight leaves early in the morning and we didn’t want to do the “shuttle to the airport in the middle of the night” thing. So, we overstayed our welcome at the backpackers this morning and then came to the airport. We found “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports” online and learned that Christchurch has a very comfortable airport. Amazing what you can discover if you scratch beneath the surface.
Quiet when we arrived, the airport came to life a short time later. A round of international flights landed and we watched the steady stream pour out through the sliding doors. Travelers, returning families, airline employees and hippies with hula-hoops; I sat and wondered about the stories behind the faces.
We knew we’d see some other bicycle tourists at some point. It wasn’t long before we recognized the boxes. Chris gave the commentary as we watched from afar while the first two guys put together their bikes. Then we spotted the next group. First it was just the boxes that caught our eyes and then we saw the people. Mom, dad, four year old and baby, we’re guessing about 5-6 months old. Awesome – we were totally jazzed! This required an immediate change in location so that we could witness the assembly of their bikes and trailer. As the hours rolled on, Chris and I were amazed at their patience and thoroughness. Talk about commitment – I don’t even know what to say. Bicycle touring is far and away the best way to travel, but it is hard work. These people were adding a level of complexity that takes touring to a whole new level.
We finally got the nerve to ask for a picture. Chris found out that they traveled from Germany and planned to tour for three months. I’m not sure if the kids will remember the details but they are certainly working on their spirit of adventure at an early age.
Soon we’ll roll out our sleeping bags and pads with the rest of the long haul travelers. I’m sure I’ll still being trying to figure out if hula-hoops are checked luggage or carry-on baggage as the next wave of flights will roll through…
Bon voyage

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