Please allow me to set the scene: It's 3.15pm on Sunday afternoon, 21st December. There I am, in my shorts and singlet top, having recently come back from the gym. Our backpacks are on the floor, as are most of the clothes and goods we are taking overseas, and we are getting our last bits and bobs ready. I always leave a copy of our passports, tickets, insurance and other relevant details with my dad (affectionately known as Doobie....another story, for another day). As I am checking something on the computer, Doobie casually strides in (with a copy of our itinerary in his hand) and says, "Ombi, I think there's been some kind of a mistake, but this says that you were supposed to have left a couple of hours ago!" My heart sank to my ankles in a nano-second, as the only thing I could compute was, "F@#& we missed our flight!" As he handed over the bit of paper, and I indeed physically saw our error, I felt nauseous, whilst at the same time trying to work out how we were going to get out of this one! After repeating that same four letter word copious times, I went into fight or flight mode! I wanted that flight badly! I did not care about the money, but I wanted to be overseas! Think Ombi, think, think!!!! Everything else was a blur, as my mind scrambled for a solution!
Rise and shine! Off to the Polynesian Blue office we go. I mean, how else does one begin their Samoa experience? The office was full of Samoans! My heart sank! We had been lucky getting over here, but I figured changing the return flight wasn't going to be so easy. Apart from the fact that it was possibly going to cost a small fortune to get back, I was doubting whether there would even be flights available. We had already "pushed our luck" getting over here! We discussed that we would probably have to get a new ticket for Alex, as it was imperative, and that I would stay on the extra day. Lady Luck, however, was clearly on our side. The lady in the office was most courteous and helpful, and she called Polynesian Blue in Australia, so that I could try and sort it out. After a tense 10 minutes as the Australian lady spoke to her supervisor and searched for the availability of flights, we were told that there were only 2 places left on the morning of Thursday the 1st January, arriving late at night on Friday the 2nd (remember that the flight itself is only 7 hours or so). Again, we would not have to pay cancellation or transfer fees, but the difference between our original "cheap" ticket and the cheapest one that was now available. At this point, we did not care what we would have to pay. Surprisingly, it was only $225.00 each! I thought it was going to be way more than that! Needless to say, we were relieved, and now we would be able to really begin our holiday! In actual fact, we had neither gained nor lost any of our holiday time, as our errors saw us "gain" upon arrival, and "lose" upon departure.
There really is a first time for everything, and like most things we do, we did this in style! A total balls up of humongous proportions. We figured that an extra $600.00 for two errors of this magnitude was a real bargain! As my mum would have said, "Everything apart from death can be fixed!"
(Photos:1.- Self portrait, Ombi & Alex in Apia, Samoa. 2.-Uninhabited bliss, Lalomanu Beach, 'Upolu. 3.- Take off, Samoan-style, 'Upolu Island, Samoa. 4.-The Samoan flag. 5.-Ombi & Verona, Valentine's Motel, Apia, 'Upolu. 6.-Traditional Samoan flower, with spider on leaf. 7.- The "window" of opportunity; Manase beach as seen from Tanu's seaside fales ,where we slept,, Savai'i, Samoa.)