We arrived at Auckland airport with a sick feeling in our stomachs. Getting the bikes onto the shuttle bus was hard enough but now we had to check everything in knowing we were way overweight. We just hoped that the person at the desk would let us through without having to pay the fine but of course that wasn’t going to be the case.
As we approached the check-in desk the lady looked at us and our ridiculously over sized bike boxes. Her expression already told us how this was going to go. Together, Jasmin and I hauled our boxes onto the conveyor belt to be weighed and after that our bags went up. 67kgs in total for all our check-in luggage. We kept quiet and acted as if nothing was wrong, we also hoped she wouldn’t see our carry on bags that were each 3kgs over weight. She looked at us and said, your 7kgs over, you’ll have to pay extra to get your luggage on the flight. $25 extra per kg to be exact. And if that wasn’t bad enough, she asked if we had our Australian Visas. We didn’t think we needed one because we were only stopping over for a week but apparently we did. She told us we could purchase them at another desk for $60.
We were a bit shell shock at the amount we were going to have to pay but took our stuff away with us and told her we try something to sort out the weight. By this stage Jasmin was in tears but it was no time to cry, we needed to get our thinking caps on. I decided to go through my backpack and get rid of more stuff. I removed a pair of jeans, 2 pair of socks, a pair of underwear, my flip-flops, an old (but loved) fleece and some souvenirs. I had nothing to weigh the stuff but my guess is that it wasn’t even 2 kgs. Then Jasmin came up with a great idea. She said what if we get rid of one of the boxes and wrap the bike in plastic. This was a great idea because the boxes weighed about 4kg by themselves. Doing this would leave the bike a bit more unprotected but at this stage we just wanted to get them on the plane.
We unpacked Jasmin’s bike beside the wrapping station and directly got it wrapped costing $20. The bike was definitely less protected than when it was in the box but we were quite happy with the way it looked once it was done. Having done all we could to shed a few kilos, we gathered all our stuff and went to the check-in desk again. This time we went to a different lady and she was a lot more relaxed. We were still 1kg over but she ignored it and let us through without a problem.
Letting our stuff go through and walking away with only our hand luggage literally was a huge weight off our shoulder. A few hours later on the plane, with the anxiety gone, we took full advantage of the free alcohol on board. Thanks Emirates.
We got into Melbourne late in the evening. When my bike box and Jasmin’s bike wrapped in plastic came through, they looked a bit rougher then when we last seen them but still in one piece. We loaded everything into a taxi and headed to North Melbourne where we had an apartment booked through air bnb.
Melbourne is a special place for us, it’s where Jasmin and I got to know each other. We both lived there for a while in 2008-2009 and we were very excited to be back.
Our time in Melbourne was spent totally different to how it was in New Zealand. Using air-bnb ment we got our own room in an apartment and we didn’t need to deal with all the stress that comes with staying in hostels. The fact that we paid less for this room than two single beds in a hostel was the icing on the cake. Another big difference was that we wouldn’t be cycling. At first this seemed like a bad thing but the tram network is excellent in Melbourne and it was nice to have a few days cruising around the city and visiting all the old haunts.
We met up with one of our really good friends and Jasmin’s childhood next door neighbour, Camilla. Meeting up with her was great. She was pretty new to Melbourne so we showed her around some of the places we knew from the last time we were there.
Having to not worry about cycling for a while, my passion for skating suddenly became rekindled. The first opportunity I got, I went to the skate shop and asked if they had any second-hand boards for sale. They had a perfect 8.5 inch Anti-hero deck with just a few scratches for $5. I attached my trucks (which I had been carrying around the whole time) and began reliving some of my glory days as a Melbourne skate bum.
Weight became a bit of a major topic for us over the last few weeks. In the apartment we got to use the weighing scales and I was shocked at when it told me I was 69kg. Thats the lightest I’ve been since I was about 17. A year previous, before leaving on this trip, I weighed myself at almost 80kg. Although I was very light, I felt very healthy. I guess my weight was just the result of cycling many kilometers everyday, eating healthy and not drinking (too much) alcohol.
Still, my plan for when I got home was to eat huge meals, all the time and get a bit of the weight back on.
When our time in Melbourne was over the nightmare of bringing our stuff to the airport and hoping to get it all through the check-in started over again. This time we couldn’t actually wear all our clothes and put two jackets on over because our next destination was Dubai and the weather was forecast for 46°C. We had sent a small parcel home in the post and I did leave my boots behind but we also gained a skateboard and some souvenirs. We were really unsure if we were under the weight limit….again.