Today I was awake from 3.30 am worrying about our cases. Crossing another 6 timezones also didn't help my body clock. We were now 13 hours ahead of the UK. I knew that Karen was really upset and that she would be more so if they didn't turn up.
So I laid in bed quietly using the iPad without disturbing Karen, looking up anything and everything to try and assist with locating the bags. I wanted to understand who to contact and when.
At 6.00am Karen woke up which enabled me to try and contact Emirates via their Online Chat. This was a nightmare. I'm not sure which end the connection kept failing but it was very annoying. I eventually got a number from them to call.
I called them only to have the call fail whilst the person was looking up my details. I eventually realised that my phone ran out of credit as I was making an international call so I topped it up with twenty pounds. I called them back and got another local number to call but they didn't open until 11am.
I decided to call Aviva to register a claim on our Travel Insurance. I didn't get the sharpest pencil answering my call. To be fair I think she must have been new as I understood how the policy worked more than her. Then I got cut off again. Incredibly in just 3 calls I had burned another twenty pounds of credit. So I topped up again. I was hoping Aviva would call me back as they knew the number I was calling from but nothing.
I tried Emirates Live Call again and they assured me that our bags had been sent overnight and would be with us shortly. We were sceptical but hopeful.
I sent them a DM via Twitter.
At 8.00am we decided to go ahead with our visit up the Sky Tower. This was on the same road as our Hotel and so we were there as it opened and were the first up the top initially having it all to ourselves. It was very impressive and allowed us to orientate the layout of the City. As we had a ticket that allowed us to come back later we decided to leave to get Karen a caffeine fix at Gloria Jeans.
We then headed for the harbour which was very pleasant. Auckland is a nice laid back small city. Although it has many backpackers it isn't really geared for tourists. The longer we were there though the more it grew upon us.
After a Subway lunch we went back to see if our bags had turned up, but were not surprised to be disappointed. After 30 minutes in our room though we got a call from Reception to say that they had had a delivery. I told Karen to wait whilst I went down as I was fearful of her reaction if only my bag had turned up.
This turned out to be the scenario and my heart sank. I would rather have lost my things than have Karen go through the torment this would cause her. When she opened the room door to me, at first she thought I was joking but then burst into tears. I was so very upset for her. She deserves so much better. She had been planning and purchasing special items for this big trip for almost 12 months and they were now gone.
I decided I had to redouble my efforts to locate her case.
Another twenty pound phone credit later I had again spoken to the local call centre who promised to investigate why had we only got one case returned and not the other. They said they would call straight back. They never did.
I got back on Live Chat which worked fine this time and they promised the same thing. They never did.
I emailed the support address of both Emirates and the external Baggage Agents. They did respond but only to say they couldn't help.
For good measure I found the Emirates CEO & their Customer Directors email addresses in New York and fired off missives to them. Never heard anything from either of them.
I then thought that Emirates must have a New Zealand office. By chance it was in an office block in Auckland within walking distance so we decided to see if we would get in. I suggested Karen should do a sit down protest in there in order to be heard but she wasn't keen.
After Karen had composed herself we left the hotel. As we are supposed to be leaving Auckland in the morning and it will be days before we are near any more shops we thought we had better start replacing some of her items. We hit the shops. Another pair of Skechers were bought along with a fleece and a top. Dozens more tops were tried on but discarded for various reasons. The prices were all ridiculous but unfortunately we had no choice. It was not the best few hours I have had to spend on holiday but needs must.
Our shopping route had taken us close to the office block. So we brazenly marched in and took the lift to the 8th Floor and just walked in. It turned out to have a front desk and after a 15 minute wait we explained the problem to a Mr Craig Murray who initially was quite stuffy about it as baggage problems were not his concern but then warmed to the challenge. He had secret hot line number to the Baggage Services Manager in Auckland. Although they didn't know at this point where it was in the world the bag was they were confident they would locate it and get it back to us within 24 hours. We gave them our schedule of Hotels in case they needed them. Craig then told us to come back in the next day before the office opened at 8.15am in the morning if we hadn't heard anything.
For the first time since arriving in NZ, Karen smiled with relief that someone seemed that they were taking ownership of the problem for us. I thought she was going to leap over the desk to hug Craig.
Within a couple of hours they called back to say that the bag had been found in Sydney and would be sent overnight to Auckland. Until we had it our possession though all bets were off. The interestingly I got the same information back from Emirates in response to my DM to them earlier.
In the evening we went back to Elliots Stable for food, both having food from the NZ stable. Then we went back up the tower at 8.45pm to watch the sun go down and the lights come on all come on across the City. It was quite special. We had a couple of night caps in the cafe on the top floor to round off the day.
One of my surprises about NZ so far (apart from the cost) has been the homelessness problem. They seem to be everywhere with people begging on every corner. I have no idea about the welfare state here. But there is a real problem. Not sure if it is drug related. So far though we have not witnessed any aggressive behaviour from anyone.
Literally it was a day of ups and downs. It would have been far easier if my case was the one still missing. Apart from all my medications being in there, although I would have been very annoyed - I would have coped and got on with it. For Karen though, this was her nightmare scenario. We still have over 5 weeks left on this trip. She is talking about wanting to go home as for her it is ruined. I feel so inadequate in trying to take away her pain. My attempt at humour of saying at least it wouldn't take her long to pack in the morning didn't go down at all well.
I hoped that everything would seem better in the morning.