Thomas had offered to take us somewhere to weigh our luggage this morning but by 8:15 he had not yet arrived. I called him in desperation, “Oh ya… Are you still wanting to do that today?”
Out of desperation I confirmed, “As quickly as possible. We are supposed to take a tour at 9am this morning. How long does it take to get to the airport?”
“About twenty minutes.” he stated as I wondered how on earth we were going to do everything we needed to do. The tour would just have to wait, I was desperate to find a way to get our 17 pieces of luggage and 7 carry-ons onto the plane the following day. We had been given an exception to allow for 32 kg per person instead of the standard 23 kg but I still didn’t know if this would be enough.
I quickly called “Rachel” who was kind enough to co-ordinate our tour around Port Villa. “Can we wait until 10:30 to start the tour? We really need some time to figure out how we are going to get our belongings back to Canada.”
“Sure” she said with hesitation. “I will just need to call each of the places we are visiting to let them know.
I felt bad. I didn’t want her to have lots of extra work but we really needed to figure things out. I had a freight company come by the afternoon before and they had quoted me $750 to get half of our belongings from New Zealand to a shipping dock in Canada and double that to get it from Vanuatu to Canada. It seemed like an excessive cost considering it would also take 3 months to be routed through Singapore and then we would still have to spend a day and $200 on a ferry to go and pick it all up.
Within an hour, Thomas’ nephew showed up and helped us pile our belongings into the back of the truck. It was absolutely packed to the roof with all of our check in luggage and Jaeden had to lay down on top of the bags and boxes in order to fit in himself. Dailin jumped into the cab of the truck with me and we darted off for the airport.
In the Saturday morning traffic it only took us about ten minutes. There were not many people however in the international terminal as there was no flight operating that day. I scoured around in an attempt to find someone with Air Vanuatu to help us out and found a few people huddled together in their information booth. “Don’t worry.” the manager said, “I’ll be here tomorrow and we’ll help you out.” This made me feel a little bit better but the scales were all on so Jaeden, Dailin and I hauled our bags onto four carts and started to weigh each item.
It took us about half an hour to weigh and document each of our pieces of luggage and in the end we came up with 305 kg of belongings to check in the following day. So with 32 kg x 8 tickets, plus 10 for Zakary, plus a 20 kg scuba allowance, we were just under. Sure we probably left a few things not packed but at $7 per kilo if we went over a little bot, this was much better than $1500 to ship half of our things home.
Relieved we drove back to our apartment with all of our gear in the back. As we came up to the security gate I hopped out and someone was kind enough to open the gate with their remote control for us. Our driver however, was a little hesitant and took his time going in with all the gear. As he pulled forward slowly I heard a loud grinding sound behind me. “Stop” I screamed in horror. The gate was closing in on the vehicle, scraping blue gate paint along the side of the truck as he continued driving forward. With the gate still trying to close, it started to hook and crumple the side wheel well off of the car. “Stop” I cried again in order to try to keep the movement of the car against the pressure from the gate from causing more damage. We started to attract a bit of attention, first from the two people trying to exit the gated community and then from people down the street.
For the next ten minutes with the help of our growing audience, we tried to disengage the motor of the gate but it was stuck in gear. The motor kept going and would not stop trying to close. Finally we started to rock the back end of the truck back and forth and were able to get the gate past the wheel well before pulling the last few feet of the car through. The truck was already a bit beat up but now it had a green scrape leading up to the dangling wheel well. I felt horrible about the experience but was told he would look into having it repaired the coming Monday.
The relief I felt in regards to our luggage was now overshadowed by the traumatizing events with this truck but there was nothing more I could do. Our tour would be starting in a few minutes so we unloaded our belongings and taped the fender onto the truck with some packing tape to keep it from dragging on the ground. It was only the start of an interesting day.