Peter Lynn

March 2002

Travelling, There are lots of tricks.

One of the requirements of going to international kite festivals from NZ is that the baggage allowance is for kites alone- that is no superfluous things like anchors or little tents to store gear, beer and hide in- and definitely no room for clothes and personal things- which have to all fit in a carry-on bag along with a few heavy but non-metallic things like 200m of 4000kgm flying line.

If there's just too much for the permitted 8kgm (typically) carry-on, I pack the overflow in a prominently labeled duty free bag- because gate staff are blind with respect to these, probably on account of instructions from the airport management not to cause problems for airport rent paying shops. The clothes allowance is still minimal for more than a week away though so I have to get involved in an activity that eludes me at home- that is washing clothes. It's easy- just puddle each day's dirty kit under foot while showering, squeeze, then lay out on the hotel bedroom carpet.

This soaks up the excess water fast- much quicker than for hanging and because air-conditioning includes de-humidifying , within 12 hours your clothes will be wearably dry- and the damp spots on the floor will be mainly gone in an extra day or two- so you don't often get hauled over the carpet by the hotel management. To relieve the tedium of endless hours sitting in airports and on planes most frequent fliers play the game of how to get upgrades without paying.

Of course there are the standard ploys like booking early and requesting a bulkhead seat in the hope that some mother traveling with a baby will, at the last minute, require your seat because it has the bassinet bracket- at the last minute because by then hopefully all the spare cattle class seats will be taken and you will gain a promotion. Or like somehow getting through to the gate without a seat assignment and then not presenting yourself at the podium for ditto until the last possible second, no matter how many times your name has been called- by which time there should be only business class seats left or, if you're very lucky, first class- or maybe no seats at all, oh well, pain for gain.

David Gomberg has one I've never thought of- he knows the fine print perhaps better than some of the check in staff do and when some neophyte erroneously calls him out on a technicality usually to do with weight or number of bags he says, "fine, I'll agree to that, but only on condition that if you're wrong in this ruling you've just made, I get a free upgrade, OK?!." And here's a new one- though it's not perfect yet, maybe needs a bit of working on. At Kites on Ice in Madison Wisconsin, 12 hours out on the frozen lake with wet feet (and sore shins) from stepping in an anchor hole or three, and no way to get warm when the wind chill factor must have hit treble figures negative, left me with the first cold I've had for 5 years or so.

And doing it again the next day ( but not for as long) didn't help, nor probably did extended participation in various after match functions. The sensible kitefliers (by far the majority) limited their time in the cold by enthusiastically conducting kite making workshops in the (warm, dry) convention centre about 5 km away. The outside crew quickly labelled them, derisively but enviously, "the workshop weenies". After this event, on presenting at the UA check-in at Chicago, the nice lady took such pity on my suffering that she gave me a free first class upgrade to Malaysia (for the Pasir Gudang festival). On board and fully reclined, another nice lady came along and offered smoked salmon, caviar and Chateaux Neuf de Pape (or maybe it was Yquem or maybe my fevered imagination was inventing things by this stage).

The wine tasted like sh*t, I couldn't even finish one glass- and even the thought of myriad unborn baby sturgeon, which normally would have fired me with carnivorous enthusiasm, made me feel sick.- see, I told you this one needs working on yet. Kites on Ice was an excellent festival though, I heard the workshops were the best there's ever been. Peter Lynn, Ashburton, Feb 28 2002.

PS, Soap- for 25 years I've been getting intensely annoyed by the squitty little bits of soap supplied in hotels. Well, I've just found an answer to this also- puddle each days soap allowance (usually 2 pieces) along with the clothes as above, then when they are good and squishy, squeeze them together with the accumulation from previous days and presto, soon you will need an excess baggage allowance just for the soap. - and soap seems to help the clothes to get cleaner also (wonder if anyone else has ever thought of this?), so it's a win- win.




Peter Lynn Kites Ltd
105 Alford Forest Rd

Ph: +64 (0) 3 308 4538
Fax: +64 (0) 3 308 1905