An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

One Stressful Minute

Everyone has had one of those moments when it feels like your stomach fills with lead and falls south. When you suddenly realise something is terribly wrong and you freak.

It is a feeling that only happens for a spilt second before you take action to counter it. But it is still long enough for you to remember for a long time.

Well I had one of these experiences last night at Brisbane's Domestic Airport.

Finishing up at the conference, me and another participant had booked a cab to get us from Qld Uni to the airport. Of course Brisbane being Brisbane it managed to get stuffed up.

The cab company's computer fell over or something and all their bookings were lost. I had a 6:10 flight to Sydney, and we booked the cab for 4:15. By 4:30 we were ringing the cab company to find out what was going on. They said there would be over an hour wait before we would be able to get picked up. Great.

This was not my reason to feel sick to stomach though.

Plan B was implemented. We had to get to Toowong train station and catch a train to Central and then swap and get to the airport. The only problem was getting to Toowong. The buses around the campus are pretty efficient but it was now closing in on 4:45 and after a quick check we discovered that the next train from Toowong was at 5:10.

We needed quick action. So with the help of the Women's College manager we persuaded with the help of a generous tip to get the bar and kitchen staff to drive us. They were just young guys doing a part-time job to earn a bit of cash, so they didn't mind one bit.

We got dropped out at Toowong and caught the train in to Central. After a bit of a wait around we then transferred on to the train to the airport. The now six of us loaded up the luggage rack provided and gossiped while keeping check of the time.

It was closing in on 6 when the train pulled up at Domestic the final stop. I was first off the train charging off to get to the check-in counter to see if I could still some how miraculously get my 6:10 flight.

I was inside the terminal still steaming on when I realised. Like I said my stomach suddenly felt like a lead balloon. I had left my laptop bag on the luggage rack.

I parked my main bag beside a column - which I know is not a great thing to do in an airport - and then raced off back to the station. Back outside I could still see the train at the platform. Heart racing, feet pounding, arms pumping, I hurdled the steps up the escalator two at a time. Dodging through on coming travellers wheeling their bags I kept praying the train would not pull out and head off.

I was preparing to hurdle the gates when I saw my laptop bag beside the ticket booth. One of my new found friends from the conference who I had just goodbye to on the train before charging off, had collected the bag and left it at the booth. She was still explaining to the ticket seller the story when I came charging up.

I saw the bag, saw her, collected the bag, thanked her and then thanked my lucky stars that I wasn't a couple of thousand dollars worse off. A now out of breath, but happy me, returned to the terminal, praising my now best friend for life while slagging off myself for being so stupid.

In one minute I had managed to induce more stress on myself than I have done in the whole time I have been in PNG.

Oh, I managed to collect my main bag again also, without a swarm of SWAT guys surrounding it.