7 Dec Travelling to New Zealand
LAN Chile is an interesting airline. I was invited to take compensation as they overbooked my flight, then the next day they had mechanical problems. I was put in a hotel and funnily enough the taxi came late and I found out at the airport I had to wait to get a boarding card and organise my compensation. All the people waited around 3-5 hours for this process. The communication was poor, there was no food organised. I hadn’t eaten since lunchtime and it was 1am by the time they organised my hotel. There was no food available. I saw women with young children and babies having to stand in the queue. It was very interesting to observe. I watched as people became agitated, I feel the lack of information is part of it. One man became very angry and said he should have been called when the flight was rescheduled. There was much LAN could have done but I suspect management is not very organised. The ground staff member informed me that there was only one option, watiing, that management had no contingency and in his opinion they didn’t care. He said he loved his job and he tried to help people, he said he loves service. What I observed in this man was that he had a deep inner security and he handled conflict calmly and patiently. He was very interesting. I encouraged him to go into mediation. Anyway, I felt quite peaceful and used the time to practice being in the moment and not resisting the reality. That doesn’t mean I don’t assert myself to get the compensation organised, I knew they wouldn’t have it, I was right, I got it the next morning but after being told they didn’t know anything about it. Thank god the ground staff member was competent he organised it. He also got me a window seat.
So the next day after a few hours sleep we all queued again at the airport. Again, it was slow. I just went with the flow of it. Anyway, we get on the plane, another delay, as they remove 16 pieces of luggage, we suspect that people and luggage have been separated, more happy customers (not). I was amazed. My whole trip around the world has been smooth, this is the first hiccup, but I try to see it philosophically, who will I meet? who will I talk to? what will I learn? I see everything as perfect timing, this is the practice, to not resist the flow of life. This is not unlike my reasoning with the enviornmental paper I commented on, it is to mirror our true nature. You apply it in all aspects of life.
The person sitting next to me was from South Korea, he had no English but I did find out he was an Electrical Engineering working on a project in Chile, working on power lines I think. He seemed a nice man but I felt for him not having English, as people tend to get uncomfortable or assume he understands. I tried to help him communicate with the stewards for food. Had to act like a chicken to convey chicken for lunch and moo for cow. It was funny, but I am a clown so have no embarrassment around it. I spent the trip watching movies which was really nice. I looked out the window with the hope of seeing Chile from the sky, but alas all I saw was clouds at 30,000 feet, could have been so fantastic without clouds, oh well, such is life.
Had a good chat with people at the back of the plane near where the stewards organise food. People complained a lot to me about the treatment of the airline, they were not happy. Many will write to management. I also enquired about their trips, where they were going etc. I met a lovely lady with a child and we talked about life, she had issues with a husband workaholic who wasn’t helping her with their 3 children, he just wanted to work. I felt for her and tried to inspire her to visualise what she wants, perhaps try and talk to him, but she said he doesn’t listen. So many families in this situation, many women are disgrunted with what they feel is the sole caring for children. Yet both bring them into the world, they are both responsible. We talked about the ideal workplace of everyone working part time, job share, for three quarters of the full time wage. This then creates greater equality, access to professions for women, and joint parenting opportunities. Women have many talents that are not expressed as they spend most of their lives raising kids. This is generally seen as women’s work. Yet in this day and age, I think women are not able to do it all. Many feel overwhelmed and alone. That is not to say there are not men out there who are with them 100%, there would be but there is a socialisation of men which sees them as breadwinners and that women are the primary carers. Women also place themselves there and don’t know how to delegate or share the responsibility, they can be impatient, so it is a two way street as well.
We arrived in New Zealand 12 hours later. I was pleased to get off the plane and could feel the tears in my eyes. Somehow being in a English speaking country, NZ is similar to Australia, so it did feel like home to me. I had a great chat with a woman who returned to NZ after 4 years. She was very agitated, as the bags were delayed coming down the shute for collection. So I listened to her and allowed her to vent and laughed as well. We really liked each other and had a nice time talking. Her father is Brazillian and mother is Australian, apparently they lived on an Island in Brazil. Very interesting, many ex pats there. So the mum didn’t feel it as too foreign. She enjoyed her time in Brazil. She was visiting other members of the family and very excited.
We walked out of customs together. I then went to ring David who is a couch surfing host. The only host that answered. He and his partner were packing up their house, but were very kind to put me up for a few days. Marie his partner was not there when I arrived in the airport shuttle. He said I could use the bathroom or have something out of the fridge. He reminded me of Australian men, very slap dash. They make me laugh. I should mention at Customs I heard my first sexist comment for a long time. I said to the Customs guy the signs don’t make sense, he says they are made by a woman. I said I don’t think so, he said yes, I said I don’t think so, he said she did and he kept answering me back for quite some time. I was surprised at his insistence to put women down. I’ve done research on signage and yes they are predominantly placed by men. So this is an attitude. It made me reflect on the sexist attitudes in Australia. I found David made a comment talking to the t.v. about women, I told him that is the second sexist comment today. He didn’t challenge me on it, but it made me think. I am not that impressed by the attitudes. But I also don’t want to be in judgement either, I have to find a way to accept this in the moment, this is an attitude I do not understand, other than insecurity or inferiority, or perhaps habit, culture etc. I wondered if he didn’t respect women. It may be made innocently. However, I see it as creating distance between men and women. We need to find the bridge back to respecting the differences and allowing for that.
So should be interesting being here. I am with a middle class couple who are at retirement age. I am looking forward to getting to know them.