Passengers

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Once upon a time when a ship arrived on our shores from foreign parts. Would you believe that the passenger lists were actually published on a prominent page of our News Papers? Same treatment later for the flying boat service which preceded the Air Lines . As well, the fashion editor from the News Paper often turned out in person to meet the vessel, and describe to her eager readers after interviewing what these lucky folk were wearing. And further more, describe in detail their current hair and shoe styles, which were relayed to a fashion hungry country. Not so today, for a start, no passenger lists are available, nor will any Airline give out any information regarding who is travelling, or for that matter where or when. In fact today people tend to dress down with track suits being the most popular item of fashion. So I cant see any fashion editor turning out to view that sartorial fashion article.

It never seems to amaze me as well ,that there some very, very, large sized woman who also wish to follow the trend, and squeeze themselves into a track suit which does absolutely nothing for their figure..Maybe too they dress differently in the First Class these days, but then again, I don’t travel First Class. So if there is a fashion statement being made in that pampered area, I’m sorry, but I’m unable to study it.

I hate going to the Air Port these days to pick up family or friends. Drop off’s are much easier, as we are no longer encouraged to wander into the ‘Check In’ area with the departing Friend or Family. Arrivals today are however a much different kettle of fish, Even to get this information it’s a stab in the dark. I have over time come up with my own system which keeps frustration down to a minimum. I drive close to the Air Port, park and read my book or paper that I have brought along. I then wait on the call from whom I’m meeting. This will only come when they have cleared customs, immigration, and security and retrieved their baggage. I then drive into the airport pick up point.

Oh! For the days gone by, when departing or arriving was a most memorable occasion. I can still remember going down to the wharf to wave goodbye to the SS.Maheno and her passengers. She had just been refitted and restored to her former elegance as the Union Company’s premium passenger liner. Resplendent in green, pink colours, after being rescued from rotten row. This was where a raft of idle ships, that had all been moored together in the lower harbour for some years, all waiting for work. Half the town was present, on the wharf, as well as the local Band, to give the Maheno a fitting send off. It was more than an occasion, perhaps even a sign that good times were just around the corner, and that the depression was over. Streamers and confetti were thrown from the ship to shore, and I seem to remember too the price of a return ticket to Australia was was around 5 pounds. That’s $10 in today’s money. Dirt cheap I hear you say? Well not quite, as a the pay for a week’s work back then, was only 5. So when you equate that to an average weeks pay of today, perhaps not so cheap. These fare figures may be inexact, but they are what has stuck in my mind over time, and it was a long time ago.

There is one Air Port that I know more about than any other and that’s Queenstown’s. When we first arrived there to live, their terminal it wasn’t much more than a glorified tin shed. In fact the hangers for private air craft storage were much better installations. I seem to remember over the thirty five years that we lived there, they had at least five or six major rebuilds. Always the same, always rebuilding for today, never tomorrow ,and when the terminal when completed, immediately it was out of date. I can’t be too critical, as the Bank had the same problem. I couldn’t seem to get through to the architects, we were always running from behind, and always cramped for space with the growth we were experiencing.

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