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The Loooooooong Plane ride

03 Oct

The plane left not too late, all things being equal – about 40 minutes behind schedule, with an expectation of making up at least some of that en route to Singapore. I’m typing this as we fly over Alice Springs – ironic that the closest I have ever been to Uluru is way up in the sky above it.

I was lucky with seating – a group of 3 (I have the window seat – I am *such* a baby) with only the aisle seat occupied, so my neighbour and I have a bit of room to spread out. She’s an elderly woman (I think Italian) with very little-to-no English, so we are communicating by pointing and grinning. It’s working so far.

I’m typing this on my eee as we travel – either the in-flight entertainment is broken or I am. Given that I can see around 15 screens and the only one that is showing anything has the flight map (the only thing I could get working too), I am guessing that it is probably the in-flight entertainment, although obviously my sample size is limited. I made the mistake of putting my backpack – with most of my in-flight Things To Do – in the overhead lockers. Given that my neighbour seems to have some trouble standing, I’m waiting for a spare flight attendant to get it down for me (rather than make her move).

Here is what I packed for the flight.

* 2 trashy novels

* 1 good “classic” Australian novel that I haven’t read for a while

* my eee pc (with nothing specific to do)

* my ipod (with music and the last 10 episodes of my 2 podcasts of choice, as well as a French detective story – the novel for that is in my bag too)

* my French grammar book (!)

* my Hungarian grammar book (!!)

* moisturiser and stuff

* a notebook and several pens

* printouts of the OMGESSEN! preview from Boardgamenews and from Spielbox

* printouts of Fraser’s and my wishlists

* cash, travel itineraries, passport, etc

* camera

* the power cord for my eee (not sure what sort of points they will have in Singapore)

* Nurofen plus (ibuprofen plus codeine). Already taking these. Tooth aching but I think it is psychosomatic. Whatever – it doesn’t hurt to be slightly out of it on a long plane trip

* Sudafed 6 hour (pseudoephedrine) (no I am not starting an illegal drug lab in the bathrooms – I have a bit of a cold and this is the best way to clear sinuses for a flight). 

* moisturiser (I am such a girl)

* my gore-tex jacket (in case it rains on the plane? No, we are not in Spain! Because I had it strapped to my backpack and that seemed a sane place to leave it)

The Sudafed was interesting – I bought it at the airport and had to show the pharmacist my boarding pass and passport, so she could record the information. Presumably my name is not now on a list of illegal lab wannabes.

Sent the kids their first postcard from Melbourne airport – hopefully it will arrive tomorrow, before the weekend. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to send a card from transit at Singapore airport, so they will have one on Monday or Tuesday too. Also managed to get my built-in webcam working so I can skype with Fraser and the kids.

There is the most beautiful sunset out the windows – blue sky, then green, yellow, orange, pinky red, then violet. If I thought my camera was up to it, I’d take a photo. Note that I do not mention my Mad Photo Skillz (as I have none).

**********

Now I’m at the other end of the journey – 3 hours and 33 minutes to go, and we’re flying over the Black Sea. We’ve made excellent time – despite the delay leaving Melbourne, the flight is due in at 5:06, 19 minutes early. At least part of the credit for that must go to the ruthless efficiency of Singapore airport. Here’s what happened.

When we landed, we were told that we all had to get off the plane. I knew there’s a Transit Mall at Changi airport, so decided to zoom down there and see whether I could buy a postcard and send it to the girls.

I hurried down the corridor – I think there were about 6 travelators before I reached the mall. Found some postcards and asked about stamps, and was directed to a store at the other end of the mall. All fine and good, I was about 7 minutes into my allotted half hour. Hurried off towards the other end of the mall, then noticed that one of the flight announcement screens was already listing ym flight as “boarding”. What to do, what to do? I wasn’t about to take the chance (and figured that I wouldn’t have time to write and post the card anyway) so turned to return to my gate. As I reached the travelators, I saw that the announcement had been upgraded – my flight was now on Final Call.

Now despite being 9pm in Singapore and bucketing with rain, it was still 28 degrees (Celsius). And I was carrying my handbag and my small backpack, and was wearing my big warm cuddly cardigan. OMGYikes! I bolted – ran up all the travelators, and got to the gate – where we had to clear security again. There was still a queue, and I could see that they hadn’t really started letting people on the plane, so I relaxed a bit. In my mind, I had images of the Bigster’s favourite show Border security and how they always think people who are sweating are suspicious – that didn’t bode well for me 🙂

While I was in the queue, the sign upgraded to “Closing” – lucky I hadn’t mucked around. First I had to put my hand luggage through the x ray scanner again – but this time, I had to get out my mobile phone and PC to go through separately. They also made me remove my cardigan. The metal detector thingy beeped (as far as I could tell, it beeped for every 2nd person) so I also had a frisk search before gathering my things and moving to the next check point – this one apparently checking for forged boarding passes. I got a little stamp on my boarding pass. 

Next stop was – not sure what – maybe some sort of checkin? The third place in 20 metres or so where I had to show passport and boarding pass, anyway. Then it was into the gate lounge to put my secret money holder back on (not sure how secret it is when you put it on in full view of everyone). 

I didn’t even have time for a toilet stop.

Postcards are written (with this story, mostly) and will be posted first thing when I get to the UK.

Back on the plane, the captain announced that there was something wrong with the in-flight entertainment system and he would have to do a full reboot of it – and that it would take 45 minutes! The horror!

I managed to – hmm – not quite nap – at least close my eyes and think quiet and peaceful thoughts – for a big chunk of this trip. Now, looking down, I can see some city lights out the window, rather than the unrelenting blackness that we’ve seen for a while.

Thurn und Taxis moment – flying West-North-West just south of Lvov; Lodz has appeared on the  flight map thingy. I’m still very tempted to take the train that does all the light green and purple cities. Meanwhile, I can see Budapest as well (well, I can see it on the map) – and Katowice, which was proposed as a possible place to visit at one point. (Later, I couldn’t decide whether I was in a game of Auf Achse or Thurn und Taxis, with all the cities showing)

***

Arriving at Heathrow, my luggage  ran true to form by being last off the plane – there were 4 of us waiting, a good 20 minutes after the rest had come off. I’m not sure wehther it was searched – mine arrived with the colourful strap hanging off it, undone. I had just texted Fraser to say I thought it was lost when it finally appeared. Yay.

Sorted out internet access at the Yotel. Now I can settle, rest, catch up on OMGADAY’s worth of email, and get ready to head into London.

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7 Comments

Posted by on October 3, 2008 in travel

 

7 responses to “The Loooooooong Plane ride

  1. Fraser

    October 3, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    The girls thought it was cute that you arrived at London around 25 hours after we left the airport 🙂 I told them after your text arrived.

     
  2. Jocy

    October 3, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Glad you made the flight ok despite the troubles. Looking forward to meeting you. Love Jocy

     
  3. Gil

    October 4, 2008 at 5:37 am

    Awesome! Have a great time!

     
  4. jon

    October 4, 2008 at 5:55 am

    There was a fire alarm in Melissa’s hotel in York. Everybody had to stand in the car park. The fire people turned up. After a while, they called out somebody’s room number. The offender was told off in front of everyone for smoking in non-smoking room! The two women that were stood in dressing gowns with towels wrapped around their wet hair were not pleased! But Melissa is safe, happy, and off to dinner with her rellos.

    By the way, Melissa is nicer in Real Life than on teh interwebs.

     
  5. Fraser

    October 4, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Thanks for the update Jon – I think 😉

     
  6. gregor

    October 4, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Have a great trip Melissa! missed yous at EGF today; didn’t realise you were leaving so early.

     
  7. Fraser

    October 5, 2008 at 9:34 am

    The girls wanted to stay at home on Saturday as opposed to visit Nanna, so EGF was off for this month.

     

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