Reading back over my entries, I see I am in danger of swaying off the subject of what this site is trying to achieve. So this week I am going to start right back at the very beginning of everybody’s journey… and give you some information on that first step….
Your flight over to Oz….
There are many routes that can be taken to Australia, but no matter which way you go, you will require a refuelling stop. This can either be a painfully boring experience, or one filled with fun!
Only the other week, I was waiting for my connecting flight in Dubai, where I had to wait several hours…. with my toddler who had a miserable cold and no pushchair. Yes, no pushchair… because even though you are promised to get yours back when you check in at your first departure airport, you will not see it again in Dubai… it will go straight to your final destination. They do, however, provide complimentary pushchairs for your convenience.
But it wasn’t convenient… it was downright inconvenient. There were none available for me to use in the whole airport and I was forced to lumber a 22lb child and two compact but heavy carry-on bags approximately a mile and a half to our departure gate.
When I arrived at the gate, rather sweaty and limp, I had just plonked down my load when an eerie wailing sound came over the tannoy. Looking around, I found the bustling airport to have transformed into a place of desolation…. as a huge proportion of the travellers had disappeared into the prayer rooms. If I had needed a pushchair now, this would have been the time to get one…. but as I had little energy left after my hike, I sat down with my son and ate tarnies (sultanas) until we were able to board our plane.
So, if you are like me and would prefer to make the journey as much fun as possible, then you might want to opt for an overnight stopover, perhaps at Singapore airport?
The airport hotel is situated, as you may expect, in the airport. But to be more precise, in the ‘arrivals’ area, so there is actually no need to trundle through the rigmarole of customs and the like. The reception is found after a small escalator ride to the next floor, where you are greeted by huge glass windows and swivel doors which open out onto an inviting outdoor pool and bar.
When we relocated a few years ago, this is were we headed once we had checked in at reception. I remember changing into our swimwear and parading our translucant English bodies out towards the pool area.
It is a strange feeling to walk out from the comfortable air-conditioned capsule of the airport, to the sudden weighty, moisture-filled air of humidity that Singapore is renown for. But after the initial gasping of breath and frantic flapping of hands in front of our faces – like a make-shift fan, we timidly entered the pool.
Well, what a wonderful experience! The pool was delightfully warm – due to the fact that Singapore’s temperature barely drops below 25 degrees at night, there was not another soul around apart from us and the happy chap at the bar who was busily cleaning glasses and generally clattering about.
Floating on my back and looking up at the night sky with it’s clusters of unfamiliar stars, I knew this was something everyone who does long-haul flights (especially after sitting in cattle-class with kids) simply must experience…
Although having said that, the occasional screaming jet noise as the planes took off and the smell of aviation fuel was a trite noxious, but then for heavens sake, we were in the departure lounge!
Choosing somewhere to stop on your journey may not be something that really crosses your mind when you are booking your flight. And to be honest, most of the time all you want to do is ‘get there’ – but having a proper rest on your long-haul, may help you arrive just a little more refreshed, and that can only be a good thing when you’ve travelled all that way.