Day 1 - 26/06/2002 - Sydney, Singapore
Got two hours sleep ...
I might be called the master of organisation, but it is always interesting to learn how just one thing can cause lost sleep ... after ambitiously thinking that my suitcase would weight less than the 20KG required on my ticket, I did not clarify my entitlements (or charges if I exceeded the luggage weight limit). This led to a long process of trying to decide what to take (or not take). Several hours later and two phone calls to the USA (it seemed clear to me that I was entitled to take up to 32KG because North America was one of my stops (something for other people to know) - I ended up having no problems at the airport.
Clint and Julie took me to the airport - it is always good to have friends there for company ... and to help carry all the luggage
Thank you to all the people who offered to take me to the airport - it is very comforting.
The airflight was great.
They fed me like a king. I decided not to drink any alcohol on the plane to avoid dehydration/tiredness/DVT (Deep Vain Thrombosis), so I though I would get my monies worth out of the meals and non-alcoholic drinks. I was having seconds of all the meals, which seemed to amuse some of the flight attendants (and people around me) ... one flight attendant smiled at me and said "are you still hungry?" (they actually were very nice and polite - treating you like a VIP).
The highlight of the trip was the personal view screen installed on every seat! It was a "near" video on demand system where you can choose to watch your own movies, TV shows or play computer/Nintendo games! It made the trip go so quickly.
I got to watch a movie I wanted to see "I am Sam". It liked like it was going to be a real tear jerker, and it did live up to my expectations ... it was slightly embarrassing to be balling my eyes out, with complete strangers around me (I highly recommend this movie, remarkable acting and the complete soundtrack is made up of Beatles songs).
The person next to me was nice, but I found it hard to understand her, and she spat in my face when she spoke, so I kept that conversation to a minimum (with the aid of the view screen and headphones) - I think I will make more of an effort with other people I meet in my travels.
Arrived in Singapore smoothly and went through customs in a matter of split seconds. It was strange, the customs agent waved at me from a distance and said "have a nice stay".
The doors to leave the airport opened up and WOW, the HEAT!
It did not really occur to me that Singapore is on the equator, and hence very hot and dry.
The Allson hotel is nice and above my expectation for the price that we paid. Went for a walk to get some information and plan my night and the next day.
VIDEO: Hotel Room [MPG 200KB]
Had a swim in the pool which helped stretch after the plane and battle the heat. Picked up a towel ant the pool, and the towel was boiling hot. I asked the pool attendant if the towel had just come out of the dryer, and he looked at me strange .. I then realised that the towel was that hot from the outside heat!
Watched the soccer semi-final match tonight (between Brazil and Turkey) at a very big park (like the Domain in Sydney) with thousands of people. Had lots of nice cheap temporary take-away food shops. Got what most people seemed to be eating - satay sticks :) They were great. The sauce was peanutty and spicy :) Only $6 for 10 sticks (they were small but good value).
VIDEO: Watching Soccer [MPG 180KB] [Streaming Windows Media 150KB]
Singapore was a lot nicer that I expected. Everything is in English and I could have thought I was in Sydney (except for a slightly different ethnic mix, but not that different). They seem to be really geared towards being a tourist destination, and the customer service seems better than what I am used to (a nice change).
Went to sleep after turning the air conditioner lower - maybe too low ...