In a famous book series a guy named Ford Prefect advises you never go into space without a towel. Well we’re starting on our NRA (Nanette Retirement Adventure) and I’ve followed the sage advice of my friend J and packed a stapler.
We are standing looking lost at Sydney International Airport thanks to a very early start in Newcastle and the generous chauffeuring of son Steve. This place is huge. There are so many flights that they can’t fit the info onto the two huge screens. A post-it note near the bottom of one screen says our check in is at row Z. We’re at row A so we plunge headlong into the mass of legs and cases. Exactly sixty three minutes later we’re “through”. Through immigration, through security and ready to go. There was that slight moment of concern when I misheard the guy in the uniform telling me I had to undergo a full body scan but you get that.
….. We’re at 34,000 feet somewhere between Sydney and a place that’s not Sydney. It’s bumpy. The pilot tells us it’s just turbulence and it should stop when we land in four and a half hours time. No worries. It’s OK because I secretly hope those people we saw sitting in the big first class seats up front have had to return their lounge chair/beds to the upright position. I don’t really begrudge them their luxuries, but it’s a bit cruel the way the airlines always make you walk through the flash bit of the plane on your way to row 634.
Anyway, back to the stapler. J tells me my pre-travel checklist of “passport, credit card, done” just doesn’t cut it anymore so I have my “travel stapler” securely packed. Unfortunately, it had to be packed in the hold as a security measure, so I’ll just have to wring my hands if they announce “the turbulence has loosened the left wing! Is there a stapler on board?”
At last we arrive – in Singapore. The pilot was true to his word and did a few of those tricks where you bounce on a big air pocket and then immediately drop the A380 about a thousand feet, but – it did become much calmer just after we thumped down on the tarmac. We walk about a zillion miles through the terminal and do the reverse of the immigration and baggage thing, then suddenly, we’re out in the big wide world wondering how to get to our hotel. No problems. We’ve heard how efficient the taxi system is so we grab a cab.
In no time we’re at our resort hotel and twenty smiling guys are fighting to drag our bags inside for us. We’re tired and just want to get to our room but we still try to look like pros as we saunter over to the reception to check in. What do you mean it’s the wrong hotel? “Ah, well sir, you’re actually booked into the hotel at the other end of the island. It has exactly the same name but it is definitely different.”
Another taxi ride, more smiling porters and we’re on the way to our room. As fate would have it, our room is so far from the reception that we have to change porters three times at staging points along the corridors. Just when we are about to give up hope we finally arrive at our door. There’s another awkward moment while I try to figure out whether to tip the last porter standing, and how much, but we muddle through and collapse on the bed. Peace at last. What?? You’re kidding!! They have peacocks outside somewhere. Where’s my stapler!