|Richard & Stacy's Round the World Trip 2001|
Friday, May 25, 2001.
After a couple of fitful hours of sleep on a very bumpy aircraft (typhoons have a nasty habit of making air bumpy), we woke up to sunrise over the Straits of Malacca... less than an hour from Singapore. There was broken cloud and haze, but you could still make out the land and water below. Singapore is only one degree off of the equator, and the visible land all around was deep jungle green.
We had originally planned on touring Singapore for the twelve hours we had there... when we had booked the trip, there was a flight to Sydney available just a couple of hours after arriving, but first class was full. It seemed like a fine idea, to spend the day touring the city and then head off to Sydney on another overnight flight in first class. In fact, Singapore airlines even has city tours available for their passengers.
Unfortunately, the very rough flight and wear and tear of Turkey had wreaked havoc on our systems and we simply could not face any more travel, least of all in a place that was over 30 degrees Centigrade at 8am and nearing 100% humidity. We needed showers and rest, first and foremost. There is a transient hotel in the airport, but they didn't have rooms for another hour, so we headed over to the Singapore Airlines lounge.
Getting to the lounge wasn't easy, especially in our condition - it was upstairs, but we had a luggage cart, so we had to find an elevator, which tended to be down long winding corridors. And after you got to the right floor, there were more long winding corridors to get to the lounge.
The first class lounge of Singapore airlines is amazing! A large buffet with a wide range of food (which at this point we couldn't face), bathroom facilities (including showers), even slumberettes. A slumberette is a room designed to allow a single person to take a comfortable nap. And it appeared that Singapore Airlines went to great lengths to make sure that only naps take place in these rooms, the sleeping surfaces are molded to fit a reclined body, and the rooms are quite small, with glass doors.
Stacy headed for a nap, Richard headed for the shower and fresh clothing. Once we were both clean, changed and rested, we snacked a bit and relaxed. By the time we felt civilized enough to consider doing anything, most of the day had gone by - our window of opportunity for touring was gone.
With only an hour to go before our flight to Sydney, we took a stroll through the airport, exploring the shops and services... and found more goodies to take home. Finally it was time to fly, this time on a 747. We had previously flown a 747 from Vancouver to London, in the upstairs "hump" of the aircraft - that's the business class seating. This flight we were in first class, so we were downstairs in the nose - and much to our surprise and delight, there were the super seats again! Singapore Airlines has installed these seats in all their 747s, but haven't finished converting their 777 first class to them. And what a welcome sight - we both had a great sleep on our flight to Sydney.
Its easy to think that everything down in southeast Asia is relatively close together, but the flight from Singapore to Sydney is 3900 miles - about same distance as Chicago to Amsterdam! So we flew over six hours, right through the night to arrive in Sydney just before sunrise.