14 April 2012
Six months off to go travelling around Europe. We left armed only with four years worth of savings, our backpacks and a vague plan to see the countries around the Mediterranean. It’s the first time M and I will have backpacked together, and probably our last chance to go on a big trip. As well as dispelling my ignorance about vast chunks of the world, I’m hoping to do lots of reading and writing, so there’ll be more frequent posts about the places I visit, as well as the books I’m reading.
The flight from Melbourne to Singapore left at midnight, and I was pleasantly surprised that I managed to sleep for most of it without popping a valium. We had a three hour stopover, which gave us a chance to stretch our legs and disentangle our spines. If you have to be trapped in the strange, sleepless world of an airport for a few hours, you could do a lot worse than Changi Terminal 3. There’s hawker-style food like satay and Hainese chicken rice, as well as all the usual chain stores and twenty-four hour shopping, if you’re into that sort of thing. We took a shower, had a coffee and walked around the butterfly house.
There are even little touchscreens in the toilet so that you can provide feedback on their cleanliness and service. I did a tour of the restrooms, giving the cleaners a little electronic pat on the back of a “very good” rating (not “excellent” – they need something to strive for), feeling benevolent and absolved of any obligation to leave a tip.
Despite people’s warning that the flight to London was worse than a trip on the Event Horizon, the fourteen hours slipped away painlessly. We were flying with Singapore airlines, who have excellent service, good food and figure-hugging uniforms. I read The Kindly Ones, did some writing and watched two movies: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows ((to get me in the mindset of being in England) and The Muppets (to get me in the mindset of being called a muppet). I don’t care what anyone says, I like sexy kung-fu druggy Sherlock Holmes.
There was only one bad part to the flight. Since I belong to the oppressed minority of left-handers, I always find myself elbow-fencing for arm rest space. He seems to be studying medicine of something, but is that really as important as capturing my jet-setting toilet-related experiences?
Saw on the info screen that it’s six degrees in London at midday. Why didn’t anyone warn me England is so cold?