For the purposes of informing my family and keeping a record for my faulty memory I am going to blog, where possible, Sandy’s and my trip to Paris for ICIS’2008. This first installment is from the start of the travel in Struck Oil through to the QANTAS Club in Singapore Airport.
The day started early. Awake in bed thinking about getting up. Zach came in about 10 past 5 and the packing started. They day went down hill from there. Getting packed and the kids in the car went okay, pretty well. Then we got to school to drop Anna off.
A misunderstanding around the appropriate sharing of a scarce resource between two minors led to a dictatorial response from the paternal side of the family that only served to exacerbate tensions with the eldest child. Creating a far from harmonious note on which to part company for 10 days. Sorry Bear.
On arriving at child care, the plan was to phone a taxi to pick us up from my parents place (where our car is resting whilst we’re away). At this stage it appeared that I’d left my phone at home – possibly the first of many things left at home.
Further investigation, after some less than acceptable language, revealed that the phone had been included and the taxi could be called. Of course, at this stage I proceeded to give them the wrong address for Mum and Dad’s. Which meant that it would be somewhat difficult for the taxi driver to arrive on time. With time running out (not really, but it felt like it) we forced mum to get out of her pyjamas and act as driver to take us to the airport.
Okay, we’re there. Just check in and everything will flow. But it didn’t. The guys at the check in counter couldn’t check us through all the way to Paris. Apparently our upgrade to business class on one leg hadn’t come through. They could only book us through to Brisbane. Which meant we had to pick up our bag and take it across to the international airport in Brisbane.
We arrive in Brisbane, get off the Dash 8 and wonder into the domestic airport to pick up our bag. We didn’t hurry as it normally takes some while to arrive. We didn’t think it would be quite so long. Due to the delay, we waved goodbye to the train that takes you from the domestic terminal to the international. 30 minutes until the next plane. With the time getting very close to problematic.
We do finally get in. Though we do get an “express” card to get through customs quicker. Not that we really needed to worry because the plane was at least an hour late leaving Brisbane due to “the late arrival of the in-bound airplane”.
Having checked the flight details a couple of days ago I expected we’d have a QANTAS Airbus, a 320 or such like. Instead we had a 747-300 which going by the external look is quite ancient, in fact it looked like the tail had a dent in it. The internals of the plane, once we got on, reinforced this. (According to wikipedia the 300 was “sold” between 1980 and 1985.) And it went downhill from there.
The menu we were provided to provide an overview of the food we’d be provided did not match the food which we received. The Q Entertainment Guide which is meant to inform about which channels which movies would be on, didn’t match the reality of the entertainment system. The ancient nature of the entertainment system (and I imagine its configuration) meant you needed the guide. The system did not tell you which movies were on which channels. You were simply told that there was Movie Channels 1 through 7, not what was on them. Gotta love flying QANTAS.
The one advantage was that the apparently bigger plan meant that there was room. Sandy and I shared 3 seats between us.
So a few hours in Singapore airport was spent eating (not memorable), shopping (somewhat memorable) and sitting the in QANTAS club writing this. Sandy has just headed out to buy some sneakers as the boots she has on don’t work well after podiatrial swelling.
One of the laughs of Singapore airport was the Disney promotion. Just near where we were eating was this big, fake Disney set up. A stage of some sort with a cartoon pirate ship nearby. The pirate ship had a pirate Mickey standing on it, eye patch and all. Fairy lights all over it, very “nice” and lots of folk taking their photo in front of and on it.
You could climb up onto the pirate ship to have your photo taken near Mickey. Near here was the mast with fairy lights draped down the mast to a height where kids could touch the lights. Thankfully, from a health and safety perspective, there was a rather nice sign warning of the high voltage nature of the fairy lights.