MARS 7 - The journey home.
2 Oct 2007
|Friday - Saturday, 14-15 September.
This final update has taken a little while to get around to, for which I blame a short stint in hospital and a day or so of computer problems - couldn't possibly have been laziness! Maybe it was lethargy, after such a terrific holiday? Whatever the reason, as I look back on the trip, I feel ready for another! Anyway, I thought I had better tidy up the journal with a one last instalment.
On the Friday morning, we really appreciated having made the effort to get to a hotel somewhat near to the airport. It gave us time for a reasonable breakfast and a departure at the civilised hour of 8:00 AM. We had no problem finding our way to the M4 and out to the car rental return depot, unlike our adventure through the heart of London the night before! Once we returned the car, the shuttle bus took us out to the terminal. During the short drive, we had a good look at one of BA's old Concorde aircraft - it still looks fantastic!
At the terminal, the numerous armed police around the entrances gave us a little reminder of the realities of modern air travel; however, once inside, their presence was much less conspicuous. Nevertheless check in, customs and security are more stringent and time-consuming than anywhere else we have travelled recently, so we were doubly grateful for having given ourselves extra time. Take note, any of you who are planning on travelling through Heathrow...
The flight itself to Singapore was uneventful and notable only for SIA's usual excellent service. Once we arrived in Singapore, we had about an hour scheduled together, before Marie, Angela and I were to go our separate ways - Marie was off to Phuket for a ten day holiday, so she could recover from the rigours of travelling with us! We, on the other hand, were heading back to Oz for work - not fair!!
As it turned out, our onward flight to Sydney was delayed, due to engine problems, so we had a lot more time together in Singapore. I'm always happy when an airline takes the time to fix a problem, rather than take a chance... In the end, we had about a four-hour delay and left in our opposite directions at about the same time.
One little experience of Marie's that future travellers through Singapore Airport may like to note - Marie bought a bottle of whiskey in the Heathrow duty free shop, before boarding the flight to Singa. In between flights, we were in the transit area of Changi Airport - amongst all the duty free shops - and did not leave the 'airside' part of the airport. However, when Marie went to the gate for her flight (after we had parted), the officials there confiscated her whiskey because it was not in a Changi Airport bag! It didn't seem to matter that it had been bought 'airside' in London. Now, I don't know if this is real policy or a scam on the part of an individual, but it is something to beware of, if any of you are travelling through Singapore.
After our delay, Angela and I had another uneventful flight to Sydney. The only real problem our delay caused was that my sister, Sue, had to wait up rather later than planned to pick us up at the airport. But she is a stout soul and didn't complain, bless her! On the Sunday, we had a very relaxed day with Sue and family. Eventually, though, we had to succumb to the realities of being home, so I dropped Angela at the train to Newcastle and I drove off to Canberra - and work on the morrow....
Dear family, friends and all visitors to our journal - we have had a wonderful trip and it pretty much went off to plan. This has also been our first effort to share a trip with others, via the 'net, and I have to say I have enjoyed every minute of doing so. We particularly enjoyed the positive feedback we received and hope that you have all enjoyed the journey with us and been inspired to plan your own wonderful expedition. Thanks for sharing it with us and we hope to catch up with many of you in the coming weeks and months.
Cheerio! Marie, Angela and Ray.
Postscript - This last update took so long for me to write, that Marie is now back from Thailand! I am happy to report that she had a wonderful time and is fully recovered from the hard work of the preceding four weeks! 'Bye now!