Its been a long effort to get this far and also quite emotional as well. Firstly leaving Adelaide and saying goodbye to my lovely girlfriend Vanessa was much more emotional than I could have imagined. I must have looked like a right royal sook in the customs and immigration section with my eyes welling up. Hope I never have to go through that again.
Finally boarding the Qantas flight to Singapore I knew it wasn’t going to be good as I had an Indian family behind me with 2 kids screaming and kicking the seats in front of them, even before take off. Also had a relatively large man in front who instantly reclined his seat back into my face as soon as the ‘Fasten Seatbelt’ light was switched off. Given his weight he got a few extra inches of reclination much to my further annoyance. At least the air hostesses were onto to him at meal times, forcing him to put his seat up as I couldn’t even get my table down. Every time he got up he kept giving me evil stares probably because through my frustrations I was kneeing him in the back. Under normal circumstances I am a good passenger when it comes to flying but even have my limits as to what I will put up with.
Surprisingly the food and service on Qantas was much better quality than I usually expect so thumbs up to them. They were also quite helpful in letting me taste all the available wines on the list free of charge. It is probably going to be a while before I get to drink a good Australian wine again. They also made sure I was drinking plenty of water in between them too. Nothing beats responsible service of alcohol for a change, especially on a plane.
After 7 hours of discomfort on Qantas I arrived at Changi Airport in Singapore. It was so good to be able stretch the legs, ride the travelators and peruse the shops. Took the airport skytrain to check out the Butterfly Garden in one of the terminals, which was really good, although very humid inside. Such a struggle to take photos as the lens fogged up almost instantly. Wandering back around the airport aimlessly (is there any other way?) I came around the Cactus Garden. Unfortunately it was in the smoking section of Harry’s Bar but its another I can tick off the list. Trying to take photos in a dimly lit garden at night is a near impossibility but I gave it a go nonetheless.
It was then turn to wait to board the flight to Helsinki. We spent an eternity on the tarmac because one wheelchair bound client couldn’t fit into the seat correctly so they had to take her and family off the plane. That’s what it looked like from my perspective anyway. Found myself sitting next to a older Finnish lady who gave me all this information on Helsinki as well as some basic directions and which transport to catch to where I was staying. Information like this is valuable when you are lucky enough to get it.
This flight was on Finnair and the plane looked so new and clean, especially compared to the Qantas one and what amazed me was how respectful the Europeans are when it comes to flying. Its like clockwork at meal time where everyone puts their seat up with no question and then down again once service is over. This could just be a Finnish habit as I haven’t flown much throughout Europe but if it gives me an idea as to how polite the Finnish people are, Helsinki should be a great place to visit.
Given it was a night flight, managed to sneak in about 6 hours sleep. Possibly a record for me as I am one of those people who struggles to sleep on planes. Woke up with a view of the sun rising somewhere over Russia (near Moscow, according to the map on the plane) which was pretty cool. I think I have also set a record for watching The Simpsons movie in as many languages as possible. Doesn’t matter what the language it’s still funny.
Upon arrival in Helsinki, there has been nothing but rain, but I am sure this will change in the next few days (I hope!!)
Wonder what fun and joy will eventuate over the next few days…..