After an exhausting month of travel I reluctantly made my way to Tegal Airport in Berlin to begin my long, long journey home.
My first flight was just five hours to Moscow where I had a few hours to stretch my legs and prepare for the next three legs of the journey. As we descended into Domodedovo airport I got my first impression of a country that had always slightly scared me and the view I saw lived up to every little expectation. The Airport was in the middle of a very dense forest which had a few clearings with what looked like abandoned hospitals surrounded by watch towers. Upon landing, the tarmac had quite a few rusty aircraft that had seemed to be forgotten about (at least I hoped they weren’t flying). I exited the airport starving as I had failed to inform the Russian Airline I required a vegetarian meal. Strangely, this airport had no place I could exchange or withdraw money and I didn’t really think I would need to bring any Russian Ruble with me. So there I was, starving and exhausted in a Russian Airport unable to communicate with any airport staff member so unfortunately didn’t pick up any vodka.
The next leg from Moscow to Hong Kong was just under ten hours. In this five hour stop over I had to exit through customs, grab my bag and reconnect to my first Jetstar Flight. As it had been a long time since I had eaten or slept the first thing I did was look for food, ate it and then lay on the floor and tried to get an hour or so sleep before I apprehensively got on my next plane. An hour before I was due to go through I stepped outside and was immediately hit my the muggiest atmosphere I had ever encountered, the air was thick to breath and within seconds of exiting the terminal the monsoon rain began to pelt the ground beneath me. I escaped the rain and went to get rid of my worst enemy, Dena, my suitcase. As I went to check the bitch in I was told the connecting flight I was meant to catch from Singapore was cancelled and there would be no other flight for 26 hours. The man at the airport noticed the pained look on my face and advised them that if I ran to the Jetstar counter upon arrival at Changi Airport there may be a flight I could make.
As soon as I landed I ran to the Jetstar counter and found three members of staff playing Candy Crush on their Iphones and paying no attention to the customers surrounding their desk. After eventually getting their eyes away from their phones I told them I needed to get home, it wasn’t just a request it was a demand. They just looked at me, picked up the phone and passed me the receiver. On the other end of the phone an angry man told me there was nothing he could do and I would be stuck in Singapore for the next 26 hours. After almost twenty hours of travel I had had enough. I was so tired that I barely had the energy to drag Dena through the airport and out to the second customer services desk to get my next set of instructions. They gave me a note instructing me to take a paid taxi to a hotel in the city which would be on them. I took a Chrysler ride to my luxury hotel, took the elevator to the 16th floor, set my alarm to ensure I would make the most of my one day in Singapore then slept for the first time in over thirty hours.
I awoke the next morning in a much better mood, I had an amazingly comfortable night’s sleep and I pulled the blinds to see an amazing view of sunny Singapore. As I had visited this country on a school exchange as a 14 year old back in 2001 I had a small idea of what I wanted to achieve with my day. First I walked down to the MRT and lost ½ my body weight in sweat. I caught the Metro a few stops to the cable car which took me over to the beautiful beaches of Sentosa Island. I lay on the beach and soaked up the sun, trying to squeeze in every ounce of tan before heading back to winter. I spent as much time on the beach as possible until heading back to the hotel to catch the bus with all those other ‘unlucky’ passengers. It turns out two of the other guests were supposed to board the Malaysian Air flight that was shot down over the Ukraine the day before, unbelievably they had the nerve to complain about the 26 hour delay we had encountered in a five star hotel.
Back at Changi Airport I mentally prepared myself for my final eight hours in the air. For once I slept for a segment of the flight before waking up to arrive to a cold dark Melbourne Sunday. The trip I had anticipated and saved for over the past year was now over. I must admit I was looking forward to adding a little more normality back into my life, but if I could, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.