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2020 - SNZA - Travelling Home

Our intention of getting some sleep before the long flights home was not really achieved. Just after midnight yet another agency called asking Karen to work on the very same day that she had had the other call not long after we had got into bed. The Hotel had proved to be quite noisy as well with people arriving and leaving through the night. The alarm was set for 2.45am but as we were both awake at 2.30am we got up. It was with some trepidation that I swung my leg out of bed, but there was no increased pain. In fact it seemed slightly better. It was still stiff but I could walk without too much difficulty. I took some more of the tablets just in case though. As the day wore on the stiffness lessened. I think that I had actually probably been bitten by some Australian nasty and that my body had managed to deal with it overnight. We had walked around a couple of places where we had seen the most enormous ants almost the size of your fingertip. My problem is that for most of my right leg I have no feeling and would not have felt anything biting me. Anyhow we were driving the short distance to the airport by 3.30am. We ended up ignoring the Sat Nav and following the road signs and found the car drop off point easily enough. As it was out of hours we had to just leave the keys in a drop box. It was a 3 minute walk to the Terminal. There was only a short queue at checkin. With Singapore Airlines the baggage limit is 30kg and as we were both under 23kg there was no problem. They then asked to weigh on our carry on luggage and we were told we were both over the 7kg limit, Karen by almost double. I said this was not a problem on the way out but they insisted we would not be allowed to board with them. The obvious answer was to repack some of our hand luggage into our main bags. Now I was not too far over the limit and most of the weight came from the laptop, iPad and wires etc. I opened my case and just shoved the heavier things into my big case and was sorted in about 30 seconds. Karen on the other hand took ages. She opened her hand luggage and it was full of clothes, many of which I would swear I have never seen before. There was probably more clean clothes than most people would take on a whole months trip. Rather than pick up a whole wad of them she went through each one, weighing each one in her hand. Then contemplated if she would mind if she never saw whatever it was again if her suitcase was lost. I got more and more exasperated. Then she tried to move a couple of things into my hand luggage at which point I lost it after I had got it under the limit. After a couple of attempts of convincing herself she had moved enough and then re-weighing the bag to find she was she way over, eventually she found a pair of jeans (why were they even packed in the first place) which got her close enough to allow us to get our boarding cards. In all the kerfuffle I couldn’t find where I had I put the passports once they had been handed back to me which caused us more anxiety until I found I had put them into a different part of the travel wallet to normal. Eventually we got to Security where by now a very stressed Karen had an altercation with an Aussie man who apparently was very rude to her when she was trying to retrieve her belongings from being scanned. I missed it as I waiting at the back of the area for her. I thought a coffee was needed to settle her down but we were so early I ended up walking miles trying to find somewhere open to get one. Apart from my ankle our main concern today was whether the 50 minute connection time in Singapore was sufficient for us to make the second flight. It really depended if the first flight was on time or not. It seemed as if it was a very slow boarding process, but although we took off a few minutes late, we actually arrived 25 minutes early. As we knew the flights were going to long we had contemplated actually paying for an upgrade to give us more room and be more comfortable. I kept monitoring the cost needed and but it never came below £1800 extra. As that was far far more than we had paid for all the flights altogether we passed on that opportunity. Instead we paid an extra £90in total for us both to have exit row seats on the first leg and then extra leg room on the second. How glad we were and what a bargain that proved to be. On both flights we also actually had a spare seat next to us. We could easily both stand up and get out without disturbing each other and my legs could not have stretched out any further. We will definitely do that again on any long flights like this. The first flight was just over 5 hours. I decided not to watch any films but to try and sleep. I dozed fitfully and the time soon passed. The cabin service though was appalling. The in flight announcements were inaudible. The food was poor. When I tried to use the in flight entertainment system to see the flight tracker it didn’t work. I had it rebooted twice but then gave in. I tried to read a newspaper but my light was broken. All on the ‘Airline of the year’. I have now sent in a complaint but don’t suppose anything will come of it. When we landed we rushed off the plane and were guided to our next gate which was only 6 along from where we had landed. We had a brief toilet stop but were disappointed that we didn’t pass anywhere selling drinks before we got to the next gate. Boarding started almost immediately we got there. This time I choose to watch 500 days of Summer, that I enjoyed followed by Eat, Love, Pray which was probably a bit too deep for me but passed the time. In between I tried to sleep. The food was just as inedible and I was grateful for the snacks I had brought with me. The flightt was just over 14 hours and seemed to last forever.

I can confirm that over 19 hours stuck in a cabin back to back is a long time. We were both fed up and whenever we tracked our progress it just seemed as though we were circling over Kabul. Eventually though we made it back to London. Our bags came off pretty quickly and we met our driver to take us back to Norwich. By the M25 we were both asleep, one of us (Karen) snoring quite loudly. By the time we got back indoors we had been ‘up’ for 29 hours. I literally just said Hello to Neil before going straight upstairs to take off my compression stockings and get into bed. It had been a fabulous trip but boy is its long and tiring way home.

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