Wednesday, 29 September 2010
This post follows quickly on from the previous although due to the vagaries of time zones is being written what seems like ages after Monday's musings.
We finally boarded the Qantas airbus that had failed to depart that morning after a repair to the hydraulics that operate the landing gear- the smaller size of the replacement 747 being the reason for many of us to be delayed.
The long flight to Singapore was comfortable with a wide range of entertainment on offer and some sleep grabbed after my early start from Bristol. On approach to Singapore much whining and thumping precluded a rather rough landing and as we approached the terminal the captain announced that the fault had re appeared overnight and we would be required to stay 12 hours rather than 2 in Singapore whilst repairs and checks were made.
After much confusion we were bussed to top end hotels where we enjoyed a remarkable feast and I took a walk through the city centre with Margaret a kiwi from Auckland who had been another of the originally delayed group. Tropical conditions combined with the glitzy neons reminded me of Tokyo as we observed teams dismantling signage following the F1 Grand Prix that had filled the city over the weekend.
An early start saw bleary and weary queues forming as we checked in once more, submitted to security and boarded the now repaired jet for a 7 hour hop to Melbourne. Many peoples plans were thrown in to disarray but I was fortunate to have no fixed or urgent agenda. Further problems at Melbourne where the ground crew could not open the doors merely added to the fun but at least we were met by Qantas staff with offers of reimbursement and assistance with onward plans. A final leg to Sydney gave us a chance to compare an older Boeing with the Airbus before I was shuttled to a local hotel where at long last internet was available to plan future progress. Just to end on a final note of amusement the hotel gave me initially the wrong key card for my room followed by one that was broken thus adding to a litany of cock ups that began 3 weeks ago with the multiple deficiencies of our British banking system and the random workings of Royal Mail redirections.
The van is in the hands of customs and the shipping company have made further contact so I expect to make progress later today - breakfast awaits and the sun is rising on a clear morning - we are 9 hours ahead of the UK and of course approaching late Spring.