... my sabbatical has finally started.
In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, 2 August 2017, my friend and mother of my godchild took me to Amsterdam airport so I could start my yearlong journey. Maya, her daughter and my godchild, joined us. She made herself comfortable in the back of the car with a pillow and blanket and quickly dozed off again. No wonder, it was barely four o’clock. We made it in good time and luckily for me the queue at the baggage drop-off counter wasn’t very long. The same was true for the security check and eventually I took my seat on the plane.
Leaving the gate took longer than expected which made some travellers quite nervous. Apparently they had a very tight connecting flight to Miami and they were worried they might miss it. Several times did they enquire with the flight attendant for any news or possible solutions for their problem. They even came up with the idea to let them exit first so they wouldn’t be held up by everybody else. Nice idea.
However, the very nice flight attendant ensured them that that was highly unlikely to happen. She couldn’t just ask the rest to stay put especially since there were many more passengers who needed to catch their flight too. Besides, if you have ever traveled by plane, you know how everybody jumps up immediately after the plane has stopped, sometimes even when it’s still taxiing. Everybody needs to be the first, grabs their belongings and rushes off the plane.
Kudos to British Airways today who had organized a ground team to meet with the Miami travellers at the top of the gangway to rush them to their next flight by bus. I had enough time to grab a fresh latte, check and write some messages and use the bathroom before boarding my flight to Kuala Lumpur. 12.5hrs later we touched ground in Malaysia.
Leaving the plane and walking up the gangway into the terminal brought back memories of my Bali trip four years ago. The air smelled just like Bali did with all the smoke from the little fires people made everywhere. The temperature and humidity added to the memory. It was hot there.
The terminal itself was cool and I was glad about the air conditioners. More so when I realized I had to hurry up and run to make my connection. First of all I had to get on a little train that took me to my next terminal. When I made it to my gate I found that it didn’t have a check in counter. I needed a boarding pass for this plane because for what reason so ever, I couldn’t get one previously. I asked the security officer where I could get my pass and he sent me all the way back to the transit counter. Alright, I had 30 minutes until departure time, which meant less than that for getting my boarding pass and going through security with my hand luggage. So I took my hands under my arms as we say in Germany and ran. Not an easy task with a small backpack, my sleeping bag, and an extra bag of hand luggage.
Luckily I had already logged onto the internet on the train so I could look up my airline and time while the lady at the transfer desk checked my passport and printed my boarding pass. What also helped immensely was that there was no queue and I was helped immediately. Once I had my pass, I grabbed my things, and ran again. The security line had gone by now and I quickly unpacked my laptop and other electronics again. While I was waiting for my boarding pass I emptied my water bottle so they wouldn’t confiscate it. There was nowhere to just pour out the water and I had specifically bought this steel container for my trip. So I basically just drank almost one litre of water in 2 minutes - chuck, chuck, chuck.
I made everything just in time and was even among the first group of people to board with a window seat right up front. That way I had a great view of Singapore from above. I could even see he famous Marina Bay Sands hotel. Too bad I only had my phone with me to take some pictures. But if you look closely, you can see the hotel in the photo of this post 😀
After a total travelling time of about 16 hrs I finally landed in Singapore. Immigration was easy and quick, an additional bag check with customs done (apparently something they do especially when the plane comes from Kuala Lumpur, because they look for drug smugglers), I stepped out of the terminal to be hit with wall of humidity and heat. Welcome to tropical Singapore!