Published: January 20th 2013January 20th 2013
Midnight and I am lying on my back in the dry grass, staring at the sparkling stars above. Earlier today, on the back of a 50 kilometre wind and a scorching forty degree day, a raging bushfire has ripped through The Black Range, out the other side and tore off towards Boorowa. Only by the fantastic work of the Rural Fire Fighters, greatly assisted by Elvis the helicopter, and maybe the grace of God, it was halted short of the town.
We have just completed a back burning operation to contain the perimeter of the fire and the range is alight with burning timber glowing in the night air. It is quite a sight and I turn to Barry and enquire if maybe this will be like the lights of Singapore. He laughs and suggests that Singapore has more colours.
Six am and I feel like I have just gone to bed. Today we are flying to Singapore and all that meticulous packing I was going to do the evening before, has been lost squirting water at flames.
We have a two pm flight out of Sydney, arriving at Changi Airport, Singapore, eight hours later. For once I
didn't make it
think I am going to be able to snooze on the flight.
Scoot is our airline of choice. I kid you not.
The latest budget price airline to hit the skies. This time though we have taken it up a notch travelling business class. Six hundred dollars return. One always wonders when it is too good to be true, but sometimes you just have to have faith.
There is leg room, you are loaded on first, and your tickets are issued at a different counter. Most important of all, the hostess’ shut the curtains behind you to separate you from the riff raff up the back. Hopefully Scoot is safer than extinguishing bushfires.
Changi Airport is huge. The corridors stretch out in front of you, seemingly forever. The walking pathways are great, sweeping you along to your destination.
The airport has a casual country air to it. The security is inconspicuous, customs incredibly friendly and you seem to just drift along to the world outside.
A $22 taxi whisks us along past the beautifully landscaped four lane freeway to the centre of Singapore 26 kilometres away; a 15 minute journey.
the road less travelled
Carlton Hotel is our abode for the night. A five star establishment; it is quite adequate.
Across the road is the famous Raffles Hotel, built by the English in the 1910s. It is the origin of the cocktail, The Singapore Sling. The story goes that the gentleman sat inside drinking to their hearts content whilst the ladies sipped on their punch outside. An ingenious barman named Ngiam Tong Boon perfected an alcoholic drink that had no taste of alcohol, so fooling the gentleman inside. Lucky the gals didn’t have to drive their partner’s home.
Naturally we headed for the German restaurant opposite our hotel and satisfied ourselves on pork knuckle and garlic chilli sausage, washed down with a litre of Pils. Dan claimed it was the best knuckle he had ever eaten (he has only eaten two I think).
We retired to bed to sleep the sleep of the satisfied traveller.