Published: June 6th 2012June 5th 2012
An unfamiliar silence had descended upon the schoolhouse the night before we embarked on our trip. We’d dropped Jasper and Oscar (the kelpie and corgi respectively) at the kennels in the early afternoon, and Nungi (the cat) had been put down three weeks earlier (finally succumbing to arthritis, cancer and blindness). As we relaxed in the schoolroom and checked our packs, there were no little souls sleeping around us on the floor and sheltering from the bitter cold outside. It’s not that they are loud. Apart from Jasper’s incessant barking at council workers who turn up to check the water tank over the back fence and Oscar’s unexplained barking at nothing in particular, they make very little noise during the days and nights at Yarlington. Yet without their presence, the silence was noticeable.
We woke at 6am to a freezing, wet, dark morning. It was 5 degrees. Luckily, we were travelling to warmer climes. As we drove out the gate on our way to the airport, it suddenly it hit us – we were on holiday!
The flight from Hobart to Sydney was uneventful. I worked on an outstanding project while Ren slept. The early morning was
catching up with us. On arriving at Sydney airport, we headed to the transit lounge to wait for the bus to the international terminal. While we waited, Ren fell foul to a fantastic joke on the terminal TV. To put the scenario in context, the joke went as follows:
“Dad, I’ve joined an environmental group called P.H.A.R.T.”
Dad (on TV) lost it, and so did Ren. Apparently, the P was meant to be silent. Our inability to rise above the joke was MUCH to the consternation of all other travellers in the lounge. We seriously needed the bus to arrive quickly. It didn’t.
When it did eventually arrive, we rushed to the front seats to avoid the condescending gaze of our fellow travellers. We jumped off at the international terminal, scurried through the walkways and headed to the currency exchange (where we listened to a hopeless but lovable student trying to understand the concept of travel). We then checked through customs and made our way to the gate lounge. I settled in to work on the outstanding project while Ren checked out the duty free shops.
The bad weather was settling in outside, but it didn’t
missing this little girl very much
matter – we were on holiday! After a short wait we boarded our plane to Singapore. We had internal seats – there were no spares – so we wouldn’t be stretching out on this flight. Once again, it didn’t matter. The food was great (braised lamb with creamy polenta) and the wine was fabulous. As you travel to new places, an incredible sense of freedom encompasses you.
This was to be a very new experience for us both. Neither of us has explored this region of the world. New music, new food, new people, new concepts, new landscapes – new everything! Turkish culture fills our senses on most days at home, as we invariably fall asleep and wake to oud music.
To top it all off, a blossoming romance was playing out before our very eyes (two middle aged people in the seats in front of us have opened the most intense and momentous conversation). We just can’t wait to see what happens when we touch down in Singapore. Unfortunately, a few hours before we land the romance is off. Who knows why? A misjudged comment, an inappropriate joke… Still, she was going to London and he was
our old man corgi/beagle
stopping at Singapore. It would never have worked.
Sitting for eight hours was bearable. The food was great, and Slava Grigoryan’s ‘Shadow Dances’ was featured on the in-flight CD list, so the whole experience was relaxing. However, we’re very much looking forward to crashing at midnight and waking to the bustle of Singapore. SHE SAID...
Even though we set off on every overseas trip with much agility and excitement, we have found that the fatigue from work and preparing for the trip usually hits within minutes of getting to our allocated plane seats. We were clued-up from past trips, so we were treating our two day stopover in Singapore as a complete recovery and refuelling effort, rather than a cultural opportunity. We might feel differently when we get there, but a big hint as to our intentions is the fact that my research into our hotel far outweighed my research into local activities. Plus even though we’ve never been able to articulate why, we haven’t had the fascination for Singapore that we have for other Asian countries and cities.
Istanbul on the other hand, has always drawn me. Even the name 'is-tan-bul' sounds so fabulously
luscious and exotic, like a mix of honeyed rosewater and old oud music. In the last few months I’ve been obsessively researching Turkey and reading as much as I could about its history and culture. However I know from past experiences that regardless of how much information I gather in my head, my imagery of a place is almost always off kilter. On first coming face to face with a new place, I'm usually happily speechless for a few minutes. I love that tiny moment when I can throw out the assumptions gained through the media and other people’s stories – and embrace my reality of the place. Of all my reasons for travelling, this is my most important and addictive reason for doing so.
We are doing an Intrepid Travel trip again and we are hoping for lovely, funny and adventurous people in our group. We have met the coolest travellers on previous trips, whose fantastic personalities have made them the most fabulous of travel companions.
The flight from Hobart to Sydney was our favourite kind of flight – uneventful. We transited through Sydney’s International terminal for the first time, and even though it was easy enough,
I haven’t got the hang of all their terminals yet. Unfortunately the only smudge on our shiny travel plans is that Andrew is still finishing off some project work and had to work for two hours while we were in transit, with probably another four hours to go when we get to Singapore. I have shopping plans to keep me occupied.
Sydney was hit by a storm just before we took off and we sat on the tarmac for 45 minutes while a backlog of planes was cleared. I fell asleep and missed take off, only waking two hours into the flight when the dinner service came around. We haven’t flown Qantas for a few years, and it was a pleasant surprise. The service was fabulous, and the food and drink were good and plentiful. Andrew settled in with glasses of Shiraz on tap, and even though I try not to drink on planes, by the time I had a glass of red with dinner, a gin and tonic and a bloody mary, I was a little giggly and well and truly ready for a nap. We didn’t really care for any of the on-demand films, so in between naps Andrew and I entertained ourselves by watching the blossoming love affair between the two passengers in front of us. She was a footballer’s wife type (think mutton dressed as lamb), travelling with her son to London. He was a suited up middle manager type heading to Singapore. I think it was love at first sight because when he saw her he sprang up from his seat like a little puppy, grabbed her bag and then embarrassingly struggled to put it in the overhead locker, while she happily left him with her bag and sat down. A match made in heaven I thought. They talked non-stop for most of the flight, the poor son forgotten and left to play his handheld games. We awaited with eagerness for the exchanging of phone numbers, but towards the end of the flight the conversation mysteriously stopped, and then the son got sick and sooky and she was forced to pay him some attention. They seemed to part with no plans to catch up, but we may have slept through that part of the soap opera.
The next time I write to you, I hope to be lounging in sultry Singapore with a cocktail or two in hand...see you then!