No-one told me that when you get back after 22hours of flying( 10 hours from Auckland to Singapore , then 12 hours from Singapore to London) - even with a 2 day break in the middle- that I would be waking up at 4am thinking of wot to write in my blog!!!! Of course my brain and body are on New Zealand time. Jet lag didn’t seem to bother me going East but maybe it’s catching up with me now …or is it just because the travels have ended??
Last entry on the blog I had arrived in Auckland …. a city known for traffic problems. I can vouch for that on a Friday afternoon if you are arriving by bus - you are likely to get caught in a nice big traffic jam….reminiscent of the M25. But in the end I was deposited at the bus stop at the University - thanks to Nakedbus.com - a cheaper alternative and nice friendly drivers…and if you book ahead you might get a seat for $1. And no! John , I was allowed to wear my togs…don’t know where they got the name from …good marketing - you don’t forget a name like that! My Intervac host, Chris, had kindly offered to pick me up so I was looking for a 6’5” tall guy and he was looking for a 5’ shortie with 2 small cases and a bright green rucsac!!! Thanks to mobile phones we found each other waving across the road - and he whisked me off to their home on the North Shore.
Auckland is a nice city ( forget about the traffic) with lots of marina basins, new buildings and great views from the Skytower. I didn’t have much time to explore but Chris took me on a quick tour and we enjoyed a very nice breakfast on Saturday morning in Brown’s Bay…especially named for me of course. Clare and Chris and their family made me most welcome in their lovely home and the 3 kids were lively and interesting and good fun….I hope Cass can remember how to play gin rummy now, and after our discussion on reading that one day Samantha will read the Diary of Ann Frank. And I got to pick persimmons from their tree - nice fruit - never had them before. The lovely thing about staying with these new friends, Intervac hosts, is the way you become part of their life and family. We all had a lovely evening meeting more family at a lovely local restaurant- succumbed to the dinner of lamb shanks here and an ice cream with Baileys!! More family to meet the next day - Clare’s sister’s family following a nice ride around the countryside - yummy carrot cake here!!! Yes - of course I have put weight on!!!
So it was bye bye to these new friends and a flight to Singapore. Many thanks to Clare and Chris , Sam, Cass and Zach and Grandparents Alan and Ann for a memorable stay and don’t worry I’ll be back some time. They are planning a very big trip for the next 2 years so I wish them all the best and hope they will have travel experiences as brilliant as I have had …and I will see them when they come to Eastbourne.
Arrived in Singapore - and it almost felt like coming home, as this was where the travels began 2 months ago. Lovely to see Cher and Richie and the 2 children again…Georgina had really changed in those 2 months and Cameron is beginning to say NO!!! Just had a nice chill out time and splashed in the pool with Cammie, a trip to the Botanic gardens for a walk - well Cher forgot the pushchair - so we had to make do with carrying baby and not such a long walk!! Had lunch and tried the Singapore Laksa dish - spicy and a bit like Thai soup- Fixed the washing machine - Cher was amazed that I could change a plug- used Swiss army knife to strip wires (knew it would come in handy one day!!)- I said I used to teach kids how to wire plugs in Science at Work - long before the National Curriculum!!! Looked after baby for a few hours - she was so good and it was delightful to see her as she is so pleased with herself sitting up, turning herself over and trying out her legs standing up on your knees….thinking about how much Michael loved Richard’s time as a baby it took me back to some very happy memories. These last few days I found myself being quite emotional at times - a feeling welling up inside me - sad that I couldn’t share all of this with Michael , and sorry that the end of this travel-time for me is here. But at the same time comforted in the knowledge that I have done this thing on my own made lots of new friends and at the same time reassured that the world is not totally mad - that there are lots of loving caring people out there who just want to get on with their lives and were willing to share their hopes and joys with someone else and make me so welcome.
Fabien - thanks for taking me out to lunch - I know he wanted me to try the dim sung - and boy was it good. I wouldn’t have had a clue wot to order but he is an expert so I just left it to him. I can recommend Crystal Jade in the Paragon Mall on Orchard Rd. Looks posh but prices are very reasonable. Then off to our next stop - coffee and cakes - well I was still on holiday!!! Looking forwad to coming back to Singapore some time - and Sharon you must come and see us when you have a stopover in London.
I have always been reading Simon Calder in the Travel pages and can agree with him that Changi Airport in Singapore must be the BEST. You could almost have a holiday there. A sunflower garden on the roof, swimming pool, hotel and spa facilities, and orchid gardens and fish ponds in the airport concourse- WOW. You know you are not in Heathrow Terminal 3!!! You can easily spend a few hours in transit there without any worries - and can even have a bus tour of the city if you have enough time!! Flight home- watched movies, read book, listened to mp3, ate 2 meals…(getting used to this) and soon we were landing.
A bit of philosophy here- Marilyn and John came to meet me and take me home (just managed to stop myself bursting into tears when I saw them) …. Bob and Prill had offered the same … Ray took me to the airport 2 months ago. All my family and friends have been wishing me well, supporting me, caring for me so much ever since Michael died and during this 2 month trip, including the new friends I have met. It occurred to me how much love everyone has for me - it feels tangible and real- and though losing Michael’s physical love has been devastating - friends and family are still here - plugging away at loving and caring for me. ( Don’t know if I expressed this exactly - putting things into words is difficult- but I am trying). And anyone who can offer to or drive to Heathrow must love me a lot - I think!!!
SO THANKS GUYS- YOU ARE ALL BRILLIANT AND HAVE MADE THIS LONG HOLIDAY SO SPECIAL FOR ME.
This is not going to be the end of the blog because I am going to do a bit of analysis and make some recommendation for fellow bloggers in the next few days. And I have to decide whether to have my birthday balloon ride next week or postpone it…so the excitement continues.
Love to all
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