Someone in the room next to mine has an early start. I imagine like me s/he has opted for sleep in a bed between flights, and a pre-dawn trip to the airport will be on the itinerary.
I am in Singapore. Though having only seen the airport and the hotel, I can’t say I have much of a sense of the place. Tomorrow I fly on to Melbourne, so this is a funny little hiatus where at 4.30 am local time, I am wondering how much money need to change, and indeed where I am going to go. Last night, before I fell into bed, I had been thinking of heading into Singapore City. Now I am wondering about staying local where it seems like there are coastal walks and a boat ride to an ‘unspoilt’ island.
However, if I don’t go back to sleep soon, I may be lying around the hotel reading my book. A bit of a waste, and I realise now I should have considered what I was going to do here and got organised some time in advance.
The plane ride was fine. At Heathrow someone called my name and I turned to see a woman with whom I had worked on a project some five or six years ago. We stood and chatted for about half an hour, and then it was time to slog out to my boarding gate. Heathrow is massive, but I still hadn’t been able to find any small bottles of face cream for sale that had the leaping bunny symbol.
The plane was the size of a small hotel. My seat with extra legroom was comfortable enough. And after watching a not very good French film, Tout de Suite Maintenant, fell asleep with my neck pillow quickly deflating into a non-supportive role. I actually slept a lot, waking from time to time to the discreet bongs calling cabin crew to passengers, once less gently when I was hit on the shoulder by a member of cabin crew when her handbag swung at me as she sorted something in the locker above my head.
Along with others I queued for the loos, to clean my teeth, to look at my red rimmed eyes in the unforgiving mirror. The headphones I had carefully put back into their little plastic bag had mysteriously disappeared, so no more inflight entertainment for me.
We landed. Leaving the plane I had that strange feeling that I hadn’t actually gone anywhere. One airport carpet looks very much like another. Through immigration, baggage reclaim, and on to find the free transport to the hotel. The road took us in a long sweep around the airport; miles of perimeter fencing then glimpses of the sea, people eating outside cafés under harsh lighting.
My room, clean, comfortable with an en suite that looks better than it performs (a shower that floods; a lavatory seat not very firmly attached) was surprisingly cold. So cold I fished out some socks from my bag to go to sleep in. And sleep I did for a straight five hours. As well as the neighbour’s alarm, the fire alarm went off and huddles of guests turned into the corridors, looking for guidance and explanation. Neither came, but the alarm stopped and we retreated behind closed doors.
So now I think I should turn the lights off again, pull the pillows over my head, as morning is racing towards us, and a few more zzzs are in order.