Sunday, October 23, 2005

18 Aug 05: Lost 7 hours

(Continuing from my post titled: 17 Aug 05: Farewell London )

18 Aug 05:

Yet I am no longer referring to London's time back then. I am now referring to Singapore's time.

After much wait, I was finally able to check in my luggage at about 6 p.m. London time (about 1 a.m. Singapore time, since it's summer then). There was a sense of relief in me when the staff at the check-in counter confirmed that my flight would be able to depart for Singapore as scheduled. The only problem was that because of the Gate Gourmet dispute, there would be no normal in-flight food onboard. I was told that although no normal in-flight food would be served onboard, the airlines would provide drinks, packed sandwiches and packed processed food. In addition, I was given a voucher of five pounds which was meant for me to get some food at the Heathrow Airport before I board the plane.

Truly speaking, given London's high cost of living, a mere five pounds of dining voucher could only get me a less than average dinner. But I thought it was good for me because even if there was no dining voucher, I would still have gotten myself a dinner at the airport before I board the plane. The flight was scheduled to depart Heathrow Airport at 9 p.m. London's time (4 a.m. Singapore's time). By 7.30 p.m. London's time, I was already feeling hungry. If I were to think of things this way, I should be thankful that I have saved five pounds on food at the airport because of the vouchers.

The plane took off slightly later than it should be. I was told that the connecting walkway-cum-bridge from the airport terminal to the plane had met with some technical faults so some amount of time had to be sent to repair the faults. After what seems to be a long wait, we could finally board the plane.

As I had guessed, I did not feel hungry to eat on the plane. But I did feel my throat dry. About two hours on the plane, I suddenly felt a cramp on my left leg. It took me a while of hesitation before I pressed the button to alert the attention of the crew. One of the air stewardess came over and after understanding my needs, she led me to a seat right at the back of the plane's cabin. She invited me to raise my left leg and placed it on a protruding part of one of the exits. She said this would help the blood flow back the body and ease the cramp. Then she went to get me a cup of water to drink. Raising my left leg and massaging the left leg did help ease the pain. Sitting at that part of the cabin had helped because there were more space for me to stretch my leg. But soon, it was my right leg that got another bout of cramp, though less painful. When both legs were eased of the cramp, I went back to my seat. I was thankful that the air stewardess attended to me when I had the cramp.

I tried to catch up on my sleep during the journey back to Singapore. The cabin was dark throughout most of the journey because the lights were turned off during most of the flight. That had somehow induced one to wish to sleep.

Because of the difference in time zone, I had lost seven hours when I reached Singapore. When I alighted, the airlines personnel passed me two letters which is equivalent to two vouchers each worth $15 Singapore dollars. One could eat a fairly decent simple meal at Singapore's Changi Airport with $15 Singapore dollars. That is the difference in the cost of living between London and Singapore.

I gave a call home and a call to my maternal grandmother soon after I had arrived at the Changi Airport. It was a homely feeling to be back in Singapore, but I had at the same time wished that I could still be back in Aberdeen and the United Kingdoms. I had grown to like United Kingdom's summer and more so, the vibrant culture scene there. The only thing I could take comfort is that the memories of the trip shall stay in me.

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