Well, we’re finally here, in our new life.
Friday night was a fairly sleepless night as N and I lay awake, worrying about the impending changes, so we were bleary-eyed when the alarm went off at 5:45am. We did a bit of last minute bag re-shuffling, then checked out and queued for the hotel hopper bus to terminal 2. There was no sign for the bus stop, just some markings on the road, so we waited in what we thought was the right area. Fairly shortly, a group of people had queued with us, assuming we knew what we were doing. When the bus didn’t arrive on time, I got a bit worried that we were in the wrong place and were responsible for all of these people missing their flights, but luckily the bus arrived a few minutes later. I’d also forgotten that we needed to pay for the bus, so had to rummage through S’s pocket money to find enough coins to pay the fare.
After checking in (our bags were all under the weight limit), we headed through security, which is very quiet at that time of the morning. Unfortunately, we were so busy explaining what was going on in a child-friendly way (not using the word “explosives” for example) that we didn’t read the signs reminding us to take laptops out of bags… so our bags were shunted down the “Excuse me, sir, is this your bag?” queue for some extra rummaging. By this time, the girls were getting hangry, and we were reminding them that being polite to the security people is the best approach and telling them to hurry up because you’re hungry is not a good idea.
Once through the security process, we had a quick, very expensive, breakfast in the airport. It turns that banana on porridge is very nice, but I’m not sure that 1 full English, 1 porridge, 1 jam on toast, 1 bacon on toast and 4 juices is worth the £30 we paid for it. For all the “I’m starving!” comments the girls had been making, they didn’t eat much of the overpriced toast.
Then we headed to our boarding gate, which was in the other wing of the terminal, so we took the longest escalator I’ve ever seen under the apron (I’ve just googled, and apparently this is the term for the area where the planes park to allow boarding), and then back up again on the other side.
We found our gate, and played a few games of Pictureka – the one and only time we used any of the things I’d packed in our carry-on luggage to keep the girls amused. We didn’t wait long before we were boarding the Singapore Airlines plane.
We had three seats beside the window, plus the next one along across the aisle, near the back of the plane of course. S had the window seat, I got the lovely middle seat, with L beside me, and N across the aisle. And there’s nothing interesting to say for the next 13 or so hours. We watched films, ate snacks, wandered about a tiny bit. S watched the Angry Birds film on repeat loop, and then finally slept for the final hour of the flight. The rest of us stayed awake as it was a day flight.
Singapore airport was very quiet when we landed. Although our body-clocks thought it was nearly midnight, it was early morning local time, so the shops were just opening their doors. We had a wander around to stretch our legs, and the girls had a quick play in the little soft play area. Then we wandered back to our gate, found a quiet corner, and sprawled out. L fell asleep, face down on the carpet. It didn’t look very comfortable, but she was out like a light. N dozed for a bit, and S supervised them while I went to take out my contact lenses.
When the gate opened for boarding, we had to wake the Kiwi man sleeping next to us. I was worried he’d miss his flight, as he was deeply asleep, sprawled on the carpet on his own. Then we went through another security check, remembering our laptops this time. After a short delay, we were on our Air New Zealand flight. This time we had three seats in the middle of the plane, and one across the aisle. N got to sit with the kids this time, with L in the middle and S on the other aisle, while I got to sit next to the big dude with no manners. (Seriously, every time he wanted something, he just barked instructions at the cabin crew. I was appalled, and was extra polite whenever I asked for something, as if that would make up for his rudeness. I did wonder if he had limited English, but his tone of voice was so abrupt as well. “Get me Coke!” “Give me can!”)
The girls both managed to get quite a lot of sleep, and at one point, N was holding L’s forehead with one hand as he watched a film and she tried to sleep sitting up. S managed to watch Angry Birds a few more times, and at one point I saw them both watching Frozen, which is funny because they like to think they’re too old for it. N and I managed to doze for a little bit, but didn’t get any real sleep.
Once we landed in Auckland, I waited with the carry-on bags while N and the girls joined the scrum at the baggage claim belt. Eventually they made it out with all of our big bags, then we headed through bio-security, had our bags x-rayed and headed out through arrivals.
As we came through we saw some familiar faces with a lovely sign:
N said he read the sign and thought “How funny, some other Crowthers are on this flight too…” before realising it was our niece, my sister and her husband. They’d driven for three hours and waited for an hour, just to meet us, and we were too knackered to really appreciate it!
After some hugs (and tears), they walked us over to our hotel, which was literally across the road from the front door of the airport. We agreed to meet in the morning, and headed up to our room. Being a mean mummy, I made everyone take a shower and brush their teeth before falling into bed, so it was after midnight, NZ time, by the time we were all in bed. We’d been up since before 6am UK time, so it was around 30 hours in total since we’d last slept properly. But finally, we were here.