Thanks Singapore_air for the nice comments too.
The return leg.
Arrived having had a bit of buzz, travelling to the airport for a long haul on the back of an Easyrider is pretty cool!
The line at SQ checkin was a bit long, but took only five minutes to clear. QF was handling the flight and sadly their agent was down right rude and unhelpful.
I went to watch the activity from the Kingswood Smith Suite when it must be said I got a bit of treat. None less than a Connie taking off! She rolled up to the threshold and sat there for ages as other a/c came and went. i really hoped she was taking off and not just doing taxi tests or something. After about 10 minutes she lined up and started to jog down the runway. In the words of my friend her gentle roll and take off was "so graceful". It looked as if she was barely moving when she rotated only just increasing in height. The drum of the pistons was readily audable inside the terminal. The whole thing was just "wow"!! I remember giving $10 to help rebuild that plane, which to me at age 12 was quite a bit of money, so being able to watch it fly and by surprise was such a treat.
Customs and Security were friendly and quick as was the QF Gate Agent despite my lateish boarding.
We were in the air about twenty minutes later. Our captain despite the rather amusing SQ style of diction gave one of the best announcements I've ever heard, a good mix of information and humor which captured the attention.
For the first two hours of this seven hour flight I had at least one or sometimes two drinks in my hand. The meal was very tasty, Noodles and Tofu plus Veg with gravy. Interesting mix but it worked. There was also a fruit salad, seaweed, some rolls followed by a Magnum Ice Cream.
We flew over the outback which is always amazing to see. It starts baron, gradually razor backed ranges appear literally hundreds at a time with bright red tops in the sunlight. Occassionally a dam or road passes, butit looks like the moon. Soon salt lakes develop, pure white like the ice caps against the rich red earth. The lakes stop and suddenly soft gulleys replace the sharp ranges much less rich in colour but occassion freakles look so red they seem on fire. Then we approach Alice Springs and it's flat with no sign of civilisation until four urban housing estates appear plus a railway station dumped into the middle of desert, then nothing again. It's weird.... The ground is then beige, until a dead straight line after which it's brilliant dark rich red turning to purple as the sun sets. One dirt road with three road trains sending up a cloud of dust remarkably like vapor trails is the only sign of life until the coast, two hours flying away.
Back aboard the crew are young and friendly people enjoynig each others company which shows through into the service.
A snack is served an hour out of Singapore, for me a Pita Bread with Omlette and Pepper. I think the QF Meal boxes are better.
On landing we really slammed into the ground shacking violently every which way, definately not impressive.
I'd forgotten just how humid Singapore gets, but stepping outside in T1 (which I'd walked down to) reminded me quickly. I love trying to local stuff when I stop over, this time some Chilled Green Tea in a can (I think), whatever it was soooo refreshing. Rode the train to T2, which is on the landside so you get a good view of the real world outside. Shame I wasn't stopping.
The ground staff were both friendly and helpful this time but the whole boarding process was slow. The crew were very welcoming and I remembered some from the first flight.
Again the cabin age showed, with worn handles (vener peeling off), yellowing plastic etc. We were late but as was explained by our Captain (who sounded like Biggles) this was due to the closure of some air routes over Pakistan causing congestion on the alternatives. Our take off roll used every inch of the runway.
At this point discovered this plane was equiped with the "Wisemen 3000" Inflight Entertainment System, which is the best thing since sliced bread. It's a Video on Demand service, so you get a list of 50 movies, 66 short features, 50 CD's, 12 Audio Channels, 31 Gameboy Games plus more, which you can start, stop, pause, rewind and fast forward at your leisure. I won't list everything, but the range was diverse with CNN at one end to MTV at the other, with documentaries, game shows, dramas, comedies, animation the works. To be honest it made the journey a pleasure. To give an idea I watched Austin Powers 2, Hollywood Squares, Ice Age, a documentry about Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Quantum (an Australian Science thing), MTV and CNN World News Magazine. I liked the Juke Box facility, but found the Games Selection poor compared to the old system, but in fairness it's less needed than before however I do enjoy playing video games inflight as a personal preference.
I have no idea what my meal was, it involved noodles again and tasted good. Around the meals drinks were constant, I had 7 or 8, but in between services I was disapointed by their infrequent offering. When they did come round we were individually approached which was a nice touch and the food backet included entire packets of biscuits.
Woke up over the Saudi Oil Fields which were amazing to see.We then passed over Syria, into the Med, Cyprus, Greece,Fmr Yugoslavia, Hungry, Germany, Belguim, UK.
Breakfast was basically a Continental with two lots of bread, yog, OJ and coffee. However there was a hot addition to it, no idea what it was but tasted fine.
Very very smooth landing, we didn't even use reverse thrust which I've never experienced on a 747.
Painfully slow to leave the a/c, but plus side meant wait for luggage wasn't long.
Really this flight was a pleasure.
Keep an eye out for my other flights with Qantas and Virgin Blue!