During WW1, there was a major battle in France pitting French and Scottish forces on one side against German forces on the other. The battle continued for weeks leading up to Christmas Eve, when a German soldier who apparently was a renowned Tenor starting singing Silent Night. The Scots heard this and two soldiers starting to play bagpipes in tune with the Tenor. Shortly thereafter, both sides raised a white cease-fire flag and met in the middle of the valley. They exchanged pictures of their loved ones, stories, sang more and ate a hearty meal. A Scotish priest among them offerred mass at midnight. The next morning they buried the dead each side had killed with honor and dignity. That night both sides bid farewell and returned to their respective camps. When the senior command found out about the events of the night, they ordered for the war to commence, but neither side fired a bullet or round. They stood up and refused to fight. Quickly the German brigade was sent to the eastern front, the frech and scotih soldiers were reprimanded and the Scotish priest was demoted and banned from the church.
During this time of impending war among the Jews and Palestinians over Gaza, and the many other sites around the world, I found this sermon tremendously moving.
Hopefully, my TR 2/3 will also offer some happiness. Comments as alway are welcome.
Where I left off at the end of Part 1 is just after landing in Singapore Changi. I had to meet up with a cousin I had not seen in ages so I cleared customs and met up outside T3 where he was waiting. Before exiting, I did go to the First Class Lounge and asked kindly if I can take a quick shower. The attendant very politely but sternly told me that the First class lounge is for departure passengers only. After some discussion, I felt like I was nott getting anywhere so I headed to Immigrations/Customs. There are so many counters and the space is just huge it is hard to imagine there would ever be a delay.
We quickly went to his place, took a quick shower and went out to Orchard Road for dinner. I left my camera to charge so unfortunately no pictures. This is my third visit to Singapore over the years and the place never ceases to amaze me. I have always told my wife that if we ever had to leave the States, Sinagpore will be top of the list. The city is so clean, people are very friendly, plentiful shopping, and the food....OMG! Tremendous!
After dinner he took me to the bar at the Raffles and had a few Singapore Slings. Crashed back at his place and the next morning we went to the airport together. He was flying to Dubai on business and I back to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific. Now CX flies out of T2. After check-in, I was given a pass to the lounge. The lounge is quite nice with a selection of finger foods, few selection of drinks, a shower, and more importantly a view of the tarmac, which the Singapore airlines lounge lacks. I was surprised to see that CX operates 4-6 flights from Singapore to Hong Kong daily and my flight was a A330.
|CX Singapore - Hong Kong A330|
I personally think this airbus model is the most pleasant to the visual cortex. It is sleek and the wing tips are huge. Boarding was quick and efficient. This aircraft had 2 classes with no First class, since this was a regional flight, I was not expecting the new business class seats although deep down I was hoping maybe it would be. But no luck, It had the old seats, the interior on the A330 is very spacious to me or appears that way with the big windows. I am sorry to report now that I was so tired, with jetlag and ETOH from the previous night that the next thing I remember is waking up on descent to Hong Kong. I was a little disappointed as I was left alone for the dinner service. Ironically the first emotion I had was that I was letting fellow A.netters down.
Now my purpose to Hong Kong was partly business, the group I had consulted for over the years had arranged my stay at the Peninsula and pick-up from the airport in a Rolls Phantom. As I deplained, a CX representative was standing there with my name, greeted me, carried my luggage and took me to Immigration. Formalities again were a breeze and a Peninsula representative was waiting and led me to the bad boy of luxurious sedans. The ride is so smooth, the leather is so soft, and the pure space of the back seat was equivalent to the First Class Suites Cabin (wait for TR #3).
The following pictures from Hong Kong, a beautiful but expensive city.
|The Peninsula Hong Kong|
|Harbour View Room|
|View on the way to Lantau|
Quickly my work was done and it was now time to fly back to Singapore to catch my A380 flight. I left the Peninsula at 11:30 giving me enough time to explore the airport and the multiple CX lounges. I told the cabbie to take me to Terminal 1 as the SkyDeck is there. It is certainly nice but I think you get a better view on the Tram to Lantau.
Walked back to T2 and took me some time to find CX check-in gates. Got my boarding pass and my lounge pass, cleared security and immigration and now I was ready to explore. First stop the WING:
|Entrance to THE WING|
|The Wing Business Class Section|
|View from the Wing|
Exiting the elevator, the First Class is to the right and business to the left. The immediate response is very pleasant! It is on the second level and you do not feel enclosed. There are tremendous views of the tarmac and the multitude of heavies. Went to the coffee bar and ordered a cappacino and grabbed a few snacks from the deli area. I am not a huge fan of noodles so did not try this but there was quite a line of people waiting for their orders. From previous TRs this is a unique aspect of CX lounges. After 30 minutes of walking around decided to leave the Wing and walk around. I hit the majority of the duty free shops. My wife had been talking about an Omega watch so I was also shopping around for a good price. I used to think buying an expensive watch at an airport was silly and wondered who would do such a thing. I now find myself doing that very silly thing. The prices in Singapore in comparison were cheaper so I decided to head to the gate as my flight was leaving at 2:30. I also wanted to visit the PIER lounge. Luckily this lounge was close to the departing gate.
The Pier is underground, which I though was kind of neat. A direct opposite view of the Wing which was on the second floor. The view of the tarmac from a basement level gives a new perspective of ground activity. The Pier business class was so crowded, there was an actual line of 20+ people at the noodle bar. The First class lounge was not accessible to business passengers. This made me wonder;
Is the Pier more exclusive that the Wing?
Many more wide bodies during the afternoon hours
|World of CX|
|Virgin, I would later see in Sydney|
After grabbing a soft drink and finger sandwiches, I headed back to the gate where boarding for business passengers was starting. The equipment returning to Singapore was an A330 as well.
|My A330 to Singapore|
This time I was ready to stay awake and experience the CX service. I am a window guy so settled in 17A. The FA had unique colorful uniforms but I don not believe followed any rank. Everyone in business had different tops but similar almost purple skirts. The FAs looked young but it is very hard to guess Asian age. The service was very formal but not robotic like SQ. I was addressed by name and offered many refills throughout the flight.
Meal as follows:
Pan fried prawns with Cherry tomatoes
Braised lamb shoulder rack with kipfler potatoes and mixed vegetables
Wine: Vieux Chateau Landon Cru Bourgeouis 2004
Chateau Pech-Latt Corbieres Vieilles Vignes 2006
(Sorry I only included the reds that I tried)
Before I really got settled in, the 3.5 hour flight came to an end. Sigapore was rainy but the landing was very smooth. Quite a long taxi to Terminal 2 where we deplained.
Now for the comparison to SQ: To be fair once again I am comparing Business to First Class. My hats off to CX, the food tasted much better. This goes along with previous TRs that the catering service of CX out of Hong Kong is superb. The food tasted very “Fresh.”
CX >> SQ
Service, I would still give SQ a notch above. They are both very robotic and precise but the SQ girl personal attention is unique and leaves a lasting impression.
SQ > CX
Equipment, the A330 is a beautiful plane which SQ I don’t believe uses on regional flights. The CX business class is old and I don’t have a similar comparison in SQ business. However, the SQ fleet is more modern vs CX.
SQ > CX
Lounges, I was really impressed with Hong Kong CX lounges. Spacious, great views, good food with variable options. SQ T3 lounge is pure luxury with great attention to detail, colors, orchids, BUT with absolutely no views of the tarmac.
CX = SQ
My apologies for the lack of pictures, I decided to film more video clips during this sector. I tried to upload to YouTube and working on this. I will include a separate addendum once I get it figured out.
Next TR: A380