We are on the plane to Singapore. We have a routine now, we’ve done the London-Singapore leg a few times as we almost always fly via Singapore when we visit the Hubs’ family in Malaysia. I’m grateful that we are (again) on the company’s dime and we get to fly the comfy seats as 12 and half hours in the sardine class is NOT the funnest experience in the world.
We take off without much ado and we’re basically straight into the lunch service. As always, it’s all very good and by the time I’ve finished the meal, I’m completely stuffed…
Unfortunately I don’t take any photos of the dessert as my brain is only semi-conscious from all the food…
I watch 22 Jump Street (a real disappointment compared to 21 Jump Street… I think I lol’d exactly once… and those who know me KNOW that I’m a pretty cheap laugh) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (entertaining as ever – and Hugh Jackman… not much else needs to be said!). Suddenly I’m asleep and when I’m awake it’s time for breakfast.
Second course is chicken pad thai which is lovely. I watch a couple of episodes of Brooklyn Nine Nine (I love this show, the interesting protagonist along with the other quirky characters is a gem) and Veep (ditto) and we arrive at Changi Airport around 7am local time.
Now I have mixed feelings towards Changi Airport. I’ve been there a couple of times and there has never been any doubt that it is extremely efficiently run. And a lot of my friends who had been there said that it is their absolute favourite airport. Plus I know that Changi has topped surveys for the best airport in the world. So I had high hopes when I first got there. But the first thing I noticed when I got there for the first time is the carpet. There is… a lot of it. And it’s mostly brown. So the whole airport looks really… brown. Which is not my favourite colour and unfortunately makes it look really old fashioned. It is a weird contrast, everything else looks really new and modern with the brown, oldish looking carpet. Also, there aren’t that many windows and it doesn’t look as airy as some other airports (think this differs depending on which part of the airport you are in). However, I’m warming to it more and more. Ironically, during our 5 hour layover there (think it’s my longest layover there yet), I come to appreciate the carpet a lot. Although it makes pushing the trolley more difficult (as we have 2 heavy trolley bags and my handbag), it does absorb general noise (I’m sounding like an old now) so it is nice and quiet. This is good after more than 12 hours of engine noise / headphone sounds. Also, there is a LOT you can do there whilst you’re waiting for your next flight and it is very affordable or free. Hubs and I want to take the free Singapore bus tour but the 9am tour is full and the next one leaves us too little time to make our flight to Bandar Seri Begawan. We contemplate going to the free movie theatre but seeing as we just saw loads of movies and we will be on the plane for another 2 hours, we move on. I also appreciate the little gardens they have sporadically, it’s nice to see some green stuff amongst the modern elements.
We search for the Royal Brunei Airlines desk so we can pick up our boarding passes only to be told that they open from 9am so we wander and window shop. Finally we get the boarding passes which allows us to go into the lounge. By this point, all the running around in the last few days in London is really affecting the Hubs and he is knackered. Thankfully the lounge is nice and quiet with hot food and even some massage chairs that the Hubs jumps on. After a massage and shower, he is as good as new.
We get on the plane to Brunei to continue our epic journey. I am initially surprised as our row number is 7. When we went to Brunei in June for a look-see trip, the plane wasn’t that big and the business class didn’t have that many rows. I worry that we are in economy. We are so spoiled! We get on the plane and we find out that we are indeed in business class… as the seats start from row 6. Strangely, rows 1 to 5 are nowhere to be found. Odd.
The lovely staff on the flight serve us a meal, which is nice but really I’m so stuffed that I can’t each much of it. The airline is also dry so no champers 😦
Between the meal service and watching some entertainment on the airline mini ipad, it’s only a short flight and we finally see Brunei!
We get to immigration and dang we have to queue at a separate counter for those who have come to work here. The other tourist queue disappears quickly but we are stuck there for a good while. Once we finish getting a gazillion stamps (still not a visa, mind you) we go to the baggage conveyor belt and we take so long that the porters have kindly collected all of our bags and set them aside. Ours plus one other forlorn bag are the only ones left. The conveyor belt is empty and shut off already.
Our driver is waiting for us and he is easy to find in the newly renovated arrivals hall. Our bags are loaded onto a big white minivan and we are off on a one and a half hour drive to Kuala Belait which will be our new home.
There is basically one road connecting BSB to KB. It is pretty straight and pretty empty.
After a snooze we arrive in KB! We are staying in a hotel for the next 2 weeks or so. I’m hoping for a room with a kitchenette but nope. Oh well. The most important thing is that WE MADE IT!!!