Day 1/35


A trip of 5 weeks to the west of Australia is starting today and I am really looking forward to it. The starting shot will be given at 11:15 for the first leg to Singapore. I like this schedule. I am not in a hurry this morning. Everything is ready and I only have to take a shower. The stop in Singapore is going to take a lot longer than I normally do, 14 hours it will be. These I am going to use to explore Singapore. The last time I skipped the idea because I had only 6 hours and I think that is just too short.

The alarm goes off at 06:00, but I stay in bed for a little while. Yesterday I spend all afternoon trying to keep the weight of the suitcase under 20 kilograms. This wasn’nt exactly easy. On the first try I got to 26. So, what can we leave at home? The panoramic robot is the first to drop out. Weird, I did take it to New Zealand last year under the same conditions. Get the walking boots out and wear them instead. Bring clothes to the absolute minimum, lose the bathing towel. Drop another set of batteries and spare cabels, as well as a large flash light and my diving goggles. I have to ditch a lot of stuff to even get in the vicinity of 20 kilos.

Emergency measure 2 is to stuff a lot of small parts into the pockets of my jacket. Not really very comfortable because I am going to drag this stuff around tomorrow.

I check on the tariff for extra kilos. At first it seems to be 20 euros. This I could consider if it is really important, but it is actually 60 euros per kilo and that is really far too much. After a lot of trying and weighing I end up at 20.5 and that includes a large towel. Close the suitcase, embrace it with the belt…uhm yes that weights something as well, 20.7 that is just too much. Moving another set of batteries to my jacket results finally in 20.5. The handluggage is allowed to weight only 7 kilos but that one ends up at 14. Even after removing a lens already. This I am going to gamble. I never experienced them to weigh it.

Back to today. Suddenly I am thinking that I have a couple of small things that have to go in the suitcase. Better to get up then and do that first. Hek, I have locked the suitcase yesterday and I do not see the key anywhere. Where did I leave it? Stupid stupid stupid. I am immediately completely awake and run around like a chicken without head for a quarter of an hour. Where is that thing? Maybe I sucked it up with the vacuum cleaner yesterday evening, but then again I would have heard that most certainly, wouldn’t I? I am already visualising me emptying the garbage bin. If I do not find it, I have to break open the suitcase and buy another one in Australia. Not something I am looking forward to.

I replay that movie of yesterday again and again. The photo backpack was in the kitchen and on top of it the little key. I can see it clearly. Now, that bag is in the hallway. Maybe the key fell into the net that is attached to the bag? I look and feel into the net for about 5 times and then finally, salvation. I feel something metallic and it is the key. Quite shitty, I wasn’t particularly prepared for this. Now, I have to hurry after all.

Take a quick shower and then to Schiphol.

There awaits my next surprise. I have checked in yesterday morning already via internet, but for some reason I was only able to do that for the first flight to Singapore and not for the second to Darwin. The ground steward tells me that I do not have a visa and that that is the reason that I was unable to check in the second part. I mumble something about that checking in is only possible 48 hours before the flight and that that must be the reason, but then it becomes clear to me, I do not have a visa! That sounds like a problem.

Weird, I can not remember needing one the previous time, but he tells me that everyone going to Australia needs one. A little confused I ask him ’And what can I do now?’. ’Luckily, you are flying with Singapore Airlines because we can do that for you. Would you have chosen to fly with KLM then you would have had to go to the embassy and that is closed right now. So you would not be able to fly’. After him doing a bit of typing and for me a detour to the paying desk, everything is arranged. The second leg has been checked in as well. He provides me with both boarding passes. I would have liked to have an aisle seat for the second leg as well but this seems to be a window one. Well, leave it for now. He has done enough already.

Woef, that is one for on the list. Ladies and gentlemen, please check your visa requirements before flight.

The flight goes smooth for the rest of it. The first part is during the day, but half way it merges into the Singapore night. The lunch is skipped and dinner is the first to be served. Luckily, I manage to sleep for a couple of hours and for the remaining time I watch some movies:

  • Snow White and the Huntsman
  • Dark Shadows
  • Safe

When I have a look at the flight data, the person in front of me is viewing, I notice that we have already covered the first 8 hours of the 12 hours of total flight time. Going nice. Couple of years ago, I started not looking at the data anymore and then the time seems to pass the quickest. I surprise myself by starting to follow it again and then the time seems to pass minute by minute. Better to view another couple of movies:

  • Man in Black 3
  • Battleship