Early Wednesday morning Ben, Glen, Isaac, Kim and I met at the airport with some friends and family to see us off to embark on one of the longest journeys it's possible to take by plane. For the next 40 hours we were going to be traveling from Christchurch, New Zealand, to the Ludus festival in Leeds, United Kingdom. 

After making it through customs we were the first people to board the full flight for the first leg of our journey to Singapore, this time we managed to get seats together so with high spirits we settled in to the tiny seats that we would be calling home for the next two days. 
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Hot towels anyone?
Every Boeing 777-300 series aircraft has a small screaming child fitted as standard in the seats immediately behind you and this flight was no exception. To be fair the parents worked very hard to calm the obviously very tired and possibly terrified infant which yelped whenever we 'went over a pot-hole' which is what the turbulence can sometimes feel like, Christchurch drivers will be familiar with the sinking sensation immediately followed by a loud thump. At about the 13 hour mark we landed in Singapore, ready to stretch our legs and explore the new terminal 3 building at Changi Airport.
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The Store where Isaac discovered that the Pound is not a universal currency.
Unfortunately due to some complication with a lift the ground crew were not able to unload Glens chair for the six hours that we had to wait in Singapore. Part of the Airport marketing campaign has been around the Butterfly Garden which they have created in the terminal building. The butterfly garden is formed in an interesting arc extending from high on the outside wall of the airport building, essentially open to the air but covered by a net. I would love to have an image of a butterfly to post here but two factors conspired against us; firstly my camera lens fogged up as soon as we entered the room, the outside temperature and humidity of Singapore is hard describe and harder to tolerate; especially as we were all dressed in layers having come from a frosty Christchurch just hours before. Secondly there were a large set of stone steps leading into the garden that we were not going to be able to navigate, its possible that there was another way into the garden, but after posing for the below snap we all agreed to get back into the air-conditioned terminal as fast as possible. 
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Butterfly garden at Changi airport. Butterflies, unlike us, must be immune to high temperatures.
We found a lounge on the second floor which would sell us the use of a shower for $8 each, we were hot and sticky from the flight and unaccustomed to the heat so we all showered and then spent some time looking around the terminal, just as we were being called to board we discovered that Ben had disappeared, one moment there the next gone.. after some hunting around I found him having a long conversation with a guy working in the Hard Rock Cafe merchandise store, once our party was reunited we were raced across the airport to our gate (which involves catching a sky train) by Singapore Airline staff who insisted that we "Quickly!" only to arrive at the gate to be asked to wait as they were not ready for us yet; thus was the undoing of our showers. 
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Isaac at approximately 18 hours into the journey.
Other delights to be sampled at Changi airport are free foot massages, a lounge with reclining sleeper chairs (we discovered too late to make use of) a swimming pool, a large slide that purportedly takes you between stories (that we couldn't find) and a set of Koi ponds.
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Koi ponds in Terminal 3, Changi airport, Singapore.
Back on the plane for the next sixteen hours. Ben wanted to know if it was possible to bribe one of the air stewards $50 to get into first class, which if it had been would be well worth the horizontal beds that this aircraft had. This was an overnight flight, the appropriately named 'red eye' where the pilot dims the cabin lights and makes you feel inadequate for not being able to sleep, of course sleeping wasn't on everyones mind...
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"Please return to your seats and fasten your seat belts.."
We made one more stop in Munich to refuel before heading on to Manchester. Alison from Ludus Festival was there to meet us with a smile and a Ludus brochure as an identifier which we spotted immediately, one last effort to lift Glens chair (125Kg) into the van as the parallel ramps wouldn't accommodate Glens off-set style wheels and we were off into the welcoming fog and drizzle of the English summertime, which produced one magical moment for us as we drove through Leeds and saw crowds of people all walking along under umbrellas, Kim and I remarked that the only time you would see such a thing in New Zealand is if it were part of a performance.
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M-M-M-Munich Airport
 


Comments

Andy
21/06/2012 11:23pm

Thanks for the great update of your trip so far. Looking forward to more. Was a pleasure to play at the darkroom to help your trip
Andy

Reply
Stuart Lloyd-Harris
22/06/2012 1:04am

Thanks Andy! and a Big thank you from Glen to whom the money you helped raise has gone. :)

Reply
30/08/2013 4:59am

The experience inside a plane is a lovely one that everyone loves to have and thanks for sharing the flight experience of you. The snaps also made this blog entry a colorful one and I am so happy to read an entertaining post. Best regards@

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    Different Light at Ludus Festival 

    Stuart Lloyd-Harris. Updates from our travels to the Ludus Festival Leeds, UK.

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