Thursday, 28 December 2006

Singing Carols in Singapore

In the early early hours of Xmas Eve, I flew out of Dubai bound for Singapore, where I would spend Xmas with a lovely crew and my horde of presents from home. However, prior to leaving I delivered the previously mentioned bribe photos with innocent sounding Xmas cards. Am still awaiting reactions from some of the recipients.

Arrived in Singers at about 3pm, had a quick nanna nap and headed out for ... SHOPPING. Then, feeling weary but in need of some good Food Court food, headed to said food court and ate ourselves stupid.

Needless to say, I wanted to roll back to the hotel and go to bed, but where was my Xmas spirit? I was only a few hours away from my second Xmas spent overseas and I was dammed if it was going to pass me by while I was sleeping on uncomfortable pillows at the Carlton.

We headed to one of the clubs over the road in Chijmes, where there was a slightly outrageous live band, complete with silly string for the countdown. That's right, the countdown. Appartently Xmas in Singapore is celebrated like New Years. I must say it was slightly disorganised though, as the singer didn't have a watch on and had to ask US what the time was!

I was with a fellow Aussie, a lovely Welsh girl and our two slightly conversationally challenged cockpit crew. One of which was intent on showing off his skills at flipping large stacks of coasters off the bar and catching them with the same hand. Seriously riveting stuff. I think I'll stick to tying snakes in knots in my mouth thanks.

At about 12.02am we decided to make a hasty retreat in the direction of the hotel, which was still proudly displaying the fantabulous gingerbread house. No-one believed me that it was REAL gingerbread and wouldn't go near it, for fear I was playing a joke.

Yawning loudly at about 10.30am, I set about opening my pressies and calling home. All the family were celebrating at Nanna's and all the girls together sounded just like a gaggle of geese. Made me miss home a little, but as I was jetting into Melbourne the next morning in time for the BOXING DAY SALES, I wasn't too disheartened.

Our passengers were mostly lovely and in quite the festive mood, with Santa hats and a hearty appetite for booze. We were all wished a very merry Xmas as we disembarked, which was a lovely surprise. I think there were even a few hugs from children in there somewhere. The lovely caterers from Singapore presetned us with some specially wrapped Xmas cookies - one for every crew member. Such a lovely thought, with a little Season Greetings decoration inside, minus the 's' from seasons.

Upon exiting the customs area in Melbourne, I had a serious celebrity moment. Coming through those doors and facing a sea of people all clearly expecting someone other than myself was a little scary. A bit like the end scene from Love Actually, one of my all time faves.

I managed to push my way through, dispensing the very last of my polite 'excuse me's', not wanting to resort to 'move out of the f***ing way'. Very inappropritate language that would have gone with the highly inappropriate facial expression I don't doubt that I was wearing. Seriously, some people leave their brains at the airport doors. And these ones weren't even travelling!

We hooted outside in search of the bus and was bewildered to see that my breath was almost FROSTY. In the middle of December! Our bus driver proudly told us (as only Melbournians can do) that it was the coldest Xmas in Melbourne in 30 years, and that it had topped 14 or 19 degrees the previous day. I immediately knew I was going to be in strife with my thongs for my shopping expedition.

Tumbled out of bed at about 7.30 to have brekky with my lovely flatmate Ashleigh and old flatemate Phoebe, who now works for Virgin and lives in Melbourne. We joined the throng of people who clearly thought the hotel would be a better option for brekky than any other place in Melbourne that Boxing Day morning.

I miss Phoebe dearly and it was wonderful to have a little belated Xmas celebration with her and Ash. She dropped us into town and we embarked on our shopping adventure. I'd forgotten what a real sale was like and am a little embarrassed to admit I was worn out rather quickly. We found a few bargains and retreated to the hotel, where I quickly crashed and then it was time for the dreaded wake up call. I swear 17 hours in the delightful Melbourne isn't long enough!

Back to Singapore and we all quickly bombarded the back room to check our rosters. I nearly squealed with excitement when I saw that the powers that be had given me new years day off. Then we changed and headed to the food court once again. This time I managed to convince a few of the crew to get close enough to smell the gingerbread house and once they'd got a whiff, they couldn't resist a little taste. I felt like a proud Mum as I watched all their little eyes go wide with wonder when they realised it was real gingerbread.

Relatively non-eventful time in Singapore and then back to the sandpit where the next thing on the agenda was to decide what to do with New Years..............

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