Thursday, June 21, 2012

Long Haul

Will you still need me?
Will you still feed me?
etc etc etc etc

I am starting my 65th year today at Walt and Terry's house in New Jersey as LK and I do our best to recover from our flight here.

As we are discovering, it is getting trickier and much more challenging to use our frequent flyer points to get around the world. This time we were able to snatch flights on our favorite airline, Singapore Air, to get us back to the US. It required going out of our way and going northwest to get to Singapore before heading northeast to America.

But their service is so much better than we have been getting on other carriers that a few extra hours doesn't seem like a sacrifice at all. Besides, they also offer inexpensive layover packages with many Singapore hotels, so we stayed over and were able to have a fantastic evening with Mark, a friend from our work days who is now doing the tough job of trying to keep a computer publishing/internet/events business a few dollars ahead of the collapses being experienced in most other parts of the world. It will be a tough challenge, but he's a fantastic guy and has a better chance than most if  his Singapore business isn't wrecked by the collapsing fortunes of the Australian corporation that owns it.

So we had a big (really big) dinner with Mark on the night before we boarded our flight here. It's not always (in fact is almost never) a good idea to have a big night out before getting on a long-haul flight, but in this instance it didn't seem as if it would matter. And that is because, without even being aware of it at the time we secured our tickets, we had booked ourselves on the world's longest non-stop commercial flight.

At just short of 19 hours, the Singapore to Newark flight looked daunting, and the idea that we might sleep much of it away didn't seem like such a bad thing. LK and I are quite used to the long-haul flights lasting 13 or 14 hours, but those extra hours did mess around with our heads before we boarded.

It didn't help that we knew there were not many good movies making the airline play lists right now. Choosing between 21 Jump Street and John Carter was easy, I suppose, because John Carter really is as bad as everyone said (based on about 10 minutes of painful viewing). Young Adult was a very nice minor movie. But the only real entertainment came from the TV section where they had the first five episodes of the Walking Dead season 2, which hasn't aired on Oz yet.

(And yes, Jason, it is even better than Season 1. And definitely not one for Lora.)

So I spent my 19 hours of my birthday snoozing and watching zombies and thinking that with all this time I really should write a blog post since we are off on a very interesting seven-week trip. Of course, I couldn't be bothered actually writing it on the plane because - well, who knows why. But today it seems easy to be sitting in the warm New Jersey morning and getting this done.

Tomorrow we take the train to Rutland for my Dad's memorial service. After a week there I will return here for a couple of days and then we are off to London to begin a cruise to Iceland, the Faroe Island and Norway. Then the train to Paris for a few days and another train to Lyon to cruise the Rhone and Saone Rivers.

This is, you may have guessed, not a bad way to deal with winter in Tasmania.