Back at the McDonald's on High Street, Hornsey after a good first day. Not feeling all that jet-lagged; I used to be able to follow the sun before I started all this sleep apnea nonsense and after a few years with the CPAP I'm pretty much back to that as long as I can get a good six-seven hours sleep somewhere along the way for my clock to reset. On the other hand, I do not trust to nature and so I have coffee and a bottle of Pepsi Max or Coke Zero as backup.
So how was the flight over? Now, people who know me and have seen me after long commutes know that I look even more
like hell after them. My face is peeling from the dry air of the cabin, my hair goes flat, I'm even more dour and/or cranky than usual, and I just want to get into a bed or a shower. I don't know if it's just Singapore Airlines or the A380, but it was one of the better trips I've ever had on an jet, and my best experience in an Economy transcontinental flight. Photos follow in links.
After an incredibly wide airbridge
to the plane, I entered a connector that brought me directly into the upper deck of the jet - no stair climbing involved. In fact, throughout the entire flight, if I hadn't seen the staircase at the back of the upper deck going down I'd have had no real idea that I was on the upper deck of an aircraft. The Executive Economy cabin
doesn't really look all that much bigger than your standard economy but it actually is just a tad wider in the aisles
as well as the seat
, and those smidgens add up so it does feel more comfortable. Not Business Class comfortable, definitely, but you don't feel like you're trying to contort yourself into the seat.
The squee-able feature for me, though, even if in the end I didn't use it much, was the fact that for the first time in Economy, I'm seeing an in-seat power supply
. You don't need those airplane adaptors, either: the plug is a standard US model. So if you're using a US appliance or have (like I did) one of those conversion plugs, you're good to go. Because it's using your own power brick, I think it even charges your battery, unlike using an airplane adaptor. No on-board wi-fi, sadly.
But as it turns out, if you're dead set on actually working instead of using the KrisWorld
entertainment service, which has a buttload of movies
on demand, they have a suite of office applications
. I'm told you can request for a keyboard which plugs into the display
(which also has a USB port and what looks like a connector for an external display or audio). You can even "learn a new language"
or listen to "executive summaries" of books.
Everything's spanking new, including the controllers
. There was a problem with my display, so they had to reboot the system for my seat... which led me to the discovery that it runs on Red Hat Linux
Oh, and the toilet taps are made from recycled Cylons
The A380 is a monster when it takes off and lands: when it took off, I could hear things popping and creaking which didn't fill me with much confidence, but once it hits 34,000 feet cruising it's quieter than your standard 747 (or at least I thought so). Aside from a long spot of turbulence a couple of hours into the flight it was otherwise smooth. The temperature in the cabin was also warmer than other cabins I've flown: I didn't even need the blanket and was in T-shirt and jeans the whole trip. The humidity was also turned up so it was like being in actual air rather than being freeze-dried. I hear that the cabins for that A380 also have increased oxygen pressurization to make people feel more alert when they reach their destination, and I got to admit, the hair wasn't flat, my face didn't feel like my sofa after a cat had been through with it, and I felt less achey and cranky than I usually do.
So, not feeling at all jet-lagged, I took the Tube into London, an hour ride from Heathrow to Turnpike Lane and schlepped my luggage up to my room. The neighbourhood
doesn't change: oh, some shops are gone, new ones are up, but the feel of surburban London is always the same. Before I showed up, I applied on-line for Orange to send me one of their pre-paid SIM cards and I had that set up and had a shower and shave before I headed out. The friend I was going to meet for dinner wasn't available until the actual dinner time, so I took advantage of the overcast but otherwise pleasant spring weather (blue skies over London, oh I have missed you) to take a walk around Green Park
and Berkeley Square
. As I twittered
, alas no nightingales, although I think I saw the Whomping Willow
After a quick stop by the Apple Store in Regent's Street for the free wi-fi, I hung around at the Borders Books on Oxford Street for a couple of hours before meeting Rosalind. She took me to Ran, a Korean Restaurant just behind Oxford Street, and we had some very yummy Korean barbecue (which, as she will remind me often, is a definite step up from Seoul Garden back home). So that was pretty much the first evening: good food, good company and an after-dinner pot of tea at the Landmark Hotel in Marylbone (where they're holding the BAFTAs and there was some sort of dinner reception... neither of us thought we should risk crashing the proceedings). I got back to my room at around midnight and was awakened by the sun at about 10 to 8 this morning.
Today will be attending the Doctor Who Exhibition
at Earl's Court and a trip to Oriental City
this evening to see it before it gets torn down. Monday night, Spamalot
! Pictures will eventually follow.