Finally, I got myself to start blogging on the China trip rather than procrastinating every single day. And since it’s going to be picture intensive, I’ve decided to do up more of a photo story than a lengthy and wordy ‘essay’ that only scholars and bookworms will read.
The trip will be divided into a few posts, so bear with me as I churn them out by the day! :D
From left: Shi Shi, Xin Ying, Shaoning and Joyce
So on the morning of 12th May, the 13 of us from NTU met our coordinator Joan at Changi T3. The fact that it was 6.30am in the morning was not a comforting one, with most of us only catching a few hours of rest the night before. Nevertheless, check in we did, and we met up with our NUS and SMU counterparts.
Well, unfortunately, while I was saying my goodbyes to my parents and girlfriend (AND TERENCE! Thanks for making your way specially down! :D ), most of my dearest friends disappeared into the transit lounge ahead of us, leaving Ming Da and myself stranded outside. -.- Nice one…
Not having anyone by our sides, we slowly took a stroll into the in-flight terminal. Changi was undoubtedly busy for a weekday morning, but the crowd surprised me as it was only 8 in the morning and there were QUEUES in the duty free shops! What the…
We reached our boarding gate (Gate A12) – catching a glimpse of our plane! And yes, JOAN was late despite the numerous warning she herself issued about ‘HER TIME’ and ‘OUR TIME’. :)
NTU contingent at the boarding gate!
It wasn’t much of a surprise that our plane allocated turned out to be a 777-300ER (9V-SWM), but what surprised me was this…
A NEW UPGRADED 777-300ER! Complete with a ‘revised’ version of KrisWorld (with a much larger screen of course), a dedicated cup holder, A COAT HANGER (see that little knob to the left of the screen?), control stowing compartment, and personalized AV/USB/Ethernet ports! I must say we were lucky to get the SW series of the 300ERs, for sadly, the SY series we flew back on was still on the old face-version (with the blue seats, small KrisWorld, and an entertainment system that takes a hundred years to boot up!)
New interface of KrisWorld
1. Entertainment/Just for Kids: includes movies, games, documentaries…etc
2. Travel: includes description of destination, flight map…etc
3. Learning: I have no freaking idea what is this. What can you possibly learn on board an aircraft!?
4. PC: This is awesome. You can plug in your PC (via the Ethernet port and you can work on-screen!)
Nothing is ever perfect. An aircraft of such perfection and upgraded seats and interiors cannot be 100% luxurious and complete. I found two flaws with the aircraft – here’s one of them:
MOVIES: WHAT KIND OF MOVIE ARE THEY SCREENING ON BOARD? I swear it’s gonna be the most boring collection of movies I’ve ever watched in my life. And what happened to the practice of screening pre-released movies on SQ flights? Shutter Island has been out for ages… sigh… This is just the Movies section… let’s not go to the Documentary section.
And here’s Flaw Number 2:
They called it Braised Fish (with something else that I can’t remember). I call it mashed up fish with terrible sauce.
Seriously, this has got to be the worst meal I’ve ever eaten on board an SQ flight. OK I know I should not be complaining about these trivial matters on board an aircraft especially when the trip has been heavily subsidized, but this is Singapore Airlines we’re talking about. What happened to the Star Alliance reputation? What happened to the ‘Sir/Madam’ for every passenger rule? Sigh… times change I suppose. Perhaps they’re cutting budget on service staff training programs.
Nevertheless, we reached Beijing International Airport (PEK) despite a 45 degrees crosswind landing (I must salute the pilots here!). Once again, SQ gets you safe and sound to your destination (ok this is exactly contradicting from my previous paragraph). And after FORTY (40) minutes of bumpy taxiing, our plane finally parked at one of the parking gates. Yes, that’s how HUGE and GINORMOUS their airport is.
And so, after a slight delay coupled with Starbucks coffee run, we boarded our buses and headed on a 3 hour journey to Tianjin. I’m still wondering why they refused to transit us on another flight to Tianjin (since SQ does not serve Tianjin International) instead of a 3 hour bus ride.
Arrived in Tianjin and I managed to capture this shot of the river and Tianjin Eye in the background. *More updates on the Tianjin Eye coming soon!
Checked into South China Harbour Horizon Hotel and had our dinner there. Not a bad hotel I must say… let the pictures do the talking themselves!
Alright, enough for the first day… Up next: Exploring Tianjin!
*omg it’s 11pm. Gotta crash soon! Ciao!