Going home

Friday 10 to Sunday 12 March 2023


Anita had kindly arranged for me to be picked up at 11 by driver Sharon. We had a smooth journey into Sydney and Sharon dropped me at my hotel around 12:30. My room be ready on arrival as requested so I could drop my luggage and enjoy my last full day in Sydney.

I walked down to Circular Quay, had some lunch and took the ferry to Bangaroo. I walked around for a while, then indulged in a coffee and Australian honey and seasalt doughnut while I was there. Yum!

I decided to take a taxi to the Queen Victoria Building, (or QVB as it is known) which Sharon had mentioned to me. It was indeed worth visiting, for the gorgeous building as well as the eateries and shops inside.

After that I walked around the area, got some snacks then returned to my hotel.

Beautiful floral arrangement in the hotel lobby

It’s a 5* hotel in the Central Business District, with over 400 rooms and 4 lifts.

I stayed there 6 nights in all and for the whole time there were long waits for the lifts, which often seemed to have a mind of their own. I heard lots of people complaining about them.

When I got in the lift that evening it wouldn’t register floor 16 which is where my room was. Some other people got out at floor 5, then it continued up, stopping with a jolt and wouldn’t move any further. It was 16:50.

I ended up trapped in there for over 90 minutes!

I tried various buttons with no success, then used the emergency one to call for help.

The call went straight through to the lift company and it took 2 calls and a wait that seemed like forever to speak to Henry. He took details, asked me to try different buttons and when that did not do the magic said it would take about 40 mins for a technician to arrive.

Shortly afterwards Charlotte, the duty manager, spoke to me through the lift doors, asked for my phone number and called me. She apologised profusely and said the technicians usually came quickly. That was reassuring.

She said she could see me on CCTV and asked if there was anything she could do. It was nice to be asked but realistically there was nothing apart from to get out of there! I told her how shockingly bad the lifts have been while I’ve been staying at the hotel.

35 mins after the lift had stopped, Charlotte called again to say the lift engineer had arrived and was currently working to resolve the situation. By now it was very hot in there 🥵

A few more jolts later the indicator said floor 17. The doors were trying to open – unsuccessfully! The inside doors opened first, then both sets opened. The lift was between floors. Great to see the technician, but how to get out?

View when the inside doors opened

He asked if I could climb out, which was impossible for me without steps or a ladder. So the guy said it would be another 10 mins!

At 18:20 I finally got out with help of 2 lift engineers and a pair of steps. What a relief!

My friend Karen happened to message me to wish me a good journey home. I was very pleased to have the support of someone I know while I was trapped in the lift!

After I got back to my room, Charlotte called to ask if I was OK and offered me a free meal or bottle of wine. I said I’d already eaten and did not want wine as I was leaving the next day. I suggested she refund breakfast, which she was happy to do. I also asked her for the email address of the general manager to make a complaint. He’s emailed me already.

Quite an eventful evening!


I enjoyed my free breakfast! However, the long waits for the lifts continued and I was reluctant to go in them (especially the one I had been trapped in!) but with a room on Floor 16 needs must.

When I checked out I received an in person apology from the duty manager (not Charlotte) who said ‘it wasn’t deliberate…’! What a strange thing to say…!

I left my luggage with the concierge and spent my last few hours in Sydney at the Royal Botanic Garden. It was a beautiful day and 27C.

I enjoyed it so much I lost my bearings and only just got back to the hotel in time for the taxi I had ordered to the airport.

Duty free kangaroo and joey

After checking in I had lunch in the Qantas lounge before boarding the plane for the first leg to Singapore.

It was a through flight with the stop at Singapore for cleaning and crew change for less than 2 hours. It was a long walk to the lounge and back during which I had a what’s app conversation with Zoë.

Take off was delayed by one hour and we got on our way.

Despite the comfort of Business Class, which was worth every penny, I got very little sleep. I watched a couple of films – Elvis, and an excellent Aussie film with Kate Winslet called The Dressmaker.


After landing there were huge queues at passport control and the ladies loos, but my luggage was waiting and had already been taken off the carousel. And my taxi home was waiting. Yet more queues for the lifts in the car park and at the exit, but I was home by 9:30am.

These tulips were waiting for me at home from my neighbour Biz.

And these arrived from Zoë later in the morning.

Lucky me! It’s good to be home!

On my way

Thursday 2 Feb 2023

The taxi was a few minutes early, which was a relief. Then a straightforward journey to Heathrow.

I checked in and went to the Qantas lounge where I had a light meal. Boarding went smoothly and we took off only 20 minutes or so after the scheduled departure time.

I watched Ticket to Paradise, a romcom with Julia Roberts and George Clooney and a weird film called Amsterdam. Then had a light meal.

I didn’t get much sleep. The flight was uneventful, breakfast (pancakes) was served in what felt like the middle of the night. It was actually about 4pm Singapore time!


Friday 3 Feb to Mon 6 Feb 2023

Arrival time in Singapore was early evening and we were met and transferred to the hotel. I managed a good night’s sleep after the long night awake on the plane.

The weather forecast was rain, rain and more rain. The following morning was dry and we did a short City tour, the highlight of which was the National Orchid Garden.

I saw this orchid proudly displayed as one of their own hybrids. It was developed on the occasion of the visit of the (then) Duke & Duchess of Cambridge to the Garden in 2012, and named William Catherine! A new collective noun for them?

In the afternoon it rained.

I had booked a ticket for the Skydeck at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and had been planning to take a taxi but had no luck getting one. So I took the MRT (underground) from local station Havelock to Gardens of the Bay (only 5 stops away).

Wearing a mask is still compulsory on public transport here. It is a very clean and modern public transport system and very easy to navigate. As you tap in and tap out I have yet to find out the cost on my credit card statement.

It was a long walk in the drizzle to the Marina Bay Sands and involved quite a bit of initiative to find the Skydeck.

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The Skydeck is at the front end of the ‘ship’ at the top.

By the time I arrived at the Skydeck on the 56th floor, it was raining hard and very windy. Taking photos in that weather with an umbrella in hand proved quite a challenge! And despite it being a short visit I did manage to get a few photos.

The hotel is amazing, both in terms of architecture, facilities and style. I noticed on the exterior that some floors in the 3 towers are unfinished! There are 2,561 rooms already, so more room for expansion! There are lots of posh shops, bars and eating places in the atrium and probably elsewhere in the vast property.

Display in Marina Bay Sands Hotel commemorating the Chinese New Year – year of the rabbit.

I took advantage of the free WiFi having been notified by my mobile service provider earlier in the day that I had already racked up £50 in roaming charges! I had completely forgotten about those!

Apart from a small MRT map, very little tourist information appears to be available in paper form, though I was offered a map in Chinese by the concierge at my hotel. It was not much help!

As Roaming is so costly I found it best to find the appropriate MRT station first, then follow signs, my nose or ask a friendly local. It seemed to work between WiFi points. The fact that most people speak English helps a lot.

On the way back to the Gardens of the Bay station I followed the fabulous smells from the Satay by the Bay food court. As well as satay, there were many other things on offer including BBQ Seafood, BBQ chicken wings, Thai, fruit, hotpot and beverages.

My choice chicken & pork satay

Back at my (rather more modest) hotel I noted that I had done nearly 16,000 steps that day – a lot for me! I slept well that night.

On Sunday it was dry in the morning. I took the MRT again to explore the area around Raffles Hotel. Last time I was here it was being refurbished. Very posh like the Marina Bay Sands, Raffles is rather different in style.

Due to the time of day I decided against a Singapore Sling and had a tea there instead in one of the cafes. The staff were very snooty and clearly wanted more custom than one person.

Main entrance to Raffles

Unlike the Marina Bay Sands WiFi is only available to residents at Raffles ☹️

In the afternoon I walked along the river by the hotel. There was an incredible downpour! Fortunately I was in a restaurant at the time. I had a burger 🍔 then returned to my hotel.

Monday is transfer day to Melbourne. I was feeling rather limp and jet lagged and just hung around at the hotel. Then on to the airport for the overnight flight to Melbourne. Again I enjoyed a delicious light meal in the lounge.