Sunday Nov. 23: Departure day…at last!!!!
Well here we are again in Adelaide departure lounge off on yet another Connecting Spirits (now called CS so I don’t have to type put sooooooooooooooooo many words!!!!). It is 12.30 ish and we have about 15 minutes before we get onto the plane. The last 18 months have been the usual slog and with this being a group of 32 makes it the largest I have ever organised. The soldier group of 100 also adds another massive layer to the project. All the group are in their navy and gold tops making us look like a rather large mass of European wasps!
On board –it’s 6.20 p.m Adelaide time. All went very smoothly at checkin- …the kids were all on time and all the Meningie lot were early. The usual waiting around and then it was time to start the great adventure. Added bonus of “bumping” into Crows coach, Neil Craig. A new photo for my screen saver! I asked him if he had any WW1 relatives buried overseas….sadly no. He wished us well and I of course got the hot tip on my team’s fortunes in 2009. Premiership bound I reckon! Craigy said so. The boss Ian Tooley (BHS Principal) was there to farewell our band of travellers. Our large family of 32 gathered under the International Departures sign, flags in the front, little people in the front…Jarred Thorpe (who is about seven ft tall!!!) in the back. Clicking of cameras, crying of mothers and boyfriends and we were off. The flight was uneventful except for me constantly knocking the video start button so I have now sent the beginning of “Mamma Mia” 17 times!!! Oh well Pierce Brosnan is worth multiple viewings. The food and drink trolley is coming yet again. Two hours before we touch down in Singers.
The challenges of 32 people all going in the same direction are ‘interesting’. The group’s landing and customs check all went well. The heat and humidity of Singapore is relentless even at 7.00 in the evening. Bus was loaded, all sorted and of we went. Left the airport surrounds and a sense of nausea overcame me: I couldn’t remember where I put my passport wallet! Meekly I asked our driver if he could find a place to pull over so I could check the cabin bag, safely packed in the case section of the bus. “Pulling over” on a five lane highway!!! I think he thought I was mad. Found a truck park, checked the cabin bag…..passport wallet on the top ….of course!!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrr ……having nagged the kids relentlessly about passport security and I looked like a right tool! Arrived at the hotel and keen to make it up to our poor sweaty bus driver, I looked for the money wallet. Mmmmmmmmmm,…I have a brand new cabin bag with lots of wonderful little pockets to store stuff. Just to add to the early effort the money wallet seemed to be hiding. At this stage I could feel pairs of eyes on me …..parents thinking who is this group leader? Stress…..poor sweaty bus driver eventually drove off probably swearing about the lack of a tip. Maybe I could catch the first plane home and Mal could run the rest of the tour. Sorted out the rooms after some confusion about the status of some of the beds. The hotel had some of the kids in double beds and after some convincing that the boys definitely would prefer TWO single beds rather than the prescribed doubles, we eventually made it to our rooms. Dinner meant a trip out into the local market place and after warning some of the boys NOT to slide on the wet footpaths, our other teacher leader Mal Jurgs, slipped over the step to the fish and chip shop. Thank goodness the kids were all across the road. Your secret is safe with me! What a day. Fell into bed with much laughter and carry on with room mate Lorraine Williss. Sleep was fitful.