My first International trip after COVID-19 hit the World in late 2019 … Hopefully, many more to come.
Had landed in Singapore early in the morning. The Ambassador Lounge in Singapore Changi airport was one of the rare ones with space available at that time and it was quite crummy, with crummy coffee and crummy food.
My friend had asked me to purchase “The Macallan” Whiskey from Duty Free, as apparently that was the “flavor of the season” among his friends. Had no luck as it was sold out in the 2-3 places I checked.
I personally like Changi airport a lot. It has a homely and comfy feel as opposed to the glassy or rundown airports like JFK, Heathrow, Hong Kong, Seoul, Dubai Etc. I like the greenery around the airport and the carpeted flooring (though the carpets have started looking tacky. Time to replace?).
As I had time to spare, I walked around pretty much the whole Changi airport.
A Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A380 was getting loaded at one of the gates.
The particular Singapore Airlines SQ24 flight from Singapore Changi airport to New York JFK airport was (at the time) the single longest flight in the World, with an official duration of 18 hours and 50 minutes. In terms of distance also, it is the longest, with a distance of 9537 miles. The previous real long flight I had taken was Emirates flight from Dubai to Sao Paolo. This flight was also unique in the sense that it did not have Economy and instead had only “Premium Economy”, with way more foot space than normal.
Singapore is the busiest port in the World and there were ships galore.
The route was over Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China, Japan, Alaska, Canada, Great Lakes area and finally into New York.
The movie choices during the flight was very poor (compared to the last time I flew Singapore Airlines) and I saw a few eminently forgettable movies: Liam Neeson’s “Blacklight”, Adrien Brody’s “Clean”, the raunchy slapstick Paul Rudd’s “This is 40” and similarly raunchy John Cena’s “Blockers”. And even the food has deteriorated way more than what it used to be several years back. Looks like COVID-19 has impacted the overall customer experience of even a renowned airline like Singapore Airlines.
About to land at JFK, New York.
In Chalfont, Pennsylvania, we went for a morning walk along a local hiking trail. I later returned to a public park in the same area for some jogging.
My friend’s event (25th Wedding Anniversary) was at the Pearl S. Buck House at Perkasie, Pennsylvania. To be frank, I had never heard of this author before, but apparently she is quite well known and several friends had read her books. Her most famous work is “The good Earth” (Never heard of it before 🙂 ) for which she won the Pulitzer prize.
To get there, we have to go past Peace Valley Reservoir. My friend mentioned that one can trek/jog all around this body of water.
The below photos were taken during the drive from Chalfont to Perkasie.
When we started our road trip to North Carolina, the Rain Gods were doing a number in the Chalfont-Philadelphia area.
I am not a fan of anything on wheels or of driving anything on wheels. Given a choice, I prefer to be a passenger, which is exactly what I managed, thanks to my friends 🙂
There was a huge traffic jam in the other direction. Probably due to the rains.
First stop was at Rehoboth beach. There were not many people around. Probably because it was close to lunch time.
Then, onward to Dewey Beach. I kept clicking away during the drive.
Now it was time to drive on to Assateague Island. The advertisement shows many wild ponies roaming the beaches on this island.
We were on the way out of the area when we had our first sight of wild ponies 🙂
We then went to Virginia Beach (VA) which is where we had our dinner. On the way we crossed the Chesapeake Bridge right when the Sun was going down and it beautiful.
After an overnight stay at Emporia (VA), my friends dropped me off at my hotel in Raleigh (NC). I did a walk around downtown Raleigh later in the day.
Early the next day, I walked over to the Amtrak station. The primary reason I picked this particular hotel was due to its proximity to the Amtrak station. I had taken Amtrak trips before, but this was my my first one along the East Coast of USA.
We went past towns and cities, corn fields, rivers, lakes, bays Etc.