The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step

Don’t be so shocked. I know, 2 posts in 2 consecutive days? What has happened to F? But here I am, again with ample time on my hands as I sit right in the middle of Prague Airport waiting for Emirates to open their counter so I can check in and get my boarding pass and head towards the gate to wait some more. You know, I really hate transits. They are a waste of time and energy, but more about that next time.

Anyhow, I left Vienna yesterday by bus at approximately 1830 hours. I was a little sad (being honest here) about leaving my two travel mates because I knew I would be seeing them again. One is from Singapore and the other Hong Konger would be visiting Singapore soon. So not much to cry about there. More than feeling sad though, I was nervous. I did not know how I was going to manage lugging around my 2 pieces of luggage from Bratislava Airport (where the final bus station is) to the Hotel which is, yes, only 600m away. But thankfully, I managed. I bought two 35-cent tickets – one for the short, short journey to the Hotel and one for the return to the Airport the next morning. No major incidents occurred except for the time the bus almost closed its doors on me as I disembarked to carry down one of the 2 pieces of luggage I was heaving around with me. I was about to enter the bus (96) again to take my second luggage when I heard the piston releasing air and the inevitable creaking of the door hinges as it overcomes its inertia and begins to close. So the door hit me a little but it’s no apocalypse. I survived. I am stronger now because I wasn’t killed (they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger).

I walked the even shorter distance to Hotel Aviator Garni and was pleasantly surprised as the receptionist came out to help me heave my bags over the short flight of stairs and helped me check in. He even carried my bigger luggage all the way to my room for me. It was located on the second floor of the hotel, which looks more like a  motel. He spoke English reasonably well which is like music to my ears because I have yet to meet anyone who speaks decent English in Slovakia. Turns out, he was brought up in Canada despite being born in Slovakia (no wonder the gentlemanly demeanor, the helpful nature and the well-spoken English!)

I went in, charged my phone, changed into shorts, used the toilet and laid down on my bed only to realise the wifi had a code and I did not know what it was. So I went down again and the same receptionist helped me out. He was really, really kind.

I came back up to my room and was online reading articles, listening to music (thank God for the Saavan App), and watched videos on YouTube. I also messaged some friends and family on WhatsApp. I wanted to use my laptop but for some reason, it could’t connect to the Internet. Then I slept till 0445 hours the next day. I wanted to sleep some more but couldn’t. So I just lazed around, tossed and turned, closed my eyes, played with my phone again, checking for messages and likes on my instagram, etc. Then I fell asleep for a while – a really really short while – when I heard some noise. I was annoyed because it sounded like someone was either clicking something or moving about touching stuff that was causing the pitter-patter noise. Only then did I realise, IT WAS RAINING! My heart sank because I had to walk a short distance to the bus stop which wasn’t sheltered and I was going to be wet. I couldn’t afford to open my umbrella and hold it above my head because both my hands were going to be occupied with handling the luggage. I quickly downed my thyroid medication and chromium supplement and took a quick shower. The rain was light but not light enough. I wanted to ask if the receptionist could call me a taxi. And I also saw an off chance that the rain may start becoming lighter and I wanted to start walking as soon as that happens. I was ready by seven ish and walked down with my bags. Again the receptionist heard me coming down and helped me with my bags. Though on the way down, my cabin sized luggage fell and slid down the stairs which is a good thing because it meant i did not have to lug it down. He gave me my bill (I had already paid yesterday when I checked in) and..  <<WAIT FOR IT>> HE OFFERED TO DRIVE ME TO THE AIRPORT! HOLY RAVIOLI! I was incredibly touched and eternally grateful for his kindness. In case you haven’t guessed, I am a worrywart and his act of kindness totally lifted a burden off my chest! He picked my heavier luggage and I the lighter cabin one and together we walked to his car to keep them and then I got in and he dropped me off. He told me the hotel was still undergoing completion works and will be fully done in a while more. He explained that they would have vans to pick passengers to and from the airport in future. He also told me here that he was raised in Canada and he said he really liked Singapore because he knew it was clean and beautiful though really crowded.

I realised I had no need for my second 35-cent ticket that I had purchased the day before. But what’s 35 cents compared to the free, amazing service I was offered by the receptionist. I should have asked for his name!

If you ever have to transit in Bratislava, I highly recommend the Hotel Aviator Garni. Not only was the receptionist incredibly warm and accommodating, the rooms were also beautiful and clean and the service was impeccable. I am a little disappointed that I only spent several hours in the room because it was one of the best hotels I have seen during my time backpacking in Europe these past 6 weeks (talking about reasonably priced accommodations that aren’t 5 or 7 stars).

So I was in the airport really early. I connected to the free wifi and passed my time stalking people on different social platforms and spamming my family. Then it was finally time to take the flight from Bratislava to Prague. I checked in at the Czech Airlines counter at 0810 hours and it was fast. My bag weighed 24.2kg (whoops!) and the lady let me through without so much as commenting that i was technically 1,2kg over the allowed amount. She also said my bag would be through checked-in all the way till Singapore so I do not have to pick it up in Prague or Dubai! The day seemed to be getting better and better (fingers crossed, don’t want to jinx anything).When I was arriving in Bratislava, I had to pick my luggage up at Prague and re-check in because thy couldn’t do a through check-in for me. But thank my lucky stars (and God) that it was possible this time around because, as I have mentioned countless times, my bag really weighs a ton. The lady at the departure gate checking our boarding passes, however, looked like a mighty bitch. She didn’t smile and was checking out her nails while we waited for her to see our passes and allowed us entry. I hated her attitude. I managed to clear customs check and went in with no further incidents. Sat and waited again till it was time to board the plane. And now, here I am. Waiting in the Airport for Emirates.

I have only completed stage 1 of my 3 stages of journey back home to Singapore. I dread the upcoming transits and waiting but on the bright side, this is the longest transit I have. The next one in Dubai, I get to shop! I need to get my 11-year old sister her Chanel Nail Varnishes. I know it is ridiculous that such a young girl is already so luxuriously choosing branded nail polishes to ‘play’ with but I think it is perfectly fine because:
(a) she is really passionate about her nail designing
(b) it is a perfectly healthy hobby
(c) she is incredibly talented
(d) those cheap nail polishes cannot last long, making you buy more over a shorter span of time so in actuality, you’re wasting more money than you’re saving
(e) these nail polishes would mostly be used on us, her sisters, so really she is doing us a favour.

My route for this journey back home goes like this:
Bratislava-Prague (5-hour transit)-Dubai (3-hour transit)-Singapore.

Alright then. I shall stop typing here because I want to check in and also because my back is hurting from sitting in such an awkward position.
Till next time,

Astalavista

F

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