I’ve been selected to attend an International Youth Forum in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt from the 1st – 3rd September 2007. Wowwwww…… Egypt…… Moses in the Wilderness, Camels, Pyramids and mummies…. Mummiessss??? Ahhhhhhh!!
My trip started in the good ole Jackson’s Airport. I will fly to Singapore, to Bangkok, to Cairo and domestic to Sharm El Sheikh. On paper it looks simple enough, if I depart on Thursday afternoon; I should arrive in Sharm El Sheikh by Friday morning. Too simple in fact!
I figured that if I check-in early Jacksons it will save me tones of time…so I just that. Checking in at 10am while my flights at 3pm. I spend the remaining hours running around (that’s another story) and came back to the airport at 2pm. I saw a long line at the check-in and I was so pleased with my little plot. I though I was a hero….. I’ve beaten Air Niugini and the long lines…..Wooohoooo!!
Well, the celebration was short lived. Good old Air Niugini has come up on top number one again. They have delayed the flight for 4 hours. 4 hours!!!! What the….$%&&??? It seems Air Niugini had run out of aircraft and has loan one of the aircraft from Air Macau and with that delayed….I’m definitely missing my connection on Swiss International Airlines to Bangkok and will have to wait again for the next flight Friday.
So Air Niugini put me up for the night at this cheesy looking hotel called Hotel 81, Princess. And great Air Niugini has checked my baggage to Sharm El Sheikh and I am not seeing it again until I arrive in Egypt. So I am about to spend a night clothes less with Cheesy Princess. Ohhh….Hotel 81 has other family hotels; called Prince, King, and Queen and well…you get the picture. But I just don’t understand why they would stuck my in a Princess Hotel. I was thinking more of a King or a Prince Hotel!!
So I stayed a night in the Cheesy Princess and that was it…I didn’t want to stay in Singapore anymore….so my great mind formulated an idea that if I get up early on go to the airport, I just might be able to change my flight to an early one and get to spend some hours in Bangkok rather here in Singapore. So me, waking at 7am, checking out of Cheesy Princess and on my way to Changi Airport for a flight to Bangkok.
At Changi Airport…I was told that there is only one Swiss International flight to Bangkok a day….and that’s the same one at 9pm in the night. Arrrggghhh!!! You can imagine me seeing my great plan going up in smoke…I am about to spend a hopeless day at Changi. So I wonder up and down one end of Changi for the billionth time until 2:30pm when Swiss International Airlines opened for early check-in.
After checking in I was given a STAT Premier Lounge pass. Oh..My…!!! Yep!! A pass to the STAT Premier Lounger!! Thank you, Swiss International Airlines (I love You)…if that’s what you did. STAT Premier Lounge is a private Lounge for certain business class airlines only. It consists of free unlimited internet service, free massage parlor, shower rooms (towels provided), free drinks and food (eat all you like, self-serve), TV and PlayStation!! Woohooo!!!
I will just be another participant in this forum unlike other forums where I was a presented in some kind of chosen topic. Some of you may say…..why go all the way to Egypt when you won’t be presenter? Well, apart from fully paid round airfares and accommodations by the organizers, Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement, the forum will host very interesting topics.
The theme of the forum is, The Power of Youth for Peace, Youth SPEAK we LISTEN!” and all the topics are revolved around Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Examples are: 1.Is the media Youth Friendly?, 2.Rules of Engagement; What it takes to Be Safe on the Net, 3.Social Entrepreneur for Peace,4.The Power of Youth in Promoting Peace, 5.New IT skills, New markets, A New Global Citizen and so much more.
Now most of you will know that I’ve been trying my best to set-up a Youth Radio station. Well, another reason for attending is the possibility that I may make a connection or even find someone who may be interested in buying into the concept. But that’s all in my WISH LISTS!!!
Update – 3rd September 2007
Survarnabhumi International Airport looks like a great big tunnel from the outside but from the inside, it was a masterpiece. I was spell bounded by how big it was, but I guess there are few flaws in customer relations if you know what I mean.
Obviously, I missed my flight with Egypt Air to Cairo and Air Niugini in Singapore forgot to re-do all my bookings so when I turned up at 2:30 am to check in, they told me the flight is fully booked. Told me to come back and try again tomorrow. That means…another 24 hours waiting at the airport. Arggghhhhhh!!!!
I just gave up and decided to get back to POM, talked to a friend in Brisbane on chat and he agreed to call Air Niugini to have me flown back to POM in the next available flight with Singapore Air and later with Air Niugini. Well, things go really complicated as Singapore cannot change my flight as my ticket was with Swiss Airways and it was an e-ticket.
Well, miracles do happen and somehow I was able to get the next flight to Cairo after waiting for 24 hours. My arrival in Cairo was very smooth. They didn’t have the fancy tunnel that you walk through but just like our domestic arrival out onto. Actually, you didn’t have to walk, there was a pickup bus waiting to swish us away to Egypt land.
Immigration was another hassle. My battered old passport was not good enough for them. I guess the recent bombing for Sharm El Shiekh is still fresh in their minds. I was able to slide pass in Australia, Singapore and Thailand but in Egypt, they wouldn’t let me.
They seem to find a fault and so after scrutinizing it with 5 others, they call me over and interrogated me for another 20 minutes. Now, I found it so hilarious that I can’t help a cheeky smile on ma face. It was so bad……they were dead serious and me in the verge of uncontrorable laughter. The only thing that was holding me back, is that someone might punch me in the face if I holla out in laughter.
They supervisor was no help also, but fortunately, there was a guy who is meeting me in the airport. He came, saw my predicament and took my passport off the immigrations and whisked me away to a waiting vehicle towards the domestic terminal.
Late also at the domestic…but with my invitation letter, I was given first preference and on the express liner to Sharm El Shiekh.