An early pick up by our driver from house in south London, to make sure that if there were any delays on the way to the airport, we would be there in plenty of time. In the event the roads were clear and we arrived at Heathrow three hours before our flight was due to depart.
As we walked through to the departure lounge we met Mike Johnson, the tour paramedic and car repairer extraordinaire! Shortly after, we met up with Bob & Thelma Howells and then Richard Smith. Unfortunately we had a two hour delay, due the late arrival of the inbound flight, and didn’t leave until 11.15pm. So, our arrival into Singapore was not until 7.30pm. Singapore is 8 hours in front of UK time. The temperature was quite a change from the 0 degrees in London, a very pleasant 29 degrees.
A 30 minute drive from the airport brought us, with Bob & Thelma, to Raffles Hotel. The last time we were here was on our round the world trip. We immediately met up with several of our friends from previous tours as well as all the HERO team: John and Joanna Brown, James, Kurt, Jingers, Greg, Arne, Ingbritt and Howard the second doctor.
It was then off to the bar for our first Singapore Sling in Raffles’ Long Bar. This was followed by a light meal in a local Italian restaurant, where we bumped into our American/Iranian friends, Ahmad, his son Darvish and his brother Raza. It is really is good to see so many faces from previous events.
Raffles is a wonderful hotel and hopefully the photos below give some idea how special this hotel is.
This morning we went at 8.30am by coach to collect the car. It took about 30 minute drive from the hotel to the warehouse where the cars were stored. A small amount of paperwork and the cars were released. Mike Johnson then scrutinised each car to make sure, lights, tyres, batteries etc. were all working OK
It was then a short drive to the measured kilometre to calibrate our Brantz trip meter. It is essential that each car’s Brantz is set up to measure distance exactly the same as the route survey car. This is because the distances used in the road books that we follow, are all based on the route car’s measurements. It was good to see that our Brantz did not need recalibrating.
We arrived back at Raffles around 10.30am. An hour or so was spent fitting various items into the car such as the Garmin satnav. This was done in the hotel’s underground car park which was unbearably hot. We then headed for the hotel swimming, which is located on the roof. A wonderful place to chill out!
Signing-on took place after lunch. Road books (two volumes), car stickers, car numbers, third party insurance certificates and a host of other documents needed to travel through Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
We then took one of the open top double decker buses on an hour’s tour of the heritage sites in Singapore. It was great fun and well worth doing. Below are some photos from the tour.
Beautiful colours on buildings in Little India
The old and the new. Hindu temple with cranes in the background building another skyscraper.
Back at the hotel I had one final task to do and that was to fit the car stickers and number plates. I’ll post a photo of the car tomorrow all set up and raring to go!
The day finished with an event organised meal at Raffles. Nearly everyone is now here, with the last few crews arriving late this evening. We have a free day tomorrow before the event starts at 9am on Saturday.