Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Travellers Return.....

We're Back!

And feeling like I am finally on planet earth after a fairly gruelling flight home.
The visit to family was fantastic. But a few weeks before we left; Boo took a turn into Behaviour-land which made some aspects of the journey challenging to say the least. He is back in school now and we are back in the arms of his tutors, supervisor and the Director who are going to help me work through this latest phase of behaviour, please god.

However, let's focus on the positives!
Firstly, in case you have never flown halfway around the world with an 11 year old with moderate to severe autism, let me give you the benefit of my experience!
All credit must go to the excellent Singapore Airlines, and Sean in the Dublin office who booked all our flights and ensured we got our special assistance.

Let's not talk about the first leg from Dublin to Heathrow (Achh!)
and instead have a look at Boo on the new Airbus A380, in the economy section upstairs where we got our requested "two seats away from everyone else".






Yup, that is a multifunction Keyboard remote on his lap which operates microsoft word on the seat-back t.v screen. Flip it over and you have over 300 movies and T.V shows all of which can be restarted and fast forwarded to the credits endlessly....




What you can't see is the in seat power point where you can recharge your portable appliances, useful for when you need to be entertained in transit. The crew let us board first (before the mobility impaired who gave us dirty looks) and Boo was happily entertained and happy for the entire 13 hours of the first leg to Singapore.





Service, food and drink onboard are excellent but when we got to Singapore Boo needed a fix of carbs and caffeine.






We didn't do much else in Singapore but sleep and have a good rest at the Airport Crowne Plaza which is at entrance to Terminal 3. Literally across the concourse.







Singapore Aircrew assisted us from the aircraft, through immigration and baggage to the concierge desk of the hotel. I was exhausted by this stage and happily stayed in our deluxe room with a rainshower, plasma tv and intranet BROADBAND.



Boo was not interested in going anywhere so we just zipped in and out of the Terminal for meals (plenty of noodle bars and coffee places) and used the Skytrain to check out the rest of the place. The hotel is literally on the edge of the runway which suited aero-files like ourselves and sent a cooling breeze across the enormous but safely shallowish pool.



40 hours after arriving we checked out ready for the 7 hour flight on to Melbourne. After some more carbs of course.



When transiting, I follow the golden rules for child keeping. Dress them in stripes and make sure they have i.d. on their person. I wrote my mobile number on Boo in indelible pen and attached a tag to his shoe with his name and diagnosis.


And on arrival we rented a huge australian air conditioned car.




The first few days were quite cool but by the Saturday after New Year, the temperature started to rise.



After a delightful lunch with The Imeldas , and a walk around my old home town -



I brought them out to the Farm and hit the pool.

Which kept us all cool and amused.

So that is part one of our trip. Have to go and attend to the workblog now.

Thanks for sticking with me. More Soon


xx

15 comments:

Sal said...

Can't wait to hear more! Glad to have you "back," and even gladder the trip encompassed some gooooood times.

Sesame said...

You sell it well...welcome back...

Nan P. said...

Welcome back, welcome back.

Little secret: I LOVE long haul travel, those really long flights where all you have to do is decide on either sleep, or watch a movie (and which one), or ask for another drink (and then fruit or "stronger"), or stretch the old legs up and down the cabin... all the while looking out at Planet Earth from way high above. Perfect way to start and end a holiday.... Am I weird?

Anyway, WELCOME BACK "GRAND-SIS"
;-)

K.Line said...

Hey - Glad you are home safe and sound. Did you only travel with Boo? Or was Bratty there too? Can't wait to hear about your journey at length!

enc said...

What a wonderful post! I laughed out loud more than once.

:D

I'm glad to know the travels went well.

Nick McGivney said...

Great to have you back! I was killed watering the plants and feeding the goldfish.

Skye said...

You are inspiring me to actually brave the flight to Scotland with my toddler to see my mother.

I have hitherto refused due to fear of exhaustion and misery, but you make it look so good!

Skye said...

Ok Hammie, here's a small question for you about autie etiquette. During the boxing day sales I was in DJs when a howling kerfuffle broke out just outside the ladies toilet. It was a teenage girl (say about 15) left in charge of her sister (about 12) who was pretty clearly autistic and losing it big time (no doubt due to being in DJs on boxing day, which is overwhelming enough for everyone else). Various people were standing around tut-tutting at the "apalling behaviour" of the apparently tantrumming tween and hassling the older sister. I was unable to control my meddling bossy boots side and started saying to people in the crowd, "I'm pretty sure she's autistic." so they'd disperse and stop their crowding and disapproving carry on, which was making the situation much more difficult. It worked, the girl calmed down. Peace reigned once again, but I couldn't help thinking that I was:

a) presumptious and condescending to say what I said,
and
b) a bit crap in not trying to help the sister (I had now idea how, so didn't want to make things worse).

What is the best course of action in a situation like that?

Hammie said...

(in reverse order)
Skye: You did exactly the right thing. Had a few very public meltdowns in the last 3 weeks and in everycase it is best to back off and let the carer get on with it. If it is "just behaviour" then any intervention might reinforce it meaning it will happen again. And if it is due to confusion and fear then strangers interfering or watching (and tutting) will make it worse.
Explaining and getting rid of the bystanders is perfect, the only thing you could have added was to wait off side, with a neutral expression and ask if there is anything you can do to help.
Having had a similar situation last Friday on the ramp to the Crowne Plaza in Singapore, what I needed most of all was someone to go back into the hotel and get my bag so I could continue on to immigration with Boo. He would not come back with me and I cannot move him against his will anymore.
All I could do was sit on him and wait until someone passed and then beg them to go back to get help - which they did.

Apart from that I can heartily reccommend the long haul, just be sure to do a stopover (without transfers, just book an airport hotel or get a taxi to the hotel in town) So that little Dude can stretch his legs and run around the pool or whatever, while you get to use a bathroom independently and lie down and relax for 12-24 hours. And dont consider any airline that is not Singapore Airlines. Their economy service pisses on most others business class. PERIOD! (in 22 years we have done it all)

Nick: Goldfish and treeferns etc all doing well, thankyou.

enc: thanks!

K-line: would have to travel with a nurse and Nanny for Bratty to fly that long. If we ever move back to Aus then Bratty will have to take a Cruise liner, she needs the activity!

Nan: thanks. I agree with you as it is one of the few ocaisions when we are waited on and looked after. but not so much of the stretching legs when travelling with a Boo. Stop overs are essential.Boo heartily agrees with you!!

Sesame: I love them. The only thing that will stop us using them again is the Euro airport transfer. Eithiad are flying direct from Dublin to Abu Dhabi and I am thinking of them for next time. Unless Singapore start a Dublin Sing direct (unlikely with the A380 doing the 13 hours haul)

Sal: thanks and Happy New Year!

The Seeker said...

Welcome back lovely!!!!
Nice to know the travel went well.

OMG I want to know about Imeldas and your lunch, are you going to tell us all about??? ;)

Take care sweetie

xoxo

Top Bird said...

Sounds like your careful planning and co-ordination with the airline worked out very well in your favour.

Also - thanks for posting about the airbus. I'm hoping to fly on it on my next trip home to Oz. xx

Make Do Style said...

Love the post, love the comments and your answers really informative and have taken on board.

Lookign forward to more posts esp the Imeldas ones - aren't we voyeurs!!

Cal said...

Oh, Boo...how I missed you! (and your mum, too).
Adieu!
(Mwahaha...what an amazing poet I am!)

cybill said...

Travelling with children is a NIGHTMARE!, the anticipation they will act up, the bit where they act up, the looks from other people, the confined spaces, (why am I going through this list when you clearly know it so well?). You survived and once Boos routine kicks back in all will be well in hammieland again, i'm sure.
Since you know Imelda so well, could you please tell me if the typo in his tagline is deliberate and if it isn't, could you tell him!

Summer said...

Hey!!!just nothing more to say..
I just love the whole thing,specially the swimming pool that was so fantastic!!
You know what?!
I do love traveling different places,and that's why i can't wait to hear more fom you and see more pics..=)