Going home

I woke up at 6am today. It was feel really early but there seemed to be little point in trying to sleep. To say that I did not sleep well last night was an understatement. Hotel Ajax was situated on a street lined with restaurants and pubs. In fact, right below the hotel was an Argentinean steakhouse. So it could get pretty noisy and it did yesterday night. I kept hearing people making merry the whole night. As my room was only four floors above, I could heard their voices clearly and woke up when they got especially loud. To add to the noise, I was woken up by a loud sirens passing by the road in front of the hotel. This happened four times throughout the night.

But despite not having a good night’s sleep, I woke up in a good mood. I would be going home today and the thought made me really happy. When it was time, I went down to the hotel lobby for breakfast. Like yesterday, I was the only one around; the rest of the hotel guests do not come down so early. Which suited me just fine. I had the same thing I ate yesterday but this time skipping the fake orange drink.

After breakfast, I asked the hotel staff to help me book a Connexxion Shuttle. I asked for the shuttle to pick me up at 3pm as my flight was at 7pm. I thought it would be safer to arrive at the airport by 4pm in case there were any problems. This was one flight that I did not want to miss. Besides, I did not feel like walking around Amsterdam anymore. I just wanted to get home.

I went back to my room and watched CNN until I fell asleep. It was much quieter in the morning and I had a more restful sleep than I had last night. Even when I woke up, I just continued to lie in bed until it was 11am and time to check out. I returned the room key and left my luggage at the hotel.

Now to find a way to spend time until I could fly home.

My first stop was at a coffee chain called Coffee Company. They served nice coffee and offered free WiFi for one hour to customers. I ordered a medium latte and used the free WiFi to check-in to my flight and choose a good seat. The password for the WiFi was on the receipt. Remember to ask for the receipt if the cashier forgot to hand it to you.

Hotel Ajax provided WiFi access to the guests at €8 a day. I might have paid for the internet access if it wasn’t so troublesome to use. The WiFi range was only until the second floor so it meant that my room which was on the third floor, was out of range. If I wanted to get onto the internet, I would need to get out of my room, go down to the second floor or the lobby. I also did not need to use the WiFi for the whole day, just enough time for me to check in to my flight. After weighing the options, I decided not to use the hotel’s WiFi and just buy a cup of coffee from the cafes that offered free WiFi access.

Courtyard of the Amsterdam Museum

I walked along the shopping streets, taking my time to visit the shops and browse through their wares. When I had enough of window shopping, I went to The Amsterdam Museum. It had a courtyard that was hidden from the main streets so it was a nice quiet place for me to stay and read.

I went back to the hotel after 2:30pm. I choose a seat near the window and kept peering out until I saw the familiar dark green of the hotel shuttle van. I grabbed my luggage, shouted a loud “Bye bye!” to the hotel counter staff and rushed down the stairs.

I reached the airport early and went to check in my luggage. The staff at the counter read out my flight number, boarding gate, etc. You know, the usual stuff they always say. Then she said something very strange, she said my flight was at 9pm. I took a good look at my ticket and realized that I had misread 2100H for 7pm. So now I was at the airport way too early but at the same time, too late to go back to the city. Even if I could go back, I’m not sure if I wanted to as there was nothing else I wanted to see in the city.

Panini sandwich

So I went through immigration and spent my time reading in the departure lounge. Then I decided to get myself some food as my flight would only be flying off at 9pm. I wasn’t hungry but I thought it was safer to eat something as who knew when would be my next meal. I went to the cafe and had a bacon and egg panini sandwich and a cup of hot chocolate. The food was just so-so. The sandwich was rather bland and dry. The hot chocolate was better but not great.

It was a lot of time spent waiting; waiting at the departure lounge, waiting at the boarding gate and waiting to get onto the plane. I was really glad when I finally sat in the airplane seat. The next 12 hours of flight passed by very fast as I just kept watching movie after movie. When the plane landed in Singapore, I was so overcame with emotion that my eyes got a bit teary.

It’s good to be home again.

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