The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single zone one Met. train.

Oh well, it sounds good, sufficiently Confucian for the start of a fifteen day trip through China. The 9.30 pm to Spencer Street station — err, make that Southern Cross station. The station looks almost complete now, totally empty and desolate at ten o’clock on a Sunday night. Foolishly, Jo thought we’d be able to buy a coffee while we waited for the bus to the airport … not a chance! Just sit in the cold grey echo-ey concrete car-park that is the brand new bus station. I wonder if there is a bus station anywhere in the world that looks attractive?

A small mercy on the bus to the airport, for once we were not subjected to the appalling “Come and spend all your money at Chadstone mega-mall” video. Maybe it only shows to arrivals, maybe the driver hates it as much as the passengers do.

Check-in as much fun as it always is, this time we got to queue up behind an entire teenage German orchestra and most of their instruments. All kinds of oddly-shaped luggage requiring all kinds of different handling.

Eight hours to Singapore and I tried to sleep, dozing badly while being leaned on by a man we nicknamed “Mr Stinky” — the owner of one of the worst cases of halitosis I’ve ever had the misfortune to experience. When his fat arms and broad shoulders weren’t leaning on me, he was subjecting me to a form of chemical warfare that must surely be illegal on a civilian aircraft.