Thursday, 17 February 2011

Singapore

I have been wanting to post for the past few days about the past few days as there have been a few things happening but at the end of the day I simply have been too busy to do so for one reason and other and so I have been resting. 
I have been to the airport again to meet another new teacher, been to the marina to meet friends and also to Singapore.


Due to being an expat I have to occasionally go outside the country to refresh my visa or something, I truly don't understand or ask I just do it as I have to, and it is as simple as that.

Sarinah at Thamrin on a holiday, McD's is also open so more fat kids
The city is great when there is a holiday, so why not make every day a holiday here


So after a day with my friends drinking, eating and talking I have the great task of waking up at 3am to get to airport for the first flight to Singapore.... oohhhhhhhh not good!!!


Up at 3am and I was taken to the airport at 4. As normal the driver is a little bit er of a rocket ship pilot and at 4am the roads are pretty much empty. At 4.20 much to my delight and enthusiasm I was at the airport and dropped Terminal 2 D and then had to find the Lion Air check in desk which is at the far corner of the international checkin.
As it is customary for me I am not the happiest in the morning and check in desks wont help. So I stood in line and eventually someone asked if I had any luggage and because I did not I was shown to the no luggage check in desk. Signs would be helpful at this point.
After some words with Immigration over my new passport which is over a year old I was eventually stamped out. I always get some issue with Immigration, I don't know. 
Starbucks is occasionally useful and at 5am in the morning at the airport it was a beacon in the darkness. For those that don't know it is on the way to the departure gates starting with D.
Coffee is hand I then sat and waited for the gate to open and was joined a man who continually spat into a bin and ate an orange the same way but only occasionally spat that out. What a delightful man


The flight was uneventful and it was a nice flight and I managed to sleep a little. After getting through immigration which was about 20 minutes from the arrival point as Changi is so so so big, I took the sky train from T3 to T2 and then got an MRT card so I could around the city.




Waiting for the train and when it comes it is empty, clean and no one calls you mister


I am not a stranger to Singapore, I have been there a few times, done Sentosa, Little India, China Town, Orchard far too many times, Bugis and the like. 
I have flown into S'pore and left the same way and also taken the train out of the city. I have seen the Merilion, the tower at Sentosa and many other things in all my visits there so another visit was not really filling me with excitement. However the TV ads had managed to wet my whistle so to speak and I was curious to see Marina Bay and a few other places.
The MRT is a fun thing to take and I forgot how almost pleasant it can be to travel in a tube with lots of other people who are all either talking through their phones or plugged into them.


I got a card for $12 sing dollar which needs to be topped up after so many trips and it can be used infrequently as well which means if I go back or friends do then they can use it as well


Marina bay is new. Brand new. The MRT station is under a lot of construction and then it is a bit of a walk in the Singapore heat to get to the shopping center and then to the helix bridge, and the giant clam what ever that is.












I am sorry my photos are all messy but I struggle to put them in neat lines!!!


Yes I took a lot of photos but all the buildings and the skyline is amazing. The mall is huge, it has theaters and a casino and it really easy to get to. 


Final picture is on the Singapore flyer which is a huge orbital viewing structure which is just a walk along the helix bridge, turn right, then a short stroll by a huge reservoir of water and there you are. I wish now I had taken of the rubbish floating in it to prove that rubbish is a problem every where but it was far too hot to and I was tired.


The Singapore flyer is great. Its a huge ferris wheel which the highest point you are 165m above the sea and so the views are amazing. Getting on it there is relatively no glam or glitz just a few signs and overly excited assistants. For a Wednesday there was no one about and so I had a booth to myself for the 30 minute experience. 
$29.50 or 250,000 idr gets you this and I must say it is worth is as the fews are great. I can only imagine what the view must be like at night or when Indonesia is not burning forests etc and the view and visibility is smog free, as it was you could see mountains in almost every direction.













Back to Orchard road for lunch and to be honest I was not really thinking or wanting to think so I headed into McD's at the Forum. I desperately tried to connect my BB to the wireless internet but failed so that was that and so I wandered of to find somewhere to connect and communicate. 
The best thing was really getting lost in the tunnels under Orchard as they all link to malls and that way you don't have to go into the air if you don't need to. So I wandered around looking at books in borders, went to the lucky mall to get cheap souvenirs for everyone and then to a haven in all this mess, Muddy Murphy's Irish bar, only to be harassed by the waitress who asked me 6 times if I wanted to eat which I never as all I wanted was a few quiet beers to pass the time.


The bar is great though and I know the food is great. The Guiness is $12 dollars a pint and they sell Bulmers cider as well. It is always worth a visit.


Finally with the boredom and tiredness creeping in, I headed back into the airport and waited to check in. With Lion you can check in upto 2.5 hours early and then go into the departure lounge. Changi is losing its touch I think and I guess that is why they are updated it all and doing lots of building work. The free internet is still very useful and the viewing lounges a pleasure. Duty free for now seems to have shrunk although it is still full of everything you might need and for me it was chocolate.
Eventually after some food at Subway it was time to board the plane. I should thank the Lion air staff as I had leg room on both trips and that was appreciated. Free water would also be nice but I know that would be too much to ask for, on an international flight but hey ho.


Immigration again at Jakarta were not the friendliest as they demanded all sorts from me but I got it and everything is all ok again. 20 hours is a long time but I guess as I posted on Facebook 'Singapore is both interesting and uninteresting at the same time' , the phrase does sum up how I feel about going there. Maybe next time Universal Studios will beckon but I don't know when that will be.

I guess I missed the wierdness, traffic, mess, noise, dust and chaos of Jakarta for a day and for its bad points it was nice to be home!!!

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