Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…done with Singapore

You may well be surprised to read that I’ve been in Singapore, but imagine how I felt when I turned up to Christchurch Airport, looked at the departures board and saw nothing that resembled my flight before eventually being told that I’d be ending the day 1800 miles away from where I expected to be.

Luckily the woman in the queue behind me was also meant to be on my flight and she too had absolutely no clue about what was going on. That was a nice relief until I was told my fate.

It turns out the Christchurch earthquake is to blame. Planes in Christchurch are only allowed 40% fuel levels which means if they’re going to go any distance they need to stop off in Auckland to refuel. That means they’re all delayed as they have to wait for slots to get in and then passengers have to sit around on a plane for an hour waiting to get away again. This all leads to there being very little time to get to India, so I was forced to make an overnight stop in Singapore, all at the expense of the very generous Singapore Airlines.

It was a lovely surprise and I enjoyed my brief stop there, but I couldn’t help thinking the whole time that things were all a bit too glamorous for me. Firstly, the airline handed out a toothbrush and toothpaste to all passengers (a nice touch) and in the same bag? A complimentary pair of socks! Then to add even more class to precedings, I was given real cutlery to eat my meals with and not only did I have a TV screen in the back of the seat in front of me, but I had a choice of 99 films/TV shows to watch, a load of radio channels and the option to play games or learn a new language. I clearly need to learn how to find budget airlines more effectively.

Things continued to be a bit too nice when my (paid-for) taxi took me to my hotel that, I’m a bit confused by the rates to be honest, seems to be the equivalent of eight or nine nights at my normal spending. And that’s only because the first night you book there is 58% cheaper than a normal night, so technically it’s around 20 times more expensive than my standard digs.

Obviously too nice for me

I also got a free breakfast and what a breakfast it was. First course (courses for breakfast!) included curry, noodles, spring rolls, hash browns and naan bread. This was followed by pancakes, melon, watermelon and lychees stuffed with pineapple. It was glorious. If only there was someone forward thinking enough to start a blog called something like ‘What I Had For Breakfast’.

I was only given around 18 hours in Singapore, including airport time, so I didn’t get to see much of the place. I had a wander by the river in the morning and even though I was back in my hotel by half nine, it was already starting to get ridiculously hot. I’m glad I wasn’t around to feel the heat of the midday sun.

A pretty bridge

I got to the airport and for once I wished my plane was delayed so I could have more time in the terminal. Changi is my favourite airport in the world – how’s the for a pointless award? I particularly liked that they put mini botanical gardens throughout, although I was slightly disappointed to find out that the butterfly garden was in a different terminal. I also appreciated that they tried to make so much free — internet access, phone chargers — that so many other airports try to charge ridiculous rates for. The fact that the drinking fountains worked on motion detectors was amazing.

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One Response

  1. Dave w says:

    I felt a similar mix of ‘what am I doing here?’ awe and ‘shit, I could have saved’ when I flew non-budget from Egypt to Taiwan, but it was too difficult to arrange all those budget airline connections myself (if they even existed). I slept most of the way anyway, so didn’t get a chance to enjoy the banal rubbish they wanted me to watch 😦

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