Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Stuck in Singers

Sitting beneath a giant Banyan tree in Fort Canning Park

We were supposed to leave for our trip to Kyoto and Shanghai last night, but we are stuck in Singapore for a few more days. How did this happen? Well, it happened because we made a rookie mistake. We've been so preoccupied with moving, planning for the wedding, and tons of other things that we forgot to get our visas for China. It just... slipped our minds somehow. So now we're paying for it.

If it hadn't been for one small detail, we would have got our visas on Tuesday with impeccable timing and left on our flight to Kyoto as planned. But thanks to the lovely holiday called International Labor Day falling on May 1st, the Chinese Embassy was closed and the soonest we could get our visas was Thursday morning.

We had two options: Change our flights and delay the trip by two days or cancel it altogether. It was all going to come down to cost. I called Orbitz with my fingers crossed.

Our flight was with China Eastern Airlines and Orbitz told us we couldn't change airlines, but to change dates it was only 30 USD per person and the difference in fares. In the end it was only about a total of 300 USD to change our flights. We didn't have to cancel our trip!

We were also quite lucky the flight change fees were so low because they generally average 120 USD per person with Orbitz. From now on we're going to check the fees before booking and most importantly, check well in advance to see if we need a visa for every country we go to.

Luckily we got this all sorted out Monday night and were able to relax and enjoy Labor Day on Tuesday. We went to see The Avengers in 3D with Heath and Alex. The movie was so long and intense that the bulb burnt out on the projector, causing us to miss the very last scene. We complained and each got a voucher for a free movie.

Then we went to visit the Istana, which is the President of Singapore's residence and open to the public only five times a year. We timed our visit perfectly, because President Tony Tan Keng Yam pulled up in a golf cart right when we arrived and we managed to get a picture of him.

Kelly with the President of Singapore Tony Tan Keng Yam

There wasn't much to see inside the Istana apart from some sparkling chandeliers and a collection of the decorative gifts Singapore has received from various countries over the years. We also saw the President's official chair and the room where he entertains and receives all the decorative gifts from state dignitaries.

Kelly and Julius in front of the Istana, which means palace in Malay

The grounds of the Istana were beautiful. There was a lovely pond with a statue of Queen Victoria from Singapore's colonial years.

Pond with a statue of Queen Victoria at the far end

How can you keep off a pond? 

There was even a narrow pond with a little bridge over it. The bridge was off-limits, so I jokingly suggested we jump across it. Heath must have thought this was a good idea, and he managed to jump over it without falling in, but not without tearing his shorts in a very obvious place.

The pond Heath jumped over

On our way home I got the opportunity to pose in front of the famous MRT sign of illegal stuff.

By the way, we are actually currently homeless, so our current "home" is with our friend Sierin on campus at NTU. She has a pet rabbit called Floppy to whom we've been feeding carrots. 

Hanging out at Sierin's place with Floppy the Rabbit

There's an amazing building on campus that has grass growing on the roof that I just had to post because it looks so cool.

The School of Art, Design, and Media at NTU

The sun has set on our time in Singapore. Although this may be my last post about Singapore, please stay tuned for the bonus stories from Kyoto and Shanghai, assuming all goes well and we receive our visas on Thursday! 

Sunset at NTU

1 comment:

  1. That reminds me, Sergio and I also need to get our visas for China! Good thing you were able to change your flight. This was a really nice final post about Singapore. It looks so lovely and green and everyone is always in summer clothes. And here in London, I am still wearing a coat to work! My fav pics are you with the Banyan tree, you with the president and the building on campus with grass growing on top (so amazing!)