Ever since watching Ramen Girl with Brittany Murphy, I wanted to try ramen. So here we were, happily slurping delicious hot ramen noodle soup for breakfast in the Bangkok airport before our flight to Singapore.
The flight itself was easy and uneventful and pretty soon we were walking past designer shops and restaurant in Changi airport. We only had 5 hours before our next flight, so we decided to limit our exploration to the airport itself – with numerous restaurants, shops and gardens, and even a free charging stand (to charge your phones, laptops etc) it a pretty cool place to be.
So, we had a long lunch, lingered over ice-creams and magazines and were about to head for the Cactus garden (with over 40 different cacti species!) when we saw that our flight was re-timed. That’s right, not delayed, but re-timed! But whatever they call it, the fact was that we were now departing some time after midnight instead of 6 pm. We saw this as a great opportunity to see the the city after all, and jumped onto the city link train. We were pretty pleased with ourselves for figuring 2 completely different train/underground systems in as many days, but maybe that’s because they are so well organized and efficient.
Our destination was the Singapore Flyer – the biggest wheel in the world at 165 meters tall! While I was living in England, somehow I managed to miss out on the London Eye experience, so now I was determined to see this one. While we were standing by a ticket office and trying to count our cash to see if we had enough (and I say trying because it’s not that easy – Singapore money are made of some sort of plasticky paper and are very slippery!) when a lady approached us and asked if we wanted two tickets. Now, being Russian I immediately started suspecting that this was some kind of scam where we would end up loosing all our belongings, but turned out she had corporate membership tickets and some people didn`t turn up. We thanked her profusely and skipped towards the embarkation point (well, I skipped. Mike walked with dignity).
The ride itself was a bit surreal. The view of the city centre was exactly how I pictured Singapore. The elevated highways and skyscrapers looked like something out of Fifth Element – at least to me, because none of the places I`ve been to had anything like this. It was also amazing to recognize sight that we looked up before the trip as “might see” – the Marina Bay, the Esplanade, the Super trees. I mean, just a few weeks ago my student Svetalana was outlining the best places to see in Singapore and here we were looking right at them!
The ride took around 40 minutes. We got off, slightly dazed and wandered around the bay promenade. We still had some time so we decided to eat. (and with the free meal provided by Jetstar because of the delayed, pardon, re-timed flight we ate 4 times in 12 hours! But consoled ourselves that we weren’t eating unhealthy (except for giant ice-creams, but they were 50% off so surely at half the calories) and very jet-lagged so needed the energy.
We ate at a place called Singapore Food Trail right under the Flyer. It’s a 1960-s style hawker center with carts, stalls and kiosks, most specializing on just one dish or ingredient and the food is cooked right before your eyes. As we took our seats, we ate and drank cold Tiger beer – perfect in the stifling humid heat – and took in the view in front of us.
When we came back to the airport, our flight got re-timed again, this time to 2 am. We found a bar with a view of the whole airport and exorbitant prices and spent our last Singapore dollars on two beers. I wish I had tried the Singapore Sling, but never made it to the Raffles hotel and not sure how good it would be in the airport. So beer it was, and magazines. I haven`t read a gossip mag in forever and kept trying to interest Mike who was reading some news: (Squeak) Hey, Drew Barrimore might be pregnant! (Gasp!) Justin Timberlake is said to have cheated in Jessica Biel! (Gasp gasp) Britney Spears bites her nails!
By the time we were finally allowed to board our flight we ran out of steam and were struggling to keep awake. The flight to Auckland took 10 hours and we slept most of it, although of course it was airplane kind of sleep punctuated by crying babies, tugs on our seats from the people seating behind, announcements from the crew and beeps of flight attendant call buttons. But we made it!
As we were walking through immigration, customs and to the domestic terminal I kept elbowing Mike and saying things like, Hey, we are in New Zealand, and, Hey, New Zealand air!