Technically, it’s Singapore, Singapore… but that seems a bit redundant, doesn’t it? Singapore is a city-state on the Southern tip of Malaysia. It is located one degree north from the equator, which means it’s hot. Really hot. As soon as I stepped off the plane and onto the bridge, I immediately felt the warmth and humid air of Southeast Asia. It’s been two months of winter weather for me, and I knew that I was instantly going to miss New Zealand before I even left the airport.
It took a bit longer than I had anticipated to get to the Christchurch International Airport by bus, so I was in a bit of a panic while I was trying to find the check-in desk to drop off my large backpack knowing I still had to go through immigration and security. Luckily, everything was a breeze. There was barely a line for check-in (which never happens in Asia), the security line was short, and I was able to use the electronic ePassport Smartgate system for immigration. All you have to do is scan your passport, step through, take a picture, then you’re on your merry way. Thanks CHC!
Now with thirty minutes to spare before I had to be at my gate and an hour before the flight was scheduled to take off, I had plenty of time to spend the last of my New Zealand money. I had breakfast and a coffee and decided to buy some snacks at the bookstore for the flight. Again, I was amazed because the bookstore was not overpriced like all the other airports in the world. The prices were super fair, like I’m talking water that doesn’t cost $10 and chips for less than $2! Awesome, now I was ready for my 10.5 hour flight to Singapore.
That’s just about when my luck had run out. Originally, I thought I had booked myself in an Exit row for the long flight. However, I was not-so-pleasantly surprised when I landed myself in the middle of the economy section (at least it was an aisle seat) surrounded by young kids. The plane was a bit outdated but fair enough and the entertainment was good to satisfy me for ten hours. I watched three straight hours of GOT to start, then every Big Bang Theory, The Office, Friends episode I could find and a few movies. I am so glad I bought a pair of over-the-ear headphones from The Reject Shop in Australia because they came in handy when the little girl next to me just about lost her damn mind. I tried my best not to be judgmental and let it go, but needless to say by the time we landed in Singapore, I was ready to run off that plane.
First Impressions. Somehow I am 6-for-6 when it comes to countries that drive on the left side of the road. Thailand-Malaysia-Indonesia-Australia-New Zealand and now Singapore. It was a strange coincidence because I had read in Australia that something like 75% of the world drives on the right side of the road, just not any of the countries that I’ve visited since April. That’s cool, but I was really looking forward to seeing a normal car again, with the driver on the left and the passenger on the right. It’s such a small thing, but trust me, it matters. Especially when the homesickness kicks in. But oh well, I can wait a few more days. Other than the whole car thing, Singapore is hot and humid, as expected, it’s very clean and noticeably culturally diverse. It’s weird being back in Asia. I feel like I am more of a foreigner here than I was in Australia or New Zealand, even though I blend in so easily.