CHANGI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT,MARINA BAY SANDS &GARDENS BY THE BAY
When I booked my flight and saw that I had a 14 hour stop over in Singapore,I was so unbelievably excited.that's a whole day exploring a different country,or so I thought!
Looking at their website,I saw that they offered free Singapore city tours,naturally I jumped on the opportunity and made notes on what to do when I got here.
They've got two on offer,The Heritage Tour which runs from morning to about 6Pm (Singapore time).i didn't bother with that one as I'd definitely be missing the final registration call having not landed yet.
So the second option was the way to go,The City Sights Tour from 6pm to 8:30pm.
I'd booked my hotel room for 9 pm,that way I could sleep in Peace having completed my activities for the day.
Getting to Changi,I have to say, was a very overwhelming experience,on top of the excitement of having finally left Africa,this here truly is an international hub,I've never seen duty free this extra!
It's amazing! They have it all,huge brand names,Hugo Boss,Victoria's Secret,Omega the list goes on!
It's super huge,I set about looking for the free tours kiosk! It was not an easy task,I walked for a good 30 minutes before finding them!Turns out I had to go get a boarding pass at Terminal 1,I was on 2.apparently i had to get a Sky Train to get there.
Now let it be known I have never been on a train!i mean I've seen one but really those sad as hell freight things back home don't really count.I was a bit apprehensive but hey,let's do this!The trains are available every four minutes and take about 3 minutes between stops,pretty neat,
I met an older Czech guy who owns a hotel in Bali,after mentioning that was my final destination he gave me his card and told me to hit him up on Instagram for a booking!
Someone's up with the times,seeing as everything in Bali is super booked the chances of me meeting him again are pretty non existent,it was an interesting meet though.
Getting to Terminal 1,equally as huge as 2,the struggle to find my airline booth was real! The walk was a proper work out session! I was sweating like the proverbial whore in church! I've never been this uncomfortable ever,on that note,did I mention how HUMID Singapore is! Like damn! It was a good 29 degrees out!
By the time I found the booth,sweating profusely,it was then that my hopes and dreams were mercilessly dashed,this woman,without any feeling informed me how I couldn't get a boarding pass as I was way too early,it was only 4pm and the flight was at 5am.
So much as I could get the pass at about 9 pm,it would be pointless as the tours would be done for the day!
I was so gutted! I was really looking forward to this city tour,She said there was literally nothing I can do without that boarding pass.I sauntered away crestfallen and naturally didn't even bother going back to the free tours area but I'm not one to give up Willy nilly,(lol,I've always wanted to incorporate that in one of these!)I remembered there were other sights to see according to the website,
I set about finding the "famous" Orchid Garden,which turned out to be this minuscule collection of orchids I'd already passed earlier,Look,it's beautiful yes but Trip Advisor,you need to relax with your misleading descriptions,there's nothing that epic about it,it's just a bunch of orchids and about two large sculptures.
There's also a Koi pond,pretty fish but for how long does one sit there staring at fish!I noticed a bunch of tossed coins in the fountain,I neither had time nor Ugandan fifty shilling coins for this endeavor so I was out!
Ok,that was a bust,next the sunflower garden which is on Level 3 of Terminal 2.located on the roof top,they are supposed to give a view of the tarmac in the back drop while the numerous sun flowers are in full bloom and display.
I took the escalator to level 3 which also houses the entertainment hub,this airport does free movie screenings 24 hours so I thought yap I'm doing that!
I'd also planned on having dinner at the Orchid restaurant,revered on Trip Advisor,
I decided to go for the sunflower garden first,I opened the exit doors and I swear on everything sacred I almost died from being bitch slapped by the humidity I'd clearly forgotten all about courtesy of the air conditioned airport!What in the name of hell! I mean Uganda is humid but this is something else!
The flowers are pretty but that heat! Thankfully my hair is braided otherwise! I was about to be all over this lounge looking a severely dried,dehydrated 80's Rick James!
I turned and just went back from where ever it is I came from!
After cooling down,I remembered the cinema,went to it but umm yeah,it has about 15 seats and they were all full!There was literally nowhere for me to be entertained,As for that Orchid cafe! Honestly Trip Advisor,staaap!!!!!!
The only upside to finding my way up here was accidentally finding my hotel on the same level,but since I made my reservation for 9pm,I just walked right passed it like we aren't acquainted and the name Mugisha is completely unknown to their systems.
I'll be back....I shall be back,I feel like there isn't a human out there that needs a bed and shower as badly as I do!
Honestly,I'm pretty sad about today,nothing and I mean nothing was working out for me.
Ohh hold up I just looked up from typing and there is a gigantic teenager sitting opposite from me,I don't mean to stare but hey I'm one of ,oh I don't know,5 black people in this whole airport,I've been hard core stared at for some hours now,I'm flipping the script!
What a strong calf muscle he has!
Oh wait where was I? yes,I'm sad! And also lonely,walking these large corridors alone is pretty ...lonely,I wish my sister was here with me,there are so many things I've seen that we'd love,we could window shop,her favorite activity,I'm not into it,never have been,never understood the appeal,And she could have laughed at me realizing the "train" is literally more like a super fast bus,what on earth was I worried about!
Oh well,I digress,in an hour or so,I'll go grab a bite to eat, I know there's a Burger King or McDonald's here somewhere,never had those before so,,,go get my boarding pass then hit the hotel and freshen up.
P.S I think the giant teen is a Viking descendant! Note to self,coming back,,short shorts and flip flops woman,do not be enslaved by the heat again.
Ok,So I spoke too soon!
Guess who is going for the tour!!!!!!!!!!!!
You know what,there is a God!
So there I was looking for a waste bin to chuck the paper work for the free tour when I somehow ended up at the free tour booth!The lady , who called me miss Uganda, asked wether I'd got my boarding pass to which I explained what had transpired,she said it was fine I could go,as long as I had my travel itenarary!
The smile I flashed this woman I reserve only for special occasions, like seeing Jason Statham on the Telly.
I've never been so grateful in my life! I thanked her non stop,ran to the bathroom to freshen up and was at the booth at the designated time of 6:20.All I had to do was pick up my pass when I got back,
Naturally I led the line to que for immigration,however as I got to the front I thought "crap,what if I get stopped!?" I humbled myself at that counter like it's never been done before,it took a few minutes but,yours truly got through!
We got to the bus,There was that unholy humidity again but I didn't care, I Beelined for the back and got me a nice corner seat!Majority of the people on the bus were Japanese,one of the girls,her name escapes me chatted me up a bit and seemed to recognize Uganda,I do hope she wasn't fibbing, and she liked my braids.
Our guide,Madeline was really pleasant, giving us back ground history on how Singapore came to be and all that.
Singapore is a beautiful country! So clean!, so green,the flowers were all in bloom,the umbrella trees lining the streets were incredible! I absolutely loved it,and maybe got lost in dreaming about living here,this here country is clearly well off!
Our first stop was the Gardens by the Bay to see the Avatar like super trees made of concrete and metal structures,so beautiful!
I whipped out the camera and took as many photos as I could, we were here for about 15 minutes.
The second stop was the incredible Marina Bay Sands,an integrated resort with a variety of high end shops, hotel,convention center and lots more I imagine.
We got treated to the most amazing music,water and lights show!so impressive and of course the most important bit,free!There are two shows daily one at 7:30 and the other 9:30. People come from all over to see this show,I'm glad I got to see it.
The journey back to the airport,we got to see a bit of town,most of the buildings,if not all are all high rise buildings,Darkness had fallen but I almost didn't notice,it's so incredibly well lit.As I'm from a nation where darkness and random pitch black corners are everywhere,pot holes,dust and motorcycle menaces being king,this was a welcome change of pace and scenery.
We got back and the struggle was on for me to get my boarding pass,get fed and then get back to find my hotel!At some point I was literally just winging it but did eventually get my pass,which had zero useful info,like my gate and what Terminal.
Then I struggled to find the food court so I could have the world famous chicken fried rice,a delicacy in these parts, I walked what felt like miles before randomly finding it,Getting my order in was another story,damn automated services,
See we are light years from these back home as far as I'm concerned, I did get my meal,the roast chicken and rice.it was delicious! Cold,but delicious! The rice was gingery,the chicken nice and sticky,and that broth! I just picked up the bowl and chugged it! Ohhh my soul was renewed.
Now it was time to turn in,I could not for the life of me find my hotel,I walked and got frustrated along the way ,like Moses on that promised land hustle,unlike him however ,I found it!
The Ambassador Transit Hotel is really nice!check in was easy,I had the room reserved for 6 hours,with a shared bathroom situation.Heaven people! Heaven! The room was nice and cozy,typically I'm all about windows because well, I like ventilation but,this was nice!The pillow was so soft! The bed! The bathrooms were spotless! I had me my first hot shower in a minute! I was in there a good 20 minutes getting pruned and roasted. By the time I emerged! All my sore aches were gone.
I had about 3 hours of free wifi which I used to call home and amuse my sister with my day and reassure my brother I was indeed having the time of my life!
I also spoke to Hattie to let her know i was heading her way real soon.In the end I only got about an hours sleep as I spent most of my minutes down right caressing and loving that pillow!
I checked out at about 3am after shower number 2,knowing I needed all the time in the world to find my departure gate,I had breakfast at the lounge,very nice experience all together! No regrets with Ambassador,you guys are doing it right.
Turns out my gate was in terminal 1,and all the sky trains had stopped running at 2am, I truly feel like I walked the length of two soccer pitches,a market and mall!it felt like the original Bantu great trek!
My back was and still is killing me but when I saw my gate,I pushed on until gate C 17 and got here just in time!
Thank God for that breakfast cause I needed that energy!
Was still fresh as a daisy though despite that walk!can't be arriving in Bali all Freddy Kruger looking!
I'm very grateful to Changi airport,the Singapore government and tourism board for having these tours!excellent idea right there,You have a really beautiful country.I'm so glad a got to see the little that I did.To think I almost gave up courtesy of that haterade filled woman!I've got one word for you,WARTS! I'll let the universe decide where you get them.
Singapore you were the truth!
Bali,I'm in my way!
Like Lana Del Rey pleaded with her feet to not fail her then,Bali,please be the truth.I am optimistic!it is a girl's trip after all.