Journal of a visit to New Zealand, via Singapore

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This page last updated: 29th November 2005.
Day 3: Singapore to Christchurch

Day 3 Although we are not flying on until the evening, we have to check out of the hotel before lunch. We pack our overcoats into the cases and leave them at reception. We also leave our hand luggage with the concierge taking with us only the items we need for the day — in particular, sunblocker!

After breakfast at the café we'd eaten in the previous evening we visit an electronics mall but soon realise that, even after haggling, the price of computer goods is around 25% more than we would need to pay for the same items in the UK.

To escape the heat of the sun we make use of our free pass and ride the SIA hop-on trolley bus. The bus is air-conditioned and offers a splendid way to just sit back and enjoy the journey round the city. It travels down into Chinatown and then back and along to the Botanic Gardens before returning to the city via the Orchard Road district.

We finally alight at the Suntec Mall. Huge shopping malls, and Singapore has hundreds of them, have no appeal to me whatsoever. At least we are sheltered from the blazing sun. For lunch we purchase a selection of sushi and eat by the side of the Fountain of Wealth which apparently shoots higher than any other fountain in the world, although it doesn't do so while we are there. Chopsticks are provided for eating the sushi, but I end up using my fingers — fingers were made before forks — my mother always used say.

We catch the next trolly-bus and stay on until it reaches the Botanic Gardens. We only actually go in as far as the café where we enjoy some ice-cream and watch the exotic birds picking up thrown crumbs from the tables.

After riding on the trolly-bus again back to the hotel, we go shopping for sandals. We'd left home wearing comfortable but old trainers, long past their wear-by date. At first Christine is shown unsuitable pairs at around $40. I say we are thinking more of ones costing around $20. One of the other assistants brings her a $19 pair and adjusts them to fit. I then ask if they've a similar pair for me. I only have $32 of Singapore currency left and having told them we are leaving for New Zealand that night, they reluctantly accept that sum for the two pairs. We ask them to bin our old trainers and the new sandals are rarely off our feet for the rest of the holiday.

We collect our luggage from the hotel and wait for the coach to take us to the airport. There we discover that our flight to Christchurch is delayed for an hour. We are already feeling tired and taking a wrong turning in the airport, getting somewhat lost makes us a little fratchy. I change some US dollars that I have with me into Singapore dollars in order to buy a meal.

Knowing we have time on our hands, I decide to investigate the airport's Internet Centre. If you have your own laptop, you can borrow an infra-red modem and surf the internet for free. The desk is some way away from where I've parked the laptop, so Christine uses it to play some mahjong while I collect the modem (in exchange for my passport). However, it doesn't work as I haven't got the installation software. I go back to the desk and obtain the installation disk and instructions. It still doesn't work. The attendant offers to help but by this time I am tired and frustrated so decide to abandon the attempt.

We make our way to the departure gate, only to discover that the flight has been put back yet another hour. We'd earlier asked for an aisle seat but had been told there were none available. I ask again at the boarding-gate and after an initial refusal, my moans of acceptance must have struck a chord as we are granted seats near the rear of the plane. Even so it proves a very uncomfortable flight.

Journal - Day 4 Photographs - Day 3