After months of stressing, sitting around and stressing but the result of that stress was doing nothing. Planning to prepare but not bothering to prepare we finally arrive at the airport. With excess luggage purchased, 5 checked bags, 4 on board. We wait. Are we over our weight limit. The day is here. We are moving to Singapore. We are going to go through immigration in a few short moments and check out of Australia. This time all the visa’s, work and long (ish) plans are in place. We are moving to Singapore.
Our luggage is somewhere near bang on for our excess purchase plus ticket and status allowance. A nice figure in the region of 110 kilos all combined. The check in agent didn’t weigh our carry on bags, but we did and we were right on the limit with those as well. 2 pieces each of 7 kilos. All told we check in about 140 kilos of stuff. We watch it slowly make it’s way out of our sight and wonder if we will ever see it again. Almost everything we need to start a new and comfortable life in a far and foreign land are in those bags. Things that mean a lot to us, a few household items that are luxuries that we are used to so we didn’t want to do without (or buy again) and clothing.
Everything from here on in is as flawless as the check in. TW hears me tell a joke, which he repeats – louder – to a wider response. He is pleased with himself. We both think it is funny. Good times are had. We eat in the lounge, make farewell phone calls and board the flight. Knowing we have a lot of carry on, we leave the lounge before boarding is called and with our status we use the priority lane to be among the first on board so that we have no issues finding space for our bags. The crew will always find a solution when the bins are full, it’s just easier to board early and not even worry about it.
The flight was great, a few movies and a short nap for me, an extra movie for TW, and we arrive. Slightly late but we are home now so what is the rush for us.
Interestingly our bags are in the first 10 on to the luggage belt (remember we had 5 checked bags) so our smooth ride continues. With all this luggage we need a van. There is no Taxi queue but we do need to have a Van called for and we wait 5-10 minutes for one to arrive. It is difficult to know how long the wait was as we didn’t take not of the time but we were also tired and a little post flight crank had set in so that always makes time appear to be elongated. In reality it was a very quick process and we were off to the Andaz in no time.
In the van I stare at the cleanliness, the greenery and general organised manner in which Singapore operates. I am happy. The things that I dislike about Sydney do not exist here. TW had concerns that my annoyance with Sydney is the fact it is a city and moving to a country that is a city or a city that is the whole country, which ever way you want to look at it, he had concerns that I am replacing something I don’t like with the same thing just further away. It isn’t the city, it is Sydney. It is the chaos, the grime, the detachment everyone has from everyone and anything other than themselves. Singapore has already been far kinder to us than Sydney ever was and we have been here less than half an hour. Yay! If only we did this at some point before now.
Our taxi driver knows how to get to our home for the next month and a bit – the Andaz Singapore. Check in is fast and simple, slightly complicated by our length of stay, two bookings in the system consecutive bookings not simultaneous which is due to the duration and the fact that there is a deposit hold of $100 per night required and a part payment on the file for one of the bookings. Neither booking had a full payment, despite all this it was a very fast and simple check in. We were in the room within 5 minutes of arriving at the hotel. We didn’t get a room or property tour after check in but it was close to midnight and not every hotel does a room or hotel tour when you check in, the staff are going to see us for a long time so a tour may have been of benefit to us so that we were able to chat and get to know someone a little better but I also hate it when someone comes in to our room, shows us how to turn the tv on and generally hovers when all I want to do is (wee probably) sit down, relax and freshen up. I am both happy and sad that we didn’t get one.
We do get a complimentary mini bar and given the time of day we aren’t hungry but we also aren’t not hungry so the pringles and drinks are a welcome treat. I had a can of Milo and Triston had the Andaz Pale Ale – made by the Red Dot Microbrewery.
You can find out more about our room here (coming soon).
Up early we decided to go to the gym. Nice, functional and with great views. We encounter a few other people using it as well. It is 24 hours but I think we hit peak hour for hotel gym use. There is chilled and room temperature water. Towels. Headphones. The equipment is well considered and covers all the major items with some great additions like the resistance bands.
Health and fitness, generally making healthier choices is something we are trying to make a habit so we don’t go hard or long, we just go and do what we can.
Breakfast. I had read that this was a confusing set up online before we arrived. We did get a tour of breakfast and full explanation on how it worked. I don’t know if the walk through made it easy or we just “got” the concept but it was enjoyable. Spread out over the smaller restaurants on level 25 (the reception level) you get seated in one of the restaurants but you make use of all and it is buffet style with some live stations. Eggs can be ordered to your liking and there was a pot of scrambled eggs if you wanted to just grab and go. Similarly in the Asian breakfast section there was mee goreng ready made and waiting or you could order noodles to your specifications. I chose the ready made – of both eggs and noodles. We have a long time in the hotel so I thought I would try the standard and then experiment as we go.
Today we have a city tour booked with the welcome team. Scheduled for 9:30am it takes a little bit of time to work out where our host is waiting for us but we get on our way just before 10am. The tour is a lot about where we might like to live, a little history and where to shop, eat, go, experience etc. I think it was about 4 hours and the one thing we did narrow down on the tour was that we probably should live in Singapore if we are now living in Singapore. Where or what type of accommodation wasn’t any clearer in our mind but we did learn where a lot of cool things were, we just have no idea how to get there again.
This brings us through to lunch time and we walk down to Arab Street for a kebab. Just a quick meal. We are pretty tired. Somehow hours pass in the blink of an eye. Pretty sure we didn’t nap but we may have had a micro sleep that ended up just being a sleep. I am not entirely sure but we end up at 6:30pm somehow.
Time to discover the hotel and views. It isn’t completely dark yet so the city buildings don’t have their lights on but we go through and take in the views. Trying to orient ourselves and where things such as Orchard Road were in comparison to where we are now standing. Given the odd shape of the building and that different levels of the building have different odd shapes, I am not sure we will ever work out which street is what below us or where Chinatown is. We can see Suntec City – TW’s new work location – from some corners. Not from our room but other parts of the hotel.
After our self-guided hotel tour we decide to find out just how to get to Suntec on foot. It is simple as long as we can get to Beach Road. It did take us a while to get from the hotel foyer to Beach Road but we got there and then the process is simple to get over to the new office. You may be wondering why on earth we would go over to an office building, it is a massive shopping and dining district as well. It has multiple fun houses – games arcades, laser tags, jumping castles, free play areas, pay play areas. It has everything. TW comments that there is a Krispy Kreme on his way to work and no amount of gym is going to make up for that.
On our way through TW sees a sign, “free beer for guys”. He reads the free beer out loud and then with too much excitement continues on to the “for guys” portion of the sign. This is promptly followed by a repetition of for guys and “wow. Suck that M”. I don’t drink anyway so free beer would never be exciting but he is used to the drinks being paid but if ever a pub or club had a promotion on free alcohol it was for girls, so I understood his current state of enthusiasm. I was a little sad for him though as it did say Buddy night and he doesn’t have any buddies here, yet. Something to work on.
On our way back we get dinner at a side street that is possibly Chinatown but we really don’t know because we don’t know where it was in relation to Suntec or the Andaz and we don’t know where we are now in relation to either anyway. It was a nice stroll on a not too hot and not overly humid evening. We do head down one of the streets closed to traffic so people can enjoy the restaurants that line it without feeling over crowded while waiting. Either end of the street was quiet but the middle was packed with people waiting to get in for the steamboat or buffet reservation.
Before picking somewhere to eat we go past a cute little place called Dessert First. I stop and take a photo. TW reminds me that my mum has the same policy, when she can get away with it. Adopted from her friend Pam who once told mum that she got sick of not having enough room for sweets after dinner so decided to start with dessert and dinner was the filler. Mum tried it with us a couple times but it didn’t really take off at home. I believe both still think it is a good policy even if no one actively practices it.
Eventually deciding on one of the quieter places, Thai-licious Boat Noodles, we order standard Thai meals for us. I get Thai fried rice and TW pad Thai. Dinner was exactly what I hoped for from my dish. TW had slightly chewy noodles in his Pad Thai, maybe an extra 10 seconds to cook they would have been perfect or that may just be the way they are done here. We won’t know until we have tried more.
That was it. That was our first 24 hours as new ex-pats. We showered and put our pjs on for bed once we got back to the hotel and the day was done. TW was already asleep at the 23 hour in Singapore mark and I was writing this at the 25 hour mark.
Things often appear to be scary, new, exciting, overwhelming but really it is just life. We got up, got dress, cleaned ourselves, ate, drove around a bit, walked around a bit, found new things, discussed old things and generally didn’t do anything overly enthralling. Nothing thrilling. Nothing to write home about – only I am writing home about it. It is already perfect. It feels like home. It is comfortable and welcoming. It is new and exciting and thrilling and fantastic but also familiar and safe and friendly. It is our new home and we have been warmly welcomed.