Stuck in Singapore
What a day. We arrived in Singapore at about 2:30 am about 2 hours later than we had anticipated…. We decided to eat and collect our thoughts as our trip over the South China Sea had turbulence that left us feeling like keys in a dryer. Chase ate his first Malaysian curry and had a canned drink called “Whatever” that didn’t taste like anything. We then emailed our families and chilled a bit, trying to rest before our flight. When we went to check on getting our luggage transferred to our Indonesia gate we found out Palembang is the only port cit on Sumatra that requires visa prior to arrival, something neither we nor our contact in Sumatra new about. We caught an early breakfast of Chinese pastries, noodles, and shark nuggets at a 24 hour market.
After that, we got a taxi to the “Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia” only to find out Keith needed more pages from the US embassy as the visa will take a full page…he takes off there, Chase and I head off to try to get our arrival itinerary for Palembang and to let our contact there know that things are not going as we planned. We tried to use a broadband signal that is free in Singapore, if you can crack the Da Vinci Code they call registration- we couldn’t. During this time we get a lot of help from Laura, Case’s wife through text messaging back and forth with her in the US. We head back to the Embassy to meet Keith and find out they actually need our information concerning our departure from Indonesia. Getting this only took about 3 minutes! We then find out that the Visa process takes three days, but the kind lady at the Embassy let us know she would rush ours and we could receive them at 3 p.m. Then we found out we needed a photo for our visas that they do not take in the Embassy. They direct us to an ally where we get our picture taken in the back of a red Citroën Berlingo Minivan with a blue sheet hung from a dow rod for a background. Maybe Keith and I can pickup some extra work in Singapore? We head back into the Embassy to turn in the photos with our paperwork and to pay.
The Embassy, unlike everywhere else in Singapore, will not take US dollars, or credit cards, or even Indonesian Rupiahs, only Singapore dollars. The clerk tells us the closest ATM is at a mall 10 minutes away. We take a cab ride to the mall and back and pay for the Visas at 12:05 p.m. We headed to some of the nicer hotels in town thinking we might finally get that wireless connection to let our contact in Indonesia know we would not be making the flight that day, and the next flight would be on Thursday! After receiving our Visas at 3 o’clock we went to get our bags from the airport lost and found. We had a Cab Driver named Muhammad who gave us an impromptu tour with information on everything from Osama Bin Laden, to John McCain, to Singapore’s water situation. After getting our bags our next task was to get a hotel room for under $400 Singapore, preferably not in the “Red Region” of town! There is quite a demand for rooms during the World Air Show. We finally made it to our room and after 7 hours of sleep are ready to see what the Lord has for us Wednesday.
We leave for Indonesia, hopefully at 12:30 pm our time.