Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Round The World 2004

St David's Day, Oriental-style

I woke up at 0730 after a very light and disturbed night's sleep. I just hadn't felt tired at all last night. I wondered at the time whether it might be delayed jet-lag creeping in, but as I write this, it is 1505 in the afternoon and I still feel absolutely fine. Best not to worry too much about these things. Before going for breakfast, I logged on anxiously to see if there had been any reaction to my new 'baby' (i.e. this website) and it was nice to see some encouraging messages from personal friends and FTers alike. I had a Sausage & Egg McMuffin at the local McDonald's ... well, I can't eat that rich, first class food all the time, you know

Back at the hotel, I replied to a few e-mails, packed, checked out and left my luggage with the concierge. I was ready for a few hours of sight-seeing before heading for the airport in the afternoon. I took the MRT to Harbour Front and rode the cable car over to Sentosa. I remembered Sentosa from my first visit to Singapore  in 1986; it's where Singaporeans and tourists go for a day out. It's basically a small island (in comparison with Singapore itself, that is) filled with tourist attractions of one kind and another. Strangely enough, the conditions were just as I remembered them as well. The heat and humidity were just bearable in the city itself but, perversely, out here in the open the heat was appalling. Of course, it hardly helped that I was dressed for my flight later in the day, when shorts would have been far more appropriate. I had a stroll around, but didn't want to stray too far from the cable car station in that baking midday sun.

Singapore's MTR trains are the Hong Kong-style, open-all-the-way-through design

Sentosa Cable Car - an unusual view of a visiting cruise liner


Sentosa Cable Car - the channel separating Sentosa from Singapore Island

Another Merlion - Sentosa has its own version of the famous monument


On Sentosa

Visitors have the option of getting around the island using a monorail system


That other Merlion, again


Heading back to Harbour Front




When I had seen enough, I retraced my steps and headed back to the cable cars and retraced my earlier journey back to the Somerset MTR station, close to the Holiday Inn Park View. I had a light lunch of soup and a sandwich from Delifrance and headed back to the hotel, where my wireless broadband subscription was still valid and the signal in the lobby was especially strong. I didn't linger though, simply checking for any more incoming mails.

I retrieved my suitcase from the concierge and got a taxi. Then things took a slightly odd turn! The previous passenger - a Vietnamese businessman, as I was to discover - had to change money in the hotel in order to pay his taxi fare. While there, he discovered that he was not at the right hotel. The taxi driver asked if he could ride along, on the understanding that the meter wouldn't start for me until he reached his destination (another Park View Hotel, apparently), which was understood to be nearby. Well, 10 or 15 minutes later, we pulled up outside the Plaza Park ROYAL, which at least, my sense of direction told me, was closer to the airport. This still wasn't it! Suddenly, the taxi driver recalled a small hotel a couple of blocks away with the name Park View and that was it. So ... an unexpected taxi tour (thankfully air-conditioned!), an element of farce and Changi eventually reached for a measly SGD10, which can't be bad.

Changi again managed to pull off that trick of seeming near-deserted. I had no trouble completing the check-in and passport control formalities and finding the Cathay Pacific lounge, where I was to find that I was the only occupant, at least for a while.

(Link to flight log in side panel)

Arrival at Chek Lap Kok proved to be as easy as I remembered it from the last time. I had a very easy passage through passport control, baggage collection and customs and in no time at all, I was on board the impressive Airport Express train, heading for Kowloon station. I transferred onto the free hotel shuttle bus and, after a longer than expected transfer caused by heavy traffic, arrived at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile at about 2300.