A couple of weekends ago, we took a little trip. More a migrant right of passage, if you will. To Singapore. Hashtag #VisaRun!
Hubs might be Indonesian but if me and les enfants wish to remain in Bali, we had to pick up our new visas. But here’s the kicker – you can’t collect them from inside Indonesia. That’s right, you have to get on a plane and go out, to stay in. And the popular country of choice for this little non vay kay – Singapore. With a flight time of 2 hours 45 minutes its considered the easy choice because its close to Indonesia. HA! Not with two kids it ain’t! For most, its a straightforward 24 hour ‘shopping’ trip. But not for us…Not. For. Us.
I’ll give you the abridged version. And even then, just the high (and low) lights. Because there’s a whole other story that precludes this one but I can’t go into it. It’s too soon and I haven’t put enough days (and by days, I mean bottles of wine) between myself and the events regarding immigration that led up to this trip. So let’s just say that hubs came very close to my offing him but thankfully everything worked out ok in the end so I have been merciful and granted him a stay of execution.
After a lot of piss farting around from immigration, we finally get to the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore only to be told by the security guard, after standing in a long, hot queue, that we can’t enter dressed in shorts and flip flops. It’s 32 freakin’ degrees! We’re not going to be the only ones getting turned away today me thinks. Even a lady in a burka was denied access because she had sandals on. I couldn’t see her face but I bet she was flipping him off! So back to the hotel we go to change. One problem – I didn’t bring shoes but I had trousers, of a fashion. Half an hour later and we’re back in the queue. Hardin in his trousers, t-shirt and trainers and me in my batik print pyjama bottoms, socks and sandals in a pathetic yet creative attempt at gaining access. Hardin got in. I didn’t. Shocker! So the kids and I park up with all the other rejects in the sweaty waiting area and Hardin goes it alone on our behalf, leaving me with a whispered “Arlo’s done a doo doo”. No worries honey, theres a toilet. So sorry Mrs, those are for staff only but you can just change him here on the floor. So let me get this straight. I can’t enter the embassy because my toes are visible but getting my sons little pecker out, that’s ok?!! We’re a family of bum washers but theres no where to wash here so now Arlo is kicking off because I’m trying to wrestle him into a new nappy without following the usual protocol. I pacify him with promises of Postman Pat because clever mummy packed the iPad for a moment such as this. His joy is short-lived and the tantrum quickly resumes as, for reasons unbeknownst to me, the You Tube app refuses to play any of the 127 minutes of Postman sodding Pat I had downloaded that morning. My kids are like Newton’s Cradle. Setting one off, sets off the other and back and forth they go. So now is Eia is crying, Arlo is moaning and all three of us are sweating more than a nun in a cucumber field when into this slippery mess of sweat and tears strolls a woman I can only describe as stupid because she thinks it wise to provoke me in this state. She starts by ‘sshhhing’ Arlo but not in a nice, comforting, helpful kind of way, more in a ‘shut up’ kind of way. I ask her not to shh him because he’s tired and hot and I’m dealing with it the best I can. He calms down for about 10 minutes thanks to a little sweet treat from the same security guard I’m unfairly holding indirectly responsible for getting us into this mess but then the tantrum resumes. And the same woman rolls her eyes at me and says “again?” Its the straw that breaks the camel’s back and I round on her with all the anger I have accumulated throughout this entire immigration saga:
“Do you have kids? No? Then you have no idea that when they are tired and upset its a nightmare! And folk like you are not helpful so just mind your own business!”
After Hardin, the poor security guard and now this twat, its my third brush with murderous thoughts in as many days so she’s fortunate the former returns soon after with good news on the visa front – everything is in order and we can collect our passports the following afternoon. Halle-f**king-lujah!
In the run up to and after this episode, we had some time to kill so we did the tourist thing. The obvious thing to do in Singapore is shop but that gets old quickly with two small children to suck the fun out of it so we took them to Universal Studios on Sentosa Island.
I was worried that living in Bali, Arlo would miss out on the intensely Christmassy experience (Eia too but she’s still a baby and doesn’t give a tiny rats ass about Christmas). However, it was like Santa threw up there so he’s had his fill. Also it turns out even though Arlo was tall enough to get on more than we thought he would, a baby in a baby carrier strapped to an adult doesn’t qualify to even ride the tea cups so we took turns literally holding the baby. Hmm, did not see that coming. It wouldn’t have been a problem in Indonesia with their lax health and safety, god love them.
Despite the money we spent in the park, I’m pretty sure one of Arlo’s highlights was riding the $4 ‘train’ (monorail) to the island – good to know son since Santa Claus is broke now! I used to say I’d never spend the money to do stuff like that with small kids but I don’t regret it after hubs changed my perspective when I asked him if it was money well spent as they’re technically too young to appreciate it. He said “we’re making memories with them for ourselves too. They might be too young to really appreciate and remember it but I’ll never forget Arlo’s wee face today”. He’s got a point. If we only do fun things when they’re ‘old enough’ what’s the point in really doing anything with them at this age? So I took this logic and ran with it. Next stop, Raffles. All aboard kids! Mummy and daddy are thirsty.
The Long Bar at Raffles is the home of the Singapore Sling. Big bags of monkey nuts sit in the centre of each table and in a throw back to the colonialism of the plantations, its acceptable to brush your peanut shells on to the floor. Its probably the only place in Singapore where dropping rubbish is encouraged! We had fun with it but after spending the last 18 months telling Arlo off for throwing food on the floor, I fear we may have made a rod for our backs here.
Daytime drinking, littering, a two year old enjoying peanuts and the baby passed out at the bar – its irresponsible parenting at its finest.
5 star hotel, roller coasters, cocktails, Christmas shopping and to top it off, new visas! I’m not a city person, but Singapore – you ain’t half bad.