First Night in The Lion City

📍 Singapore🇸🇬
📆12-25-206
Our first night in SG started up in the sky of Singapore’s hemisphere. It was already past 8 when the captain announced that we will soon land in Changi Airport, the best airport in the world as they say it(if you don’t know you will soon learn it as I will be blogging about it but for now read on or just go there for you to see it). I was so happy and ready to jump off the plane and feel the foreign land in my feet and breath the air Singaporeans breath. But as such the captain talked again and he said that we have to stop in mid air as the terminal was still full. Say what??!!! Can the plane even do that stop in mid air? Is he joking? Then I realized that this was what they call airplane traffic or there was traffic in the airport and there was no space for the plane to park. OMG 😱😱😱 can you believe that, first time riding a plane and I already experienced that what a day! Others took it as bad but for me it wasn’t as it was an unforgettable experience and one for the books. Though I could not see what is happening outside since we were surrounded by thick dark clouds and it was night time.

After a few minutes of waiting we were on our way down to the airport. The flight going down was very exhilarating much like when we were going up. I was brimming with excitement that I didn’t notice that my grandma was so nervous already hahahaha..lol I’m a bad kid. So while I was controlling my excitement I consoled my grandma that it would be alright since we’re almost at the ground.

The thud of the airplane on the ground assured us that we have now safely landed and is on our way to the terminal. From the command of the airline crew we prepared our bags and started to line up to get out of the plane. My heart thudded so much as we near the exit of the plane while thanking the crew as we pass them by.

Holding our dear passport in our hands whilst carrying our baggage, we walk and walk until we reach the carpeted area where another AirAsia staff greeted us “Merry Christmas and welcome to Singapore”. We were then directed to go to the immigration counter right away. As we walk further away I looked around us and I did not see any immigration counter. I thought that once were off the plane the IO counter would be just a few blocks. Luckily an old lady that grandmama befriended saw us. Thank goodness I thought we would be lost for sure. Being a first timer sure was hell’a stressful I’m glad that my grandma is super friendly with strangers now we have someone who’s an expert in traveling to SG to help us. I was now able to relax and take it all in that finally we have arrived in Changi Airport. My gosh, if the help did not come I would not be able to appreciate where I was from all the stress and trying so hard not to show it to my grandma to not let her be panicky too. On our first night I already saw one of the grandeur that the Lion City has to offer, their super stunning, carpeted airport.

I was pretty much like a kid when we rode on the straight escalator as I’ve never rode on one. What made it even more gorgeous was the lighting because it was my fave color (see more on the travelvlog “How My 8 Days in SG Went”). As we go by, we passed a lot of duty free shops. I took all the courage not to ask my grandma if we could stop by because we can’t waste anymore time. It was already past 9 and we were hoping we could ride the train instead of taking the taxi or bus to our AirBNB as it is just near the train station. And train is more cost efficient as we were on a tight budget and fast.

 

 

We walk some more before we arrive to another escalator which is the normal one going down but what makes it different was that it was so looong. Going down, I surveyed the area and so the ceiling was so high and what was right in front of us was the IO counter. Since our new found friends was not able to fill up the immigration form we went on ahead of them to the immigration counter while they go to a corner were lots of immigration forms are found. Line was not that long but it was enough for me to survey my surroundings. I saw that beside the immigration counter there is a passport scanner for Singaporean citizen so they don’t need to pass by the immigration counter. I was able to observe the face of the Singaporean IO and the foreigners who were in front of them. I got nervous for a bit because their faces looked very scary not that I have something to be scared of but you know that feeling you get when you’re faced with something for the first time ever. There was also this guard woman who would tell a group to go to counters separately and not together. Now that scared the hell out of grandma cause she does not speak english and the problem would be if they asked something from her. When it was my turn I told her to wait for her turn but as hardheaded as she is she followed me only to be stopped by the officer. She kept telling her I’m her son, when I heard it I couldn’t keep myself from laughing (sorry mama) and told her to just wait for me there. When the counter beside me was empty she was directed there by the angry looking officer. I feel sorry for my mom, she keep looking at me with a scared face while the IO was looking at hear passport. I think the IO she was facing understood her and did not ask her any question unlike mine. Once her passport was given back to her she happily skipped towards me and we went on our way to look for the luggage counter. We asked the guard near the IO counter just so we could save time because it was nearly 10:00 pm and the train stops running at 11:30 PM (how I’d know about it???just research, research, research). We rushed our way to the luggage area and realized that it was very far as we past by lots of stores before we saw what we were looking for. If you’ve watched the video(you can watch it here) you might have seen me goofing around the luggage escalator thingy. Hahaha twas my first time having to wait for my luggage and I’ve been dying to try and ride the luggage escalator hahaha I was so happy no one in our flights had arrived yet cause they might scolded me or what. You see each flight have designated luggage escalator so when you’re there to find your baggage find first you flight no. before you stand there and wait for your luggage because you might be waiting for nothing and only to find out in the end your baggage was not their causing you to panic nga way hinungdan. After getting our luggage we went directly to the final checkup for our baggage and luggage scanner before we were allowed to get out of the arrival area.

 

After walking endlessly around the big terminal 1 we were finally able to find an ATM machine. I sneakily looked from the person who was there withdrawing to see if it is the same with our ATM machine here in PH. I know it’s bad but I need to do that (please don’t follow my bad example). The bad thing was it did not help because once it was my turn I inputted PHP amount meaning my card was rejected for insufficient balance so I had to do it again and resort to balance inquiry loosing much more money. I withdrew SG$200 first for our budget for 4 days, so we can buy a card for the train. When the machine said my transaction was successful my excitement rose to the highest level while waiting for my first Singaporean money to come out of the machine. And boy was it unbelievable, I thought the money in my hands were play money. As I observe it the money looked like plastic and the size where different from back home. It still feels so surreal and I gazed at it with wide eyes while looking at my grandma saying “Ma, naa nata kwarta” hahaha.

 

After feeling “just now”, I grabbed my grandmama’s hand and on we went to their flat escalator going up and out of the arrival area. As the escalator went up, my eyes were greeted by a tear drop or rain show hanging in the ceiling moving up and down. I realized later on that the name of that is (research the name) and it is one of the many attraction found inside the airport.
As we approach the end I was marveled at how big the airport was and the whole floor was even carpeted. Talk about arriving in the future kind a feeling but it felt like I was dreaming. The whole place was buzzing with people from all over the world speaking their own language. As my mom tagged me with a shaking hand, I was brought back to reality that I had to find a way going to our AirBNB. We looked for the information section where I could ask directions going to the train station mentioned by our host. While looking for the info section I saw a train to the city sign and I followed the people going there.
Then I remembered I still haven’t bought a train card and I read in the net that we have to swipe it. As the train arrived I observed the people who got in and I was thinking where do they swipe their card. I got so confused that I step back and we went back inside the airport. We continued looking for the info section and viola we found it. I was a bit hesitant to approach them and ask as I was not confident enough with my English but alas, we were running out of time and we need to catch the last train so I took up my courage and asked them. They told me the direction and after a few more questions we went back to the Sky Train just like they suggested. By the way the Sky Train is the train inside the airport to take passengers from Terminal 1, 2 and 3 and it is free that’s why when we first went there and observe we did not see anyone swiping a card. Since we were in Terminal 1 we have to take the SkyTrain going to Terminal 2 since the main train station was located there. After 1 minute I think, the train was fast so we arrived right away, we move out from the train like a pro lol. By the way I am a first timer on riding trains, so the Sky Train practically makes it my first train ride. I observed a lot of people inside and how they road one since it was small more like 1/4 of the train I see on the net and there wasn’t much to see. If you’ve seen the video of my trip (see it here) the Sky Train is the one with lots of Pikachu and pokemon sticked to it.
After walking and walking looking for the Burger King (that’s what the info person told me), we finally found it and we took a turn to look for a sign “Train to City”. Since we have a luggage we took the elevator instead of the long escalator going down. As the elevator door opens, we were again wowed of how big the train station inside the airport. The ceiling was so high and the area was wide with a counter and a card scanner in the middle. Past the counter and the scanner were two benches back to back and a stand with a map of the trains. On the left and right side were the doors that would open once the train has parked beside it.
After observing the very quite place, as I have realized that people especially foreigners tend to ride the taxi or the bus to get to their destination from the airport, we then proceeded to line up to buy a train card or the NETS Pay as they call it. We were second in the line in a group of people buying the card so I got to observe how they buy or what they say to buy the card and if we can ask what trains to take to arrive at a certain train station. So when it was our turn, I did what I had to do, I asked for the NETS Pay card instead of the tourist card since we will be there for 1 week and a direction to the Farrer Park station. I thought the lady did not understand me and told her twice about the direction to that trains station and on my third time I got scolded and she said she hear me from the first time I asked huhuhuh. I thought she did not understand me as she was taking so long to give us our card and I realized she took too long because she was marking the map of trains to what trains should we take, were to change trains until we get to our destination. I’m really sorry lady and thank your for the effort of giving us train map and marking them, thank you very much.
After getting the card, I tore up the plastic covering it since it comes with New Year’s envelopes (now I have something to store my money secretly lol) and used the card right away. We swipe it up like a pro but my grandma was scared at first so I swiped for her and gave her card after she passed the mini barricade and then it was my turn. We headed straight to the bench to sit down and study the map for a little while since I realized there were tv screens showing how many minutes before the trains arrived, so convenient right.
When the train arrived, we went to the side of the door right aways and waited for the other passengers to get out of the train. We waited ’till the last one was out and when we got inside we saw how empty the train was except for us who got in. the train was so long each “capsule” has their own door so people don’t need to line up in one door. We went directly to the empty seat and waited for the train to close it’s doors. And by the way their trains has speakers that talks when the train is closing it’s doors, safety directions and what train station we are approaching, when we arrive at that train station and if there are other trains running going to other directions they say it too. And oh, they have a map of the whole train stations with green light if the train has not passed that area yet, if it passed already the light turns off; there’s also a small screen above with the train station name on it. Very very cool and convenient because of that it made our travel very easy and less drama.
Since there were less people, we took turns taking picture inside the train, had selfies and videos and laughing around. In short we were very “uwat” hahahaha. When we arrived at our first stop, many people started coming in, making the train full. There were people standing in front of me holding at the rails. Our very first train ride around Singapore on our way to our AirBNB was very cool, calm, exciting, no drama and very special as we made our way on our own with little help like we were a local except for the luggages hahahah. The changing our trains was very fun as we had to run around the train station looking for the entrane to the train while listening to the person in the speaker saying how many minutes ’till the train arrives or departs.
When we arrive at our station, we looked for exit B and swipe our card again. We arrived outside and realized that there was a little rain. But it did not stop us from looking for our AirBnB (more about our AirBnb soon). After a few minutes we finally found it. We got inside left our luggages and we stepped outside again to looked for dinner. Since our area is within Little India, all the restos served Indian foods so our dinner for our first night is an Indian dish that we never got to finish because our stomach was craving for rice and Filipino dish 😭. I forgot the name of the food we ordered and what resto it was but the photo below shows what it looks like. It has 4 different spices or sauce, some thin bread, Indian rice and the spicy chicken curry and a vegetable kangkong. Apparently, the food we ordered as a best seller but my Filipino stomach says otherwise, sorry po ☹

We ended our first night in SG with a bit of empty stomach and a craving for food back home coupled with the excitement of sleeping in a big bed with aircon and excitement of what we will do tomorrow.

PS. I wonder if we really did stop mid-air or I just heard it wrong 😕

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