Time for another full day in transit! We’re up at 0400 to catch our 0430 airport transfer to Cairns International, then on a plane at 0600 to Brisbane, then a long layover in Brisbane until we hop aboard our Etihad flight at 1245 bound for Singapore. We finally arrive in Singapore tired and hungry around 1900, hop their excellent public transit into town, and reach the Feel @ Home hostel about 2000.
The first leg is uneventful. We claim the tax refund on our snorkels and masks in Brisbane, spend the rest of our cash on lunch and snacks, and wait around for our flight. I decide to take a quick run up and down the terminal; Valkyrie finishes up some old blog posts. Finally we’re onboard Etihad Airways, which is flying to Abu Dhabi via Singapore; as a Middle Eastern airline, the service is awesome. Leg room is a touch better than on those cramped North American flights, and the food service looks great: chicken biryani, chocolate mousse, mango juice, cheese and crackers…
…but instead we get an all-fruit meal. Why? I have no idea, but they seem to think we requested this. It really is all-fruit, excepting a small salad and bun. I don’t even know why this is an option, but we convince them to give us most of the regular meal. Properly fed, we settle in to watch The Living Daylights and Viva L’Italia, the latter of which follows the misadventures of an aging Italian politician rendered incapable of lying by frontoparietal dementia and his family.
As we near Singapore, they hand out the customs/immigration cards with their menacing DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS UNDER SINGAPORE LAW, which puts in mind Gibson’s characterization. (His article resulted in the Singapore government banning Wired.)
Despite their strict reputation, there’s no one guarding the “Customs: Nothing to Declare” line, and we sail on through security into an airport terminal vaguely resembling a newly opened shopping mall, where we load up on Singapore dollars at one of the many ATMs. With cash in hand, we hop the glacially air-conditioned MTR along the East-West line to Lavender and hoof it 15 minutes with our packs to Feel @ Home. Once we’re settled in and paid up, we snag a bite at Zam Zam: mutton murtabak, a sort of egg-y pastry with sporadic meat chunks served up with sweet cucumber pickle and a tasty curry sauce. After eating a bit on the sauna-like rooftop patio at our hostel, we tuck into bed and rest up so we can see the city in the morning!