It was a sunny and beautiful day. I had packed everything I need. I was sure that I am going to enjoy this well deserved break as I reached Sydney airport. I was so excited to go to Singapore for the first time for 5 days. I was flying with this airline also for the first time. All arrangements were done – accommodation booked, sightseeing pass was booked and I had all the required documents with me. This time nothing is going to be wrong – no delays in reaching airport (as I missed the plane few months ago when I was going to Brisbane due to relying upon the public transport), no paper missing and all is good. Now it’s time for holidays. Hurrah!!
But I didn’t know that there is a surprise waiting for me. I handed over my passport to the person behind the checking counter. She looks at the passport and looked at me quizzically. Now what could go wrong I thought? She told me madam you cannot fly. What she said, I repeated to myself. She sensed my confusion and answered without any delay that I haven’t got the appropriate visa to go to Singapore. But a friend of mine informed me that we can get visa on arrival. I told her about the same but she then informed me that I hold an Indian passport hence I should first apply for visa and she can postpone my flight. I was not sure how is that going to work as I have got leaves for 3 days and 2 days over the weekend and no way was I going to get visa before that. I had to leave the counter any ways to decide what to do now.
There was a moment when I wanted to let the tears trickle down my cheeks thinking here goes my holidays and I should not be preparing for my own travel now onward But then a voice came into my head and said – You are not giving up. You are going to fly today to Singapore. I instantly ran to check internet in the airport to see if there is a way I can get some help in this situation. I called the embassy but they said it will take at least 4-7 days process and that too in Canberra not like I could drive to some office in Sydney for immediate assistance. And I couldn’t postpone my holidays due to the deadlines I had to meet at work in next couple of weeks. But I was determined to get out of the country and have a well deserved break after working almost 4 weekends in a row.
I went back to the checking counter and asked if they have any alternative in my situation. They didn’t want to take risk of flying me to Singapore just in case I can’t get visa in Singapore so they gave me an option if I fly out of Singapore and go to some other country then I can get transit visa in Singapore maximum of 3 days. She asked me if I want to go to India from Singapore. It sounded like a joke as I wasn’t sure whether she was familiar with the geographical distance from Singapore to India and that too when I had only 5 days of leaves. It was like having a holiday in the air, touchdown India and come back to Sydney. Although I didn’t express my amusement to her, but I knew I am never going to forget her suggestion.
I checked the available options with them as they could fly me to Japan, Bangkok and few other places. Suddenly I decided to fly to Bangkok and asked them to book the same. I lost money on the return ticket from Singapore to Sydney and paid extra money for the flight from Singapore to Bangkok but the money didn’t matter now as I need to do this. Although in the first place I made this plan because of the available deal on flights. So it was getting funnier when I was paying even more than regular price of flights. But somehow I had to make a choice between the holidays somewhere nice or back to work behind my desk. So I chose the holidays. I checked in with the new itinerary and a new destination – Bangkok. I always wanted to go to Thailand but not in this manner. I had dreamed to go there for at least 2 weeks and enjoy and now I was going to be there for 2 days.
But no worries I am on the plane and its going to be awesome I told myself. Although the story doesn’t end here. There was more to come. I had booked a flight to Bangkok but not from Bangkok to Sydney yet which means I can go to Singapore but not Bangkok without having a return ticket. I thought that I can manage as I will book that online. And I am good at finding good deals anyways. So here I come, Singapore – city of beautiful buildings I felt. I loved the idea of going to Singapore as I have always admired the well planned cities not that I don’t like the old cities. I felt a sense of triumph after landing in Singapore as I had passed the first hurdle – flying to Singapore. And now I had to deal with another one – Flying to Bangkok. But that can wait as I have 3 days here and I don’t want to muddle that. I was given strict warning in the Airport saying that I should not be staying in Singapore for more than 3 days. I was alright I thought, no big deal. But I was not aware of what’s there in store for me still.
I checked-in in my place and explained that I have to leave in 3 days and not 5 so asked them to charge me only for 3 days. With a little bit of discussion and explaining my situation that got settled. Now it was time for dinner – It was late in the evening so I went out and had a quiet dinner and came back to check internet in my place with a strong feeling that I will book the tickets for Bangkok now. I searched various options and the price first blew my mind as I was paying fortune to go there for two days. Still I muster some courage to book it, now what’s that – A message saying that a security code is being sent to my mobile to confirm the ticket. Bugger, I haven’t activated international roaming on my phone. I never do when I travel so that I have some quiet holidays without any interruption from the people I know. I never had to book anything from other countries either so I never found out the options to do that otherwise I could call my bank and deactivate the phone security for some time. Now I felt that I was in soup. It was 2 AM already and I had to visit many places next day. I checked Facebook no one from my inner friend circle was online who could help me with the ticket. I had no choice but sleep.
Next day I told myself to forget about the ticket and focus on visiting the places I have got the pass for. I started my day very enthusiastically and cover 3 places in a day with my excellent management. I know the other matter doesn’t show much of that but things happen and there is first for everything. So any ways I was back in my place all tired. I chose internet over food and got some fruits that I could binge upon while trying to book the tickets again. I saw one of my friends online today. I felt it’s my lucky day. My friend was working in Europe at that time. I felt a bit embarrassed but came to the point very quickly and asked him to book my ticket explaining my situation. He was so nice that without much fuss he started booking the same. I gave all my details but then he pinged me on Facebook chat back that the payment page is leading him to another page saying that the site can’t be trusted. Now it was new. He tried couple of time but the same message and I didn’t want to trouble him anymore. Now I had one more day and it was too late. I send an email to another friend of mine explaining the situation and went to bed thinking about the next day.
I woke up bit uneasy thinking about the ticket and checked my email first thing in the morning. A reply from my friend was waiting for me giving me few options with flight he could book for me. A sense of relief flooded me. I quickly replied to him and started for another day’s adventure more carefree today as I was going for the forest adventure that was going to tire me physically. I had an amazing day even the rain in the evening didn’t touch my excitement and I did the night safari in the zoo. I came back and saw that the ticket was waiting for me. I could fly on time to Bangkok now. I utilized the last day in Singapore to explore a toy museum which was nice as it brought back the memories from my childhood. Although it was another adventure to go to Bangkok without much preparation but I loved my holidays and saw more things than I could imagine in 5 days. It was tiring but full of adventure I would say. Thanks for reading this. I am looking forward to my next holidays now.
This gallery contains 26 photos.
These pictures were taken in Melbourne last year 2012 in January.