January 15, 2011

Singapura

I spent a few hours in Singapore yesterday, and this post is my first impressions.  Since this is my first visit to Singapore and it was really really short, many observations might be inaccurate.
  • The traffic is a lot more disciplined than India, but a little harsher than places like the USA or Australia.
  • My cab driver didn't ask me if I am going to domestic terminal or international.  Every passenger in the airport goes through immigration.  Phone calls to local numbers are free. Being a small country means you have to do it all different :)
  • The immigration officer was kinda rude.  He puts his finger on my passport and says "Indian passport holders are not allowed without a visa."  Well, another officer working for the same country told me that I can enter without a visa, and that's why I even stood in the queue.  This immigration officer said "This is doable only once, and you cannot enter like this anymore.  Do I make myself clear?"  He stamps my passport as if he's doing me a favour.  Just do what's written in your rules book, officer... you don't have to be rude to people.  Nor do you have to do favours.
  • Singapore airport is probably the largest shopping mall in Singapore.  Sadly though terminal 2 didn't have a lot of electronic gadgets shops.  But then, there was Starbucks so I cannot complain much :)
  • Because they encourage shopping so much, finding space for cabin baggage is almost always difficult in flights going to India from Singapore.
  • After being in Sydney for two weeks, Singapore did feel hot.  I didn't say anything when Nags The Cook said that the weather was unusually cooler that day :)
  • There are free internet counters everywhere in Singapore airport.  It was disheartening to see people access their email and Facebook accounts from these machines.  (Well, to be fair, I know I was comfortable opening my Gmail account on the same machines 4 years ago.)
  • Singapore airport has the best toilets I have seen in any airport.  They are super clean and designed with travelers in mind (very "usable" would be the jargon).
5 minutes before my flight's departure time, they announced that our flight had an engine problem and asked us to board from a different gate.  It would have been more interesting if they had found it after the flight had taken off.  Maybe I would have seen how emergency landing is done and all :)

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