When I found out that I am going to Singapore for a business trip, I freaked out a bit. What if I accidentally spit in the side walk or throw a piece of candy wrapper in the park? What if I crossed the street when the pedestrian lane says stop? My jaws dropped and my eyeballs rolled out from the sockets as I recounted the day I saw a fridge magnet from Singapore with all the fines intended for a certain violation. But wait, on second thought, If I’ll go there without the intention of violating those laws then I should be safe. Whew! and besides, would it be great to go about the city streets of a city known for “awesomeness”? But kidding aside, i have jitters on my first international travel. I do.
“Like a guy getting ready for a date”
Like a guy getting ready for a date, I felt the need to look good for Singapore and the people I’ll be meeting there for the business trip. I shaved off the stubbles I sport on my chin. People in Singapore would love it stubble free though I was able to meet with somebody who sports a beard. My luggage was neatly packed with business casual attire far different from the tank tops and hiking shorts I usually stuff on my hiking back for a camp out. The night before our trip, I was busy ironing my clothes (sweat dripping off my forehead) and piling them in my luggage; heavy stuff on the bottom and the “should not get too wrinkled clothes” on top.
“The journey began”
General Santos City Airport. We were an hour early than our flight but we waited for a couple of hours, 30 minutes of which passed with us warming the seat of the plane before we took off for Ninoy Aquino International Airport. NAIA was congested by then. We got 30 more minutes (flying and sleeping) in the air before we landed and scrammed to our next flight. The good thing was, my boss who was an experienced traveler already arranged in GSCA for a flight through of our luggage so that there will be no need for us to check out and check it in for our Singapore flight.
With only 30 minutes to spare for our flight to Singapore, we got on Amazing Race mode. Well, I basically tag along my boss. We went straight to immigration. We filled out a form which we presented to the immigration officer. We were in a rush that in times like such one has to be ready. Always have your ballpen(which I forgot) and passport handy. I also have my return plane ticket and valid ID in tow. My boss was able to walk through right away. She already have a lot of stamps in her passport so there’s basically no need to question her further but as for a newbie with a clean passport like me, I got stuck for a bit. She took the form along with my passport and looked me straight in the eye.
“What’s the purpose of your trip”, she asked.
“I’m there to meet clients. Basically, it’s a business trip”, I replied with a sweet smile.
She asked me where I’m from. I said from General Santos City. She asked for my plane ticket. I showed her my plane ticket to Singapore then back to Manila then to Gensan. I saw her poker face cracked a bit when she saw the proof that i’ll be going back to Gensan. She looked at my passport then back at me again. At the back of my mind I was thinking of ‘Ask me something else, like about world peace or would you rather questions) Then she asked for my company ID. I gave it to her. Silence. Deafening silence and people were actually building up as they waited in line.I gave out a deep sigh. Then i heard a low thud as she stamped my passport. I gave her my sweetest thank you as she handed me my passport and the stuff i showed her.
I caught up with my boss and we went to our departure area for Singapore. Our ticket said its gate 10 which was on the domestic flight so we went straight to it. Normally, I would have sat right away and waited for our flight but my boss confirmed it first at the gate counter and found out that it was transferred to gate 3. That was a close call with a few minutes to spare. We could have waited in vain.
We went to gate 3. What big strides we made. Unfortunately, our flight for Singapore was delayed and we waited for a couple of hours.We boarded the plane by 4pm on a stormy sky. After a few minutes we taxied for take off, then the captain said that we need to go back and transfer to another plane because of maintenance problem. So went back to the ramp, got off the plane and transferred to another plane. They gave us free food perhaps to make us feel better for the delayed flight.
“Just like the Final Destination movie”
We’re already 3 hours delayed when the plane took off for Singapore. I was set on sleep mode when the ride became bumpy. I sank deeper into the seat so i can sleep well but everything became like the a final destination movie. You had your hands on the side of the seat, the plane shook turbulently. It dropped low enough for our bowels to turn. A woman behind us shrieked. Amidst it all, i was more worried on puking than dying as i start to get dizzy in the flight. I dreaded for it to happen in a 3 hour and 30 minute flight.
The rest of the flight calmed a bit though it was still occasionally bumpy. By the time we saw the city lights of Singapore, I was relieved and excited to get off the plane. It has been a long and tiring day. There was a slight bump when the plane landed, the plane roared as it braced itself to a halt. The walls shook. Slowly, the shaking diminished as the plane started to cruise, taxiing on the arrival lane. The voice of the female captain aired on the speakers, thanking the passengers for flying with them. The lights dimmed…a few bumps and jazz music played. We entered the ramp area. Everybody stood on green light and off we went when the door disarmed and opened. The dead tired zombies were released. I think i just heard it wrong when the flight attendants said,”Thank you for fighting with us”.
Welcome to Changi Airport. Welcome to Singapore. I told myself. A different kind of experience awaited then i step on a walkalator. “oohhh, this is cool” I told my self. 😛 -end