Now this may sound strange, but going to Singapore to meet up with my hubby is the first time I’ve ever gone to an airport alone. Okay I might have done it one or two times for a domestic flight in the Philippines, but usually I am either travelling with someone or being brought to the airport by family.
I never traveled outside the Philippines much before (for some very unique reason) and the times that I did, I was always in a group of more experienced travellers or I was escorted by my husband or his family through check-in, immigration and right to the waiting area (perks of being a diplo wife). So I’ve been quite spoiled in the airport department.
So when my hubby asked me to meet him in Sing after one of his meetings abroad, I felt terrified. What a strange reaction right?! Most people would be excited at the thought of an international meet-up with their hubby in a country they’ve never visited. It should be so romantic… And yet there I was terrified, and tempted to stay home, in front of my computer or to finish sewing up clothes that needed mending. I’ve never been to the Soekarno-Hatta Airport on my own, never taken Jetstar/Value Air (cheap at 100 USD two-way Jakarta-Sing), and have only stepped on Singapore soil once during a layover.
I then realized that I didn’t even know the way from our flat to the Soekarno-Hatta Airport, and was not too familiar with the airport process and layout (I really should’ve paid more attention).
So wanting to be with my husband sooner than later (he had to stay in Sing the weekend because he couldn’t find a flight back to Jakarta on friday), I agreed. I wanted to be a trooper. I had my husband input the directions from our place to the airport so that the cab wouldn’t go around longer routes to get higher fares/get me lost/stuck in traffic (things that happen to me because I have this wonderful knack of looking like a lost naïve little girl – curse this baby face!). And he was sweet enough to prepare me a pack containing all the docs I needed with a cheat sheet of what I needed to bring and all the steps till boarding (isn’t he the best?).
Got to the airport in one piece and 3 hours early (we usually just make it right before closing – nasty habit, I know). Looking at the screen for the check-in counter, I couldn’t find mine, so I asked airport personnel – 3 to be exact. Each time I was led to the very end of the terminal in the opposite direction of the previous one, so I walked end-to-end THREE TIMES (thank God I was wearing sneakers!). One answer went like this, “Jetstar, sometimes here, sometimes there (pointing to the different ends).”
The last lady seemed to know what she was talking about and gave me the counter number. When I got there it was closed and had no sign as to the airline or destination. I asked another check-in staff, “Is this the counter for Jetstar going to Singapore?” and he answered me with “12 noon ya?” I said “yes” and he left. I was baffled so I just stood waiting, thinking maybe I’m too early. But when the people in front of the line left, I realized that they were just using the counter to fill in their immigration cards. Crap. So I asked the guy again and was led to the correct counter and he apologized. He probably didn’t understand me the first time around. The lady missed by about 4 counters. Man it was frustrating, but now I know so next time it will be easier. I told you I’m really good at being the lost-little-girl.
It was smooth-sailing from then on and once I got past immigration I checked out Duty Free (it’s my first time to see them open) then had a snack at Starbucks while relaxing in one of the lounge chairs that had a view of the runway. It was lunch time and I didn’t expect any free or appetizing meals in-flight. My conclusions:
- Cosmetics are the exact same price as Rustans in Manila (now I have to compare if they are cheaper here than Jakarta Malls)
- Spirits are pretty competitive to Manila prices. Next time, I’m going to get a bottle! =P
- Starbucks Tiramisu is not bad at all, as long as you eat it immediately upon purchase or else it gets soggy