To start with, if I have the choice, I will not fly British Airways again – and I haven’t even boarded the plane yet! But I’ll get back to that shortly.
The trip to Singapore’s Changi airport went off about as planned, although the goodbyes at Smiling Hill were difficult. Most of the Goodies girls were there at 4 p.m. to see me off, even if they weren’t working at the time. Dewi was there, too.
Originally, Doug was going to take me to the ferry terminal, which would have been a fitting conclusion to my stay in Batam, given that he was the one who met me when I arrived 2 ½ years earlier. But he had to take his wife to the hospital, so the duty went to Bjorn, who had earlier offered me the ride. Ian and Sylvia joined us. I said goodbye to Dewi at Goodies. Also took a call from Doug, who apologized that he wasn’t there and wished me the best.
Bought a one-way ticket on Prima Ferries and my companions sent me off at the check-in gate. Learning to navigate with two suitcases, a backpack and a laptop case will take some time, further more difficult since I was also carrying my pool stick and fishing rod taped together and originally strapped to my backpack. That arrangement soon failed, and I was forced to carry them separately.
On the Singapore side, there was just our ferry waiting for immigration so the line was short and fast. I was stopped at the baggage check, however, as their scanner picked up something strange. Turned out it was my fishing reel.
A quick trip to the money changer to get rid of my rupiah and it was on to the taxi stand. There was a long queue for taxis, which meant at least a 45-minute wait. But there is always someone ready to help you avoid the queue – for a price. The driver wanted SG$60 for a $25 ride, but fortunately there was an Aussie there who was also going to the airport, so we each spent $30. Well worth the extra $5 to avoid the line.
I was able to check my bags in right away and get my tickets – except that I was only entitled to check in one bag. Care to guess how much British Airways wanted for the second bag? SG$138 ($112). “Do I have to pay that again for my flight to St. Kitts,” I asked. “Yes sir.” To which I mumbled to myself (but loud enough for both the check-in crew to hear), “Well, this is the last time I’ll fly British Airways.” I followed that up by telling them it was not their fault but that this was plain robbery. I’m ticketed through to St. Kitts, however, so maybe they were mistaken about the second charge. I’ll let you know.
As I write this, I’m sitting at a small restaurant in the terminal, having just finished half a sandwich and a Diet Pepsi (SG$8.70). I arrived here an hour earlier than I expected and I still have another 2 hours before they open the gate area.
Late note: Security for this flight is a little different than I’ve encountered before. The gate is all by its lonesome, with a special baggage check involved. And guess who was patted down. Anyway, I found some more free WiFi so am able to post this beginning to my journey.