Friday, 10 July 2009

Nothing can keep a bird from flying: Singapore - Chengdu

Wee! I could fly again! I was supposed to fly on the 27th June with my mum and sister to follow a tour to Tibet. Unfortunately, I spilled coffee a few days earlier without realising that my passport had been left in my bag, from my previous trip to KL, to be soiled by it. At the check-in counter, I was stopped from boarding the plane due to the "damaged" passport. Despite my pleas and justifications of a perfectly fine particulars' page, the ink that was smeared across most of my passports' pages could not escape me from my predicament. I was later taken to meet the head of immigration and nothing I said or suggested could change my fate. It was a difficult lesson for me to learn that a wet passport is considered damaged. The ink from the stamps ran across pages and some of the pages were stuck together due to the sugary spill.

I stood with disbelief and shock as though a joke of life was played at me when the check-in staff told me that I was not allowed to board the plane. You have got to be kidding me to tell me that I can't board the plane! Thinking back now, I thought I was really silly to have almost cried. It was hard to accept that I won't be going to Tibet with my family. It's TIBET, we're talking about!

Next, phone calls were frantically being made to Singapore, where our tour agency is located. There was nothing I could do but to renew my passport and hope that the tour agent could get me the next flight to catch up with the tour. With the weekend just starting, the waiting was unbearable! I hung out with friends to get rid of the disappointment. They tried to get me to laugh it off and I did! It's just Tibet, no biggie. It's really just Tibet, I can do it another time. RIGHT!

On Monday, I had my passport made within an hour, thanks to the immigration officer and staff members whom I have explained my situation to. The agent in Singapore was busy the whole day corresponding with me and trying to get me connecting flights to catch up with my family. Time was running out when no confirmation came at about 2pm. Royal Brunei Airlines closes at four in the afternoon. Then, the phone call of my life came! CB, the agent, told me to get a ticket to Singapore departing on 30th July at night.

I rushed to RBA plaza instead of the nearer airport branch after some prior enquiries I made while waiting. The Airport branch does not offer promotional fares, unlike at RBA plaza. After the purchase, I got home relieved only to have the next panic attack. All the while, my mobile phone had been accidentally left at home and the agent had been trying to call me. It appeared that I am to fly on the night itself. I rushed to the airport to get the changes made. It turned out that I have also purchased the wrong ticket for Tuesday. I had purchased the morning flight instead of the night. What is wrong with me?! The good thing was that I was able to get the earlier flight at the check-in counter. So, I rushed home, got my bags which I had left untouched since Saturday, my supposedly day of departure, and dashed to the airport. Poor Dad, he's been running up and down with me so that we didn't have to find parking spots. And, he made sure he stayed longer this time to ensure that I will have transport home if I didn't make it again. He was at church during my last attempt at this trip and I had to get J to get me instead, which turned out to be a heart-lightening event.

So, I flew to Singapore where I waited at Changi Airport for four hours for my next flight. I have my travel agent from CTC Holidays to thank for making my Tibet trip possible, as well as the Passport Unit (Department of Immigration and National Registration Headquarters) and RBA.

This time round, I saw really nice recycle bins

The gate I was supposed to get in was right next to Star Bucks. And, just before it opened, I had Green Tea Latte and it was so delicious that it actually took me by surprise. I savoured it greedily!

The Air China airline food was ok.

I lit up when I saw the salad but the cucumber tasted weird.

As we were about to land in Chengdu at dawn, the most beautiful celestial sight appeared. I always thought that sometimes there is a double of the sky and sea pair.

The sun rise was glorious!

Air China's parking lot

Picture taken when I was in a shuttle bus that was taking me from the plane to the terminal

Chengdu Airport is modern, spacious and bright

No comments: