Sunday, 25 January 2015

From the Coral Sea to the South China Sea
(Part 3)

An update from Singapore

I left the lounge at Dubai in good time for flight EK354 to Singapore. As I expected, the aircraft was the huge Airbus A380, where the Business Class is on the Upper Deck, served by a separate Air Bridge. So the gate 'A8' I'd been directed to was only dealing with upper deck passengers. There was still something of a queue at the gate, probably because of the sheer size of the upper deck. Although an A380 can be configured for around 800 passengers total, I think the Emirates version like the one I boarded, an A380-800 registration A6-EED, 'only' caters for 500 odd. In the upper deck, all seats are aisle seats and every other row is also a window seat.

I watched a couple of recent Science Fiction films ('Lucy' and a Tom Cruise outing about 'Mimics' invading Earth) then I slept for a bit until they served breakfast. That probably sounds more pleasant than it seemed to me - it was my second 7-hour flight since leaving home the day before. At least the A380 seat becomes properly flat when turned into a bed.

On our approach to Singapore, our aircraft turned over the sea so as to approach runway 02 from the south, giving me a brief view of the dozens and dozens of ships, including large container ships and oil tankers, awaiting their turn to enter the port.

I was quite relieved to get off the plane, despite the long walk needed to reach Passport Control. Matters were helped by a number of 'moving pavements' which, I noticed, they call 'Travellators'. The delay at Passport Control was quite moderate and, moving on to the Luggage Hall, although the carousel area was crowded with waiting passengers, my case arrived after a couple of minutes. My luggage was quickly X-rayed by two helpful young men and I was waved through Customs. My air fare had included a limousine to my hotel so I found the Emirates desk dealing with car transfers and, having checked his list, he gave me a note of the car number allocated and directions to the waiting zone. A procession of smart black Mercedes were pulling up, loading passengers and driving off. In the three or four minutes I was waiting for the right car, at least a dozen must have loaded.

The journey into the city was quite relaxing. The dual carriageways seemed to be limited to a speed of 90 km/hr. I was amused that my Black Mercedes was consistently indicating '89'. On my last visit in 2005 (there's a brief description here, I commented on the multi-storey flats everywhere. Somehow, they've found room to shoe-horn more in and today there seems to be new buildings and building work in progress everywhere.

This trip was my first stay at the Shangri-La in Singapore but I've previously stayed at the Shangri-La Bangkok). The Singapore staff were helpful and the room was a good standard so I was tempted to just stay in the hotel but I finally decided to make a short walk, leaving the hotel just before 5.0 p.m. The Shangri-La is in a fairly upmarket area of hotels and apartments about 15 minutes walk from the main shopping street, Orchard Road. I declined the hotel's "Shopper's Bus" which frequently circles the major shopping destinations. The pavements were crowded, mainly with young people, including plenty of Europeans (a mixture of holiday makers and ex-patriates, I think).

Back at the hotel, I briefly explored the hotel facilities before returning to my room to set up my Notebook computer. I decided to have a meal in my room (yes - fish and chips), followed by a bath, by which time I was really in need of some proper sleep.

More when I'm able. You can find all the posts on this trip here.

My pictures

A380 DXB-SIN (pictures during the A380 flight).
Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore.