March 22 — 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. One-day port, round two.
So we arrived in Singapore at about 6:45 a.m. on March 22. We all went up to Glazer Lounge to pick up our passports, which we had to carry with us all day, unlike all the other ports we’ve visited. It took about an hour for everyone to pick up their passports, but this was the first port that I wasn’t rushing to get off the ship ASAP after we cleared, so being in line after that didn’t really matter. Instead, Katy and I waited around for our “family” so we could leave for our excursion to the aquarium! Adam, “dad,” came up to let us know the boys were having a hard time getting up this morning and they were going to be a little while. I was very relaxed with the situation; even though he seemed annoyed the kids were taking so long. I think I was just happy to have a sort of “family” travel schedule, rather than the “student” travel schedule I’m used to, which is basically just “GO! GO! GO!” and do as much as possible. At about 10 a.m., we were out the door and had to process immigration in the terminal, very different from how we had done it in the past.
Our brood included Katy, Adam, Suchitra, Dhilan, Devan, Grannie and me. Because they had Dhilan in the stroller, they got to cut the line through the “wheels” line, but since Katy and I were students, they wouldn’t let us go with them. So we had to wait in the normal line and we finally made it out and met them outside the terminal. As we were walking up to them, I mentioned to Katy how I needed caffeine and how Starbucks sounded so delicious right then. As we walk up, Adam mentioned a quick thing about Starbucks but I didn’t quite hear because as I looked to my side, I saw a girl holding a Starbucks cup. Katy and I both looked at each other and freaked. Being Seattle girls, we were instantly STOKED. We grabbed money out of the ATM and went on the hunt for Starbucks before we went to the aquarium. After walking around the mall, we finally spotted the green mermaid. The drinks were on the expensive side and they didn’t have as much variety, but boy were we excited!
After Starbucks, we made our way through the maze of malls that were right next to the port, which was very confusing, but we finally found the entrance to the tram that went to Sentosa Island, which is where all the amusement parks were, along with the aquarium and beaches and more. We got off on the wrong tram stop for Underwater World, so we had to wait a few minutes for the next tram to arrive and then just a few more minutes to the next stop. We then found the bus that took us to Underwater World. We arrived and went straight to the shark tank. Then we went around and of course saw all kinds of marine life. One of the coolest parts was the “underwater” walk-through tunnel with swimming all above you, and there was a moving walkway so you didn’t even have to walk! Back upstairs there was an opportunity to feed the fish, which the boys did, hesitantly. Then we saw you could feed the stingray as well. I decided to buy the food and do it, but it freaked me out. Even though I’d fed with stingrays before and swam with them, these ones freaked me out because they were pretty aggressive when I would stick my hand in the water to give them the fish. One of the little ones started freaking out and splashing water out of the side of the tank, almost like he was trying to escape! There was also a dolphin exhibit, which wasn’t much to see, since I had already swam with them in the Amazon, and we could only see 2 swimming around the big performance pool anyways. After that, we stopped in the gift store and then headed to leave for the bus that would take us back to the tram. Once we got back to the main land area, Katy and I decided to say goodbye to the family and go find out friends we were supposed to meet up with. We were starving though and first made a stop at a Hawker Center, which is pretty much like a food court, just a little different. You could buy a card, fill it with money, and pay for food at different stations. We both decided on Pad Thai and then went to another station to try some dragonfruit and then another station for drinks. It’s funny because the place made me think of an American food court, except in America we have more options for food, which I found surprising. They had mostly just Vietnamese, Indian, Thai, Singaporean (?), and … that’s about it. We walked around the mall a bit more, even found Forever 21 and Adidas! But the prices were ridiculously expensive! The stuff at Forever 21 was nearly three times the price of stuff in the states. It’s surprising what the import tax does. But the high prices were pretty standard everywhere. Singapore is just an expensive place.
After lunch we headed back towards the ship and ran into JP and Malia, who we were supposed to meet up with but I figured they had left already since we came back late. We decided to go to Chinatown, where they had been earlier, and find the fish spa they had seen. We ended up in the more normal part of Chinatown, rather than the mall area so we walked around in the rain for 20 minutes before we finally found the random mall they’d been to. We all got “fish pedicures,” which is these “doctor fish” nibbling on your feet to get rid of dead skin and such. It’s supposed to be really good for your feet and people with feet problems sometimes go get it done everyday. It took us forever to get used to it, with a lot of screams and laughs and other weird sound effects. But, after about 15 minutes, we got more used to it. It felt so strange to have these little fish nibbling on my feet. The worst was when the bigger fish started nibbling, that felt really weird.
After our “pedicures” we walked around the mall area a bit (the spa was on the 3rd story of a 5 story mall), but the mall was much different than your average mall. We found bubble tea and for those who didn’t like that, there was a 7-Eleven and they grabbed slurpees.
We hopped back on the subway and headed for the Singapore Flyer station. We had to make one transfer and when we got to the stop, we hopped off and quickly headed for the Ferris wheel. The Singapore Flyer is the largest Ferris wheel in the world and it was crazy going to the top and looking out over the whole city. Singapore had so many interesting buildings to see. There was a hotel that was built to look like it had a boat on top, a “floating” soccer field, the F1 racetrack and a bunch of just really tall and strange buildings. After 30 minutes going all the way around, we headed to the waterfront lounge, grabbed some food and drinks and then hopped in the taxi to head back to the ship. We were rushing back and stopped to grab last minute souvenirs, although we couldn’t find postcards or stamps anywhere, so that was frustrating, and there wasn’t any time for a last minute Sbux, but we’re counting on China for plenty of that! Finally it was time to leave and before we knew it, we were headed for Vietnam.