Wow, what a day…I have to say, Singapore has not been kind to us so far. I am just starting to recover from the events of the past few hours. So as I mentioned in the last post, just written earlier today, we had a ticket to go to Bali, leaving Singapore at 6:30 this evening. Ask me if I’m in Bali? No, I am not in Bali. I am still in Singapore. Man, what a terrible day. Okay, so anyway, here is the story:
Went to the airport without a hitch, taking the MRT. Didn’t take long at all. Stood in a long line up for web check in. Finally got to the front. Oh we’re in the wrong line up. Okay, no problem. Go to the right line up, still have 90 minutes before flight leaves. Man takes our passports and itinerary. Asks us where we are headed after Bali.
“Umm, probably Bangkok”
“Okay, can I see your itinerary for that trip?”
“Ummm, no we haven’t booked it yet. We don’t know when we are going.”
“Oh, well you need an ongoing ticket in order for us to release the bording passes.”
“Okay, ummm..we don’t have tickets yet, so what can we do?”
“Buy tickets to leave Bali”
After much cursing and deliberation and WTF’ing we asked him how much it would cost for us to book tickets to leave Bali, and go to Bangkok in approx. 30 days. Answer? About 500 SGD. Commence freakout. Then things really started going downhill. We asked him if there was anything else we could do and he said no. We left the counter and freaked out over to the side a bit. What should we do? We have our ticktes, the plane is leaving at this point in about an hour and we can’t possibly spend that much to fly out. To give you some perspective, we just bought our tickets *TO* Bali for under $200 CAD including all taxes. Tickets that eventually, went in the garbage. Read on, and I’ll explain. So anyway, we go back to find out where the internet is. It’s upstairs and in another area and we don’t think we have enough time to check competing airlines for ongoing tickets and book and pay online and still board our flight. To add insult to injury, the guy we were dealing with at Jetstar was a total asshole. While I realize it was probably our fault for not being clear on the visa regulations, he was completely unhelpful, and mostly ignored us. I had to practically beg for his attention to get him to answer our questions. I had never had to book an ongoing ticket for an entry visa before, so this was new for us. As well, M had been to Indonesia before and didn’t have this problem, so it’s a relatively recent law change. We took it for granted and didn’t check as we got used to never being asked. Our fault, for sure. But the terrible service didn’t help anything.
As time dwindled away as we tried to figure something out, M suddenly realized that although we didn’t have departing tickts from Bali, we did have return tickets to Canada leaving from Bangkok. Proof that we didn’t plan on staying in the country illegally forever. Maybe this would work? He went back to the counter to find out (at this point I was turning into an ugly terrible customer service nightmare and also worried about causing a scene and getting arrested in SG, so I decided that I should not talk to this man anymore). M hurried back. Yes, this proof of ticket would work. But it was in my email. I didn’t have a printed copy anywhere. We weren’t going to need it for at least three months, so I thought I had plenty of time to get it. The internet cafe in the airport doesn’t print and the man at the Jetstar counter refused to use his computer to access it from my email. We were fucked. Time was running out. I tried getting wireless on my Kindle but it didn’t work. I recently broke my ipod and the wireless hasn’t been working. The plane was boarding and we were out of time. M went back to the Jetstar counter one last time to try to basically beg the man to help us. He refused, instead saying that he couldn’t print flight info from competing airlines. If we would have had more time we could have done something. Maybe borrowed someones Ipad or I don’t know what. But in the end we ran out of time and the flight boarded. The stupidest way to miss a flight ever. At the airpot, on time, checked in online, printed check in documents…did everything we thought we were supposed to do….and this is how we missed our first flight. Worst. Day. Ever.
After tearing up in the airpot with dissapointment, we contemplated our next move. Fuck Bali. We can’t afford to buy another ticket to go there and buy our onward ticket in peak season. We had expected to get a three month visa upon arrival and wait for peak season to pass before we left. Now it just became unpractical for us to spend money on another two tickets there and out for a 30 day visa. We thought we would fly to Bangkok but we had already decided that we needed more than a one month visa for Thailand. Thailand has recently changed their visa regulations as well and you only get a 30 day visa for flight arrivals for Canadians. We had decided that we needed to apply for a longer 90 day visa before going back there so we could complete our plan of going north. If we flew directly into BKK, we wouldn’t have enough time to make it worth returning. We had no choice but to head back to Singapore and plan our next move.
Did I mention this is the worst day ever? Took the shuttle back to the hotel we stayed at last night. I got the name wrong by the way, its Summerview, not Sunview (I think that’s what I said before). Now we are heading back into SG for the packed holiday weekend. And lo and behold, the icing on the cake, our hotel raised their rates by another $30 SGD. I couldn’t help it. I got back to our room and had a meltdown. Full on weeping mess. I was devastated after doing so much planning for Bali. I had maps, itineraries and ideas of restaurants and things I wanted to visit. I don’t want to give the impression I am inflexible. I have travelled in SE Asia before and I know “things can happen”. For sure, this has been a lesson for me that I need to be even more relaxed and realize that things don’t always go the way you plan them. Lots of people miss their flights. Lots of people have messed up plans and bad things happen but it was just too much in one day. The guy being an asshole, being so close to “fixing” the problem but the stress of trying to race against the clock to figure it out, getting back to our hotel that is already way out of our budget, it was too much. We are major budget travellers that had to sacrifice a lot for this trip and to save up for it and these kinds of things are pretty big blows to us, financially. Oh and incidentally, the hostel we booked in Kuta, also lost, 24 hour cancellation policy. We’re paying for it anyway.
Anyway, I am feeling a bit better now, realizing that these things happen for a reason and just because we didn’t get to Bali today doesn’t mean I don’t get to go. Our plan now is to research visa turnover time and try to apply for a three month visa for Thailand and see if we can move to a hostel tomorrow to save money. Bali can go on the backburner until flight prices go down again after peak season or we do it on another trip. Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be. Hopefully we can find a decent dorm that we can stay in just till the visa gets processed. Then, buy another flight and start over. We don’t know what else to do.
That’s what’s happening right now….stay tuned! Things have to go up from here, right?