17.12.2010 - 17.12.2010
Day 93 Friday 17 December - “Singapore to Darwin”
After breakfast we pick up our bags and check out leaving our luggage at the 'bell' desk and hop on the shuttle to Orchard Rd. We travel the Metro to Raffles – that famous hotel. It is a magnificent complex and we wander around for some hours.
We made our way back to the Metro and the shuttle back to the hotel where we lounged for some hours. Jenny indulged in some serious 'people watching' and determined that the hotel was a popular place for Indian Honeymooners. She claims that the newly-wed girls were identifiable by the large number of bangles they wore on their arms.
Well before we are due at the airport we jump in a taxi and head out there anyway. JetStar very kindly let us check in the baggage even though it was almost five hours before boarding time. A quick security scan and through Immigration and we were in what could be mistaken for the biggest shopping complex. It was difficult to remember that we were actually at an airport terminal.
We processed our documentation for the Tax refund on all purchases over Sing$ 100. The special desk is there to confirm that you qualify – you must be a genuine tourist, the criteria is quite generous. You must have your boarding pass and you need to show that you have the items as described on the invoices. The claim forms are then stamped with the official rubber stamp and are then handed in to one or another of two refund agents who take a slice of your refund and credit the remainder to your credit card. You can also receive the 'refund' in Sin$ so that you can spend them at the shops.
The terminal building is enormous and throughout there are Christmas decorations and of course there are thousands of people. School is out in Singapore and there are groups of school-aged kids heading off to distant destinations. We spend the last of our Sing$ cash and donate the left-over change to the Red Cross. The flight departures board is of a scale that befits the place, there are at least 20 departures listed for the next hour and this is only one of 4 passenger terminals servicing over 50 airlines.
About an hour before boarding time our Departure Gate is open and we pass through a more thorough security scan. I had wondered why the first one was so easy!! At about the scheduled time we board the aircraft where we discover that our seats are at one of the emergency exits. This is a good thing as it provides lots of leg-room another feature is that there is no window, not sure if Jenny is completely happy with this.
The flight to Darwin is mercifully relatively short, only just short of 4:30 hours. During that time we were served one glass of water and bought an $8 blanket. The seats were uncomfortable and the service non-existent. Flying JetStar International is truly travelling cattle-class. With the time change we arrived in Darwin around 4:30 am.