23 Feb 2011, Singapore Hotel.
So our journey started a few days ago, with the flight from Amsterdam to Singapore. A long flight, bit bumpy now and than but with good service and meals. At the Singapore airport we arrived at 6am local time in a quite, modern and spacey airport. The check in at the Ambassador Transit Hotel inside the airport, was smooth and simple in Terminal 2. 107S$ for 8 hours, +/- 50Euro. Simple rooms, with showers and the most important, a bed to sleep.
The next morning, well morning for us, but 15:00 Singapore time the alarm went of and we prepared for the day. Got some cash from the ATM and try to make arrangements with Egon, a former colleague who now lives in Singapore with his family. It would be a very tight schedule to meet in the center, have a beer (again its late afternoon local time, but my stomach was more into Cornflakes with milk than a beer, but… what the heck it was holiday ;-) ) and than go quickly back to catch the flight to Christchurch, New Zealand.
At the internet spots we went online to book the campsite for the first two nights in Christchurch so we could explore the city and the coast area’s. While posting on Facebook our status and next spot, I got a reply from a girlfriend of ours in The Netherlands on this Facebook status update; “Did you hear about the earthquake in Christchurch?”. We immediately went to www.cnn.com to check the news. 65 death, major impact to the power-, water- and road infrastructures. Buildings collapsed, landslides and people still being trapped under the bricks etc.
The airport information desks had no information yet. A bit later we got information that at 18:00 hours they would provide more information and in the meantime we were allowed to grab dinner at the cost of Singapore airlines. In Terminal 3 we went to a Japanese restaurant and had our dinner. The flight was indeed cancelled and we went to a well prepared counter for our cancelled flight. They explained precise what was planned. Providing all our names and phone numbers, so they could reach us later when needed. Get a sticker, that would indicate we were people from the cancelled flight. Which helped with getting through customs, get a free taxi, check-in at the brand new (it smelled new still) Parc Sovereign Hotel in the centre of Singapore.
Hotel was good, dinner there was so-so, not too good, but it made your appetite go away for a long time afterwards. Which was a good thing, I think. ;-) In the evening we went to the close located, Little India District. Many shops already closed, it was 21:00 hour, but still it was fun to walk around. Very hot and moist though, so even walking very slow made me sweat.
The next morning we had a paper under the door with additional information, although not clear if the flight continued today or not. At 10:30 they had a briefing in the lobby, we would check out, get into a bus and go to the airport for the flight at 16:00.
In the meantime we read the newspapers reporting about the quake and the damage it caused in the 350.000 people city.