Majella and I were up at our usual times in Toowoomba. I managed to get out for an early morning walk before we showered, ate breakfast and headed off to Brisbane shortly after 8:30 am. We reached the Batham’s at Fig Tree Pocket shortly after 10:00. Joel was packed and more or less ready to go. After Emily had checked that Lea intended coming to the airport, she decided to come that far with us. We left there shortly after 10:30 am.
We were almost at the airport when Jane called. She had gone home at her morning break, hoping to say a last goodbye to Joel. Had we known she might do that we could easily have waited the extra 30 minutes but we had no such expectation and missed her. Jane wanted to know what Joel was wearing because his new trousers she had bought for his trip were hanging at home where she had left them. Joel was wearing track trousers and a football shirt which, it turned out, were his pyjamas that he had worn to bed the previous night. He’s a casual traveller.
We arrived at the long term car park on schedule at 11:00, dropped the car and took a shuttle to the airport. That all happened more quickly than I had expected and we were a good bit earlier than we needed to be at the airport. We checked out some shops and then checked in before finding something to eat for lunch. Soon after we sat down, Lea arrived to spend some time with us and to make a last check on Joel’s readiness for travel. That required a trip to the news agent to buy a comb (Joel had not packed one nor used one that morning, it seems) and a pen for Joel to record his memoirs. With a bit more than an hour to wait for boarding, Lea and Emily made their last farewells and left before we headed off through customs and security.
After checking out some more airport shopping (Joel bought some candy and Majella picked up a couple of last minute items) we headed off to the gate, boarded our flight and spent the next 8 hours or so variously eating, watching movies and otherwise amusing ourselves during the flight to Singapore. Our flight had a tail wind most of the way and arrived 20 minutes or so early at about 8:15 pm. Arrival formalities at Singapore required completion of a card before landing but little more, so we were quickly through immigration, collected our baggage and passed through Customs to wait for our ride. While we waited I changed some money in case we should need to buy something during our short stay. Our driver soon arrived and led us to the car park, where the few minutes we waited in the heat and humidity while he fetched our air-conditioned Mercedes was more than enough.
The driver was chatty and, with a bit of prompting from Majella, who had been to Singapore several times previously and had a string of questions, he provided interesting commentary along the route to our hotel at Clarke Quay near the centre of the city. By 9:30 pm we were checked in and had found our room. Majella was keen to show off her knowledge of Singapore and wanted to head off to the main shopping area in Orchard Road. We did set off in that direction but, having asked at the hotel about opening hours, we quickly worked out that, even if we reached the street before the 10:00 pm closing time we would not have more than a few minutes to check the shops. We turned around and headed via Clarke Quay and its collection of restaurants for the MRT station, intending to catch the train to Little India where the Mustafa Centre offered 24 h shopping.
It took us just a few minutes to work out the automatic ticket machine and buy our tickets – just $2.30 each for the 2 section ride with $1 of that a refundable deposit on the card. It didn’t take much longer for the train to arrive and whisk us 2 stations away where, with some directions Majella asked from locals, we managed to find the Mustafa Centre. It took a few minutes to drag Majella past the gold sellers and find our way upstairs to the shoe section where Joel bought some new sneakers. Shopping done, we headed back to the MRT, rode the train back 2 stations, cashed in our cards and headed back to the hotel for sleep.