Hi Blog Followers! I’ve been dark for the past few weeks given some WordPress complications abroad and being caught up in my travels (sorry)! And now onto the first of several posts about my trip…
I began my Southeast Asia trip, alongside some friends, on two flights from DC to Singapore, via Beijing.
The first leg of our flight was amazing. I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve reward points to book a first-class flight on #United from DC to Beijing. I am SO happy I made this decision – the service, food, and comfort was well worth it. What made it better was that my friend, Dana, also blew her Reserve bonus on the flight so we had 14 hours of being pampered, drinking wine, and relaxing together. Our flight attendants even offered for our two friends, Joanne and Tony, to come up for a glass of champagne and picture (thank you ladies of United!).
Now to our layover and second leg – what long-haul trip would be complete without an adrenaline rush and misadventure?! Our layover in Beijing was just over an hour – we were a bit worried about the short time, but I personally like to trust my airlines (*cough* #United *cough*) know the time needed to clear immigration and security for international transfers. AVOID A SHORT LAYOVER IN BEIJING…let me repeat, AVOID A SHORT LAYOVER IN BEIJING. Luckily, we didn’t have to get our bags during the transfer, but we did have to clear immigration and security. The immigration line on the second floor wasn’t too bad, but the security line on the first floor was awful. The four of us were getting anxious, so I asked one of the security guards if we could skip the line and he responded “you have time” aka “No”.
What we did not realize were two things: 1) they would literally pick apart our entire carry-on bags – removing every little item and looking through cosmetic bags, electronics, and pockets during the security screening and 2) Our gate was very far away. I had the smallest carry-on and made it through quicker than the others so I sprinted to the gate with only 10 minutes to spare. Then, I had to beg the gate attendants of Air China to hold the plane.
We breathlessly made the flight, but our checked bags did not. The airline compensated us with the equivalent of ~$50 per person and ensured our bags would be delivered by 1pm the next day. The next morning, as we were plotting our clothing purchase for the day, we did not realize our Airbnb host had sent her property manager to the airport to get our luggage early in the morning. We had everything by 10am and were extremely grateful to the hospitality of our host. Thanks, Rowena!
We now had our luggage and made an addition, Christina, to the Singapore Squad. As we drove into the city, It was like we stepped into the future in Singapore. The buildings were tall and sleek and the architecture and lights were galactic. Since we only had two days there, we wanted to make the best of it.
Here are some of the highlights of Singapore.
- Walking around Kampong Glam (the Muslim Quarter), visiting the Masjid Sultan mosque, and eating lunch at Kampong Glam Cafe
- Drinking a glass of wine on the roof of the Singapore National Gallery
- Getting our tourist on with a Duck Tour on the bay
- Entering a fantasy world at the Gardens by the Bay
- Exploring the vivacious Marina Bay Sands
- Grabbing a beer by the water at Clarke Quay (pronounced key, not kway)
- Swinging by our local 7-11 for all of the conveniences
And last, but not least…
- Meeting up for dinner with 10 of my future Oxford Saïd classmates