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Days 320-323 Wednesday-Saturday March 5-8, 2008 – Darwin, Australia to Singapore
Wednesday seemed almost entirely dominated by the fact that we were flying to Darwin. Unfortunately for us though, our flight didn’t leave until around 9pm, so we had a lot of time to kill. After we left the hotel at 10am the day seemed to drag on. Our first stop was at a local mall, where we walked around for a while. (How exciting!)
The mall we stopped at had a child care center that allows parents to drop their kids off while shopping for a maximum of two hours. Shawn Reece really was excited to do this and the price was reasonable so we left him there for an hour while we basically walked around. In reality, we didn’t have anything to buy, so we just killed time so Shawn Reece could have fun.
We finally picked Shawn Reece up and left the mall shortly after noon. Before heading down the street for lunch, we went across the street to spend a few minutes in a park along the water. In the park, Shawn Reece played on several interesting contraptions while we took inviews of the sprawling high rises that dominate the area around Surfer’s Paradise.
After the park, we ate some lunch, went to another mall and killed a couple of hours at the library. Finally after all of that, we drove an hour north to Brisbane and dropped the rental car off at the airport at 6pm. Since our flight didn’t open for check in until 7pm, we sat around a while before checking in and getting a little dinner. Our flight took off about ten minutes late and we finally landed in Darwin around 1am local time.
Since we knew that our arrival in Darwin was going to be so late, we decided not to book a hotel and instead camp out at the airport for a few hours. We booked into the YHA for Thursday and Friday nights and the YHA reception opened at 6am so we only had about five hours to kill. After figuring things out, we found out that the first airport shuttle headed into the city at 5am so we bought tickets and laid on the ground (with about a dozen other people) for the next four hours.
When the shuttle came, we boarded and finally arrived at the YHA around 5:40am. We still had twenty minutes to kill outside in the subtropical heat. Darwin is really hot and humid, but this is the weather we have to get used to for travel in Southeast Asia. When the receptionist finally opened, she checked to see if they had any open rooms, but we had no such luck and were forced to walk around until 1pm when a room would be available. Oh joy!
We did walk around the city for a few hours taking in the sites. It looks like a building boom is on in Darwin, as quite a few high rises are springing up from the ground. We walked along the main tourist areas through a couple of nice air conditioned malls and along the waterfront where a three foot tall chain link fence keeps crocs separated from us tasty humans.
Finally when 1pm came we got our room and went to sleep. To be honest our spirit for travel here in Australia is very low. I think we are really ready to move on. The next two days we didn’t do much of anything in Darwin other than walk around the Central Business District. On Saturday morning we did manage to get over to the Parliament House to take a peak around including the public viewing gallery of the Parliament Floor.
Finally at 1:20pm on Saturday the shuttle picked us up to bring us back to the airport where we visited our camping spot from two days previous. From there, everything went smoothly and our flight took off at around 4:50pm and arrived in Singapore at 7:20pm local time. As our plane descended into the city, we could see hundreds of tankers waiting to get into port. The airport in Singapore is large and incredibly impressive. It contains hotels, restaurants and even a supermarket. Our trip through Singaporean Immigration was painless and our bags were already on the turnstile when we cleared immigration.
After going through our options, we decided to take a taxi to our hotel in the city. Outside of the terminal, dozens of taxis were parked in numbered spots. Just like in Autopia at Disneyland, we were given a number to walk to that corresponded to a taxi. Our driver was polite and knew exactly where our hotel was. It turned out that taking the taxi was the right decision as it ended up being cheaper than the shuttle.
The drive through the city revealed how clean and well kept Singapore is. The freeway that our driver took from the airport was the cleanest road I have ever seen. We arrived at the hotel under the cover of darkness, thrilled to finally be in Singapore. Tomorrow we are going to get out into the city to see some of the historical sights, before spending Monday and Tuesday partaking in more family friendly activities. Asia, we have arrived!
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The Coomer Family
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