My parents flew into Singapore (and we were WAY late picking them up because we had the time all wrong). Singapore is an island. Singapore is actually another country, so we had to "leave the country" to go pick them up as Singapore's airport is closer than our capital city's airport.
After picking them up, it took us about 30 minutes of driving on the tiny nation-state-island of Singapore to find a gas station. Not sure why, one was just hard to find. We needed a little extra to get us home as the grandparents were wanting showers after their day and a half of traveling. Then we only had $10 Sing Dollars on us to get gas. Instead of going through the trouble of getting some from the ATM, or taking even MORE time to find a money-changer and exchange currency, we just chose to get what little gas we could and fill up once we crossed the border. I believe something like this was said as we noted what little gas we had, and what little gas we just added as we were leaving the gas station...
"Yeah, and every Singaporean car has to have at least 3/4 tank of gas in order to leave the country so that they don't just cross the border and fill up at our stations, which are subsidised by the gov't and way cheaper. SO glad we're not driving a Singaporean car!"
THEN we decided to take "The 2nd Link." There are 2 bridges to exit the country of Singapore. One is the older, more traditionally used bridge which is usually more crowded, but crosses right over into our city and is only about 10 minutes from our house. The "2nd Link" is the newer crossing, but it's farther out, so we've never taken it. But several of our friends said, "Oh! 2nd link is SOOOOO much faster! You NEVER have to wait. There are never any lines through immigration." And since we weren't in any huge hurry and were in a good mood to finally have the grandparents in the car, we took the 2nd link to avoid the Saturday traffic (takes about an hour of sitting on the traditional bridge in line). Or so we thought.
We exited through the Singapore Immigration station with ease. No lines. At about 12:00noon.
That's when the day took a very long turn for the more interesting.
You see, the Tradtional Bridge isn't very long... from exiting Singapore's immigration station to entering the immigration station over here, it's maybe 1/2 mile.
The "2nd Link" bridge is about 4 kilometers (2 miles?) from station to station.
About 1 kilometer in, traffic was piled up and not moving. The next FOUR hours we waited in line to enter the immigration station on our country's side. With the car literally on "E" the entire time.
The rest can be told with the help of pictures...
|...Velociraptor. They don't like staying seated. Especially not when Daddy and Mama left the portable DVD player at home. But Grandmama helped saved the lunch-less car ride with a box of Pop-tarts, fresh from America.|
|While crawling at a snail's pace (mostly sitting for about 10-15 minutes at a time, then moving up a couple car spaces then sitting again) some passengers in the car found a way to escape their seats.|
|This was taken about 3 hours into the wait. That many-roofed building up there is the immigration station. By this point there were many plans made for shin-kicking all those people who ever said "The 2nd Link is SO much faster."|
|...and that's just what he did. He came back with a Nalgene full of gas. He even refused to take a big thank you gift of money for his help.|
So THAT folks is how you immigrate when you really want to take things up a few notches. And as much as my parents think it's funny now that they went through all that after flying for 30 hours to get here, I can assure you that the Rivers will now be taking the traditional bridge across on other trips to Singapore. Every. Single. Time.