Wednesday, November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008 - Singapore

We've spent the past few days getting ourselves and Mata'irea ready for our trip back to the States for the holidays. We'll be leaving the boat at One 15 Marina while we are gone, and although she will be plugged in, we are turning off the refrigeration. June, at the dockmaster's office, was kind enough to charm the marina's head chef into giving us some space in his walk-in freezer. We're pretty happy about not having to toss or give away all that meat and cheese. We distributed the rest of our fresh food and refrigerated items among the other cruising boats in the marina.

In addition to shutting down the refrigeration and the LPG and filling our water tanks, Sten changed the oil, which was overdue after our long motor up from Bali. While he was getting grubby, I did laundry and packed our bags. We're taking this opportunity to raise the waterline by bringing home some stuff we don't need anymore. If anyone reading this is in the market for some lightly used Pacific cruising guides and guide books, drop us a line.

When we arrived in Singapore, the stamp we received in our passports required us to depart Singapore within two weeks (a deadline which would have expired today) by boat. In order to leave by plane one day after our two week visas would have expired, we had to visit immigration to get "signed off" Mata'irea's crew list and get a different stamp in our passports. The process was a lot more frustrating than it should have been. The immigration officer kept giving us the wrong forms and information and then criticizing us for doing exactly what she told us to do. I was having law firm flashbacks, but all I could do was smile and keep filling out forms until she had a set that she was happy with.

Once we had the right stamp in our passports, we took the opportunity of being on that side of town to revisit Little India. Sten had been wanting to visit Sim Lim Tower or Sim Lim Square, two buildings that are chock-a-block with electronics goods. I happily sat at a cafe across the street, snacking on toast with kaya jam, sipping a latte, and working on our pre-departure task list while Sten roamed the shops. He returned empty-handed. For all the time we've spent window shopping here, we've bought nothing other than a few small gifts for friends and family back home.

We couldn't leave Little India without trying another restaurant there. Before we set off on this trip, we very rarely ate Indian food. But thanks to all the time we've spent in former British colonies, we've really grown to enjoy it. But now that we are so close to going home, we've got a fierce craving for some good old fashioned American fare - that's right, margaritas and steak tacos.

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