Transit day back to Singapore started at 230am. Dazed from the lack of sleep, I was up brushing my teeth while and mommy woke thereafter. The activities that went past were just about packing and preparations. I have brought everything up into the car and the last and hardest was K. Mommy carried him and tried to minimize disturbance to his sleep and managed to have him continue sleeping in the car while I drove 30mins plus to the airport. Roads were quiet most of the time at this hour and by the time we arrived, it was already 430am.
Called the rental company staff and heard a sleepy voice over the phone, knew that he didn’t wake up to meet me at the airport, mentioned just to leave the car. So I left the car at the airport carpark with the key in the glove compartment and sent a picture of both the key and the car location to him via WhatsApp before loading up all the luggage. Then I carried K to the checkin while mommy pushed the luggage.
K was asleep until he woke up at the check in counter. Nouvobanq was amazingly open at this unearthly hour and I took the chance to change back 1450rupees to 80 Euros. Then we checked in at the business counter as I had successfully upgraded our seats via bidding for 175USD per person, and received the business class tickets, the continuing economy tickets to Singapore (which bid was unsuccessful) and invitation to use the lounge.
We went through the checks and immigration which invited some questions over our leaving dates as it seemed like we were supposed to leave on the 15th reflected on the stamp. After this, we proceeded to the second floor where the lounge was and took one of the cushion benches to rest and have some breakfast. Luckily our 530am flight was delayed and thus we had some time to enjoy the lounge. The rest of the shops weren’t opened anyway so we maximized the lounge usage. K even fell asleep on the couch.
620am and the boarding started. The lounge staff went to inform the passengers about boarding and I carried K trying not to wake him but upon reaching the plane, he woke up. Getting into the business class section was easy since there were lots of space for people and bags. Mommy and K sat on one aisle while I sat alone at the other side. Though I felt that the luxurious part of the seats weren’t there when we first flew at the start of the trip, it was still a lot better than squeezing in economy.
There was a welcome drink and warm towels for us. The headsets looked sturdier with noise isolation features but we couldn’t watch anything since the screens were all within the armrests. Once we took off, we could use the tablet-like interface.
I took out my camera to capture the view of Seychelles from the skies, managed to catch a circular rainbow as the plane got further away from the beautiful island, at the same time when the morning sun was rising up from the horizon. The end of a holiday.
What followed was more food in the form of a breakfast, and I finished the omelette and whatever there were served to me. Mommy was full from the earlier breakfast and fed K his omelette that he got from the economy planned child meal (there weren’t any child meals in business class). I was typing away on my phone of the events in the last two days while charging it plugging in to the screen and watching Bladerunner 2049. Mommy fell uncomfortable due to the bumpiness of the plane from turbulence and asked me to swap places so that I could get K to sleep. K went to sleep after a while and I continued my typing and show.
Time flew past and a short while after the show ended, which I found quite confusing about the plot, partly because I wasn’t fully focused on watching it, the pilot announced our arrival and the landing would be taking place soon. I prepared K’s seat, blocking all the bright lights with pillow so that K remained asleep and managed pretty well as he remained sleeping right till we were about to exit the plane.
Carried him to as far as the transit office and he woke up. I checked at the transit counter if we could change the reservations from the Catamaran Beach hotel to the Serenediva hotel inside the airport and he informed that it was not possible and we had to pay separately to the hotel if we chose not to accept the free accommodation as per the time we first flew in. Mommy wanted more rest time and so we chose to go to the newer hotel on the 2nd floor.
We checked with the reception and it was USD120 for a 12hr block. I paid with credit card and it was then I realized that I have left 2 important things in the luggage. One was my own Singapore SIM card, which meant I remain uncontactable by mobile until Singapore and the other was Sri Lankan currency and SGD!
We were given a room with a double and a single bed and in a much better room than what we had in Catamaran Beach hotel. Used the free WiFi and tried to look for pasta as K wanted to have pasta. Coffee Bean had pasta so we proceeded to it for K’s lunch.
fLunch at Coffee Bean.We had initially thought of getting out of the airport for food after K’s meal. Checking with the visa personnel, he said we could just go through immigrations because we were Singaporean. Powerful Singapore passport! But the more we find out what to expect outside the more we decided against going. My plan was to go see the Dutch fort, Dutch canal and probably walked around that area in Negombo where there were also some church and market. But the costs one way by taxi was in the region of 2800LKR which was about 25SGD and thus the whole trip could be already 50SGD. From the TripAdvisor tips, those places didn’t looked like it’s worth the trip so we gave up.
Ended up shopping at the airport instead while mommy bought some coconut oil since it was commonly produced in Sri Lanka, I was confused by the 4 brands of tea stores, not sure where to buy from.
We returned to the room and while K entertained himself with the toys that we brought along, the parents had some time on the mobile phones. Gave K his packets of milk and after some storybooks, he got into the single bed with me and I coerced him to sleep. He developed the strange reasoning of not liking the pillows and insisted on sleeping on me. So for a good 1hr, I was immobilized and also took some time to catch some rest.
I got a chance to find out a place we could get some Sri Lankan crabs and at the same time near to the airport. TripAdvisor number 1 was Mermaid food court and on Google map, it looked pretty close.
Managed to convince mommy to head out for dinner and once everyone was up, we left the room to first finish our purchases at the duty free, with mommy getting her spa stuff and me topping up the food to bring back, like Cashew nuts and Zesta tea bags. Left all the purchases in the room before we went through immigrations, which was smooth with no questions asked.
Once out, mommy went to exchange SGD50 for about 5800LKR at one of the many exchanges that all had the same rates. We then proceeded to walk to the main road after checking with one of the airline staff who was also leaving the airport, on where to get a Tuk Tuk ride. At the entrance the touters approached us and upon showing them the Google map and naming a street near it, we were quoted 700rupees, in which I asked for 300rupees. We ended at 500rupees to get to our destination.
It was an amusing ride for K as he sat together with us on the Tuk Tuk and we arrived shortly at Mermaid restaurant after 10mins, with me guiding the rider using my Google map.
We arrived at a modernly designed restaurant by the lagoon and was shown the location on the lagoon for the seats. Although it wasn’t really bright enough under the twinkling stars, it was sort of better according to the owner as there was more windy and had less mosquitoes. Crossing a tiny bridge, we made ourselves comfortable on the bench and long table.
The food came after some 30mins of BBQ on the grill, two crabs and 4 prawns, a prawn fried rice and chicken macaroni. There was juice and vanilla milk shake too. We enjoyed the food thoroughly and though I liked the grilled taste of the crab, mommy thought than the Singapore version where crab with sauce tasted better since BBQ made the meat dry. The other food was tasty too as K liked both the fried rice and macaroni. All these only for 3750rupees. The owner even helped get us a Tuk Tuk back for 400rupees.
It was the same route back on a street with still some traffic even at almost 10pm. We arrived at a gate meant for Tuk Tuk drop off and after bidding farewell, it was back to a rather crowded and busy airport. We went through security checks twice quickly since we only had 2 bags and immigrations had a short line too. Returned to the room and quickly took a bath before taking a really short nap. Somewhere at 1215, a call came into the room to wake us up, asking us to check out.
Got up and did whatever final packing before carrying the napping K in my arms. We returned the room card and proceeded to the basement gate R1 to go through the final security, which involved taking out the shoes. This was so troublesome that my movement woke K up. After that, a short wait at the gate, we had to take a bus to the plane. Got up the plane which ended up as a pretty full flight.
The flight back was just tiring as the lack of sleep hit us. After watching his same favorite show of Little Pony and teletubbies and eating some meal, K couldn’t get to sleep quickly. Both mommy and me was already nodding off after our chicken briyani and it was not until a long while of tossing and turning did he managed to doze off. We landed with no drama after but again I had to carry the napping K off the plane which woke him up. It wasn’t really a good flight timing looking back.
This CNY trip was planned to take full advantage of the very long weekend that we had and at the same time, visit a non-Chinese and not cold country. It was also to fulfill one of our bucket list country to visit. The visit met my expectations to say the least, really one of the destinations with nothing much to do except to chill and enjoy the beaches. I probably missed out the lot on water activities such as snorkeling and visits to the islands but I guessed it would be more enjoyable for K to have less seasickness on the boat rides and less mosquito bites. However, in terms of beauty, Fiji seemed to take our breath away more probably because of its exclusivity as a really small resort island but close behind was the Beau Vallon beach that we visited and loved on the last day.