I had mentioned in my previous post that our flight back was uneventful. It was swift and smooth, and we even arrived almost an hour ahead of time. But of course, when you travel with a toddler, you’ll never get the peace and quiet you desire during your flight. 😅
Wear your mask!
Before landing, our stewardess reminded us to put on a face mask for J Boy after landing. She understood that it would be tricky to achieve that for toddlers. But her concern was legitimate, given the strict laws in Singapore. (There is risk of a $300 for individuals above 2 years old who do not don a face mask.) After explaining to J Boy that there’s a dangerous virus out there, he agreed to put on the mask. (Oh and telling him that, if he didn’t wear a mask, he wouldn’t be able to enter Singapore, worked too! That’s not true, of course, but whatever works! I’m just too tired to pacify a cranky toddler who has to deal with a weird situation.)
Clearing checks and immigration
Before reaching Singapore, we had thought that it would take a long time for us to clear immigration, or even exit the plane. But nope! It took us just 5 minutes to off board upon landing. There were many airport staff leading us in the right direction so that we don’t deviate from the route. There was also a temperature check point where J Boy had his temperature taken. Being slightly paranoid, Daddy Sean and I took turns to carry J Boy all the way to ensure he doesn’t get his hands on anything. (We also did that at London Heathrow.) Yes, it was tiring, but we really didn’t wish to risk catching anything.
After temperature checks, we had to declare our health status. Because we had already submitted our health declaration online, all we had to do was to produce the email evidence. Once in the clear, we were given stickers to indicate we have already completed the checks. They then took our contact numbers, and tested that at least one number worked by sending an automated SMS. This was so that they could track our location while we served our 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) – I’ll explain more later. Once this was done, we proceeded to immigration. All in all, it took us about 20 minutes from the time we left the plane to exit immigration.
Where are you taking us?!
Because there was so few passengers, we were able to grab our stuff from the belt area immediately (they were already offloaded from the belt). We followed the airport staff’s guide towards the airport’s exit. There were more airport staff that then took our details, and arranged for our transportation to our designated hotel. This only took about 5 minutes. At this point, we still had no idea where we were going to serve our SHN.
We were led to a Maxicab and they drove us away from the airport. Before we left, I noticed a coach bus in the area too. I suppose that was for singles or couples – we were assigned the Maxicab probably because we arrived as a family unit.
There was an airport staff with us in the cab, along with the driver. She was the one who took down our details at the exit. I was hoping to get information on where we were going to at some point in the cab. But the whole ride was quiet. (Well, I could’ve asked but I wanted to see when they would offer the information.) I saw we were heading towards CBD area. We got to enjoy the sights of Singapore’s oddly serene city area – a rare treat! Boy, we sure do miss home!
Day 0: Checking in and Settling in Our Hotel
Soon, we turned into a familiar corner. I nudged Daddy Sean, “Hey remember we’ve been here for a staycation right before our wedding?” Sean nodded. We then stopped at the next hotel, InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay – a 5-star hotel for that matter. Lucky us! Daddy Sean was instructed to alight first, then it was J Boy and I next. J Boy had already dozed off during the ride. Before we could enter the hotel, the concierge sanitised my hands, and gave me a pair of disposable gloves. Since I was carrying a sleeping (big) baby, he helped me with it. Definitely took me longer than expected to put them on!
They then gave me instructions to proceed to the hotel’s lobby on the 4th level. I met Daddy Sean at the lobby, where the hotel staff soon checked us in as a family unit. While seated, I filled in a Google form with our details, with J Boy in my arms, and did some declarations (the standard stuff – you’ll get into trouble with the law if you don’t adhere to your SHN etc.). The receptionist then asked for our bed preference, so we got a room with two double beds side-by-side, that we could join together. They also took our credit card details, in case we break anything. We then went to our rooms with some sheets of instructions, and the concierge brought up our luggage soon after.
Food and amenities
We soon learnt that 3 meals plus an afternoon snack are provided every day. The hotel sends us a form to choose our meals every few days (usually it’s a choice between fish or chicken). We also have laundry service daily – each person is entitled to 3 pieces of clothing per day. They provide new towels 3 days a week, and we are able to request for extra amenities (to a certain limit) per day. On the 7th day of our stay, there will be a change of our bed linen.
The hotel’s Wellness Team checks in on us every day, to ensure our wellbeing. Knowing that we have a child in tow, they also provide activities for J Boy. We also received a pack of face masks, courtesy of the hotel. This would come in useful when we check out.
Every meal is placed outside our room on a small table. We also have to place our trash bags in a bin right beside the table, plus any laundry bag in the same area. All exchanges between us and the hotel staff are performed contactless and at our doorstep. We do not interact directly with them for the sake of safety.
Since we arrived so early, we received our breakfast straight away. How we missed our local food! Our food arrives in bento boxes placed in a disposable bag, along with disposable cutlery. After eating, we called our family, and went to bed. We were sooo jetlagged!
Day 0 Meals!
I’ll just let the pictures do the talking. Since they are catered food, they usually come in slightly cooler than we’d prefer. But we cannot complain, since it’s free food, and I think they’re quite delicious overall! Especially since we’ve missed Singapore’s local fare!
ICA checks and what-not
We awoke to 2 missed calls (most likely from ICA), and several messages instructing us to give our current location. Oh man can you imagine the panic! We immediately responded to the SMS – we simply had to click on the link that provides our phone’s GPS location to their website. Well we soon caught on and made sure the volume of our phones were at the highest!
In the coming days, we would receive 2 WhatsApp video calls from ICA every day. There were also random visits from ICA officers (as of Day 6, we only had them visit once), verifying our identity and checking that we were in our room. And yes, we are only able to be within the vicinity of our room – we cannot even leave the room premises to access other areas of the hotel.
The end of Day 0
J Boy enjoyed the big bed, because there’s so much space now to bounce around! Ah well, whatever expends his energy, I guess. With the limited space we have now, we have to compromise with extra screen time. Moreover, since I’m intending to work (within this confined space with my toddler!), then I have to be okay with all the screen time that he wants.
We were so pooped at the end of Day 0, that it didn’t matter the time in the UK – we just fell asleep right around midnight!
In the next post, I will talk about our experience in the hotel, and how we deal with an active toddler in a confined space.