April 20, 2007
It's been some time since I last went to Singapore by taking bus via Causeway. Normally I take taxi and once my job finishes, I straightaway return to JB by taxi again. No chance to go round the island.
This time, with so called 'well-planned' trip as well as with some lucks, I finally made my journey to Singapore. I stayed at Puteri Pacific Hotel, which I still confuse whether this hotel belongs to Pan Pacific hotel chain or not. Looks like it's not anymore.
I was not supposed to stay there as it is not one of hotels recommended by my company but due to full occupancies at hotels I usually stay, Mutiara and Hyatt, I had to book at Puteri Pacific. And that was actually my intention... Initially, I thought of staying at Mutiara for one night, just to adhere with company policy and then stay another night at Puteri Pacific by trying to find reason to stay there - fully booked perhaps. However, it went well with my plan. Staying at Puteri Pacific was so convenient as I could just walk to Causeway.
After finishing work at about 6.00 PM, I started to walk to Causeway. It's busy with people commuting back from Singapore but it's all right for me as I was heading to the other direction. The journey across the Causeway can be considered as smooth. I took Bus 170 as I still had few credit inside my EZlink card, not usual Smiling Bus.
I reached Woodlands Checkpoint after 15 minutes. I had to get immigration form first as I didn't have any spare form. The only form that I had was the old form which I doubt they would accept anymore. I took one stack of forms and put into my bag. These are for my future visits especially if I drive in by car. If I drive without having the form, I had to go to the Immigration office which I'm sure will take a very long time. I tried to be discreet so that officers wouldn't see me. If I got caught, probably they'd think that I did part time filling in form for visitors.
This was the first time I saw no more Immigration lanes for Malaysian. Now only left Singaporean and foreigners. So, I saw few Mat Sallehs (Caucassians) mingled around Malaysian faces in foreigners lane. In front of me, there were three Filipino maids chatting to each other after having some free time in JB.
I was in the queue for half an hour now. Now I realised that my line was so slow. A guy who accidentally hit my hand when we tried to lean against a railing there already got his passport endorsed while I was still waiting anxiously. Behind me, one Malay girl (I think so as her face looked like Chinese but her toes skin colour was darker than mine - mixed perhaps) kept pushing up her head up to see what was happening at the front.
I saw one Makcik (auntie) was changing lanes quite frequently. She was at the end of the lines so nobody bothered her. I was thinking why she did that. Why couldn't she just remain in one lane and waited for her turn?! Seemed that she was looking for any new lanes that would possibly be open at any minute. At the same time, few officers were seen monitoring the congestion there. Then suddenly I heard a sound of people running and when I looked to them, they were chasing a new lane that was being opened. I saw that Makcik was ahead of everybody. Well done Makcik! Your effort was paid off. Hmm, now I thought that the Makcik was so experienced and it's worth doing that considering long queues everywhere.
And I was still anxious here. The guy who was endorsing my lane was so slow. Why must he be so detail and perhaps suspicious at everybody there? I saw the other lanes were very fast. Upon few seconds, sounds of endorsing passports were heard. But, he was still slow checking every pages of passports.
When only few people left in front of me, I saw a new lady came in and replaced the guy. His shift was over. Sigh, he's gone. Hopefully, this lady was fast and indeed she was! Less than a minute, few people had their passports endorsed including mine. I was so relief. Finally, I made it through after exactly one hour! I thought next time I just drive. Less hassle.
(To be continued)