Club Med Lindeman Island, Blue Mts & Sydney (Part 1)

Visa… what visa? D and I had our first shock of the day when we checked in at the Chep Lap Kok Airport. The nice guy manning the Australian Airlines counter wanted to see our visas and we were caught in a bind. We didn’t know we needed visas to get into Australia; our fault actually since we didn’t check assuming that our high and mighty S’pore passports would get us anywhere and everywhere.
D was peeved that the Club Med customer service lady didn’t inform us that S’poreans need visas to go to Oz; but when we double-checked our itinerary, we saw the finer print “Please check your passport has six months validity and you have a visa where required, depending on the citizenship”,”right at the bottom. Dang, drats, duh… the first thoughts were “Why didn’t that Club Med lady tell/remind us of this detail?”, “Call the lady and scold her”… but at the end of the day, we agreed that it’s our fault and we shouldn’t have assumed. In fact, it didn’t occur to us that we needed to get visas.
So the nice guy at the Australian Airlines counter told us to wait while he tried to apply visas for us. The next 10 minutes were quite torturous as D and I prayed silently on our own, hoping that this will be sorted out in a positive manner. I remembered thinking if we can’t go, so be it… no point getting all upset and angry. Live and learn, it’s our fault anyway.
That guy came running towards us after 10 minutes telling us that it’s ok, that he had applied for the visas electronically which were approved immediately because we are S’poreans. According to him, some countries are in this Oz Visa System, and I reckon Australia considers S’pore to be a nice and friendly country, and therefore our last-minute visa application was successful. He also advised us that should we have friends travelling to Oz, we should remind them to get visas.
The flight was generally ok, a few bumps and rattles here and there, but I couldn’t sleep even though we were on the plane from 7.15pm to 2am (HK time). Reason being my current bedtime is usually after 1 am, so this flight is really messing up my beauty sleep. As I am typing this, it’s now 5.30am Cairns time, which is 3.30 am HK time and I still can’t sleep.
We landed in Cairns International Airport at 4am but we needed to wait another 3 hours before our transfer flight to Hamilton Island (Duration: 1h 20min) and thereafter a 25-minute catamaran ride to Lindeman Island.
Security at Cairns Airport seemed tight, or maybe it’s just us. Still it was way too early to have my passport checked by 2 different persons and answering lots of questions on “Where did we come from?”, “What do we intend to do?”, “What are our occupations?”, “How long have we stayed in HK?”, “How long have I been teaching?”, “Do I have any friends in Australia?” etc.
D thinks that I fumbled with my answers but this entire episode was just too much to handle in the wee hourso f the morning. Besides this isn’t my idea of a good start to the holiday, especially after the visa issue.
Hopefully the rest of the holiday will get better. So sleepy now…

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