Day 8, Year 4: More Embassies and More Shopping
Date: Thursday, October 30, 2008
Weather: Very Stormy Early Morning; Partly Sunny Day; Always Hot and Steamy
Location: One 15 Marina, Sentosa Island, Singapore

We woke way too early this morning to thunder, lightening, wind, and rain. The wind was so strong that Windbird shuttered in her berth. The storm finally subsided and we went back to sleep and didn’t wake up again until after 8 am. That is a late get-up for us, so we got into gear and headed for the Royal Thai Embassy once again. And this time we made sure we had the necessary paperwork. Getting there requires a bus ride from Sentosa Island across to Singapore where we walk, walk, walk through the underground to the Harborside MRT station. We get on the North-East Line and go about five stops, get off, walk, walk, walk, and get on the North-South Line. We go two stops and get off at Orchard Road and walk, walk, walk to the Embassy. All of this is easy but it takes time (about an hour) and this was the third day in a row that we have had to do the same thing. This time we hope we got it right. At least they accepted our application and we go back tomorrow to get our visas. There should be no question that I will get a two month Thai visa, but for Mark, as captain of our vessel, there is a question as to whether he will get one month or two. They want to make sure the person in charge of a visiting boat stays with that boat, so they usually require monthly renewals and apply a hefty bond should the captain need to fly out of the country. If Mark gets only a one month visa, he could have to travel out of Thailand and back in to renew. And that would happen sometime in the middle of January while Heather, Jed, and Sam are visiting. That would be a “royal” pain and something we are trying to avoid. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens when we return there tomorrow. The woman who accepted our application told us “they” will give us what “they” want to, but that even if Mark gets only one month, by applying from here instead of waiting until we cross the border, he should be able to simply pay for the renewal without leaving the country. We asked her if he would still have to pay for the renewal and she said, “Most assuredly.”

From the Royal Thai Embassy it is about a quarter to a half mile to the mall with the great supermarket, so we walked, walked, walked and went shopping. Three small boxes of food cost $450 Singapore dollars or about $300 US. But I got Crisco, Grandma’s Molasses, pure maple syrup from the US, Old El Paso chunky tomato salsa and jumbo taco shells, more BumbleBee Wild Alaskan salmon, Hormel turkey bacon and pork bacon, Skippy peanut butter, and on and on. Of course, there is a price tag for being able to buy all your Western favorites, but we might not see these things again until we get home. So we’ll keep stocking up while we are here. We bought as much as we could possibly carry on our little two-wheeled cart and then headed back to the MRT for the trip home, now carting this tower of food. It was actually easier than we had expected, but when the check-out clerk at the store asked us if our order was for home delivery, we were sure tempted to say yes. Of course, that comes with a price as well.

Mark has been spending much of his time here researching how to get a new bank of batteries for Windbird. We want AGM batteries that do not require any maintenance and we had been told that we would get the best deal in Malaysia. We were also told when we arrived that there are no AGM batteries in Singapore until a ship arrives in November. But both pieces of information were incorrect. Two days in a row a man named Johnny Lim left his card on our boat. He ‘is’ Johnny Marine Supply & Service and he does have AGM batteries cheaper than the prices quoted on the West Marine website and cheaper than the marine supply in Malaysia is charging. So late this afternoon we confirmed the order with him and found out we will need to pay in cash. We’ll need more than $2,000 US dollars, so we are going to have to make a few trips to the ATM to get the whole amount. The batteries should be delivered on Saturday and it will be a great relief to get them installed and working. These batteries are Windbird’s power plant and without them there are no lights, no computer, no printer, no freezer, no refrigerator, no toaster . . . you get the picture.

Today we had a couple of neat experiences through our website. A young person here in Singapore, Siti, whose family was originally from Bawean Island in Indonesia, came across our website when researching Bawean. We visited there with Justin and Jo on our way to Kumai and Siti is going there in about a week to visit the great-great-great grandfather’s land. We hope to share some pictures and Bawean impressions with Siti and think it is so amazing that we connected through the website. Then early this morning we got a reply to an email inquiry we sent late last night. We have a friend that we met through our website and he got us in contact with a US cruising couple living temporary in Thailand. Fred and Judy of S/V Wings left Seattle in 1996 and have worked their way slowly this far around the world. They have been extremely helpful to us when we send email inquiries about Thailand and Fred got back to me almost immediately with my inquiries about getting a Thai visa. I think it is just so amazing how small the world has become with email and the internet.

081030 Day 8 MRT to Thai Embassy, Orchard Road