Immigration trouble and another Red Light District

Singapore Travel Blog

 › entry 17 of 22 › view all entries
Relief the train ride is over.  Just before we arrive at the Singapore station Malaysian officials come onto the train to stamp our passport to show we have left their country.  A bunch of people then get off and we decide we should as well which was almost a huge mistake.  Not quite convinced we are doing the right thing I ask a policeman and he tells us this is still Malaysia and we need to get back on the train.  We just sit back down and train continues along the tracks into the island nation.

As soon we cross into Singapore, over what is called the Causeway, we arrive at the immigration building.  Of course we were in the car farthest from the doors to the office so we had to walk the whole length of the train.
  We were one of the last to enter the building but no worries the lines are moving fast.  Exactly like we did in KL I had Benny go first and almost right away I knew we had a problem.  The immigration guard kept looking through the passport and then looking at Benny.  So many times I begin to wonder if he thinks the paper will change if he keeps looking.  Eventually he picks up his phone and calls someone and I really know we have a problem.  Only after he talks on the phone does he finally ask some questions of Benny.  At this point I try to tell the guard she is with me but it is a bit hard as the room is noisy and I am kept about 15 meters from her.  Soon another female guard comes and takes Benny into a side office.

Now I am really worried.  The good news was when I got the guard he quickly looks at my passport and says, "Canadian."  This is a good sign I think.  He quickly looks at my passport and then begins to ask questions about Benny and not me.  Where is she from?  Where did you meet?  How long ago?  How long you stay with her in Singapore?  Finally he stamp my passport and tell me to sit off to the side and wait for Benny.

Fairly quickly and different guard comes out to me and asks me to come into the side office.  I am still in a different room then Benny but now I can see her.  She is with three female guards but she does not look stressed.  I asked a few more questions but mostly they just tell me they are still making a decision about whether Benny can come into the country or not.  They ask if I want to wait and of course I do.  15 minutes later the guard tells me the train must leave and can not wait for us but if Benny is allowed into the country we can take a taxi into the city.  Another hungry 15 minute later Benny come out with the guards and they stamp her passport and tell us we can enter Singapore.  They even said sorry for the delay.  I have never seen more polite border guards at any border crossing.  I cross into American often for work and I know some of the guards at the main bus crossing and even they are not that nice to me as this whole lot in Singapore.  Good job.

A security guard had to unlock a bunch of doors to let us out of the building.  We soon entered a hall that was full of people that had walked across the border from Malaysia we just followed them out of the building.  Not the problem was we had no idea where we were.  I knew likely we were in northern Singapore but that was it.  I had a rough idea on how to get to from the train station to our hotel in Geylang but not from where we were.  Good thing there were many taxis just outside and we grabbed the first.  After a quick stop at an ATM to grab some Singapore dollars we were of to the Fragrance Pearl Hotel in Geyland.

Yippee we are in the country!  When I searched out this hotel on the internet I was warned it was in a Red Light District and boy was it.  Benny, not that most naive person in the world, asked me why there are so many ladies on the street doing nothing.  All I had to say was Soi Cowboy and she understood.  But there was a huge amount of women on the streets but they never bothered us and the hotel was not used by them so all was alright. 

The Fragrance Pearl Hotel was on what would be called a side street here in Canada or a Soi in Bangkok.  The Geyland area has many of these narrow one way street full of people coming and going.  The area also has many great food markets on every corner where you can find all sorts of cheap good food.  The food was qiite different then we had seen in Thailand or Malaysia but the vendors were more then happy to help us order our meals.  Singapore is more expensive then other parts of Southeast Asia so eating at these markets are a budget saver.

So only a few minutes after checking in we were on Sims Avenue eating seafood noodles in a food market only step from our hotel lobby.  Good thing because we had nothing to eat, except for some bread, for almost 24 hours.  Totally exhausted we crawled back to the hotel to rest.

newtampo says:
Happy journey at last. Last time you told me, thought they don't let her in. Cheers!
Posted on: Jan 11, 2009
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