You are leafing through the pages of my travel diary of earlier this year. We are in Singapore and had grand plans for today, but as Robert Burns well knew, the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft agley (often go awry)**.
We should have been going off to Indonesia later today on an extended side trip, and to this end our Singaporean friend “Velvetine” had been busy finding out about all the best possible places to see, what to do, where to stay etc.
All was well until she was confronted with the problem of visas. Indonesia is a ex-Dutch colony and it’s made fairly easy for most nationalities to visit, but apparently not if you are Dutch.
They are perfectly free to enter the country of course but first they are made to jump through hoops, their visa process is longer, costlier and more complicated.
There’s no problem for me or the kids because our dual nationality means we can park our Dutch passports in our pockets and switch to our New Zealand Passports to enter Indonesia and Velvetine has of course a Singaporean passport, but Himself has the Dutch nationality only and getting him into Indonesia today looks neigh on impossible.
Of course this is supposed to be totally unrelated to the fact that Indonesia is an ex-Dutch colony and of course there is no bias “officially”. We try to make some phone calls and see what’s possible, and everything is possible, just not very easily in the time frame we need.
We are fully prepared though to do a little running around when Kiwi Daughter comes back from a walk outside complaining of a stomach ache.
This is a common complaint for her and usually means she’s overtired and hasn’t been drinking enough water.
My foot swelled up rather dramatically on the flight (simply because I couldn’t elevate whilst we were in transit) and the swelling hasn’t reduced much yet so I’m laying on the bed with the phone, trying to sort things with my foot in the air via almost every pillow available.
We take stock of the situation and decide that trying to rush around getting Himself’s visa in order is only going to get stressful and we can’t ignore the physical signs that we probably haven’t done enough to shake off the jet-lag.
We are on the phone to Velvetine and jointly decide that a change of plan is needed. No far flung adventures today. Instead, more rest is required and we can look for something different for tomorrow. Indonesia is better planned for another time when Himself can come fully prepared for the visa drama and when I’m back walking normally again.
Instead, Kiwi Daughter drinks a lot of water and then curls up next to me and we both sleep soundly for a few hours whilst the boys go swim in the pool and play sandcastles further down the beach. Kiwi Daughter wakes up later feeling totally refreshed and the swelling in my foot is even a bit less.
We spend the day lazing around and the whole family feels better for it.
We voted earlier in the day to return to our favourite restaurant “Trapizza”just down the beach and Velvetine will join us after she finishes work.
The kids start a small argument about who gets to sit on my knee if we get to take the beach wheelchair again… they both plead exhaustion and say they really can’t walk there. The beach wheelchair was brilliant within the grounds of the hotel, but the car park at the bottom of the hill has some tall curbs which are difficult to negotiate so I have a better idea.
There’s a large golf-cart like vehicle parked outside the hotel, I ask at reception if it’s possible to be given a lift to the restaurant and back, no problem at all… our carriage awaits. After our meal all we need to do is to give an indication when we need transport back and they will send someone down again to collect us.
I order Pizza to share with the kids, Velvetine orders the Ravioli al Salsa di Noci (mushroom ravioli and sage tossed with walnut butter sauce) and Himself goes for the Spaghetti (I think it was “Aglio Olio”, a spaghetti with garlic, basil, olive oil, chilli and parmesan cheese).
For both the verdict was the same, very tasty but miniscule portions. Even in this heat Himself wants more than the tiny amount of pasts that barely cover the bottom of the plate. Oh well… it’s a definite “yes” for dessert then.
After dinner our “taxi” comes to retrieve us and once the kids are in bed and sleeping, with the assistance of some helpful staff at Reception and some telephone calls we plot revised adventures for tomorrow.
** From Robert Burns’ poem To a Mouse, 1786. It tells of how he, while ploughing a field, upturned a mouse’s nest. The resulting poem is an apology to the mouse: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_a_Mouse. The saying has now come to mean that even the most carefully prepared plans can go wrong.