|Welcome to Singapore - or not as the case may be. Jenny:-It took us two days and two attempts to get into the country - our first real border hassle yet. Having discussed this|
|with others that we know went into the country from Malaysia we appear to be the only ones that had any problems getting in. We arrived at the border on a good note - Malaysian customs being extremely helpful as usual and taking about 20 mins to do everything required. With smiles on our faces eager for the last part of the journey before shipping to New Zealand we presented ourselves at the motorcycle only check-in. They stamped our passports quite happily and after getting instructions as to where to find Customs we wandered over. Hello, nice to see you but you can't come in with the bikes - EXCUSE ME????? What, we had never heard of any problems getting into Singapore. For some unknown reason they decided that we required an International Circualtion Permit - available ONLY from the AA in the centre of Singapore. OK, we said, no problems how do we get one ?? Well, you go back to Malaysia come back tomorrow, cos today is Sunday and the AA are shut then we can let you wait at customs whilst one of you goes, by taxi, into Singapore to get the permit - bugger. We duly drove back into Malaysia much to the amazement of the Malaysians customs who had just stamped us out and headed to the nearest Hotel we could find. As it turned out this was closer to the other bridge crossing into Singapore so the next morning we decided that we would use this crossing rather than the other one.
Back through Malaysian customs - this time really confused as we had spent only one night in Malaysia - but still smiling they stamped us out again.... We entered into the usual motorcycle queue for the stamp in our passport and go this without any problems. Next customs..... I spied an rather friendly looking officer and enquired where we could get our Carnet's stamped - just here he replied. Off we got and in we went. We handed over our paperwork and were pleased to see that there was a window where the Autopass could be purchased (this allows you to have the bike in Singapore for $4 per day regardless of whether you rode it or not). Perhaps they could sort out the ICP also. We handed in the Carnet again and were told to hang on for a minute - this looked promising - no immediate sorry can't go in. Well 10 minutes later were confronted by a snotty little git who wanted to know where our ICP was. Der ..... we don't have one. Well you must get one - where ????? In the middle of Singapore, of course - bugger. BUT this time they wanted us to return to Malaysia, leave the bikes there, get a taxi from Malaysia back to Singapore, get the ICP, back to Malaysia, collect the bikes and then come back. But you must have the Carnet stamped by the AA also - so you are basically buggered. No way to get the Carnet stamped out of Malaysia cos you ain't got the bikes with you and no way to stamp into Singapore unless you have been to the AA. AT THIS POINT WE LOST IT. No sodding way matie - how the hell are we supposed to get this ICP from the AA before we enter Singapore if the only BLOODY place you can get it is IN SINGABLOODYPORE ???????? After some hassling they agreed, so long as the Customs Police would allow it, we could leave the bikes (one of us staying behind) and one go to the AA in a taxi and collect this permit, come back and then we could take the bikes in. I got the short straw and off she went, escorted by a policeman out of the customs complex towards the taxi rank. After finding a money exchanger, there being none at the border, she got a taxi to the AA. On arrival at the AA and presenting the Carnet - the only document required according to the customs, she was asked for the log books for the motorbikes (this was the only way they would issue the permit). Bloody hell again. With visions of having to come back in the taxi to customs, collect the log books and go back again she used all her female charms (!!!) to convince them that this was a total cock-up by customs and it was all their fault AND it had taken two days. Rosie at the AA was very sympathetic - the probable real reason was that she had a rotten cold and probably just wanted to go home. Rosie looked at the Carnets and- bugger me - the customs had taken the bit she needed to endorse. So after phoning the customs, who then faxed over a copy of the bits they had pinched we were in business (well nearly - still no log books despite them having found Cliff at customs and got him to a fax machine to send the log books). Again, using her female powers ;-) I convinced Rosie that she would fax the bloody log books herself from the hotel as soon as we got one - Rosie accepted this and handed over the prized ICP. Back at the customs 3 hours later we had everything. And off we went on our merry way into Singapore. The only plus to this whole story is that in the taxi on the way to the AA Jenny got good directions to a hotel near to the airport that would not be too expensive. As it turned out it is very nice and relatively cheap for Singapore - the normal being around $100 (this is Singapore dollars) but we have a good room for $45 per night.
|Stuck at customs in Singapore|
|Cliff :- OK so Jenny has covered most of the events of the two day ordeal, and very politely too ! But she has missed a couple of points, like the moment that you are walking out of Customs having been refused entry and the Slimey little Slitty-eyed bastard says (with a big Smile) 'Have a Nice Day'. Now when they say this to you at Mcdonalds at 10.35 in the morning after telling you that they are not serving breakfast as it is after 10.30, thats annoying, but when they've just told you about this BLOODY ICP and refused you entry cause the SODDING AA ain't open on a Sunday, I found the temptation to PUNCH the SOD so hard that he'd be sitting on that smile for the rest of his bloody life.............As we rode back to Malaysia I ..........................God I'm lost for words, well polite ones anyway, so stuff it you'll just have to use your immagination !!!! From Jenny - either that or you will have to wait for Life on the Road 4 by Cliff for the full uncensored version - if you don't normally get this update then it is either cos you are our parents or too frail or sensitive for the details :-)
Next Day, back for another go, Jenny forgot to tell you about the STAMP THE CARNET SAGA, This started when the Customs Officer at the Motorcycle Lane looked at the Carnet and said ' Come with me' (this usually means that they do not understand it and they take you to see someone else who hopefully does) So off we went to the Truck lane, where we found another Customs Officer, and guess what, he did not know how to do it either, so I was taken to a nice aircon waiting room where I waited !! while he went off to find another Customs Officer, About 10 minutes later he returned with yet another Custons Officer, the two of then then spent another 10 minutes looking at the Carnet before deciding that they did not understand it, So off they went to find the Chief, a short while later they returned with the Chief, who sat down and smiling, appologised for the delay and the incompedence of his underlings and stamped the carnet, all done in two minutes !!! I'm sure there must be a joke in there somewhere about, How many Singaporians does it take to stamp a Carnet !!!
The last time we had anything like this amount of hassle just to cross a border was when we entered Serbia and we still managed it in about five hours. Somewhere in Singapore there is a a little official in his office who has never seen the outside world - if he had he would realise that the requirement to have an ICP at the border when you can't get the bloody thing until after you get in, is a bloody crazy situation, You need an ICP when you enter malaysia, But that is no problem as you can get it on the border, Still once we were in to Singapore the we could get on with the process of getting out again !!