We’d planned our trip to Singapore while I was pregnant with Prince G. It was to coincide with my last month of maternity leave and give us the chance to visit Bill’s uncle and aunt.
Some thought we were crazy for even considering it.
‘An overseas holiday with a 6 month old baby? Don’t be ridiculous.’
‘Don’t go booking anything yet. You don’t know what type of baby you’re going to have!’
‘He’ll probably be teething and ruin every minute you have…’
But we did it anyway. And you know what? It was better than expected. In fact, it was almost easier than traveling without a baby. Let me list a few of the privileges we experienced when we had baby Prince G in tow.
Queue-jumping at the airport
Passport control at Sydney International Airport is a zoo. There are usually always massive queues that snake ten rows deep at passport control.
Bill and I weren’t in a rush. We’d left plenty of time and although I had Prince G strapped to my chest in the baby carrier, he was happy enough staring at all the strange faces passing by.
A couple behind us were hopping from foot to foot impatiently. The woman, between bites of her nails, was telling her husband repeatedly that their plane was due to leave in half an hour. At a turn in the queue, I waved them ahead of us and they thanked us gratefully.
A few minutes later, a security guard pulled us out of the queue and sent us directly to an empty passport check desk. ‘Can’t have the baby waiting,’ he said.
Once through the checkpoint and amongst the perfumes and spirits of Duty Free, I turned and saw the frantic couple, still in the queue not far from where I’d let them in.
Oops! They should’ve brought a baby.
VIP check-in at the hotel
We stayed three nights with Bill’s uncle and three nights at the Marina Bay Sands. The hotel is monstrous; the hotel foyer is a cavernous space full of people scurrying about.
So many people stay at the hotel each day that they have crowd-control ropes at the check-in desk to manage queues. However, with Prince G in the stroller we had barely joined the queue before we were whisked away to the VIP check-in room hidden behind the main desk.
I didn’t know that rooms like this existed! This magical world was like a top-notch airport club lounge. There were snacks and drinks, soft lounges and magazines. You sat down to check-in. The room had no one else in it expect for a businessman who looked like he was rich enough to belong there. We on the other hand, in our jeans and boardshorts with an $80 stroller from Mustafa’s certainly didn’t belong.
Marina Bay Sands gets brilliant online reviews. It’s the one with the Infinity Pool 50 storeys above the city. There’s only one main thing people complain about: the time it takes to check in.
Oops! They should’ve brought a baby.
A special exit ramp at the Tea Shoppe
We had afternoon tea at this fancy tea house that served over 1000 different types of tea. The café seating area was raised, so Bill and I quickly lifted the stroller up and climbed the stairs.
When it was time to go, we bent down to lift the stroller once more. The head waiter immediately appeared and said ‘Oh you mustn’t!’ before ushering us around a corner to a ramp that was cordoned off by a velvet rope. He unclipped the rope and, feeling like no less than the royal family themselves, we walked down the ramp.
Everyone else had to use the stairs. Even the man with a limp and the elderly couple who shuffled their feet along the ground.
Oops! Well, they should’ve brought a baby.
In Singapore, we felt like royalty at every turn. With Prince G on board, in the baby carrier or the stroller, it was as if the sea parted around us. People would hold lift doors, let us go first and stop to say hello to Prince G, even when every other part of the bustling city seemed to moving at great speed. A couple of times strangers took photos of him just because ‘he’s so cute!’
Well, who am I to argue?
When we were first off the plane back in Sydney and first in line at passport control I turned to Bill and said, ‘We should have had a baby sooner!’
He nodded, in one of those rare moments where we actually agree, ‘Or at least borrowed one for travelling…’