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Newer Page 119 of 1101 Older Full Trip Report
Melbourne Airport Singapore Airlines

18 May 2022

First World Problems

Melbourne to Singapore departing at midnight

Finally, after years of no travel at all due to the GLOBAL PANDEMIC, it is time to go somewhere. The first place on my list of places I like to go that opened up was South Korea, I booked almost immediately, flights were hard to find as there's only limited slots available. But... and its a big but, travelling is not as easy as it used to be.

If there were such at thing as Zero world, I would be in it, because my moaning seems petty, pettier than usual.

Here is a list of things you now need to do if you are me, to go overseas, it all costs money -
Register for a visa for visa free entry into South Korea, you read that right.
Get a COVID clearance certificate that is not recognised in Korea, probably useless.
Get a pre departure PCR test within 48 hours, this is the tricky one.
Get an on arrival test day of arrival (not taken yet, more on that below).
Get a Korean SIM card as you kind of definitely need a local number - read on to find out why.

So in my situation, I had COVID at the end of March. Some people still test positive on a PCR test for more than a month after recovering from COVID. The earliest you can do a pre departure test is 48 hours before departure. The places that do them advise it takes over 24 hours to get a result (for me it took 12). This is the first gotcha, lets say they lose or stuff up your test, they probably wont tell you until less than 24 hours until your flight, so that would just mean you can't go as there would not be enough time to do another test and get results.
Then if you test positive, you definitely cannot board your flight, regardless of recovery certificate, the Korean government is very specific about this, but read on it gets worse. The timing of this means, you will not know if you are negative, until less than 24 hours before departure, which then means you cannot cancel or change your flight should you need to, you just lose everything, which would be really cool.
Fortunately, my pre departure test has come back negative, but... read on.

The rules for entering without Quarantine have been changing weekly, so I have been following a number online discussion things filled with anti vaxxers trying to enter without being triple vaxxed (also a requirement, by far the easiest one, and the only part of this that is free, quit bitching, get vaccinated please you idiots). It seems in Korea their PCR test is more sensitive and more brain piercing than a 'western' PCR test, and quite a few people, especially those who have recovered from COVID are testing negative on departure, but positive on arrival... then what? Well it depends, the ministry of defence gets involved, your hotel can decide to throw you out, in which case an ambulance comes for you, and takes you to a military quarantine camp for 7 days. This is where a couple of people claim their recovery certificate got them out of the camp full of positive cases and into some place on their own. It is also why you want a local number, because if you don't have one, the quarantine police will call your hotel and tell them everything they need to do to barricade you in your room, which they will panic about and throw you out instead which is fair enough, it is not in their interest to be quarantine police. Where as if you have a local number, they will call you directly and tell you what your options are.
So there is a high probability I will be sent off to a military camp soon, that's where North Korea comes into the picture.

In the last few days, North Korea has gone from no cases at all during the pandemic, to 1 case, to 25,000, to 325,000 and now in the millions. They will almost certainly invade the south while I am in a military quarantine camp within artillery range from the border.

So like I said at the top, first world problems, mostly made up, generally exaggerated, that is after all, why we (me) are here.

This was a much longer intro rant than usual, but it has been years since I could get diatribical, plenty more rants to come.

Melbourne-Airport-Singapore Airlines - The above rant takes up so much room, lets continue ranting under the most boring photos of the entire trip, the journey from the city to the airport.

The above rant takes up so much room, lets continue ranting under the most boring photos of the entire trip, the journey from the city to the airport. Do I even remember how to use my camera? time to find out.


Melbourne-Airport-Singapore Airlines - It is me on the bus. Nailed it on the first go.

It is me on the bus. Nailed it on the first go.


Melbourne-Airport-Singapore Airlines - I was at the airport 4 hours before my flight, but the check in for my flight was already open. The business queue had nobody, the other queues alread

I was at the airport 4 hours before my flight, but the check in for my flight was already open. The business queue had nobody, the other queues already had quite a few people, they do warn you to get here early these days. The check in lady took quite a while to read through and verify and re enter all my covid vaccine info, Korean visa, PCR test etc. She did say that the Korean requirements are the most onerous, and that Singapore now basically has none (I am flying Singapore airlines).
Also as you can see, once through customs, most things are shut these days.


Melbourne-Airport-Singapore Airlines - I deliberately made the airport look abandoned by wandering to the very end of all the gates, my favourite thing to do. I have missed going to airport

I deliberately made the airport look abandoned by wandering to the very end of all the gates, my favourite thing to do. I have missed going to airports. There were actually 3 x A380s going to middle eastern destinations, mainly full of elderly Australians who would be connecting to Europe. Despite constant blasting warnings reminding people its a legal requirement to wear a mask in the airport, and roaming hordes of BORDER FORCE gestapo, many people were not wearing masks.


Melbourne-Airport-Singapore Airlines - Apparently its now illegal to use a phone or anything electronic at the departure gates. This sign was not in the customs area with the eyeball scanni

Apparently its now illegal to use a phone or anything electronic at the departure gates. This sign was not in the customs area with the eyeball scanning machine, this is at the gates where the cafes are. So now I am breaking the law like the heroes without masks, some of whom had capes.


Melbourne-Airport-Singapore Airlines - Final pic before flight, plenty of time for dinner in the Silver Kris Singapore lounge. It actually seems to have more food than I remember from previ

Final pic before flight, plenty of time for dinner in the Silver Kris Singapore lounge. It actually seems to have more food than I remember from previous visits, 4 hot meal choices, I had some middle eastern beef thing with nuts in it and couscous. Might have an ice cream next. It is 7.5 hours to Singapore, then 2 hours wandering around the still relatively abandoned Changi airport, then another 7 hours to Seoul Incheon, before I have to get my next COVID test and maybe be sent to quarantine! So at least 36 hours with no sleep.


NewerPage 119 of 1101OlderFull Trip Report