And The Skyscanner’s Party Continues!
Posted on April 2, 2014
After the splendid Skyscanner’s night in Jakarta, the party was moved to its Asia Pacific headquarter, in Singapore! Yap, you read it right, Skyscanner accommodated me (as the national winner), Firsta (as the second winner), Fahmi (as the third winner), and Indri (because her luck) to join the Asia Pacific Skyscanner’s blogger party in Singapore.
So. It. Means. Free. Trip. To. Singapore.
I arrived at Changi International Airport in the middle of the night with Indri, while Fahmi and Firsta had arrived hours before. My daily job as an employee made me can’t leave the office early, but my lifetime job as a traveler forced me to leave the office soon and run to the airport to take the night flight. The flight was smooth, I felt asleep two minutes after it took off.
We (the lucky man and Indri) used a cab to our hotel, because the MRT service was already closed at that time. The Singaporean-Chinese uncle asked us where were we going, and I answered. “First to the Novotel Clark Quay, then to Ibis Novena. Do you know the place?”.
There was a silence for seconds, before he said “AAHHH, NO-VI-NA! Yes, I know it.” and drove his cab outside the airport, left me in silent thinking how to pronounce Novena correctly. The interesting part from its trip was Skyscanner team placed us in different hotels, me at Novotel Clark Quay, Firsta at Grand Mercure Roxy, Fahmi at Ibis Bencoolen, and Indri at Ibis Novena. The reason was to make us meet and acquaint the other Asia Pacific winners. There were many winners from six countries that joined this party including Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, South Korea, Australia, and Singapore as the host.
For your information, I am the man who fully support woman emancipation, so I let the cab took me to my hotel, before it delivered Indri to her hotel.
I dismissed my alarm, took a bath in speed of light, and had my breakfast with my clothes on. It was 8:10 in the morning, and the schedule said that I will be picked up at 8:15. I arrived in the lobby at 8:16, and I didn’t see any car waiting for me. In a panic situation, I asked the receptionist, and the Singaporean-Indian man told me that he doesn’t know what car that I mentioned about.
Frantically, I activated my mobile international service and sent an SMS to Tika, the ambassador of Skyscanner Indonesia. Tika said to take a cab if in 15 minutes the pick-up service didn’t come. I spent my 15 minutes to enjoy the environment around Clarke Quay. I saw colorful buildings lined up neatly, a big river that separated that buildings with many restaurants, and a Chinese-looking guy who entered the hotel with his SLR camera.
In a couple of minutes, Tika SMS-ed me again and told me that the driver has already on his way to pick me up after transferred three blogger (who weren’t late) to the appointed meeting point. Then, a white Alphard came, to take me.
I sat in the left seat, and a Chinese-looking man I saw before came after me and sat on the right seat. He was Lee, the winner from South Korea. We were the belated duo.
The meeting point was at Singapore Flyer, the big ferris wheel that reminds me to London Eye that I saw before, on the television. There, I met my fellow Indonesian friends, Fahmi, Firsta, Indri, also Tika as our landlord and other bloggers. Our first schedule was Funvee City Tour, an hour trip using double decker bus, seeing Singapore’s sights from the top. It was my first time, and Fahmi, Firsta, Indri either.
After passed some interesting sights –including Maxwell Food Centre (that sells my favourite chicken rice) and Botanical Garden– the bus stopped at Esplanade –the durian shaped opera building–. From that place, we walked to the famous, iconic, and must visit place in Singapore, Merlion Park. Before reached the Merlion, three guys (two men and one woman, I guess.) in funny costume stopped us beneath the bridge, and asked us to take photo together.
As I mentioned in this post, that I will do bridge pose if I win the Bloscars 2014 award, I fulfilled my promise by took Merlion Park as my stage –with Marina Bay Sands as background–, and asked my lovely friends as cameo.
And the result was this torturing photo.
Thirty minutes later, the Skyscanner team gathered us in a small port in the corner of Merlion Park. There, a boat had already waited for us. Yap! Our next schedule was the Singapore River Cruise, and all of the participants entered the wooden boat with a tattooed Chinese-Singaporean man in white shirt as the captain.
The twenty minutes trip took us from Merlion Park, to Clarke Quay, passed some colonial building in Raffles Place along Singapore River. The slow boat moved slowly, so the passengers can enjoy the view and have some photos. We stopped at Clarke Quay port, and continued our trip to … my hotel, to have a lunch.
I took a plate of sushi –and add more minutes later–, a portion of roasted duck, and two scoops of ice cream –taro and green tea flavor– as my lunch companion at Novotel Clarke Quay. After the lunch finished, the participants were sent back to their hotel using the Alphard, while me, as independent and brave man, walk to my room by myself.
After two hours break, the party continued in Skyscanner office.
Took place in Skyscanner office, 39 Robinson Road, #08-01 Robinson Point (if Google wasn’t mistaken), the schedule continued with an office tour! Gerard, one of Skyscanner’s employees escorted us through his office that consists of two floors. I really enjoyed the concept of their office, it looked very comfortable to work there. They had fridge full of beverages, a tennis table, also a Wii to entertain their worker. Comparing to my office, that only had a galloon of mineral water, many real tables, with no gaming devices, I felt so embarrassed and sad. The best part from the office was, they name the meeting rooms with tourist destinations around the world, from Bagan, Banaue, to the great Borobudur.
No wonder that Skyscanner worker can travel the world in a blink like a jumper, because it only takes less than one minute to go from Bagan to Borobudur.
After all the participants gathered in Borobudur room –the largest meeting room there–, Andy Sleigh, the General Manager of Skyscanner Asia Pacific, entered the room to give the winning trophy to the winner of each country. He opened the speech with quoting St. Augustine ‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.’ before continued with some usual motivation words.
Bloscars, (maybe) stands for Blog Oscars, is an annual award given by Skyscanner to appreciate travel bloggers around the world. In 2014, –according to Tika– there are 16 countries take a part in this competition, including Indonesia. The winner of each country (rated by vote 50%, and judge valuation 50%), will get a travel voucher worth –In Indonesia, for example– IDR 13.500.000! Later on, the winner of each country, will compete against other countries for a travel voucher worth IDR 40.000.000! A fantastic amount for third world country like Indonesia.
After a short speech, Andy called each country winner one by one to the front and gave the trophy by himself. And there were the winners:
You think that the party was already over? No, the real party was started just after the ceremony over. They took us to a small cafe in a small alley named Group Therapy. Located in Duxton Road, this hard-to-find cafe was already full with all the bloggers, Skyscanner employees, the hotel guys, also representatives from Singapore Tourism Board.
“I’M COMIN’ UP, SO YOU BETTER GET THIS PARTY STARTED!”
Because the party won’t be started with empty stomach, so I grabbed some foods and drinks to refill my energy. I took a small table in the corner, because my previous table was taken by a guy when I had a conversation with Suwit Weangsukphaibul. Lucky me, I had companion from Skyscanner’s interns, including Jane, a fellow Indonesian.
The party went wild when people filled Skyscanner’s stage to take photos. There was also selfie contest at this party, where participants have to post their photos to social media with #Bloscars14APAC hashtag. Firsta, fortunately, appeared as winner and got a tongsis (monopod for handphone)! Oh, and they also announced the travel blogger who are the best amongst Asia Pacific contestants. And the award went to Rosemarie John & Joseph Ellis from Travel and Beyond, yay, congratulation!
The party was over around 10 PM, but the celebration lasted forever. Firsta took a cab with Brooke, who stayed in the same hotel, Fahmi used the MRT after a long walk with me and Indri to the station, while me and Indri decided to enjoy the night in Clarke Quay before went to the hotel for a rest.
If you wonder, who is the international winner for Bloscars 2014 competition, the answer is …
THE AWARD GOES TO BROOKE SAWARD FROM WORLD OF WANDERLUST!
Congratulation, Brooke. You made Asia Pacific contestants proud.
The award from Skyscanner, was the first award I achieved since I started blogging about travel two years ago. The first, always be the unforgettable. Thanks Skyscanner.