Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Off to The Land of Kanghastan (1 Dec 2016)

For the PoGo-uninitiated, Kanghastan is one of the virtual region exclusives that can only be found in Australia and New Zealand.

So this trip was made in December last year. Obviously, it was not an exactly thrilling trip despite the magnificent landscapes and scenery, which explains why I did not even start blogging on it excitedly the moment I returned to Singapore.

However, I did try to document it as it would probably the only Australia trip I would ever make. I don't foresee myself going back there anytime soon for sure!
The first day in Melbourne didn't look like a promising start.

I had enquired from a fellow PoGo trainer who had just returned from Melbourne about his wifi access and he had kindly recommended Changi wifi which one could rent from Changi Airport for $12 per day (without a DBS debit or credit card). I had bugged William about it but he was not keen on it until we were about to board the plane. 

After checking in the luggage, we enquired at Changi Recommend booth, a small booth right next to Scoot's check-in counter, about Changi wifi. Unfortunately, the device has become extremely popular with Singaporeans going overseas for holidays and one would need to place an order for a unit at least 3 days in advance!

We were left with no choice but to get a local SIM card when we reached Melbourne.

The drama did not end there. 

At the Melbourne Airport, there was a sizeable crowd waiting at the Optus counter to get a local SIM card! The waiting time didn't look optimistic. My elder sister felt that Telstra, another Australia TelCo, would provide better connection and so we left to make our purchase of the Skybus tickets which would take us to Southern Cross Station.

At Southern Cross Station, my elder sister spent an hour searching for a SIM card and trying to get it to work unsuccessfully as the convenience store staff appeared to be unfamiliar with installing a card into a mobile phone.

When we finally reached the hotel, we conducted a massive search for a TelCo shop! Apparently, TelCo shops were not as rampantly distributed in the large Melbourne city as they are in tiny Singapore. We asked around to no avail. An unsure personnel at the Visitor Centre pointed us to the right direction though.

When we finally found a TelCo shop and asked if the staff could help activate the cards, William didn't bring our passports along, which rendered the operation impossible!

We had reached Melbourne Airport at 10.15am, about 45 minutes earlier than scheduled, but by 4pm, a simple SIM card was still elusive to us! I finally exploded,"How much more would we have saved if you had listened to me and got the Changi wifi earlier?!! Look at the amount of time and money we have lost!" 

We only had access to the Internet after we returned to the TelCo shop and got the staff to activate the cards with our passport details. 

Each card cost $2 and a top-up of $20 was required for 2GB of data usage over 10 days. Four days later when Coco's and William's needed additional top-up, each card needed another $7 for additional data.

Learn from us. Don't be a cheapskate. Get the Internet or wifi issues settled right here in first-world Singapore before flying!

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