It took over 26 hours of travel, at least 22 of which were spent in the air, but I am finally here! The flights here were long, and if I did it again I would fly a different route. I flew to Atlanta, to Toyko-Narita, to Singapore. Next time, I would fly to somewhere on the west coast, then to Tokyo-Narita and Singapore. The flight from Atlanta to Tokyo was excessively long, but at least I had the privilege of sitting by a group of good ol’ southern boys who seemed like they’d never left their county. They definitely had a fresh perspective on flying and provided me with hours of entertainment (sometimes at their expense).
I thought I was being clever by buying certain beverages at the duty-free shop in Atlanta since alcohol is exceptionally expensive in Singapore. It was a great plan until I had to go through a security checkpoint in Tokyo and had my unopened bottle confiscated because 1 liter does not meet the 3oz. bottle limit. Bummer. And of course, Tokyo’s duty-free shop did not have my beverage of choice. Double-bummer. Perhaps this is the fates telling me that I don’t need to drink… but let’s hope not!
Aside from the long flight and the confiscation of my bottle, travelling was wonderful! The food on the airplanes was fairly delicious as far as airline food goes. I giggled a little at my breakfast options for the Atlanta to Tokyo flight: cheese omelette with sausage and potatoes or teriyaki chicken with fried rice. That teriyaki chicken was tasty! The best meal by far was on my Tokyo to Singapore flight: some sort of sweet and savory beef with savory vegetables and rice. I could have had seconds if they’d let me.
I was so excited when the plane landed in Singapore. This is officially the farthest I’ve ever been from home. When the wheels touched the ground, I could barely stay in my seat. I swear that our airplane taxied for at least 50 miles before deciding to get to the gate… or at least that’s what it felt like. Going through customs was a breeze. I didn’t even have to pay for a visa!
It was after 2am when we finally arrived at Beth’s apartment. It’s a fabulous place with a great a/c! I went to sleep almost immediately after we got home. I’ve decided that I prefer flying westbound instead of eastbound. When flying westbound, it’s daylight for the whole flight and when you finally reach your destination, it’s time to sleep. Everytime I fly eastbound on long flights, the flights go overnight and when you arrive, it’s daylight and you have to suffer through an entire day of jetlag. I can happily say that this westbound travel has left me free of any jetlag, knock on wood.
This morning (Friday 9/25), I got up with Beth and went to work with her. We got to ride the MRT (metro) and walk a nice little way to where she works. We picked up some breakfast along the way: blueberry “pancakes,” and soy mocha blended drinks. The pancake was scrumptious but I could have done without that drink. As a person who doesn’t care much for chocolate, I should have made a different choice. I think I’m going to try some sort of grass jelly drink next time. After going to Beth’s office and getting acclimated with her building, I ventured out in search of money and a SIM card. Luckily, they were extremely easy to find. It seems like there is at least one ATM in each building here, and all of the convenience stores sell SIM cards for cell phones. After setting up my cell phone, I learned that Singapore has free wi-fi in most places. So I set that up on my ipod, although I’m still not quite sure how to use it.
After all that monetary and techno nonsense I walked around the city for a few hours. Singapore is such a beautiful place! I’m estimating that I must have walked at least 5 miles. Every time I thought I was ready to turn around and head back, I saw something else new and interesting. I walked through a nice little restaurant and business district. Most of the businesses were either contractors or decorators. I was surprised at how many of these similar businesses could survive in close proximity until I looked up at all of the new building construction and renovations. Every building is bigger, newer, and nicer than the one before it. Somewhere along my walk I found Spottiswoode Park. It’s a small nature park here in the southern part of Singapore that is filled with all sorts of gigantic trees and foliage. Apparently the site used to be a nutmeg grove until the British decided that they wanted to live there and have a garden/park. Go figure.
I had lunch with Beth and a few of her colleagues at what can only be described as a mall food court on steroids. There had to be at least 50 different food stalls selling everything from chicken with flat noodles (what we had) to fish ball soup to these crazy delicious red bean, sweet corn, and mango snow-cone-like things (which we also had). I couldn’t even finish my noodles or my half of the snow-cone. Lunch today made me realize my goal for this trip: to eat as many different types of food as possible.
After lunch, I parted with the group and made my way back to Beth’s apartment, making a quick grocery store detour. I was surprised at how much Western/American food was there. Of course, there were some things that I’d never seen before, but I couldn’t buy any since there isn’t an oven or microwave in the apartment. Either way, I did not come to the other side of the globe for Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, so I just got some fruit.
Well, I believe that’s all for now. I happen to be a little bit tired, and I’d like to rest a while before we head out for the evening. I’m not quite certain what’s on tap for the evening, but I’m sure it’ll be great! Ta ta for now.