It takes 24 hours to fly from Chicago to Singapore, plus any delays. The swine-flu outbreak can pretty much guarantee a serious delay for any plane landing from the USA in Asia, but surprisingly it was one late passenger who delayed my trip from Tokyo to Singapore. Here are a few highlights from the trip so far:
– Questioned at the counter over a visa extension I didn’t need. Was the trip going to be cancelled before it started? I wondered.
– Some guy had neon green laces in his tennis shoes
– ANA sent two staff members out to formally wave to the plane as we taxied away from the gate
– Swine flu quarantine and face masks. Left overs from the SARS epidemic?
– Airport full of smoking lounges. Every 100 feet it seemed like. They were rather exclusive and posh, sponsored by the cigarette brands.
– Full of news crews
– A long hallway which takes 6 minutes to walk down…on four moving walkways
– No free internet. Major letdown.
– First time passing through a body-temp scanner. Apparently also purchased during the SARS outbreak.
– Given a 90 day visa, no questions asked. Silly O’Hare officials, trying to make trouble for me.
– Government-owned high-rise apartments everywhere
– Clean city with no litter
– Tasty Indian food in little India, served on a banana leaf and to be eaten using your hands. A first for me, rice with the hands. It got messy. Then I opted for the fork
– Humidity to end all humidity, but beautiful weather, as long as you don’t need to be dressed up.
– No gum. No littering. But drinking in public is approved! This is my kind of city.
– Check my photo page for more updates. So far I’ve been able to update daily, that might change when I head into Laos next week.
Yes, it has been an eventful start. A word of caution, liquor is super expensive in Singapore, with beers ringing in at about $8 USD at any bar. Can you say “off-duty” shopping on my next trip out of this country? Last night we sat in a bar where a glass of scotch cost the same as a beer…I was ok with that, but I wish the price wasn’t $14 Sing.