04 October 2013


I made it to Singapore – ahead of schedule – last night. The flight was one of the better flights I have experienced, due in large part to my business class seat. I was comfortable, the cabin was quiet and the service was great.

Before I boarded I did not have any positive or negative feelings regarding my trip to Singapore; I was merely getting on yet another airplane. As we broke through the cloud barrier, however, and I could see the glistening waters below as the sun began to set, things started happening.

The moment we descended and faced the world below, I was faced with an awe-inspiring scene, one of the most beautiful I had ever seen: blue waters glistening with not just the yellow light of the sun but also with hues of orange and pink crests sparkling like diamonds under a brilliant light. The sun at that moment was just above the clouds, slowly making its way closer to the horizon. I saw a small spot of bright, eye-blinding yellow, balls of orange and streaks of pink and fuschia highlighting the whole sky.

It was one of those moments when I wished my camera were not in the baggage compartment. I had half a mind to turn on my powered-off phone and snap a few photos but the announcement mandating that all electronic devices be switched off had only a moment ago been played. So, instead, I just breathed in the beautiful sky, the first sign that I was on my way home.

As we slowly decreased our elevation and became nearer to the ground, I noticed that I had become fidgety. I was tapping my fingernails and wrapping and unraveling the end of the seatbelt over and over again; my feet did a little dance as we approached the runway.

Once we landed, a smile that I could not contain appeared on my face and I may have performed a silent clap in my seat as I waited to leap up and collect my belongings. It felt good to be home.

For anyone who has ever experienced an airport (a.k.a. not my mom’s husband), be jealous as you learn about the proper way to do things. I was one of the first dozen people off the aircraft, so I had a pretty good head start. I did not stop at the bathroom; I did not stop at any shops; I did not gawk. I walked straight from my gate to the escalators that led me down a level to the immigration counters.

While anyone requiring a passport stamp was greeted by a number of staff members ready to handle the incoming travelers, I glided over to one of the three electronic computers usable by Singaporean citizens or residents. I waited not more than 30 seconds as the one person in front of me cleared the first gate. I slid my passport into the opening for the scanner and within seconds was welcomed through the first gate and onto the second station where I placed my thumb on a scanner. Within five seconds, the second gate opened and I was through. Done. Amazing. Why has America not figured out this technology?

So that took what, maybe five minutes at the most? Once I cleared immigration, I walked over to the baggage area and found my assigned belt right in front of me. When I arrived, our luggage was already moving along the belt. Within a minute I grabbed my bag. With no customs paperwork to fill out and nothing to claim, I walked out the doors indicating no customs claims and I was officially on my own. Ten minutes, people. Ten minutes from the time I walked off the plane to the time I was out on the street. Beat that ‘Murica.

It took me longer to find an ATM and purchase a sim card than it did to get out into public.

Once I had everything I needed, I walked out the door and was immediately ushered to a waiting taxi. I love Singapore. The driver greeted me and offered to take my bag, asking if it was heavy. “Twenty-nine kilos,” I replied and he made a gut-punching sound. In his defense, he was a skinny Asian man who didn’t look like he did any sort of weight lifting.

We drove from Changi Airport on the island’s far East Coast, along the East Coast Parkway and past our old home. I was so focused on contacting my friends, alerting them that I had arrived, that I completely forgot to take a sentimental moment to look out at my old exit with hopes of catching a glimpse of my building. By the time I realized where I was, my exit had already passed.

Along the ECP we headed toward the city, over the bridge by the Costa Rhu condos where I spent a lot of time visiting friends, past the Singapore Flyer and into town near Suntec. We exited the highway and drove down North Bridge Road where the crowds were flooding the sidewalks in search of an after-work dinner. We passed shopping malls, City Hall and the famous Raffles Hotel.

Once across the Singapore River the night life beamed into full effect at Clarke Quay. All of the riverside restaurants and sidewalks were packed; the neon lights shining brightly in the night. We followed the river further inland and pulled into Megan and Troy’s building in Robertson Quay, a quieter riverside community with more shops and restaurants than one would think possible in just a few square miles.

I felt like my 20-minute, $26 (peak hour) taxi ride was the perfect evening city tour. My heart warmed as I saw familiar sights and thought about all of the amazing things I would once again be able to experience.

I had only one problem – Paul was stuck in PNG. He never made it onto the plane. 

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