Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Singapore's Changi Airport

I had a long layover in Singapore.  I would normally think, ack, the gods of flight scheduling are out to get me, but if you're going to have a long layover anywhere, let it be in Singapore.  First, the airport is as clean as the city is.  I mean, you have to respect any country that doesn't sell gum because it won't risk its messing up the city, but you can bring it and chew it, but if you're caught spitting it out on the ground, you're in big trouble, my friend.  So if you need to freshen your breath, take in a mint...

I digress.

I had read about a Free Tour for those with more than 3 hours to spare, and I found that it was definitely worth it.  There are two of them - the Colonial tour, where you get a lesson in how Singapore modernized over its history, and the Culture tour, which takes you to the ethnic towns, like Chinatown, etc.  I signed up for the next available tour, the Colonial one, and was told to be back an hour before the tour was to start.

So in the meantime, I visited the Orchid Garden, and the Butterfly Garden.  Check this out!!  If you're skittish about swarms of anything, which I border on, this may not work for you, but man, try to get over it because it's worth it!  There are so many of them they will land all over you, which royally freaked me out at first, but then I found myself enjoying it - these light touches that you can barely feel - on your foot, on your shoulder, on your head, on your ear - and then you stand as still as a marble sculpture because you worry that any movement might disturb it; they're so delicate and lovely.  You stand there in the silence, if you're lucky enough to be in there by yourself, and you revel in the calm, and you're just amazed that God could create such a beautiful thing...

I showed up a minute or two later than I should have, and found myself in the company of two Germans.  They, of course, were precisely on time, and as we were herded to meet up with a larger group, I found that this was a well-run tour, which the Germans really appreciated.  It was so German, in fact, that one of them mentioned that the leader of the tour, a Singaporean of Chinese descent, must be German underneath it all.  Hilarious.  The same guy would later remark, "So my first time to Asia, and the only Asian girl I meet turns out to be an American."  Who knew the Germans could be so funny?

Of course, I had to get in some good eats.  At the airport, I went to the food court in Terminal 2 to choose from a range of "street eats."  Here is a pork noodle dish that was slurpily satisfying. 

Back on a Singapore Airlines flight, and I chose what was billed as the "Famous Singaporean Chicken and Rice."  I'm a sucker for marketing...  The chicken was moist, tender, and perfectly salted.  I tasted a hint of ginger.  I utilized the condiments seen at the top of the photo with impunity and enjoyed it quite a bit. 

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