12 hours in Singapore (via L.A.)…

Ben and I reunite in LA for a few days before making the big trip back to Asia.

Our bags are packed… we are ready to go!
One small carry on bag each, plus our well worn backpacks ready the night before we leave.
Ben and Madame Bell
Jacqueline:  channeling her artist’a passion into creating jewelry
One drawer of many necklaces… organized  by range of colors…
By coincidence the US passport I have been using over the last five years mostly in Latin America for the start of the Green Global trek is FULL! Only one page left and that is not enough to be accepted into Indonesia. So first order of business in LA to get a shiny brand new passport with extra pages this time. This fits me quite well symbolically… new passport, lots of clean empty pages waiting to be used in the years to come.
With a new passport I no longer have my “collection” of visas from other travels, such as this one to Cambodia from 2013 in my now defunct passport.
Or this one from a trip to Northern India in 2007
I still have my original South African passport, issued when I left my home country and family at the tender age of nineteen, to embark on an adventurous journey of one year in America. I was not very proud of my passport in that Apartheid era!
It’s always lovely to have some time with our LA based family for a few days (with LA being one of the exit points to go to Asia.)
A heartfelt good bye before we hit the road… “Mon fils”
Our LA to Singapore trip is the longest stretch (21 hours including a short stop over in Tokyo.) Luckily on Singapore airlines, even in Economy you feel as though you are in Business class. Comfy seats, lots of leg room, great food (soba noodles, tasty salmon) and tons of movies to choose from (great selection of Asian movies with English subtitles, we would never see otherwise, as these movies don’t ever make it to Western theaters.)
The Changi Airport in Singapore has been voted the best airport in the world for 2013, and we can certainly see why! Spacious and airy with art installations, a cactus garden, plush seating areas and somewhere even a butterfly garden to pass the time while waiting for flights.
Arrival at the airport at 3 a.m means the sky train is not running yet but there is a huge and empty airport all waiting for the busy day to begin.
Gardens of flowers  to provide brief respites of color and smell.
The Changi airport in Singapore is very keen on touchpad feedback. You get a chance to rate everything… from the toilet to the service at the information desk to the speed that a queue moves at customs. All with the touch of a finger on a smiley face.
Arrival at 3.25 a.m. in Singapore begs the question: “How does one occupy the time during a 12 hour layover in Singapore?”
Singapore is both an island and a country, but perhaps its best description is that of a city-state. Though physically small, SIngapore is an economic giant.  It has been Southeast Asia’s most modern city for over a century.  The city blends Malay, Chinese, Arab, Indian and English cultures and religions.
We decide that our priorities are four:
*Take advantage of Singapore’s large Chinatown to set the stage for our Asian travels with some Hong Kong style dim sum. (Check!)
Walking in the streets of Chinatown, Singapore at 5 a.m. before the city awakes.
Surprise of beautiful European style architecture above the store fronts in the Historic District of Singapore ~ its Chinatown.
We come across the oldest Hindu temple  with a soaring 3D tower of brightly colored deities and animals.
Streets are full of  covered night stalls and lanterns, remnants from last weeks Chinese New Year celebrations
*Visit a Chinese doctor for some herbal remedies for Peta’s BMS (Burning mouth syndrome!)… (Check! As always visit to a Chinatown herbal medicine expert yields good results, in this case a tonic specially formulated to cool the body down.)
*A breath of fresh air, somewhere surrounded by trees and a patch of green to lie down on. (Check! The Singapore Botanical Garden was open at 5 a.m. before sunrise and is extremely impressive and extensive with a ginger garden, waterfalls, lakes with swans, orchid garden….
Our bedroom for a couple of hours for some much needed sleep, al fresco.
 Our favorite, after taking a pre dawn snooze on the lawn next to a lake, was the “reflexology path” of stones amongst the bamboo.)
The path winds through a variety of bamboo from tiny baby bamboo to well established clusters.
A reflexology path of stones to walk barefoot on, certainly does the job of waking up the feet!
A long walk, lots of joggers and people doing tai chi. We opt to sit with  the pigeons and ducks near a pond.
All this walking is really a matter of waiting till 8 a.m. when we know that the dim sum starts being served for breakfast. We take the modern and very efficient and easy to use subway, which has a stop in the Gardens and takes us back to Chinatown for breakfast.
Finally… MUST be dim sum time!
*Reflexology or massage. Too pricey compared to what we are used to (Viet Nam and Nicaragua standard), and so we opt to wait for an airport free chair foot massage before our final flight to Indonesia.
Foot and calf massage in a chair at the airport.
So we are now waiting for the very last leg of our journey which is the 3 hour flight from Singapore to Bali. We feel strangely rested considering such a long journey yet being in the gardens, having a sleep and good food have all contributed to a good travel experience overall.
Indonesia here we come!!

2 thoughts on “12 hours in Singapore (via L.A.)…

  1. JB

    very tempting …What a beautiful garden!!!! and the reflexology path…( bare foot !!!!!) must have been a treat for you…Plese send me some DimSum..Mouth watering….

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Yes, lovely garden and great reflexology as an added feature. Dim sum on the way! 🙂 Thanks for the feedback JB.

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