Singapore – Part I

Originally published in the Fenton Patch newspaper April 2012

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I thanked the Singaporean customs agent for the candy and walked forward to the luggage conveyor belts. Without a doubt they were the longest I have ever encountered. If there had been a delay in getting the bags off the plane, sufficient space existed to keep people from having to crowd each other in the search for their bag among so many that looked alike.

This is my second trip to Singapore and the luggage arrival is always the fastest I have ever encountered. One of these days I will have to study their system. Anyway we were able to spot our bags as soon as we walked up. I am a big fan of those brightly colored belts that go around suitcases.

As I wondered why I was not the person who invented putting small wheels on suitcases, the man at the door to the outside asked if we wanted a taxi. He made a signal and one pulled into a bay allowing time for loading without interrupting others who were waiting for the same. Theirs also got an individual spot to park so no one felt hurried to load and no long line snaked near the door waiting for one taxi to clear before another could be available.

Though sore and tired from the flight I smiled feeling the surrounding warmth. There is an energy to Singapore that agrees with me. From my first trip to that Asian country I felt like the place was home; now to just figure out how to make it such. It is far from being a cheap place to live.
Our bags fit easily into the trunk of the large car. This time our taxi was not a Mercedes Benz as it had been in the past, but a latest model vehicle immaculate inside. But then again I have never gotten into a dirty or disarrayed taxi in Singapore.

My wife and I plopped ourselves into the soft backseat of the sedan while the driver slid himself behind the wheel on the right side of the car. This is the one thing that does give me pause in the country; they drive on the left side of the road. This left driving thing translates to other things in society. Like when walking in a mall you feel that you are a salmon swimming upstream, it is because everyone goes to the left side instead of the right side.

Eight dollars later we arrived at the apartment building to be our home for the next month. The two guards dressed in light colored slacks and dark knit shirts checked credentials. We proceeded to the door of our apartment.

Once inside the fifth story apartment we haphazardly unpacked. I figured sleep would help me make a better job of that later. The next sixteen hours pretty much are a blur to me as my body attempted to heal itself from the abuse of the trip. It felt good, however, to be in Singapore.

More of my discoveries and musings about Singapore are to come your way over the next month. On our return to Bogotá my wife and I will have a brief stop in Fenton. Patch editor, Jason Alexander, is presenting a community forum at the Gatsby Grind where he will let people know how to use The Patch. I will be talking about why you should blog for The Patch, what you should blog and how to get that writing started. Hope to meet everyone then.

For previous writing about getting to Singapore read “They Took My Batteries.”