Travel on the big international jets is so much more sophisticated and pleasing than flying in the continental U.S. On the flight to Singapore, the stewardesses wore what looked like a version of tranditional local costumes: a long sari-like dress that fit their slender bodes to a T. Hair is upswept; there is plently of blue eye shadow and bright red lipstick. The service is excellent: First to greet you -- hot washclothes with which to wash your hands and face. Next comes unlimited amounts of beer, wine, Singapore Slings, and plenty of other choices -- free even in "standard" class. This plane has a layover in Tokoyo on the way so during the first part of the trip, you have a choice of a Japanese meal (rice, wasabi, grilled chicken chunks, potatoe salad with caviar in it) or an American meal (mashed potatoes, beef chuncks, rolls, and butter). You even get a pair of comfortable, warm socks to put on your feet and nice light-blue blankets that are at least thicker than a piece of paper. One clever touch: hanging bassinets that attach to the wall of the bulkhead for parents with young children. It gives the brats a place to lay down or play, and this really cuts down on the amount of squalling one must endure. For some reason, the plane is full of toddlers.
After a stop in Tokoyo and six hours later, I am Singapore for a total of 23 hours flying time!! The first thing that strikes me: this place is absolutely immaculate, beautiful. The cab driver says the government is putting in a new casino. Interestingly, if you live in Singapore, you have to pay $100 to even get into a casino, while tourists and their ilk can come in for free. Sounds like a great way to capture the cash without putting your citizens in harms way for what can be a devestating addiction to some.
I am the first of the journalists to arrive, so I have about a half-day to wander at will. The breakfast bar downstairs was quite eclectic with a vaiety of foods. I am saving my exoctic food-tasting experiments for what Roopinder Tara tells me are called "hawker" stalls around the city. Breakfast for me consisted of a green salad, baked beans and, I finally got to try lychee nuts.