Singapore Adventure

Saturday, January 08, 2005

narita (venitha)
by jima

We're currently at Narita, Tokyo's airport, trying to stay awake long enough to get on our next flight (to Seattle), but not TOO awake, so we won't be able to sleep. I imagine that over the next two years Jim will get good at managing the right drug concoction (sleeping pills, caffeine, alcohol, sleep) to minimize jetlag. It occurred to me this morning, though, that I won't be making this trip (from Singapore to the US) again for quite some time. While that's both sad and exciting in emotional ways, it's only a good thing physically. Sleep deprivation does not enhance my normal cheery disposition. =) The fact that through this last week of extraordinary stress and very little sleep, Jim and I haven't had to kill each other has reassured me that we'll manage to survive the next two years.

Most surprising thing about Singapore: how lush and green it is! A very welcome difference from the front range of Colorado this time of year. Even the major expressway interchanges, the equivalent of which in Denver are nothing but concrete as far as you can see, have trees and shrubs and flowers surrounding them, the trees frequently forming a canopy over multiple
lanes of traffic - absolutely beautiful. I'm looking forward to visiting the botanic gardens here, and I can picture us keeping a sprig of orchids on our kitchen table.

Coolest thing about Singapore: the public transportation. Taxis everywhere and sooo easy, with drivers speaking English, though we have yet to master how to tell them where we want to go, so they keep correcting us. The MRT (subway train system) clean, safe, technologically impressive, and a 5-minute walk from where we'll live. We did not brave the busses yet, but native Singaporeans have raved about them to us, and they certainly seem to run everywhere and very frequently. Jim and I are both, bizarrely, very excited about not having a car.

Most disappointing thing about Singapore: the kitchens! I think I'm still in shock over how inutile they are. The vast majority of apartments have "Chinese" kitchens. Everyone is expected to have a live-in maid to do the cooking, so the kitchen is part of her quarters (hovel, truly - it's shocking to think that many women live like this) and, to be fair, is in general larger than the rest of her quarters combined. I found it surprisingly depressing. Asian women are generally petite, but not THAT petite. Regardless, we won't have a maid and instead intend to use the kitchen ourselves. Almost all of the kitches we saw were very very small (maybe 30 square feet - we took pictures of everything, and you couldn't get far enough away from the kitchen to take a picture of it), dark, completely shut off from the rest of the apartment, not airconditioned, containing no appliances other than a refrigerator and a stovetop, and with maybe three feet of counter space (for someone much shorter than me!). Of the probably twenty apartments we looked at this week, we will likely end up in one of the two that had kitchens that didn't make me want to cry. Seriously.

Time to go. I'll need to come up with a good sign-off for these things. Luckily I have plenty of time to contemplate that on our next flight (10 hours!).