19 January 2011

Singapore -- Crossing the 2.2 million mile mark

As I've indicated earlier, the Singapore run on United is one of the longest in their route from SFO (I think SFO to Dubai might be longer).  It is both easy and hard.  I like it because there is a very long segment giving you enough time to eat and sleep before landing.  They use the 747 planes on the route, so there business class is relatively large (although smaller with the newer seats).  The tough part of the route is that it is not a non-stop flight (there used to be a non-stop from LAX), with a stop in Hong Kong.  Also, the way the plane routes work, the SFO plane continues on to Vietnam and the plane from Chicago heads to Singapore.  So, an on-time connection is dependent upon another plane.  There are sometimes delays waiting for the Chicago plane to come in, especially during the winter.  And any delays just make the arrival that much later (scheduled arrival time into Singapore is 11:45pm).  But, I still do it, as Singapore has grown more interesting over the years.

This trip was scheduled to proved some relief from the cold weather.  This year has been especially cold, even in the Bay Area just prior to departure.  Surprisingly, while it was warm in Singapore, it was not stifling hot as it usually is.  It was nice enough that you did not always break into an immediate sweat walking around.  I was even okay wearing long pants outside during the day.

There are a number of things to do in Singapore if you have never been.  It's a very culturally diverse country, the crossroads of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and British cultures and a major trade and financial location.  All these elements make for mixture of experiences.  It is easy to get around.  The public transport is inexpensive and everything is in English.  There is still much evidence of the past British colonialism, but also areas distinctly representing the many Asian cultures that have settled in Singapore.  The stately Raffles Hotel, the Arabian, Indian and Chinese sections, and the slender skyscrapers are all part of today's Singapore.  And, of course, there is shopping and there is food.
New Year's Dragon of ceramic plates

Infinity pool on the Skydeck


Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Orchard Rd. at Christmas
Singapore continues to try and attract tourists from around the world.  Among the sites to see are:  Sentosa Island Resort, Singapore Flyer (largest observation wheel in the world), Orchid Gardens, Night Safari Zoo, Marina Bay Sands Skydeck and Casino, Fountain of Wealth (largest fountain in the world), as well as various events and festivals.  There are very nice hotels of every size and shape (I am partial to the Conrad at the moment) and a truly world-class airport (and national airline) with flights that can take you anywhere.

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