Friday, May 23, 2008

Howdy from Singapore

Some random notes from today's 24 hours of travel...

5/22/08 2:21 PM EDT

Here I am on Delta from Atlanta to Shanghai in Seat 1A as I travel the first leg of my trip to Singapore. We’re just northwest of Wabamun, Alberta and headed on a northwesterly course toward the Canadian Rockies. I’m well fed — yes, the airline food was surprisingly good in Business Elite, though not the Chik-fil-A chicken biscuit I wanted — tired of working and ready to catch some sleep to stave off the inevitable jet lag. A glass of bourbon and Ambien were both consumed 90 minutes ago. The cabin lights are down, ear plugs shoved into my ears to block out the cabin noise and my eye shade pulled over my eyes.

I’m wide awake. My well intentioned plan to force myself to sleep on Singaporean time (exactly 12 hours ahead of Atlanta) to stave off some of the inevitable jet lag is not working. Sure, I’m yawning a bit and I think I did nap for 15 or 20 minutes but real sleep is escaping me right now. With 9+ hours to go until we land in Shanghai, this is going to be one long flight if this keeps up. Perhaps after a little more work and a movie or two things will change. However, with an estimated arrival in Shanghai at 1:50 PM Friday (1:50 AM EDT) and a two hour layover before my next leg to Singapore, things are not looking so hot right now.

5/22 4:58 PM EDT

I've been sneezing my head off for 90 minutes. So glad I dumped my normal cache of cold meds based on horror stories about heading into Singapore. Still no sleep, but I did finish the report that was hanging over my head. We're over Alaska now, due north of Anchorage. 8.5 hours of flying time to go. Yes, it seems like it should be less, but for some reason the landing time keeps changing.

Ambien, take 2: Double bourbon on the rocks and 10 mg of Ambien. With any luck this will knock me out for the remainder of this leg. Until that sets in, I'm going to watch some bad TV...

5/23 2:59 AM EDT

About an hour outside of Shanghai at the moment. For the past hour or so I have been feeling pretty crappy, swinging between hot and cold. I was brought food which I couldn't manage to eat. As my stomach began giving me a hint that something was not right I walked to the front lavatory. Full. Turned around to go to the back lavatory. Full.

Turned around again and I puked in the middle of the aisle in business class. All over the floor, my shirt, everything. The good news: The mess I made is significantly far back in business class where I don't have to smell it until we get off this plane. But I think the flight attendant who came upon me in my puking glory is not so happy. Glad I had a change of clothes in my carry-on luggage.

I can't wait to get off this flight for a bit so I can stretch out and put some simple food in my belly.

5/23 7 AM (EDT)

After a layover in Shanghai, where I ate some good noodles and dumplings in soup along with some green tea to soothe my stomach, I'm on the way to Singapore. While in Shanghai I learned that I forgot to enable international roaming on my cell phone. Oops. I tried to call AT&T via Skype, but it was too early in the morning for that to have worked. Of course Steph and Maya will be awake and awaiting my call when I arrive in Singapore, they will have to wait until I reach the hotel.

Sitting on the plane I have my Singaporean immigration card in front of me. In BIG RED LETTERS it reads "WARNING DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS UNDER SINGAPORE LAW". They take their laws seriously, too. Of course, I have had a stuffy nose for hours and would love to have some Dayquil about now, but I dumped it all on my desk at home lest I be considered trafficking in Dayquil.

This flight is nice, quiet and very clean. The flight attendants are all beautiful Chinese women who are unfailingly polite, even when their English is a bit shaky. I passed out when we took off, catching about 2 hours of much needed sleep. When I woke I was immediately asked if I wanted dinner. Sure, why not? So dinner is brought to me — mostly not worth eating, IMHO — and she asked if I'd like a beer.

Would I like a beer? Uh, lady, HELL YES! Before I get the chance to find out what kind of beer she might offer me she is gone. In a flash she's back and has poured something out of a silver can with a mix of Chinese and English. Its yellow. Its fizzy. Its BUD ICE! Was she being stereotypical and giving the nice, sleepy eyed American gentleman what he would drink at home? I took a sip. Yuck. <snark>I love beers with no flavor to speak of other than cooked corn. </snark> So I ask her if she has anything else. Tsingtao and Lan Cang River (LCR) Beer. Who am I to pass up on the chance to try yet another disappointingly bad beer? I was right, it was no better than the icy silver bullet that came before it. I'll stick to water for now.

I am completely over sitting my ass in a plane and staring at the map of where we have been and where we are going. At least this time its in both English and Chinese, ensuring that I learn the symbols set of our soon to be overlords. We're off the east coast of Vietnam at the moment (all I can think of is Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam as Adrian Kronauer singing "Follow the Ho Chi Minh Trail!" as if he were a munchkin from Oz. Or, seeing Da Nang on the map. In the movie he fakes the weather report from Da Nang. "How hot is it?" "It's so damn hot I saw one of those little men in the orange robes burst into flames! It's that hot, you know what I'm talkin' 'bout?"). In 2 more hours we should be landing in Singapore.

The next question is one of jet lag. I'm surprisingly awake. I have slept, perhaps 6 or 8 hours in the past 20 hours since I left Atlanta. But when I actually go to put my head on the pillow tonight, what's going to happen? Anyone's guess at this moment. Though I think I may avoid the Ambien and bourbon routine, that didn't seem to work out so well on the last flight and may have been the reason I blew chunks.

5/23 11:22 AM EDT

I'm in my hotel. I have no need for sleep. But I do need food. Jet lag is going to suck.


Anonymous said...

Just read your post. Found it when doing a search to see if I could find some good bourbon in Singapore. I come to Singapore about four times each year and lived here for two. I sleep on the plane by doing three or four bourbons and three Advil PMs. Any questions on Singapore for a Yank I can answer?


dhs said...


So far, no good bourbon. Jim Beam is all I have seen and its expensive. Oh well.

Headed off to Chinatown for further exploration.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, all adult beverages are spendy here. I have found Jim Beam Black and Maker's Mark.

Good luck,