Jetstar has met all my low expectations, and has not announced flight J007 to Singapore is delayed by at least 15 minutes. The gate is full of people milling around looking confused. I am not terribly unhappy about this state of affairs as it gives my phone and laptop a chance to charge.
I have been so busy over the last few days, I have not had much of a chance to develop expectations for this trip. I have been to Singapore (and actually left the airport) once before, but it was for less than 24 hours. I have fond memories of it though, I asked two women for directions, and not being able to help, instead invited me to lunch with their friends. They were a big group of what I assume were Chinese-Singaporeans and they were a friendly and talkative bunch. Lunch was a traditional Chinese style banquet of epic proportions, and they encouraged me to try all of it. Upon my leaving, unfortunately quite early due to my flight, they refused to take any money to contribute to the bill. If even a fraction of the people I encounter in Singapore are as friendly and welcoming, the trip promises to be an amazing experience.
One thing I am very much looking forward to is the tropical weather. It has been freezing recently, and the lack of heating in my house has been painful. My microwavable heat pack recently burst from overuse as I carry it around the house and use it like a hot water bottle 24/7. My feet in particular have been getting ridiculously cold and go purple, possibly because of my circulation.
One of the things that drew me to this study tour was opportunity to be back in Asia. I have been to Vietnam and Cambodia multiple times, when I am home in Australia I get periodic nostalgia pangs, and look up the prices of flights I will not be booking. Singapore appears to be quite different to other countries in the region. It is one of the few Asian countries to be categorised as ‘developed’, though unlike Japan and South Korea, it is not a member of the OECD. It is ostensibly democratic under the Westminster system, but the same party has been in power since independence in 1959. Judicial punishment is severe, and includes corporal and capital punishment. Despite these issues, it is consistently ranked among the least corrupt countries in the world according to the Corruption Perceptions Index. Though income inequality is huge, it has the highest percentage of millionaires in the world. A large proportion of the population has primary school as their highest level of education attained, but according to that fount of reputable information, Wikipedia, students consistently rank in the top 5 countries for mathematics and science. It appears to be a country of contradictions, which I think I will very much enjoy exploring.
The plane appears to be ready for take-off. Next stop, Singapore.