May 2nd, 2009


A Pause in the Admiral's Lounge, Narita

Click to play this Smilebox postcard: En Route Singapore-LAX
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This is a wonderful place for refreshment! Coach via Japan Airlines was pleasant but 10:40 PM to 6:35 AM, Singapore to Tokyo, a bit cramped. Fortunately the middle seat in our threesome was empty, so I probably slept for about 2-3 hours. An excellent Japanese breakfast of food that I can't name, Lin was wheeled to a different part of the terminal and most of Narita was still asleep. Gradually, it awakened and she went window shopping while I read "The Age of the Unthinkable," by Joshua Cooper Ramo.... tough reading, but valuable insights.

At 8:00 AM we found the Admiral's Lounge deserted of passengers but loaded with food. We partook! Again! Our flight to LAX doesn't depart until 4:00 PM, and then it's something like 11-12 hours, arriving Sunday at 10:00 AM. A bit odd, because as I write this in Tokyo, it's 09:56 AM. We get the lost day back.

Our Singapore experience was particularly enjoyable with an upgrade to a suite at the Club Level of what was already a 5 star hotel. We met a Puerto Rican lady (Monica) married to an Irish executive chef, and gained further insights from the cab driver on the way to the airport.

Add that to Desmond, our night shopping guide, and Iris, our day tour guide, and I'm looking for an excuse to get back to Singapore and learn more.... and not a single visit to anything related to World War II or aviation. The demography, culture and politics fascinate me. And amid the 4.5 million residents, 360,000 military, 75% Chinese, 14% Malay, ~8% Indian, are 2,000 Jews! They all live together and they're proud of it, caning minor infraction violators, and hanging drug dealers, administering equal justice to all, so they say, and I tend to believe them. This is a country that could teach us a great deal. 90% homeowners with 2.5% 30 year government mortgages. Educational and health care subsidies. Very little corruption, but essentially a one party government, and a reputation as the "little island that could."