New Hanoian via Singapore

Trip Start Jul 26, 2007
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Trip End Dec 10, 2007


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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Last night I stayed in a "transit hotel." It was what I would imagine staying in a country club locker room would be like. It was nice to get out of the plane and stretch my legs. It was also a really welcome experience to be flat on my back to sleep for the first time in 25 hours.

Singapore was a blast from the past. I had been to Singapore once before many years ago. The only thing I really remember vividly about Singapore was the smell. The air is quite musky and there's always a hint of dried fish product wafting through the air. When I got off the plane, I was shocked to find that the Singapore Int'l Airport most closely resembles and upscale shopping mall... Or maybe what a lunar city would look like. Two of everything you could possible need (from Yves St Laurent and Gucci, to liquor stores, and casinos. There were doctors offices, and hotels. a public pool and a spa/hair salon. Let's not forget the five star restaurants and gardens...

It really is a pity I didn't take a picture but, I had already been there and was in dire need of a shower and a nap.
The next morning I took Singapore Airlines to Hanoi. That is one helluva airline. I've flown with my fair share of airlines, and Singapore Air was by far the most well thought out. I flew economy class and we had wine or juice served to us as we were boarding the aircraft. Then they came through the aisles with a menu for the onflight meal. Dad tells me that Asiana is a surprisingly good airline, and I'll find out on my return flight to the US.. but singapore air was nothing to sneeze at!

Speaking of sneezing, that reminds me of Vera's fish allergies and the trouble she would have had on my Japanese flight from Tokyo to Singapore. We had a choice between "Steamed Fish" or "Vegetarian" meals. I wasn't so keen on finding out what a airline's steamed fish would taste like, so I opted for the Vegetarian meal. When I uncovered the vegetarian entree, I saw quite an array of steamed veggies and noodles. It looked promising, The woman next to me had ordered the Vegetarian entree as well. I was about half way through my meal when I speared what appeared to be a mussel. Now, I love shellfish, and seafood in general, so I wasn't put off... honestly I just figured it was part of the sauce or something, which had a very fishy taste. I continued to eat: after a few more chopstick-fulls of noodles I ran into something pink. Pink, I thought... I decided to give it a shot. So I take a bite of this solid pink thing, and it turns out it's salmon. So to sum up, in the "vegetarian entree" so far I've come across shellfish and a large slab of salmon that was hiding under the noodles. This didn't bother me at all, but the woman sitting next to me, who had probably intentionally barred fish from her meal was not impressed. She flagged down a flight attendant, and said that her Vegetarian entree had "fish" (she said emphatically) in it. The flight attendant, smiled politely and said: "Yes, for flavor!" I knew the Japanese ate a lot of fish, but now I'm convinced they actually think of it as a completely natural and necessary addition to any meal, even Vegetarian ones.

My flight got into Hanoi on the early side, and I found a tired and travel worn Matt waiting for me outside of customs. We were picked up by the hotel, and chauffered to our busy city street hotel, where we both collapsed after dinner.
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