A few days after the fact: The Chiang Mai Saturday Market was indeed better than the normal night market, and I happily stuffed my face with all sorts of wonderful street food for roughly 15 cents a pop. The Ping River cruise was drizzly but nice, though a little pricey for what it was. My last morning there I went and got a mani-pedi, which was desperately needed, then flew out to Singapore.
One more travel tip: if you’re choosing between places to stay in a foreign city, always pick the one in Chinatown. My Singapore hostel – an actual hostel this time around, because private rooms there are ridiculously expensive – was right in the middle of things, which made for delicious meals and fun walking. Singapore’s got a great zoo and some interesting cultural sites, but the real reason to go there is the food, especially since I already saw the zoo and the cultural sites last summer with E-Ching. But the food in Singapore is awesome, and particularly so in Chinatown. In the morning I wandered around the neighborhood, bought some fancy tea, and saw a temple claiming to hold a bit of the buddha’s tooth; in the afternoon I trekked up to Little India for an incredible chicken biryani and then over to Arab Street to poke around in shops. Little India just smells amazing, what with all the big baskets of spices and things out for sale. In the evening I went back to E-Ching’s house to pick up the flippers I’d left there at the start of my trip, then off to the airport for my 1:40am flight home.
The flight from Singapore to Dubai takes a little over 6 hours, and I slept for the first five or so. Disembarking in Dubai I went to grab my carry-on from by my feet and felt it was a little wet. When I took a sniff, I realized I’d been sleeping so soundly I’d totally missed the guy next to me throwing up, and he’s apparently not noticed missing the bag a little. Eew.
Four hours in the Dubai airport, then a 13-hour flight to JFK. All was well until the very end, when we started doing circles above New York. The captain came on the intercom and pointed this out, saying there’s been a minor earthquake on the east coast, and we’d be in a holding pattern for another 15 minutes or so while they checked out the runways. I fly from Indonesia, right smack in the middle of the Ring Of Fire, with all the attendant volcanoes, quakes, tsunamis, etc, and miss a tremor in New York? Excuse me? Next we hear that they’ve evacuated the tower at JFK and we’re being rerouted to Boston. Ok. Halfway to Logan they say JFK has been reopened, but by this point it’s too late to turn around, so we’ll just land, refuel quickly, and head on back south. After an hour and a half on the tarmac in Boston, we do just that. Apparently they’re not used to planes as large as ours there, so refueling tool two gas trucks. (Apparently ours was two levels tall and has showers in first class.) After landing in New York, it took a good 40 minutes to get deplaned, since they were bussing us into the terminal instead of using a jetway. All told I was sitting on the plane for around 17 ½ hours. All I can say is thank god it was Emirates and not United or something, so at least the seat was comfy.
Baggage claim took another 40 minutes (500 people on the flight = a whole lot of suitcases to unload). Customs didn’t notice my tea, thankfully. SuperShuttle took an hour to come rather than the 25 minutes they promised, but thankfully I was the second drop off, and caught the 10:20 train to New Haven, getting me in at ten past midnight. 34 ½ hours from takeoff in Singapore to arrival at Nicole’s, where I crashed my first night. Oy vey.
And today was a hurricane. And by hurricane I mean slightly windier than normal rainstorm. After all the hype I was expecting at least a little power outage, and I know in some places it did that and far more, but even East Rock, notorious for turning streets into rivers at every moderate downpour, looks like a nice place to take a stroll right now, no galoshes needed. All the downed leaves in the backyard will take some serious raking up, though. Thanks, Irene.