Whoever said this was the golden ageof travel clearly never flew from Denver to New York, sat in the
rathole airport JFK for a bunch of hours and then flew to Singapore by way of Tokyo.
After a week in Denver, dry, delirious and chugging Pedialyte faster than Walgreens could restock it, I was thrilled to be back at sea level and experience weather again. But I had to sit at JFK, a member of the trifecta that is the worst airports, ever. Anyway.
A few hours later, I began my sojourn to southeast Asia, which sounded like a good idea at the time I booked it. And it was and is, but still.
Four hours to JFK, fours hours sitting around, 14 hours in economy to Tokyo, two hours to shop and sweat, 7(?) hours to Singapore, also in econ – which happened to be quite lovely, by the way. So that’s four airports in about 30 nonstop hours of flying, sitting, waiting – if you’re keeping score at home.
Then I arrived in Singapore, finally, around 1am, roughtly two days after I departed, what with the international date line and such. But also because it felt like two days. And I landed in the future, so that’s always fun.
Ok so, Singapore. The cleanest, most well organized city I have ever seen. Also one of the wettest. Wettest, you say? WETT-EST. Let me be clear, Bangkok was humid, expectedly. My jeans slid clean off my hips from the saturation of the fabric and could no longer support their weight. But I knew this was going to happen. Singapore, however, snuck up on me. I spent most of the day wandering around, warm but not uncomfortable. It was hot, sure, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Somewhere in the middle of the day things changed. In an instant I became overwhelmed with unrelenting total saturation. Literally out of nowhere I would find myself dripping sweat off my face – not down, OFF – down my neck, my clavicle, drops raced to make a home in my shirt, ensuring it would adhere to my body as if a spandex exoskeleton. This was quite a surprise given that I was so dehydrated in Denver, I could etch my name in the dry skin on my legs, a condition from which I am yet to recover.
I would continue to sweat without explanation for several mid-day hours. My shoulders became greasy and slick and could not support the strap of my bag. I would break to drink water, cool off, combat this silent destroyer of my humanity. It was to no avail. I had no choice but stop what I was doing and seek refuge.
I’d race back to my hotel to shower and change, freezing the second I hit the frigid air conditioning and started the evaporation process.
Sometimes I buy the cucumbers that come individually wrapped in plastic. Occasionally, I cut one end off and try to shimmy and slide the cuke out of its shrink wrapped home. I never succeed. That’s exactly what it was like taking my pants off. One cucumber leg at a time.
Evenings were far more successful as I took advantage of public transportation and lived like a local expat. Go figure.
Here’s the thing: it’s really not that hot!