Since I don’t travel abroad all that often, I make a conscious effort to overcome my jet lag on day 1. So I had a plan to sleep a full night on my first (16) hour flight, then I was to stay awake for my next 4 hour flight… here’s how it went:

I made my way to the international terminal at IAH, and as I handed off my passport to the agent for my boarding pass, super proud of how I had fit everything into a pack that Osprey advertises is carry-on friendly (even though I did have to succumb to the fact that the bag I owned 1) didn’t have a lockable day pack, and 2) didn’t fit all my gear and ended up buying a new pack the day I flew), the agent asked me to place the bag on the scale. In all of the research I did, imagine my surprise when he said, “carry-on weight limit is 7kgs”. 7kgs? My belt and sneakers weigh 7kgs. So, I checked my rigorously packed carry-on. I’m curious to see how regional carriers handle this…

Anyway, my plan was off to a good start. 10 hours sleep from HOU to Taipei’s Taoyuan airport, engulfed by surrounding… golf courses?

Taipei Golf Course

I was worried that 95 minutes in Taipei would not be enough time for my transfer. But all I read before I left said immigration was quick and an hour is plenty of time. For those of you transferring in Taipei in the future, there is no immigration involved. There’s a quick security checkpoint, and your off to your next gate. 95 minutes was an eternity. Plan part 2 also worked well, I stayed awake from 06:00 local Taipei time until now, meaning I’ve been awake for 25 hours now.

Where was I?

Oh yes. Singapore. There’s nothing quite like getting lost in a city for 2 hours to learn a city. Once I figure out which way is up, I’m pretty set for the remainder. There’s lots of hoofing it, but it’s worth it. MRT (their subway) from now on!

My first stop was for a tourist favorite (as much as beignets are tourist favorites to those visiting New Orleans… the locals love them too, and I still go to the tourist haven Cafe du Monde when I’m in Nola)–kaya toast at one of the original purveyors Ya Kun Kaya Toast. The kopi c (coffee with sweet milk) was strong and tasty. The soft boiled eggs + “black sauce” and ground pepper made the dip for the toast, which appeared to be perfectly toasted wheat bread with a sweet butter spread in between slices.

Kaya Toast from Ya Kun Kaya

After I got my bearings at the cafe, I walked until my dogs barked. I saw the famed merlion and the crazy harbor hotel with what appears to be a battleship on top.

I hunted down the Singapore Food Trail, which is a hokey reproduction of the hawker life of yesteryear… totes not worth it, especially when they have non-staged hawkers of thisteryear all over. But the Singapore Flyer was something of a mechanical engineering marvel. I didn’t make the venture to the top, yet.

After about 3 hours of walking aimlessly, I found myself drenched in sweat through every layer. I pride myself on being from New Orleans. It’s an incredibly hot, humid, mosquito-ridden swamp, so I thought I could hang with the best of them. I even ran 10k through the swamp (ok, down Decatur Street and stuff… potato/potatoe). I don’t know why, but this is different. I made the beginner mistake of buying water at a tourist site. I didn’t care; my clothes were that thirsty for more sweat.

I found the yoo-gest electronics shopping mall ever. Even I was overwhelmed. I think I counted a dozen camera store on one floor alone. And there was some sort of electronics blowout with a DJ and security swarming and the works.

Electronics superstore

I kept myself awake on the second flight by finding a few dining spots that I wanted to try. I poked my head into Burnt Ends (San Pellegrino’s No. 14 Asian restaurant in 2016) at prime dinner hour on the off chance they had a spot for 1. Without a booking, I lucked out and snagged a spot at the bar. The cooking is centered around a custom made “smoker” (a gross simplification for the apparatus). The food was top notch.

The beef marmalade and pickles was almost sloppy joe-like.

I also had some house made burrata (one of my faves) with charred fennel bulbs. I met the country manager for Hershey (yes, that Hershey) while dining.

All-in-all, I powered through an exhausting, scorching first day. I feel like I did a lot… Learnings so far: wear less clothing, wear more deodorant, and everything in SG costs a lot. The former is easy to solve. I’ll have to be on my best budget behavior for the rest of my SG stay.

I’m still trying to solve where I’m going after this… It mostly depends on my end-of-trip plans, which sounds like it doesn’t makes sense, but I’m thinking about skipping what I had in mind next and circling back to it at the end… I guess we’ll see!