Friday, March 26, 2010

The Trip Over the Tundra to Singapore

I didn't take this photo but it did look a lot like this out the window

I left JFK airport on Friday March 19 at 4:50 p.m. and arrived in Singapore a day and a half later at 6 am Sunday morning. If you look on a globe you'll see that Singapore really is on the other side of the world. Add in the drive from home to New York City, a six hour layover in Bejing, China, and the trip to the hotel in Singapore, and it was roughly 32 hours travel time door to door. Although that's a lot of time to be traveling it is absolutely amazing that we can be half way around the world in such a short period of time. I find it absurd when I hear fellow travelers complaining about the duration of the 13 and half hour flight from NY to Bejing, but I have to remind myself we all have different tolerances. I'm fortunate in that I actually enjoy the challenges of long distance travel. I like airports and I don't mind waiting in lines. I read two books and did lots of writing on this trip.

The flight to Bejing took us over northern Alaska, and I assume that generally speaking we were in the vicinity of the Arctic and the North Pole. The scenery was stunningly, starkly gorgeous. It was a harsh, white and shadowy gray, crumpled terrain, divided by countless sqiggling fissures that appeared like rivers but were actually cracks in the snow and ice. As awesomely beautiful as it was I couldn't help but wonder how much of what I was seeing may be the result of climate change. Knowing that we humans are living in a manner that may be altering the balance of this magnificent planet left me feeling bothered and a little ashamed.

After arriving in Southeast Asia it took me about four days to adjust my sleep to being 12 time zones away. When it is 12 noon in New York it is 12 midnight in Singapore. For the first four nights there I was awaking while most sensible Singaporeans were fast asleep. There is a comforting silence to those wee hours of the night. More to come when I'm better rested.

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