I arrived at 1 a.m. local time in Singapore. Everyone lined up neatly, politely, for the taxis outside the airport, and I stuck my passport in my back pocket after having cleared customs. I was just telling my co-workers that I felt pretty good, considering, and then I think I stuck my passport in my bag. But I really don’t remember, because “pretty good, considering” falls on a sliding scale after three planes and 24+ hours of travel. Then I got in a taxi, and made my way to the Shangri-La, where there was a bit of a mix-up, in which I dug frantically through my bag looking for various information and a wifi connection. Somehow, the concierge made out that I was with the Localization World staff, and he volunteered the information that Chris Luxton had just checked in, and did I know Chris Luxton? So I called Chris’ room and ended up crashing on her couch.
The next morning, we went to breakfast and I ate a lot of local fruit, fish, and veggies, and had a cup of tea. Chris had some errands to run for Loc World, so I did some yoga on her terrace and then sat outside in the muggy heat for a bit, relaxing. I was thinking to myself that the strategy of arriving in the middle of the night, eating an excellent breakfast, and taking it easy seemed to be working wonders on keeping jet lag at bay, and that I should leave soon to check into my own accommodations. I packed everything up, and then I asked: “Where’s my passport?”
Let me just say, scouring a room repeatedly, tearing apart your luggage, frantically searching a hotel lobby, calling every lost and found you can think of, and finally researching how to get a new passport abroad and realizing it involves a whole lot of steps and paperwork does not really promote a relaxed non-jet lag state of mind.
However, with all this on my plate, I made it until 8:30 p.m. that night without taking a nap, and then crashed hard and slept well. I’d done just about all I could do for the moment; the earliest slot at the US Embassy wasn’t for a few days.
I went to the local police station this morning to file a report, which is one of the steps you need to take before filing the paperwork at the Embassy. I realized, waiting in a neat row of chairs and staring at a commercial for a Tom Cruise movie, that I had never been inside a police station before. I had nothing to compare this to, but it seemed very neat and polite, like the rest of the Singapore experience. Everyone spoke softly and the air conditioning fell softly on my skin. I gave a young police officer my information and he filled out some paperwork and then gave me a copy. Two copies, actually: apparently, I would also need to go to an immigration and customs office and get additional Singapore paperwork that would permit me to leave the country.
So that’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow, because they’re not open on Sundays. The next day, I have my appointment at the US Embassy.