The plan: Become a Divemaster. Tame the wild tropical seas, take some beautiful photos, learn a new language, make friends.
The execution: Well, let's break this down.
1. Flight fro SFO to Seoul to Singapore.
Every flight is measured by its movies and the volume of babies' cries. Luckily there were no wailing toddlers, so here's my movie summary:
- Moonrise Kingdom: 5/5. This movie is delightful, and I say that as a lukewarm fan of another Wes Anderson classic "The Life Aquatic." Dad, you have to watch this - I'm curious how you react to the portrayal of boy scouts. And rural Canada-esque island life.
- Beasts of the Southern Wild - 4/5. Well, I cried for the last 1/4 of the movie but that's not saying much, given how Olympic ads = waterworks. It definitely gets points for emotional pull. I respect it for being beautifully made and incredibly acted, but it's still not my type of movie.
- Rock of Ages - ???/5. Why does this movie exist? I love musicals but even the plane flight wasn't enough to keep me engaged. Maybe there were drugs in my plane food (or hater-ade in my tea), but I am still confused about how they got funding, great talent, and any audience to watch this movie.
2. Singapore: The Epic 14 Hour Layover Marathon
I arrived at 1am, bought a SIM card, and headed downtown for a few hours of sleep at a cute little hotel. I then headed to the Gardens by the Bay, where there's a fantastic display of human ingenuity and unnecessary engineering. It was like Avatar, but real and x10. IT WAS AWESOME! Also hot. And humid.
When I got back to my hotel, I ran into the sweetest woman cleaning rooms. We got to talking and the next thing I know, she's wishing me safe travels and hoping that there will be attractive people in my dive class. THE BEST.
I met up with James and Yeong Hui, two friends that I met during my week-long program in Taiwan (Spring break 2008). I also met with them in 2009 on my way to New Zealand, and we couldn't believe it's already been 3 years... how time flies. We walked around the Esplanade, Marine Bay Sands Hotel and Casino (which apparently has annual earnings on par with all of Las Vegas or Macau... rich Asian people are really, well, rich), and crossed the helix bridge. We also drank lots of iced teas and coffees. Did I mention it was hot and humid?
After an airport sendoff from Nim, another friend from the Taiwan Program, I confidently walked to the wrong gate and had to sprint across the airport. Run, silly girl on gap yah, run! I made it with time to spare and the flight to Phuket was uneventful. I sat next to a funny Australian couple on their 40th anniversary trip; they had just come from India. They should start a comedy routine with the way they interrupt, correct, and make faces at each other when the other isn't looking.
3. Made it to Thailand. I'll put up some photos soon. My bungalow is not on the beach, sadly, but it does come with an adorable dog-in-residence. I'm not sure if he has fleas but I'll probably learn the hard way, since he lies down and begs to be pet whenever I walk by. I have a comfy bed, fan, and porch that overlooks a small side street. Beware: roosters and chickens roam freely. The food is great! Welcome to paradise :)