So far, my birthday in Singapore has been great - albeit, quiet.
First of all, I went out with Faisal and his girlfriend last night and then my co-workers - who all wished me a good day. Then, when I checked out of my hotel at 4am this morning, the reception gave me a box of chocolates! Pretty unexpected at 4am...
When I arrived in Singapore and filled out my immigration card, the immigration offical glanced at it, stamped it, and wished me happy birthday too! That also made me laugh (she must have been bored, or at the very least terribly observant).
So now I'm bumming around Singapore, the cleanest, safest city I have ever been in. It helps to know that if anyone bothers/mugs/steals from you, they're going to get the death penalty, so chances are no one will bother/mug/steal from you. I never thought I'd be a fan of the militant state, but hey, things change when you get older I guess.
You know those signs at the airport that tell you what can and cannot bring into the country? Well, I was a little taken a back when I noticed CHEWING GUM on the sign (thanks, Dad, for breaking me of that habit!) Also, on the MRT (public transit system) it's a $500 fine - for drinking water! I was pretty friggin nervous...what other laws may I have inadvertantly already broken? Is there a Singapore jail cell with my name on it? I caught myself jaywalking this afternoon and felt pretty sneaky - until I saw other people doing it. Guess there is some leeway in the system...
So far, so good, though. I went to the Central Business District, the Asian History Museum (it was closed...) saw the Supreme Court building, walked across the Singapore river, went to the Raffles hotel and window shopped. The bulk of the hot, steamy, rainy afternoon I spent at the Singapore History museum, which was AWESOME. I learned so much, but also got quite burned out. They have such detailed exhibits, it took me two hours just to get through the 1600's - 1880's.
Then, I bought myself a doughnut as an impromptu birthday cake and ate it on the streetcorner. Hooray, life! I couldn't ask for a more random, peaceful and all around lazy birthday. I remember last year at this time, I'd felt like I'd been through the ringer - like I'd earned yet another year. This time, while I know that big challenges lie ahead, I finally feel for the first time that my age is catching up to how I've always felt. (I never made a very good teenager). When I think about it, I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be, and it feels good.
Tomorrow I have yet another early morning, as I leave for Siem Reap on another 6am flight. I spent another few hours this afternoon stressing about what hotel (trying to trade up from the hostel I landed in tonight) and then thinking, hey, why fight it? Now I'm just staying in the hostel when I return.
That's the news from here -