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Monday, February 18, 2013

Snoozing in Singapore

January 12-13, 2013, A Second Overnight Transit Through Singapore, En route from the Week in Indonesia, Now On My Way to India

After starting from home barely over an unrelated stomach problem, the past week's multiple changes in diet and water prove challenging.  I am again tired, dehydrated, and just a little bit worried, by the time I reach Singapore.  This time I need a more thorough rest than curling up in a public transit lounge area, adequate as it had seemed my last time through Changi Airport.  I. head instead for the Ambassador Transit Lounge, where I make myself a a piece of toast at the serve-yourself-round-the-clock buffet, and rent a sleeping cubicle for the night.

Determined to sit upright until sound sleep overcomes my tension, I survey the cool, dim napping cubicle for which I have just pre-paid ten dollars an hour.  Barely triple the size of the single bed that occupies one corner, the room is furnished only as sparsely as a traveller's nap requires.  On the freshly-changed bed, a gray-green coverlet in a vague pattern of black dots and waves.  On the wall, a full-length mirror in a multi-grooved, faux mahogany frame with sun-and-ray-grooved triangles securing the corners of a bevelled mirror.  A low, faux, grooved edge mahogany shelf, sturdy enough to hold two suitcases, occupies the corner next to the mirror.  Two large scratches atop the shelf bear mute witness to other suitcases that have come and gone before mine.  

A small, rectangular, black waste basket, dutifully lined with a fresh plastic bag, stands between the table and the door, or, rather, where a door should, the opening hung with a heavy black curtain embroidered in rows of cream colored circles and squares punctuated with smaller round and square dots, a design with the potential to lull a drowsy person to sleep, or prompt a  queasy passenger to drop her gaze to the carpet, where a repetitive pattern of narrow computer-generated stripes completes the decor.  

The cubicle has black walls, two of fine stucco, two covered with basket-weave-textured paper.  Three of the walls sport faux cherry wood baseboards bearing more tell-tale scratches and scuffs.  Bed, mirror and table are lined up along one wall, lending a false sense of spaciousness to the bare side of the cubicle.  A dimmer switch controls a diminutive, black-shaded lamp on the wall over the suitcase table.  A tiny green ceiling light, signalling my occupancy of this, cubicle number three, joins a green exit sign in the hall in lending a faint glow to the grey ceiling above partitions separating this and a half-dozen similar cubicles along a dark corridor.  The greenish glow makes a tiny, burnt out night light, low on the wall next to the bed, irrelevant.  

As sleep overtakes my  inventory; I draw in a long breath, blink deeply, exhale, and allow my shoulders to droop.  I dim the wall light to nothing at all, let my comfortable but clumsy travel shoes drop beside the bed, tuck my bulging purse between a wall and the cool, beckoning pillow, and fall into a dreamless sleep to which even the ambient hum of the airport becomes irrelevant.  Though brighter light startles me as I walk out past the reception desk to attend to a midnight call of nature, I return to sleep soundly until an attendant moves the door-curtain aside to wake me with a gentle, prearranged,  "Wake up call!" at five-thirty in the morning.  I am refreshed.

Though the reception staff suggests it would be more convenient to reserve and check in at thee Changi Ambassador Transit HOTEL across the third level balcony from the LOUNGE, the lounge offers me all the services I need in one location.  Though the lounge itself, a shower (very clean, convenient, with soap, towels, and even hair dryer provided), napping and exercise rooms are offered 'a la cart,' a lounge i.d. sticker apparently allows me to come and go during the day, availing of the peaceful lounge ambience, with comfortable seating, ongoing buffet (enough choices to satisfy) and free uninterrupted use of a computer.  Though there are two other terminals, each with  similar places to stay, shop, eat, and wander (one even has a butterfly garden), today's experience is just what the doctor would've ordered.  

You can google Changi Airport's website to browse pictures and find out more about the many areas, activities, shops, and services they offer...truly a city within a city.

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