We left June 11th for the trip. Brett flew a C-130 out there w/ a crew to check it into the depot (it's where they get fixed and checked and stuff). I flew a DC8 (complete with tv and meals and my own row of seats b/c it wasn't crowded- Brett was jealous!) The nice thing about being over here is that there are several Space A flights going to various Asian locations. It is like flying stand-by and you aren't guaranteed to go (and being a spouse by myself, I was lower on the list than active duty, people on orders...everyone but retirees basically) but they go to Singapore about 3x/wk so it wasn't a problem.
The AF was putting the crew up at a very nice hotel called Traders Hotel. It had a mall attached to it (which I perused while they flew one day) complete with Starbucks, McDonald's and Chili's - so we can get our "American" fix of food (hey, when you don't get it you actually do miss it!) Singapore is a VERY expensive country we discovered. The hotel was about $300/nt. That did include breakfast ($40/day) and a happy hour from 5:30-7:30 w/ free drinks and snacks (the guys made sure to get the AF's $ worth) but let's put it this way...it was a good thing we were staying there on the AF's dime and not ours! The view from our hotel room on the 17th floor. We got in on a Thursday night and I met him at the hotel. We had dinner and called it a day. Friday the crew had to work, so I explored the mall and the area right around the hotel.
They got the weekend off which was great, so we got to hang out together. Saturday we all met at the pool and hung out for a bit. It was really nice, but H.O.T! Singapore is 1 degree up from the equator, so I guess they have the right to be hot there. But man, the sun was strong (I had on SPF 50 and still got slightly pink in places) and we were sweaty! After the pool, we showered and changed and headed over to the Chinatown district. It was fun to walk thru and look at all the booths and stuff. I think I spent most of our Sing $ on bottled water, but it was a neat place. Towards the edge of the Chinatown district was a Buddhist Shrine. Here's Brett with the Buddha outside. It was called he Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and we were allowed to go in and look at it. They had just finished up a service of some sort as there were monks walking around. It might be one of the most ornate buildings I have ever been in. Not being Buddhist, I have no idea what any of the statues mean or what the candles and incense signify, but it was interesting to look at nevertheless. We didn't have to take our shoes off either (you often have to over here). They wouldn't let the Loadmaster, Wilma, in though- she had on a tanktop and that wasn't appropriate attire. The rest of us were ok in shorts and tshirts though.
Singapore is a country of very mixed nationalities (mostly Chinese and Indian) so the people at the service (and most other places we went) are very racial diverse, which is interesting was well. They speak mostly English though, which is nice as it makes communication with taxi drivers and restaurants that much easier!
I'm starving for lunch so I'll go eat now and post more later!