I'm going to be unconventional here. Of course, like every expat, I've got stories upon stories about airport trauma. In fact, there's almost NOT a trip that doesn't involve some sort of snafu that sends you spinning. Especially now that we're traveling to another hemisphere, the possibilities are exponentially greater that craziness will transpire. So, rather than force myself to commit to ONE of those stories, I instead, submit for your reading pleasure an endorsement of the KING of airports.....Changi International Airport of Singapore......a.k.a. "Mecca of the Metropolitan".......
Changi Airport isn't a hub of international transport, where worldly-weary travelers connect to various international locales. Changi Airport is a haven.....a welcoming, hospitable sanctuary of all things ordered and good. Maybe my perspective is a bit colored, considering I arrived in the "refuge" of Changi after moving to and living in Dhaka for 10 weeks, but given their top ranking in the "Best Airports of the World" survey, I think my opinion is justified. Grant you, Dhaka is the anti-thesis of all things Singaporean. Singapore boasts 5 million in population, and is the third most densely populated territory in the world, but ironically doesn't feel over-crowded with its hyper-organization and cosmopolitan appeal. Dhaka bursts with a burgeoning 7 million and can't claim anything organized--from political discourse to basic infrastructure--evidenced by comic-book scale screaming politicians and human-sized potholes in packed-dirt roads. Where Dhaka tends to feel musty, muddy, and generally sepia-toned, Singapore is refreshing and cleansing--like a neatly arranged row of jasmine-and-ginger-scented Bath and Body Works anti-bacterial hand lotions. What doesn't feel good about that?
I was told it was beyond fabulous. I treated it like urban legend. However, my testimony having been there personally, is that it is everything everyone says it is....and MORE. It's up there with the Google campus, people. Landing in Changi--after having the travel experiences of Las Americas in Santo Domingo and Shahjalal International in Dhaka and even Miami International--felt like I had teleported to that scene in Contact with Jodi Foster, where she's just passed through the wormhole (fulfilling the plan of the alien beings) walking on the beach with her "father" (aka-Alien emissary in father-form).....like this edited excerpt (the funky super-imposed music in this YouTube clip even fits....)
It is a Metro-plex unto itself. I would seriously consider Changi as an actual vacation destination from Dhaka.....it's like being on a cruise ship! It vaunts adult-sized slides, massage centers, a digital social tree, a flippin' butterfly garden for goodness sake!
So, the next time you're feeling overwhelmed and stressed with Asia and its sometimes over-populated, over-polluted, intrusive lifestyle, "Rethink Travel" with Changi Airport. No need to even venture out into Singapore, really...just stay at the airport. Heck, I'll meet you there!