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Fifty Years of My Life (1939 - 1990)
A Memoir by Jeff R. Noordermeer

Arrival in Singapore

The flight from Hong Kong to Singapore was just a delight. The plane was half filled with passengers and the service was so different. Lu Lu was able to have three seats for herself, and that made her feel much more comfortable. She was able to stretch her legs and take a nap during the flight. I noticed on this flight she was much happier and more relaxed. What had spoiled her flight from Hawaii to Hong Kong made this one just incredibly pleasant. Lu Lu was just looking forward to getting to her best girlfriend's house. The last time they had seen each other was in the year of 1955.

What we had lost in services on our Hawaii - Hong Kong flight was certainly made up for on this flight. The stewardesses were constantly around us to please and comfort Lu Lu.

Singapore skyline at night 
Singapore skyline at night

As everything else in life, even on your vacation you have your good and bad times. However you don't expect this on one of you vacation trips. There are not too many people who can say, "I spent one day of my life in a plane at an altitude of 40,000 feet". During the flight I was thinking how lucky we were to take a trip like this and get served like royalty. There are so many other people who worked very hard in their life and were never able to go anywhere.

What a thrill to hear the captain say we would soon be arriving at Singapore. As I look through the window I can see the Vietnamese coast all around. Slowly the plane is losing altitude and we are able to see Singapore. After a very smooth landing at this very modern airport we disembark from the plane and the customs are very friendly without checking our luggage. The family with which we would be staying for the next two weeks sent their oldest son Pete to wait for us at the International arrivals lounge. He noticed Lu Lu right away. After I was introduced to Pete we were ready to drive to the Bone's family home.

I have read and heard about Singapore so much. Even during my elementary school days in Holland, Singapore was already in our history books as one of the most favorable merchant-marine ports of our seagoing nation. I had friends who visited this very interesting city. Who would have thought that one day I would be able to tell my own story about Singapore? Here I was, driving from the Singapore Airport on this very well-kept boulevard to the Bone's home. You can't help noticing how neat and clean the streets are. All around you see all kinds of flowers. The trees and bushes around the parks are neatly trimmed. It feels a little strange when you see the driver of the car sitting on the right side. In Singapore they kept the British driving system.

Finally we arrived at the Bone's home. Lu Lu's reunion with the Bone family after so many years was a very happy one. It was the first time that they met me, but in a short time I felt at home with all of them. Their house was very large and comfortable, and the neighborhood was very neat and clean. You never walk into any home with your shoes on. Whenever you enter the house you leave your shoes in front of the door or patio and wear a pair of slippers inside the house. All around the neighborhood you could see all kinds of shoes in front of the house. I thought this custom was very sanitary. The weather is very nice and sunny and there is always a light breeze around. Around the house the doors and windows are always wide open. The temperature is around 95 degrees F. As I watched the world news on the TV they show us Washington D.C. where there was a very bad plane crash. According to the Singapore TV news the plane left National Airport in a heavy snow storm bound for Miami, Florida. Just a few minutes after take-off, it crashed into the Potomac River. The reason for the crash was that the pilots who flew the plane had no experience in flying in a snow storm. The de-icing of the plane's wings was done too early, and by the time of take-off had frozen again. Through all of this the plane on take-off was not able to reach its height and crashed into one of the bridges which crosses the Potomac River.

And here I was in Singapore where the sun was so hot that I had to look for a cool place. Who wants to go back to all that snow? I wrote some postcards to the office and really emphasized how hot the weather was, as I know they had to bundle-up when going to work as cold as it was.

CONTINUED: Law-enforcement in Singapore
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© Copyright  - Antonio Zamora

- Foreword
- Old Rotterdam
- World War II
- After the War
- Coming to America
- Washington, D.C.
- Southeast Asia
- Philosophy of Life

- Book Index