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Singapore

I don't actually like the traveling part of traveling. Case in point: the latest leg. Had to drive out to Dulles Airport. This is miles and miles away on the other side of the Beltway. Took the opportunity, though, to visit the Smithsonian's new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. This is really huge, with displays including a prototype Boeing 707, a Concorde, an SR-71 Blackbird and (most famously) the Boeing B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay which dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Had a great time there.

Dulles airport, though is a pain. It has these strange buses that take you about the terminal. The aircraft was some stupid puddle-jumper called an EMB something or other. It was very cramped and had a maximum ceiling height of six feet, so most passengers had to bend to walk down the isle. First, the plane was overbooked and three volunteers were called for to lighten the load. Free air tickets and taxi fairs managed to find three people. Then, after boarding, we sat on the ground. The plane was too heavy to take off and we had to wait for the fuel truck to return and take back 3,000 gallons. While this was in progress, a cleaning crew attempted to do something about the toilet. But, the pilot explained cheerfully, this was No Big because we didn't have permission from grossly overcrowded Newark, NJ to take off. All this took about 45 minutes while we sat on the runway. Actually flying to Newark did not take so long. However there was only one flight attendant and so people like me in the back half of the plane never did get a beverage.

At Newark, things initially looked just as ominous. The plane was looked small - it was an Airbus A340-500. And this was for a flight non-stop to Singapore. They claim it is, at over 9,000 miles (and 18 hours) the longest non-stop flight in the world. Fortunately, the Airbus was very comfortable. It is big, there is lots of leg room and it is very modern. The plane was less than half full and the service was great. The only problem was that the seats prevented you lying down. Anyhow, I am now in beautiful Singapore.