FEBRUARY 5, 2005
Today was the first day in Singapore. We pulled in around 11:30 in the morning, and I was on the flight deck "manning the rails". I got dressed in my summer white uniform, mustered at 9:30, and we were in our place around the edge of the flight deck at 9:45. We were there until we were moored, which at 11:30. It was hot out, yet still a nice day.
It took a couple hours for liberty called, and for the folks that I was with to be set to go. I went out with three buddies of mine that work in other departments on the ship. We started on our way, before we knew really what we wanted to do. The general consensus was to go out for dinner and then some beers, with no specific place in mind. We headed out on the bus that took us to the MRT station. Due to the number of people from the Navy following the same route, there were lines out the door for the closest ATM. I started to wait, but we decided to skip that, and skip the MRT due to it. We took a cab, which would take US dollar, and headed to Hooters. I ate a great ham ‘n’ cheese sandwich w/bacon, alongside grabbing some wings of the plates of the others. We had the local specialty, Tiger Beer, along with our meal. As soon as we sat down, I got up and headed outside to try to find an ATM and get Singapore money, even though they would also take US dollar at Hooters. It proved to be fruitless, with people I asked sending me on a half a goose chase. I asked a couple guys working in the area, and they sent me to a nearby hotel. Upon asking people inside the hotel, I was sent from one side to the other, with no ATM present. Then, they told me somewhere close to the other side of the river, that I had come from. So, I gave up and decided I would get Singapore money later on in the night. After that, we just walked around Clark Quay (the area we were in). There was a bungee activity that the other guys went for. I however chose not to, and was the designated photographer for said activity. The bungee cords were attached to a 3-person capsule, which upon release sent the folks up 60 meters in less than 2 seconds, held them there, then went up and down a couple times.
FEBRUARY 6, 2005
I write today from Singapore, where the sun is warm, the breeze is cool, and the water is gorgeous.
Today is my duty day, and I had watch this morning from 7:30-11:30. I was posted at the main gate of the Singapore naval station, where we are moored. One of my main tasks was to escort vendors/suppliers of various items, onto the base and to the ship. Some of these folks drove trucks, and some just were walking onto the base. One of them that I walked with was a moneychanger. With him, I had one of the best, most interesting conversations that I’ve had in a long time. We talked about how long I’ve been in the Navy, whether or not I like it, where the ship has been before, and the war in Iraq. We had somewhat differing viewpoints on the war in Iraq, but both of us were right in our thinking. My comment on the war was that I didn’t think we should have gone in there unilaterally, and he thought it was okay. He thought that the multi-national (UN) approach hadn’t worked, and hadn’t been working in that specific situation for a long time. He believes that it was right for the U.S. to invade to keep Saddam from oppressing the people (a point I brought up, and he agreed with), it kept (or stopped?) Iraq from being a country open to or breeding terrorists, and it left Saddam without the possibility of wreaking any havoc on the world. While engaged in, and after the fact of, I am left with one of those thoughts of "Who would have thought that I would in Singapore, walking and talking about global events with a local?"
FEBRUARY 7, 2005
Today is my birthday! I’m 22 now! I had a good birthday, even though it didn't turn out like I thought it would. I started out my day early (about 7 am) in order to do a community service project for the Singapore Children's Society. We all met up as a group at 7, picked up our box lunches, and several boxes of clothes for the kids...and waited till 8 to get on the bus to go to the site. We got there, and did general yard work and picking up trash, etc on the grounds. We raked leaves, picked up logs, and more, to make the backyard a better place for the kids to play. It was fun, though we didn't have as much time with the kids as was originally planned. We worked there basically from 9-12...and then I went out and about with a buddy.
The rest of the day was spent shopping, riding the bus and the train around town, and more shopping before my birthday events at night. I bought a couple things from a Columbia store that we found in one of the malls. I got a cool polyester blue/gray shirt there, as well as new sandals. My buddy bought the shirt for me, and the sandals were my birthday present to myself. My birthday events were dinner at 5:30 at a ribs/steaks/burgers restaurant, and then drinks at another spot at 7:30. I invited about twenty people, and no one showed up! They were all too busy doing other things in port. I did have fun though, doing those things with my buddy, and then other people we ran into from the ship. I got to the drinks spot an hour and a half late...and found out later that a couple people had come on time, and missed me. The drinks spot was cool. They had 100s of drinks on their menu, and all alphabetized. One guy we were with and I both stole the drink menu to have as a souvenir!!