Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Road to Singapore

AUCKLAND - Bob Hope and Bing Crosby are nowhere in sight, but I am on the Road to Singapore today, the next stop on my round the world trip on Star Alliance member carriers. Actually, in my case, the road is a flight path. I'll be taking my second Star carrier, Singapore Airlines, to the airline's home in Singapore, the glittering, lush, island city-state.

Singapore is one of the best food towns in the world -befitting a crossroads city, as it's been since the 19th century, when native Malays, Indians, Chinese, British colonizers and - more recently - international corporate expats, put down roots. Humble hawkers' stalls are the glory of Singaporean food - they sell savory, cheap fare in sanitary conditions, something that can't be said of much of Asia, or for that matter, much of the world. Singapore's got it covered at the high end of cuisine, too. And it's a beautiful place to look at, festooned with restored colonial shophouses and modern highrises.

I'm looking forward to getting there, and getting back on the road.

But I will miss Auckland. It won me over right away with friendly, funny Kiwi hospitality, fresh food and drink, and velvety green volcanic nubs poking up amongst urban clusters all over town. There are dozens of peaks within the city limits - but no worries, mate, they are no longer erupting. Best of all is Auckland's beautiful harbor, criss-crossed by high-speed ferries and graceful sailboats. Auckland is known as "the city of sails'' and it's not a misnomer. I'd return to New Zealand - with a road map in hand, to see more of it - in a New York minute.

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