One of the ways I fight jet lag is to adjust on the plane to the time at my final location. I left Norman on Saturday morning and arrived in Singapore midnight Sunday. So, I stayed almost entirely awake for the 20+ hours I was on airplanes. The idea is that I check into the hotel, take a shower and hit the bed and when I wake up, I'm on Singapore time. This always works like a charm. I'm typing this on Monday morning and feel completely fresh.
But sometime at night, I shuffled off to the bathroom and back to bed. As you can imagine, having gone 20 hours without sleep, I was dog-tired. My eyes were firmly shut as I was doing my shuffle.
And lo and behold, it turns out that the bedroom was at a slightly raised height from the rest of the suite. I tripped on the step and nearly fell. Shockwaves through my feet as I clutched them and hopped onto bed.
Five minutes later, there was still a sharp pain coursing through my feet. Something was wrong. I switched on the bedside light to find my toe bleeding profusely. Washed it off in the bathroom to find that a quarter-inch of the top of my middle toe had been scalloped away. Till the bone, but luckily not through it.
I covered it up with a bandage I had in my kit, went down to the reception, got antiseptic cream and dressed it up.
"Where is the trash can?," I asked the person at the front desk.
"Oh, give it to me.," she said, holding out her hand for all the stuff I'd used to clean my wound.
"No, can't ask you to touch this stuff," I told her, "show me the trash can."
Reluctantly, she did. Can you imagine a receptionist in the US willing to dispose off bloody cotton balls? Would never happen in India either. I'm not sure if this sort of self-effacing service is typical of Singapore.
Or may be it was just the general poshness of the hotel. My suite in the hotel would be a rather upscale studio apartment stateside. Very posh. Sports a Bose music system and a couple of flat-screen TVs. The bathrooms floors and walls are granite. The fridge and microwave are built into the cabinetry. You get the idea.
When I went back to my room, I looked at where I'd tripped. Surely, I should have just stubbed my toe if the bedroom was at a slightly different level. How can a step take quite a bit of flesh off? Closer interrogation revealed that the "step" was really a ledge. Pretty much how you'd set a trap if you were of a mind to:
So, this brings me to my second observation about Singapore. Regulations that we take for granted in the United States, like building codes, are not part of the milieu here. Don't let the nice buildings and roads fool you. This is still a third-world country.