March Madness:Part One

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I have always followed the NCAA tournament and heard it called March Madness, but nothing can compare to our March Madness. As you know a 9.0 earthquake hit Japan on March 11 resulting in a giant tsunami and nuclear reactor leak. There really was no sigificant damage in our area but the emotional and psychological toll was starting to add up. We were having several aftershocks a day. The nuclear news was not encouraging. School closed for the week and the next week was spring break anyway, so we decided to book a flight to Singapore for me and the kids for Tuesday. Lyndon would join us on Friday as planned. We were heading through there on our way to Malaysia anyway. They said it might take 3 1/2 hours to get to the airport because one part of the highway was shut down. We left at 5:00 in the morning. Right as we were heading out the door we had another strong aftershock. OK we were ready to be on stable ground. We were following with another family that was leaving too. There was absolutely no traffic and we made it to the airport in record time – 1 hour. We now had a lot of time to kill at the airport. Many of the shops did not have full supplies and there were a lot of people there trying to get flights out of Japan. When we got to our gate it was eerily empty. I have no idea why but our flight to Singapore was empty. We spread out and each had our own seat.
We arrived in Singapore with no problems and went off to our hotel. It looked a little sketchy at first but after exploring over the next few days we were fine. The biggest problem was that we were several rooms apart.
Our friends, the Steinlaufs, were in Singapore too so the next day we met up and went to the Science Museum. It was really very good and everyone had a great time. That night the kids and I went to a really good Tex Mex restaurant. It was strange how some people reacted when they heard we were from Tokyo. It was kind of like a delayed reaction. They would say oh … then ohhh how is it etc…

On Thursday the DeGraws had arrived so the girls, with Ashley, Kaitlin and Kay went shopping. We met up with them for lunch at the shopping mall. They loved Forever 21 because they had sizes that would fit and a different selection than Japan. While we were there Lyndon was calling and trying to get an ealrier flight out of Japan. The US was starting to send planes to help people who wanted to leave. I had the man at the concierge desk at the mall help me. He looked up United Airlines, their number, how to get there, etc. He even gave me his phone to call them while I also had Lyndon on my cell phone. He was a great help. We had to head back to the hotel to get on the internet so we did. The boys went swimming for a while too. That night we were lucky enough to be able to meet up with our friends the Roberts. They used to live in Tokyo and now live in Singapore.They have a beautiful apartment. It was really nice to have a homey setting to eat dinner, sit back, relax and watch American Idol. While there I got a message that Lyndon was on the plane to Singapore.
I am leaving out all the ups and downs of the news. The nuclear situation was changing by the hour. It was such an uncertain time. I was just glad Lyndon was getting out just in case. Our big stress was that MJ was in the kennel at the airport. What if something really bad happened and we could not go back and get her????

The next day Lyndon arrived bright and early. He was tired so did not go touring with us. He was mostly resting and on the phone with work all day. The Degraws , with their 3 boys and daughter, met up with us and we got some breakfast and then walked around Singapore. We walked to the Marina Bay area. We then met the Steinlaufs and walked some more. We headed to the Urban Redevelopment Center. It was a museum that had a model of Singapore and lots of info on how they have redeveloped the city and how you need to think about planning a city. It really was facsinating. We spent a couple of hours there. Next it was off to lunch at a huge food court, Maxwell Court. There was everything you can imagine there . I think the most popular was just some fresh fruit. Next we headed to the Buddha Tooth Relic Museum. It was a huge temple. It was very beautiful. On the rooftop was a garden you would never believe was on a rooftop. We were getting tired and headed home. That night we made Lyndon leave the hotel room and we went for dinner at the Ion building. I know it was a Friday in lent but we went to the Meat Restaurant. It was very good. We walked home along Orchard Road and stopped for Ben and Jerry’s. The next morning was an early flight to Malaysia. The Degraws were on the same flight as us.

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