Singapore's Changi Airport is rated the #1 airport in the world by most entities that rate airports. It has theme parks, free movies, a retro video game arcade, hiking trails, and much more. Stephanie Rosenbloom took a 27-hour vacation there with her husband and wrote about it for The New York Times. I was in Singapore in 2018 but didn't spend much time at the airport. I'm headed there again soon and this time I plan to wander around.
As with all wonderlands, though, there's a fine line between fantasy and dystopia. Looking around, it isn't hard to imagine a future in which everyone lives in domed cities in temperature-controlled, never-ending summers. Signs refer to "trails" that you can "hike," as if Jewel's smooth, clean floors are rugged arteries through the wilderness. The trees and shrubs around the waterfall have a corporate name: the Shiseido Forest Valley, after the Japanese beauty company. The waterfall is officially known as the HSBC Rain Vortex. And it's surrounded by stores and restaurants, allowing a visitor to keep one eye on the jungle-scape and the other on the latest fashions at Calvin Klein — or the queue for Shake Shack. The result is a staggering display of artificiality and nature, with lights that can turn a waterfall crimson, or make it seem as if you're dining al fresco under a starry sky.
Image: Creative Commons Zero – CC0