Last Day

Starting to wrap things up here and get ready to head back!  Very much ready to be home!

I had dinner with Aaron last night at a very nice Chinese restaurant.  I’m pretty sure that I’ve never been to a restaurant where there was a line-item for over $900 before and no, we didn’t get the Emperor’s Abalone platter, or whatever it was called.  The pork, chicken, duck and fried rice we did have were exceptional.  We wandered around Chinatown for a bit afterwards and did some shopping and had a few drinks in Clark Quay (which is basically just a collection of about 50-60 bars and restaurants).  Not sure why a country that is essentially in the heart of Asia has a Chinatown, but it’s there.

The Chinese New Year just kicked off and it’s the year of the goat, as can be seen all over the place here in Singapore.  Swung by my last hotel on the way to the Art & Science Museum and found a store that Bob might appreciate!

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The Art & Science Museum had a very nice exhibit on Leonardo da Vinci that I spent a couple hours at.  Very interesting to learn about how diverse of a person he was and how many different areas of knowledge he spent time and effort exploring.

After the museum I headed off to the Singapore Zoo.  Overall, the zoo was very nice, I saw the White Tigers which is kind of the highlight overall, they also had an elephant show that I saw too.  Lots of other critters great and small there.  I was originally going to go to the Night Safari there, but it started raining just when I was wrapping up with the zoo and figured I’d head back to town and start to gather my things together for the trip home.

The river otters were super cute, they were waiting for feeding time and they kept moving back an forth in a little group trying to figure out who was going to feed them.  

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Other than that, I’m checked in for my flights tomorrow, going to pack up and get a good nights sleep for my early morning departure.  See you all soon!

Love you!

 

Pulau Ubin

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So, it turns out that yesterday we weren’t actually done with work.  After checking out and switching hotels, Aaron and I went back to the office to listen in on some meetings and chat with our co-workers in the Singapore office.  For dinner last night we went out for Sushi with Benn who was the guy that coordinated our trip to Australia last year and it was good to hang out with him and catch up a bit.

With work now officially done, Aaron and I found a place to go:  a small island in the Strait of Johore (the waterway between Malaysia and Singapore).  We were looking to get out of the city and away from the shopping, tall buildings and streets and into something more off the beaten path.  We took a taxi to the eastern edge of Singapore and took a water ferry from there to Pulau Ubin.  After a quick 15 minute boat-ride, we were definitely someplace different from the big city.

Aaron (pictured above) and I rented mountain bikes to tour around on the island and explore.

We saw some wildlife along the way with a wild boar and some sort of giant tadpole thing, oh, and a spider that was simply enormous (Aaron’s hand is just behind the web.  We saw a few monkeys in the forest, but didn’t get any good pictures of them.

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The scenery was very nice and we were in the shade for most of the time, but I did manage to get myself a little sunburn along the way.  It’s a far easier adventure when you simply know that there is no air conditioning on the island and you’re just going to get hot and sweaty until you get back to the hotel.  We were definitely that and stopped for some more water and ice-cream bars for lunch.  Yes kids, I had ice-cream for lunch!  🙂

We walked on a boardwalk among the mangrove trees along the shore and we were at high-tide, so at low-tide the water would be about 10 feet lower than what we saw.  And don’t feed the animals…

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The view from an observation tower was really nice, you could see all around the forest out into the bay looking over Singapore:

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The observation deck said it held 20 people maximum, but that was a bit of a stretch, there were easily 30 people up there.  Apparently the majority of the Asians there were very scared of heights as they were huddled in the middle trying to take pictures quickly.  If only we could have done the math on the sign to figure out how many of us could have been up there.  And a quick selfie to prove I was there:

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We stopped for a drink on the way back to the water ferry, and I forgot to mention, the people running the bike rental place we stopped at were very impressed with my height and we took pictures when we first rented as well as when we returned them, with the 5 or so people running the store in various combinations.  For being nice about it, they gave Aaron and I a free drink on our way to the ferry.

When we got back to Singapore we strolled around an open-air market and I found what could have been the absolute best strawberry smoothie on the planet.  No seriously, it was really good, I wasn’t just really, hot, sweaty and sun-burned.  Last shot is looking up at the interior of my current hotel.  I’m pretty good with heights, but looking over the edge from my 13th floor is just a little creepy.  (The picture is looking up from the 13th floor to the top, the elevator is the round tube on the right and there were two crosswalks up around the 20th floor.

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Dinner tonight is planned for some Chinese.  Took a super long shower to get cleaned up after our time outside and that was really refreshing!

Tomorrow, Aaron heads back to Seattle and I have plans to go to the Zoo, Night Safari tour and go to a couple museums; the Art & Science museum has a display running right now on DaVinci which I think will be fun to check out.

Love you all and miss you!

 

 

Work Done

Wrapped up my last day of meetings today.  Got to hear presentations from all the different regions in Asia about how they are selling and working with our products.  The plus side is that they all have a direct and immediate interest in the area I’m working on, so that was good!

Made it back to the hotel and walked around the “Tree Walk” this evening with a friend of mine (Mark, he’s a nice guy with a good name).  You can see the walkway looping around through the trees, but we missed going up there by 15 inures before it closed.  They they did the light and sound show where the trees were all lit up and it was pretty cool!

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On the way back, we caught another really nice shot of the hotel.  It’s pretty much the oddest looking thing on the Singapore skyline:

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Did a bunch more shopping today, but still haven’t found anything fun.  Lots of the stores are just the same as in the US, just the super-expensive versions.  I’m hoping to find some cool Singapore stuff later this weekend in my adventures.

 

Singapore

Finally had a chance to work on this some more and share some pictures!  The below are Singapore harbor from my hotel room, the morning and evening.  There are hundreds of cargo ships and large fishing boats just anchored in the harbor.  Near as we can tell, they haven’t moved since we got here, but there are tons of them out there.  The triple tower building with the sky-bridge / canoe looking thing on top is my hotel.  The top floor has a couple restaurants on it and a pool (bottom left picture).  The Singapore skyline at night is pretty neat too and finally, our fish head guy that was served with our dinner tonight.  I did not try the fish, but the authentic Cantonese (Chinese) was pretty good!

Singapore is hot.  We’re at 1.7 degrees North from the equator, so, pretty much, at the equator.  The heat isn’t so bad, but the humidity is a killer.  Lots of effort is spent avoiding going outside.  They have a similar system to Minneapolis where everything is skyway connected, except here, it’s all below ground and there are shops everywhere, so it’s like one continuous underground mall that connects the buildings, subway system and other stuff.  You can’t go everywhere underground, but you can certainly do a lot!

The hotel is really a unique feature on the skyline, it’s literally 3 towers with what looks like a big canoe on top.  The hotel is connected to a very exclusive mall, lots of brands I’ve never heard of and the ones I have are really expensive.  I don’t know that I’ve been to a place that has a dedicated Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini apparel stores before.

Speaking of cars, owning a car in Singapore is very expensive!  The government taxes cars very heavily to prevent lots of people from having cars.  Part of that is they only release a certain number of license plates every year and then you have to bid on them to get them, the cheapest ones I saw were around 3-4k, the old ones (40+ years old) were selling for over 200K (to get a number like “EK 9 J”) where the lower numbers show a higher status.

Today was first day of meetings and my presentation went well, good feedback all around.  

I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do on my free days this weekend, but I’ll sort it out tomorrow or Thursday.

Miss you guys!

 

Singapore Harbor at morning & night.

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Hotel & skyline at night.

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Pool view over the skyline and fish head from dinner.

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Tokyo

Haven’t posted anything in a while, will have to get back in the groove here for this quick trip to Asia.

The flight from Minneapolis to Tokyo was entirely uneventful.  Spent a fair amount of time working and made good progress on one project.  Watched a couple movies with the idea that I’d take a nap on the next flight to Singapore and then sleep when I get there as it will be just after midnight or so.

Saw a couple e-mails from my co-workers already in Singapore, so I know I’ll have company when I arrive.

Hanging out at the Delta Sky Club in the Tokyo airport.  It’s raining and gross outside, so there isn’t a lot of the countryside to see and plus it’s 1:45am body time, so I’m a little groggy.

Was fun to get an e-mail back from the E already.

Miss you guys!  I’ll write more tomorrow and try to call either morning or evening tomorrow, we’ll see how things are going.

Love you!