Thursday, December 16, 2010

Singapore/Malaysia Day 3: First day of work and Merlion Park

November 23, 2010
Singapore Day 3: First day of work and Merlion Park

We had some more great food on the plane last night and a super smooth arrival into Chiangi Airport in Singapore at around 12:30am (on Nov 23rd). Once we got on the plane in Tokyo, it was 1:30 or 2:00am SF time so I was pretty tired. I actually managed to get quite a lot of sleep - maybe 4 or 5 hrs! I was starting to get a headache but after the sleep I felt pretty great.

Chiangi Airport was super smooth and was surprisingly busy for 12:30am! We went to an ATM, got our baggage and it was quick quick. There was even a bowl of candy at Passport Control!! They were "Fox Mints" and they were really good :) The taxi stand was very organized and reminded me a bit of Japan. Our cab driver was very nice, and explained lots of details about Singapore. Also: it's HOT!!!!!!!! It was about 28 Celcius at 12:30am?!! Insane. It is pretty humid too - my hair is gonna be crazy.

We got into the hotel in about 20 min. It's funny - the cars here are right-side drive but the road signs are in km/h. Like Australia, I guess?! The highway was very clean, and there were lots of neatly trimmed trees along the highway. We drove by Marina Bay Sands, the crazy 3-tower casino/hotel with a ship on top of it. That's the one with the crazy infinity pool that I really want to take a photo of. We also drove past the Singapore Eye (a big ferris wheel). There were some nice-looking apartments with ocean views that the driver told us cost 2-5Million each. Crazy! There were LOTS of boats in the Harbour as we flew in, and we saw them from the taxi too. The driver told us that most of them are parked, and waiting for permits to come into the docks, or something like that. Interesting.

We arrived at the hotel and checked in. As we walked in the door, they said, "You must be Mr. Jutan and Mr. Parrott!" Haha, awesome. We got our stuff upstairs and checked into our rooms. In my room the lights were already on, the air conditioning was blasting, and there was some light classical music playing on the radio! Amazing. That was a very comfortable welcome after a suuuuuuper long amount of travel. I was very tired and gross, but had a nice shower and was asleep by 2am (Singapore time) - which was 10am body time. What day? Who knows!

I woke up at 5:30am, and was wide awake. I tried to sleep a little more but just got up and sent some emails at 6, and got up at 6:30. I unpacked all of my stuff, made a coffee, and found the hairdryer that I was trying to find the night before (well, 4 hours before) :) The apartment/hotel is a great setup with a fridge, kitchen equipment, a tea pot, cups, kettle, etc. Awesome!

The jet lag had me totally awake and ready for breakfast, but I didn't want to call Matt's room too early. So instead I unpacked all my clothes and bag completely, found a laundry hamper, and listened to the same Classical Music station from last night! Really fun. I looked at some emails and the MRT (Subway) Map, and figured out our route to work. Then I prepped the gifts we'd brought for the training people and folks who had helped plan our trip to Singapore. Then I headed down to meet Matt for breakfast.

The breakfast was fantastic. There were eggs, turkey sausages, little curry puffs, pastries, guava juice, and great coffee. I chatted with a girl who worked at the hotel while I was getting a coffee. "How is the jet lag? You just got here last night?" she said, surprised at how awake I looked. "You look very excited" she said, "I don't think you need coffee!" I laughed and said, "Haha, that's what they tell me at home." :)

After the breakfast with Matt, I headed back up to my room and got the gifts and notes ready, complete with Canadian flag pins. hehe. Then we were off to the Dhoby Ghaut MRT station. Apparently the Little India station is a little closer, but we have one less transfer to make if we go to Dhoby Ghaut. It is HOT outside. We walked there and we were sweating like crazy.

We found the MRT station pretty quickly and bought a Translink-like fast card for the subway. It was pretty sweet and also seems to give you 50% off all the trips or so, which is a sweet deal. We then went from Dhoby Ghaut->City Hall->Tanah Marah station. The MRT was really organized and clean and doesn't smell horrible like the BART. To remember the station names, we gave them silly names like Tanah Marah = "Tuna Melt". We tried that "joke" on someone later in the day and they had absolutely no idea what we were talking about. We then took the final transfer station to Expo and found the office. We got in and people helped us find our desks. Our logins worked, there were dual-boot machines already set up for us, and our USA phone extensions were even re-routed already to Singapore! Very cool!! We got a tour around the studio and gave gifts to the people who had helped us out on the trip.

Then it was lunchtime so we took off for a nice lunch with Tommy. That was super fun and we learned about the buildings around the studio. We got some sandwiches and I got a salad with Turkey Bacon (that's a new one! Must be less pork here because of a large Muslim community - that's helpful for me too!) I also got an Apple Cinnamon Lassi which was super amazingly freakin' amazing.

We got back to work and took care of some emails and chatting with lots of people. There was a screening of Harry Potter 7 planned so we picked up tickets which was super great. We got hooked up with some info for our Kuala Lumpur trip (which is coming up this weekend). Then we took off to Bugis area to go to a movie theatre. There was a cool Art Deco building outside. We checked out the food court the basement of the Bugis mall and ended up getting a turkey hot dog upstairs. The movie was great - but the jetlag was starting to set in!

After the movie we headed back to the basement and looked for more food options. We ended up getting a few yaki tori chicken skewers and then headed to the City Hall area to take photos. As we were wandering, we noticed how many people were out late, walking around the subway station.

We got out at City Hall and there were tons of HUGE buildings. My lens was fogging up a lot from the change in temperature between the subway and the outside humidity. We walked across a bridge to Merlion Park and took a photo of the Singapore Mascot, the half-lion/half-fish Merlion. I thought his body looked like a Shrimp! It was super funny and awesome. A group of tourists wanted me to take their photo a few times, and I took lots of photos of my own too. The Marina Bay Sands casino/hotel looks INSANE! I love it. We gotta figure out how we can get a chance to swim in their infinity pool. :)

The Durian building was there too (nicknamed that because it looks like a Durian), and the Fullerton Hotel looked amazing. We then headed back to the mall but it was 10:30ish so things were starting to close. We got a couple pastries, and headed back to Dhoby Ghaut. We didn't really have dinner so we wandered by the only thing open on our way back (McDonald's) and I tried a McSpicy, with cold Milo as a drink! That was fun and I always like trying McDonald's in foreign countries - it's always so interesting to see how it's different. But McSpicy was about as weird as the Singapore menu got - it wasn't super unusual like that next-to-unpronounceable "Juicy Chicken Agatougarashi" in Japan last year. We headed back to the hotel. I put down my stuff and a moment later went to sleep.

Before these crowded streets photo of Matt

I really like this one of Matt with the Singapore skyline!

Darn! Had my white balance on the wrong value... looks too orangey. But I think it still works.

Fullerton Hotel, this place looked amazing

Merlion Park from afar

The glorious, amazing, wondrous, insanely absurd Marina Bay Sands casino and hotel

The "Durian Building"

This place looked gorgeous

Merlion Park

Monks and the city skyline

Marina Bay Sands, soooo awesome

Merlion from one side

Then I realized my white balance was off, and fixed it. Much better!

Another pic of our buddy the Merlion

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