June was the month of travel for me. I spent the first 3 days of June in New York city, taking in the sites and sounds (and EATS!) of the city that never sleeps. On the 3rd of June, I embarked on the longest bout of international travel I’ve had the luxury of experiencing.
As part of my (not-so-new) role at Adobe, I’m rolling out a global social media training program to train all Adobe employees to be more social both personally and professionally. Since this is a global program, I’m lucky enough to get to travel to places around the world to train trainers and employees in our regional offices. My first stop: Singapore.
I spent five days immersed in Singapore culture and was completely blown away.
I arrived in Singapore morning the morning of the 5th. Thursday was the only day I felt slightly jet lagged and I’m not even sure if I could call it jet lag…I’m sure it was a mixture of being on the other side of the world and having just finished 21 hours of travel. Flying from NYC to Singapore is not fun – and really, flying east is the wrong way.
Nevertheless, I landed in the morning on Thursday and almost immediately (after a much overdue shower) went exploring. This was my first trip to Asia and I had no idea what to expect.
The first thing I encountered: humidity. And lots of it. It’s hot there, but not the usual dry heat I am used to. (84 degrees really isn’t that hot, but when you couple it with 97 percent humidity, I couldn’t breathe).
I set off to find some food and stumbled upon Maxwell’s Food Centre. Later, I found out that this type of food center is called a Hawker Center and that it’s a cultural statement of Singapore. Hawker Centers are essentially full of food stands that are all selling different types of food. Most of which, I had no idea what it really was. I picked the longest line thinking that the food stand with the longest queue must be good.
Chicken Rice. Red Plum Juice. Butter Bun. That was my first meal in Singapore and after that, I was convinced we would get along.
I forced myself to stay out of the hotel room that first day in fear of falling asleep. I pushed and pried my eyes open until 8:30pm and then zonked.
Friday was spent in the office, training trainers in the Adobe Singapore office. A trainer from our Noida, India office flew in for the training as well. I got to know the rest of the Singapore team at Friday happy hour and the marketing team took me for a treat Friday night.
Chili Crab is one of Singapore’s signature dishes and the team took me to Jumbo, one of the famous Chili Crab restaurants in the city. Let me tell you, Chili Crab is no joke. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Coming a close second: Cereal Prawns.
We then explored Clarke Quay a bit and I sipped on my first Singapore Sling. The city comes alive at night and man, is Clarke Quay the perfect place for some people watching.
Saturday arrived and I embarked on my tourist mission: to see as much of Singapore in the two day weekend as possible.
My dad’s best friend spends much of the year in Singapore and I was fortunate enough he was in town while I was there as well! We walked along Boat Quay, visited the Merlion (this crazy looking mermaid + lion that made a baby and became the Merlion), ate lunch at the Fullerton Hotel, went to the top of the Marina Bay sands (holy amazing view!), and walked around the Esplanade. It was hot. And humid. And I was most definitely the American girl practically melting on the sidewalk. But, it was amazing to see so much of the city by foot.
Saturday night, my friend from San Francisco (who moved to Singapore in October of last year!) joined me in being a tourist. We ventured all the way out to the Singapore Zoo and went on a Night Safari. The Zoo has an open concept, meaning there are very limited cages. We boarded a tram that took us through the zoo and to parts of the zoo I don’t think you can actually visit on foot. We saw lions and tigers and fishing cats. Lots of deer (and varietals of deer) and otters. Was very cool to see these animals up close! Also very glad I wore mosquito patches…
Next up: authentic Korean BBQ. Beef ribs. Red pig. Spicy rice cakes. Yum.
Sunday morning I woke up, had a Skype chat with the family to check in, and ventured out into the heat to find some Kaya toast and iced tea. Kaya toast is a breakfast food I became enamored with while in Singapore. It’s not fancy: wheat toast, butter, Kaya spread (sugar, coconut milk, pandang leaves and eggs). Delicious. Like nothing I’ve ever tasted before (I even liked it so much I brought a jar of Kaya home with me!).
I took my toast and iced tea up to Fullerton Park where I sat near a founded and enjoyed the view of the Marina Bay Sands peeking out between the lush trees.
I then met a friend at the East Coast Hawker Center for lunch. There, after the 10-minute tropical storm, I tried Stingray for the first time. Impression? Fishy. Very, very fishy. The food was great and we walked along the shore for a bit before heading back into the city. Since it was so hot outside, we decided to explore the National Singapore Museum, which for me, was extremely interesting. It was neat to learn about the history of the country and get a better understanding of the people and the laws.
After the museum, we walked through the Gardens by the Bay just as the sun was setting. The Supertree Grove looked like it was pulled straight from the movie Avatar. So futuristic and beautiful. And the view from the top of the Marina Bay Sands at night? Gorgeous.
Monday was spent in the office, nine hours of training and then packing up and heading to the airport for the next leg of the trip: Sydney, Australia!
Stay tuned for an post on Sydney, Australia coming up next!