In hopefully the last leg of my 2013 global tour (de force,) I ventured off to Singapore on my latest work and running adventure. Just how far away is Singapore? I had to consult the map as I am many years away from grade school geography. From Colorado, the answer would be fourteen timezones ahead, across the international dateline, over 9000 miles, and two long-ass flights.
Work has been good to me and allowed me to enjoy some pretty exotic and cool places this year and Singapore was the latest not to disappoint. I won't complain about missing Halloween (that was last week's blog,) but this was a Saturday to Friday affair. As long as you're going halfway around the world, you might as well spend a few days there.
Some of the highlights of my trip including a run of course.
|View from the Ritz Carlton Hotel of the Marina Bay Sands|
The Trek and Arrival
My only "bonehead" move on the trip was slightly miscalculating my arrival. I left on the Saturday before Halloween and saw that I was arriving late Monday night. I realized my error the night before I left Denver which was that I was to arrive late SUNDAY night so I was in need of a hotel for my late arrival early Monday morning. Using my secret decoder ring and secret hotel discount codes, I booked the Ritz Carlton on the Kallang River. After a delay out of Denver, I missed my connection in Tokyo which caused a "ripple effect" in my trip and a 3AM arrival (or was it four) to the Ritz.
Being somewhat "punch drunk" or loopy and being a Marriott Platinum member the women working the early morning at the Ritz took pity (it felt) and upgraded my room. "Could I please get a late check out?" was met by "how about 2PM?" #sold The pictures don't do it justice, but perhaps the nicest hotel room with a view I've ever had. It was larger than the first apartment I ever lived in, and opulent beyond words. I was exhausted, but not tired so I took advantage of the king-sized bed and watched a little NFL on my Slingbox until the sun came up. Finally delirious, I "conked out" until after Noon.
I stayed in the room as long as I could as I drafted a postcard for back home and went through all the Nespresso capsules they had in the room. After stealing a bunch of French soap, I was off to downgrade to the Four Seasons on Orchard Road.
One observation about the Kallang River is that it really didn't seem like a river, but more like a bay which was built up on land that didn't exist ten years ago. This is where you'd find the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel...why isn't it called the Kallang River Sands Hotel? #hmm
Shopping is not my thing
I attempted to shop for loved ones back home on the famous Orchard Road, but began to understand that this was one expensive town. Think Hermes purses. I only know of these things because I have a wife who educates me on such worldly things. After seeing too many $400 t-shirts, I blew off the shopping as my "shopping timer" went off. My "shopping timer" is normally 30-40 minutes on a good day...go in, get out, or I explode. Don't believe the television commercials, they don't take Visa in Singapore.
Our last day (with work stuck in the middle,) we went off to the other ethnic areas of Singapore to once again find something to bring back home. For the second time, on the trip I was out of my element as I had no idea what to look for in the textile area of Malaysia. At this point, I was thinking coffee cups and snowglobes from the airport.
I may not run marathons on seven continents, but I did want to check off a decent run while I was in Singapore. The Four Seasons recommended a number of options out of the hotel. I chose a short run to the Singapore Botanical Gardens a short ways from my hotel. One thing I learned about the city is that it very safe. It must have something to do with the severe punishment associated with even the mildest of offenses. The aforementioned markets sold t-shirts that made fun of the various fines for chewing gum (broke that one,) and spitting (broke that one too on my run.) I got a bit of a late morning start which made this one hot, sticky humid run. This is essentially a tropical island in the summer. Einstein forgot to pack shorts other than my running shorts, and I was not going to spend $400 for a pair on Orchard Road.
I had no energy perhaps from the flight and the fact that I'd raced the Columbus Marathon only eight days earlier. This allowed me to stop and snap pics as a tourist of the Swan Lake, waterfalls, and Ginger Garden (I figured my redhead daughter would get a kick out of that one.)
I did not rent a bike like we did in Amsterdam, but I was also able to get in a mile swim another afternoon to pull off a duathlon while I was there at the Four Seasons Pool. Giant lounge chairs complemented the pool and palm trees. Not a bad place to get a mile swim in and get a little work done on the laptop poolside.
Dining in Singapore
We were spoiled with the food while we were there and enjoyed quite a range of food including the sampling of the famous local chili crab. This is a town you could go crazy in as far as dining and also drop some serious Singapore dollar. Another highlight was dining at Level 33 which overlooked the Marina...Kallang River water area and the light show at night at the Marina Bay Sands.
The best dining experience of all was having "high tea" with my childhood friend Beth at the Four Seasons. With English colonization as part of the history, it only seemed appropriate to have high tea. I've known Beth since grade school and we went to the same high school. We got reaquainted in recent years and at our high school reunion. It was truly a delight to see a friend so far from home and catch up on our lives and others we went to school with.
The Journey Home
Once again, the "travel gods" threw a curve at me as my connecting flight in Tokyo was delayed four hours. With several hours to kill, I finally took care of that last little bit of shopping and completely crashed in a "transit hotel" at the airport. Akin to what you might expect for the Tokyo businessman who crashes after a night of cocktails and karaoke. No cocktails this night and karaoke would have to wait for the neighborhood pub when I got home. While there are many wonders in the world, this was a trip that made me feel like "there's no place like home" when I finally got back home.