Saturday, May 7, 2016

Around the world to Singapore and back

Hey guy, hope you all had a great week and didn't miss me too much. I posted on Monday from the air and actually was midflight from Atlanta to Tokyo, followed by a flight from Tokyo to Singapore. A few weeks ago a trip came up to go to Singapore, which I was selected to go for work, to represent my team at some meetings taking place with our global team. As you guys know, I love to travel, and have become known at work as someone who is always willing to go on trips. I do well on them and I love them, but this one time, was one that I was a little unsure about. I have been in San Francisco and then outside of Georgia for work, and with my upcoming race, I was a bit scared of how to make it all work.

However, I moved up my peak week of training, I planned to return back to Atlanta as soon as possible (unlike how I usually try and extend trips) and just decided to suck it up. It was a great opportunity, and there will always be future races to swim, bike and run. I decided to just make it work, and go along for the ride. I knew once I was in the midst of it, it would be a great trip and I was right.

In November of 2014, when I had first started my job in Atlanta, I went on a two week Asia trip and I actually came to Singapore at the tail end of that trip, for a day of meetings and then a weekend of exploring. Oddly enough, it is the one place that I have traveled that I didn't fully document on the blog. I was in a bit of a funk at the time and out of the blogging groove following the Kansas City Marathon, relocating to Atlanta, being in a relationship, etc. The beginning part of the trip I was good at writing about but fell off after returning from Singapore. I had started a blog, which I looked back and read before going, but never finished the draft and never wrote about the experience.

SO, that I will do for you now!

But first, the flight. I flew from Atlanta to Tokyo then Tokyo to Atlanta, but my first flight was somewhat eventful (something you never want on a flight.) But first, I have to share that I had the cutest woman sitting next to me in the middle seat during my first flight. She had never been on a plane in her life and was traveling to Tokyo where her daughter lived, which was a Mother's Day present from her daughter. She was going to be meeting one of her grandchildren for the first time and seeing her other for the first time in years. Everything about the flight experience was new and exciting to her and it made me appreciate flying a bit more as well. She was thrilled that we had TVs on the seats to watch movies, were given head phones, and even was amazed that the plane had bathrooms! I loved it.

Then, for the first time in my life, I had a flight that needed to make an emergency landing, which was a somewhat scary and interesting experience. While in the air, they announced and asked if anyone on the flight was a doctor or a medical professional. Then a little while later asked if anyone had any insulin or glucose tester, and then later announced that we were going to make an emergency landing.  We stopped in Seattle, since the flight was flying across the US and over to Tokyo. When the plane landed, we didn't get off, but EMT teams got on the plane and then took the passenger off.

It was scary for that person and caused a lot of us to be uneasy about making our connections once we arrived in Tokyo. I wasn't sure how much time was taken away due to the emergency landing, but my estimate for myself was that it would be close for me. I was right, and it took me sprinting through the Tokyo airport to make my connection.  Going from a 14+ hour flight, to a short sprint, to another 6 hour flight was NOT fun but I made do.

Eventually, around midnight, after 24 hours of travel, I made it to Singapore.

When I traveled here originally, I had done some research and learned about the really strict laws and rules in Singapore that one must abide by while in the country. One of the oddest for us, is that it is illegal to chew gum. You cannot buy gum anywhere in the country! And similar to Dubai, Singapore is a city-state as a solely organized entity.

It is sometimes fun to return to a place a second time and be totally void of any pressure to do anything "touristy" in the city and also feel comfortable flying in somewhere. I knew that the airport was extremely clean, extremely Americanized, and a pretty simple process. I arrived in Singapore and got a cab from the airport to my hotel. Even though I was arriving around midnight, I did not have any fear in getting a cab alone because I had done this before. When I just recently went to Dubai, since I was arriving in the middle of the night, I arranged for a hired car to get me at the airport and it turned out that it was a 5 minute ride from the airport to the hotel and it cost me about $100. Woops.

I stayed in the Tanglin area of Singapore, which is near the area where my office is. Despite not even getting to my hotel until 12:30 a.m. (technically Wednesday morning), I still had some work to do and then had to get to bed and be up and ready to meet coworkers at 7:30 a.m. It was a bit of a chaotic night, and if you're keeping tabs - that is Monday and Tuesday that I did not have any exercise (I also lost 12 hours out of my day.) Ideally, it would have been great to exercise in the morning but there was no way I was pressuring myself to do that and decided sleep was more important than exercise. At least in the morning.

Following a full day of work, I got back to my hotel a little after 5:00 p.m. and immediately changed and head to the gym to run on the treadmill. I was not interested in trying to figure out if the area that I was in was runable and besides it was SO hot and humid, even within the gym, that running outside felt like a nightmare. I did a 5K on the treadmill, finishing up around 6:00 p.m. and then immediately saw a note that a bunch of coworkers were meeting for dinner in the lobby at 6:15.

When I tell you that I showered and changed faster than I ever have in my life, you better believe it. I didn't wash my hair and was rather gross, but made it in time to jump in a cab and head to the restaurant Lantern at the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore, that had a great view of the Marina Bay Sands hotel and the city bay area. We had some drinks and a light dinner of appetizers, but the star of the night was the view.

I was so tired that I had to call it a night around 8:30 p.m.

I took an Uber back to the hotel, did a bit of work, before heading to bed. My Thursday started at 8:00 a.m. and I knew I wanted to get a run in before work. I woke up, having a hard time dragging myself out of bed, and head to the gym for another treadmill run.  Initially in my head, I told myself I would run for about an hour or do a 10K.  I had done a 5K the day before and thought that I would do the same running pattern I do for marathon training and what I had done in San Francisco, of a shorter, mid-range, and then another short run throughout the days I was there.

However, after 6K on the treadmill, I called it quits. It was so hot and humid in the gym and my body was just tired. Additionally, I had been coming down with a cold and just wasn't feeling well. During the flight over, I was hacking up a storm, coughing nonstop and probably annoying every single person sitting around me. All of these things might be legit, or all of them might just be excuses to not want to exercise. All I could think of was that I couldn't wait for this race to be over so that I could be lazy.  Not a good sign for me staying fit following this race!

I did my workout, then head to work and went immediately from work out to a dinner with coworkers. We went to a pretty well known seafood restaurant in Singapore called Jumbo that was in an area known as Dempsey. It was a fun dinner catching up with friends and enjoying one of Singapore's specialty's, which is "spicy crab."

Now, I am not really a seafood person. I don't like a ton of fish and I get grossed out when you have to dig your meat out of foods such as lobster, or crab. I don't even really like wings that much because I am not good at pulling apart the bones. However, I try the local foods when I travel, so "spicy crab" it was.

I have never had this in my life! And it was a different experience for me - very similar to eating those shrimps in New Orleans.

I embraced it with whatever I had, but I don't think I will be going after spicy crab again in the future! I am just not a fan of foods I have have to dig out of their bodies.  Following dinner, I had to excuse myself to head back to the hotel yet again for a little more work and to fall asleep.  The funny thing about being halfway around the world is the time zones. As it becomes 9 or 10 pm, it is 9 or 10 am for that day back in Atlanta. So, as you're getting ready for bed, e-mails start flying in and it is the only opportunity to be able to connect with coworkers so that things can actually get done during their work day. This is normalness for most of my international coworkers so whenever I travel it and experience it myself, it gives me much greater appreciation for what they go through.

I started Friday with another workout, but I couldn't get myself to run in that humid gym again, so I instead utilized the pool at the hotel. It wasn't really a lap swimming pool like what I had in Dubai. It was just a pool and it had no lines at the bottom so I just decided to get in and swim. It honestly felt good to be covered in water. Water is still my happy place and I love that. I put on my cap and goggles and zoned out and swam laps for about 40 minutes before returning to my room. It was really cool to begin swimming in the dark and have the sun rise as I was out there.

When I started swimming it was dark outside and by the time I finished it was light. It was fun to swim laps outside as the sun came up and I had fun swimming laps. Except I still didn't feel like I got a good workout in. I started Friday feeling a bit worried about my Half Ironman coming up and the weak workouts of the week, but there wasn't much I could do at the time.

I cleaned up and started my work day, which finished around 5:00 p.m. again. I had gotten hit with some pretty intense tiredness which I put up to jet lag, at about 3:00 p.m. I felt so heavy and exhausted for the end of the day that as soon as I was out of work, I had to go and rest a bit before meeting up with some of my coworkers for a night on the town in Singapore on the Friday we had free.  One of the best things about my job has always been the wonderful people I meet from all around the world. These meetings allowed me to reconnect with friends from all over the world and it made me feel really lucky to have been a part of them. It also again made me appreciate how much I have been able to travel to realize that I had met so many people from all around the world throughout the past years!

A small group of us met up in the lobby and our first stop was the Marina Bay Sands hotel, which is the incredibly tall hotel right by the marina with a number of towers connected at the top. It is a staple to touristy people like ourselves in Singapore. Last time I traveled to Singapore I did some of the other touristy things like visit the Botanical Gardens, go shopping on Orchard Road, and ride the Singapore Flyer. The Marina Bay Sands hotel is a staple to the Singapore skyline with its unique look, so it was cool to actually go there and see the city from those heights.

Following our touristy moment we went over to an area of Singapore called the Clarke Quay, which is the riverwalk area with lots of restaurants and bars. We had dinner at a Thai restaurant and then went over to a bar with a live band playing all sorts of current pop songs with great energy. The whole riverwalk area had a ton of energy and lots of different bars and restaurants and people walking around. It was definitely not an area I had seen the last time I was in Singapore so it was fun to explore.

I stayed out as long as I could until I was sufficiently exhausted and returned to the hotel, slept a few hours, and then made my way to the airport to return to Atlanta. The flight back was a bit easier heading from Singapore to Tokyo, then spent my layover in the Delta lounge, before the long flight from Tokyo to Atlanta.

And now I'm home! It is crazy to me that I left on a Monday midday and it is Saturday and I am back in my apartment. I have never done such a far trip in such a short amount of time. It feels a little bit surreal. An around the world trip usually is at least a week, this feels like it was such a whirlwind trip. Which I guess it was.

Time to get my body back to knowing what time it is and focusing on the next thing! Thanks for reading along about my trip to Singapore. Now that it is 8:00 p.m. I am deeming that an acceptable bedtime and letting myself sleep. Happy Saturday!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a ride. I've never been on a flight that had to make an emergency landing, but then again, I don't travel nearly as much as you do. It's always cool to read about your adventures. Singapore sounds like an amazing destination especially with those mouthwatering dishes.

    Gregory @ Harbor Grill