Monday, May 5, 2008

Hey Hey Taipei!

1/2 May 08 -- A wrap-up of our final day abroad coming soon!

NATO+4 in Seoul

30 April/1 May 08 -- A wrap-up of our South Korea visit coming soon!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Singapore--my new favorite city!

26/29 April 08 -- On Saturday morning, we arrived in Singapore on a red-eye flight from India. If you haven't been to this amazing country, go find a calendar and pick a vacation week and start making plans. I'll join you if you need a travel companion. I've seen 14% of the world (according to my Facebook map), and this place tops my list. This unique city offers a blend of people, cultures, cuisine, and architecture from both East and West; all set in a perfect tropical setting. Clean, modern, friendly, efficient, and big fun. But don't bring chewing gum, it's illegal there!

We had one night off during our two week tour of duty, so we decided to spend it in the Clark Quay area. Great food, music, dance clubs, people watching. On Sunday afternoon, we went to East Coast Park to wander along the beach path with the locals. Adam and Matt spent about four hours trying their luck at cable wakeboarding/kneeboarding/waterskiing at a cool watersports complex (while I got my MBA from a touring ESSEC professor from Paris). We finished our perfect day off with barbequed stingray from a local food stall. Yum!

On Monday, we visited the U.S. Embassy (BTW, good job Bill Clinton---this fortress was the nicest of our trip!) and then had dinner with our new partners TME Systems. They picked the restaurant with the most stunning view of Singapore--the Swissotel's 69th floor Equinox Restaurant. The food and company were both fantastic, as we overlooked the tallest Ferris wheel (the Singpoare Flyer at 165 m) and the site of the first Formula 1 night race being held this September.

Tuesday was our all day meeting with TME, then off to the airport that evening for a red-eye to Seoul. Two more countries to go!

110 Degrees in New Delhi

23/25 April 08 -- Our flight arrived late evening in India followed by a 45-minute chaotic car ride to our New Delhi hotel. Any normal person would have been scared to death being driven down the road with no painted lines six vehicles wide (built for three vehicles wide), horns beeping, cows wandering, people crossing, rickshaws meandering. But growing up riding with my brother Greg, I found the scene comical and almost fictional.

Matt and I had our all-day partner strategy meeting with ITGlobe on Thursday ending with cocktails and conversation with Brig Sabarwal and Col Raju, and dinner at the Officers' Club. Good stuff!

On Friday, it was a stifling 110+ degrees. After our US Embassy visit, we took a quick tour with a guide to a few local landmarks, including the Lotus Temple and Humayun's Tomb. We even saw an elephant in the traffic mix that day (can you spot it below?)!

Next up, red-eye to Singapore to meet up with Adam again...

From Malaysia to India

23 April 08 -- After arriving at the KL airport, we could have sworn we were being followed by the Malaysian government in the form of a sweet local girl named Maha. She had helped us throughout the day get our car service, leave our bags at the luggage counter, get our boarding passes, etc. We decided that she was just being nice with no ulterior motive except for maybe a tip and friendly conversations with some Americans.

If you know Matt, feel free call him "Puddle Boy" and ask him about nearly getting electrocuted while standing in a pool of water in the fancy airline club. It was the funniest moment of our entire trip! An early evening flight enabled us to chase the sunset to India.

Quick Day in KL

23 April 08 -- Since we were "in the neighborhood," I convinced my colleague Matt that on the way from Tokyo to Delhi, we make a pitstop in Kuala Lumpur to attend the Defence Services Asia tradeshow. After flying all night from Japan, then catching a few hours sleep at Singapore Airport's Transit Hotel, taking a one hour morning flight to KL followed by a one hour mini-van ride to the city, we were there! After we collected our badges and were making our way into the convention center among a sea of uniformed military attendees, we were startled by gunfire breaking out followed by womens' screams. Matt and I looked at each other in horror, then off in the direction of the noise to gladly see a sign that read "Mock Battlefield Medical Exercise" (or something like that). Whew! Talk about seriously being scared!

Anyway, we spent about three hours at the tradeshow, making a lot of great contacts in the local UAV and netcentric warfare arenas. Lunch at Pizza Hut before we made our way past the tallest twin buildings in the world--the Petronas Towers (~1,483 ft.) on our way back to the KL airport.