Aside from the jeans incident just as I was leaving Singapore, the rest of my trip was absolutely great. Even though I was in back-to-back meetings with dinners and lunches and conference calls squeezed in, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.
Because it has been so cold in Shanghai, one of the most enjoyable parts of this visit was the warmth. As I packed I pulled out clothes that I haven’t worn in four months, trying on sleeveless tops and dresses and searching out my summer shoes. It took me much longer to pack than it should have since I moved in September – but the anticipation of the warmth made it a great part of the trip.
When I have to travel to Singapore in the summer going from hot to hot it doesn’t have the same impact, but this time of year when I land in Changi Airport it’s like a warm hug embracing me.
The second factor that makes Singapore enticing is the food. Because it is such a mix of cultures I can find anything. This trip the food was especially diverse. I had the national dish of Singapore – chicken and rice at a local hawker stand, enjoyed Japanese yakitori while watching the light show in front of Marina Bay Sands and had Italian at a restaurant called “No Menu” with wild boar ravioli and excellent proscuitto and melon.
Another key is my colleagues. Because I have been meeting and working with many of the team for a long time now, even though we’re talking about very technical projects, the breaks and meals are filled with personal stories and gossip on folks we know and what is going on. That is the ideal type of business meeting – familiar enough that there is no need to prove myself, instead incredibly productive days that blend into drinks and dinner (and then emails at the hotel until the wee hours of the morning).
In addition to colleagues, I have good friends from Shanghai who just moved to Singapore a couple of weeks ago and was able to meet up for brunch with them before I headed back to the airport. That personal touch made this trip even more special.
The final pleasure point is the airport itself – I checked in early this time and after purchasing my chocolate quota for the next several months at duty free I wandered. This time instead of looking at the koi ponds or wandering through the butterfly garden, I got a massage. My neck was stiff and the masseuse worked through my tight muscles readying me for the plane ride back. I still had a few minutes before boarding and so had a laksa (seafood spicy noodles with coconut broth) for $4 SGD and relaxed some more.
I arrived back in Shanghai to weather slightly above zero degrees with my head full of puffy clouds and good food. I need to remember that warmth until things thaw out a bit here. What a gift to defrost in Singapore in mid- January!
Where have you escaped to in the winter? My January blahs are firmly behind me as I have Singapore behind me and our upcoming Chinese New Year trip in front of me. Just need to get through another two weeks!