Going Home

August 14th, 2004

I'm now sitting in the wonderful business class lounge at the Singapore airport. Strong coffee, fresh fruit, sandwiches, curry, muffins, and orange juice are available to all. Plus The internet station which includes free access to 8 computers, printer, and ethernet plug for my laptop makes me love flying singapore airlines. A completely different world from india.

My last day in india, friday, flowed appropriately as it should. I had a goodbye lunch with yahoo, did some shopping, did 3 hours of writing in this livejournal. While composing in fritz's guesthouse, i finally witnessed what i would call a monsoon rain. It was a torrential downpour lasting about 30 minutes. Very impressive. Later that night i joined fritz, mike, and his coworkers for dinner at a soothing fusion restaraunt – mostly thai, but a bit chinese and indian. Before dinner ended, i had to say a quck goodbye and then off to the airport.

Yesterday morning i arrived in Singapore. I had no plan, so i found a hotel online (there are many internet stations at the airport), hopped in the shuttle, checked in, and headed for the beach. After sleeping about 3 hours on my 4 hour flight from bangalore to singapore, i was tired but still wanted to check out this town (i get by on very little sleep when i travel, the excitement from new cultures is my caffeine). I chose to take the cable car to the beach in sentosa island in order to get a birds eye view of the city, and it proved to be a very wise move. Amazing. You could see most of the tall, modern buildings downtown, tons and tons of shipping ports (later i counted 30+ ships in the water), and beautiful hills covered with lush vegetation. Sentosa, like most of singapore, is like an amusement park. Everywhere you go is well manicured. Toilets, atm's, trinkets, food and snacks are within arm's reach almost everywhere. They also have a monorail that takes you around the island (about a 30-min loop with 6 stops). I only went one stop to the beach, got off and walked around. This was also well planned, with beach in the middle, surrounded by trees, bathrooms, stores, and a bar. The sand was nice, about the same as goa – some areas were fine white powder 10 feet away from sand that was more like crushed shells. They had 100-meter wide island that was about 30 meters south of the beach that was the “Most southernmost part of Asia”. And i was there. What an accomplisment, now i can die a happy man.

Now check this out – I walk up and down the beach then pick a spot on the sand to chill out for a while. Right behind me a group settles down and one of the dudes walks up and looks at me. It's tom, a guy i know from when i worked at Intel. I haven't seen him in years, and i run into him on a beach in singapore. Wow. I ended up hanging out with him, his fiancee virginia, and their friends the rest of the day. Tom still works in the san francisco bay area (san mateo), but virginia has been working in singapore for about 2 years and is moving back to sf with tom. They hook me up with all the local info – after some discussion i decide to do a massage and then join them later for dinner.

I went to kenko, which is a chain of massage stores in singapore. They have 20 to 60 min massages, specializing in feet, head, neck/shoulders, and full body. I got the full body for an hour – i appreciate the deep, hard musccle massages the most. The woman who performed the massage had the strongest hands i ever felt, but the massage was just average. Of course this massage, like most, left me floating, feeling like jello, which i love. But she still didn't go as deep as i want. I then joined tom and about 10 others for a nice dinner. I even tried durian, a singapore fruit that is definitely an acquired taste. It smells bad to most people, a little like rotten eggs, but most of the locals love it. After dinner we went to one fullerton to a dessert restaraunt on the water. I forgot the name, but that place was unbelievable. All of us had desserts, ranging from strawberry cheesecake ice cream and hot fudge brownie sundaes, to creme brulee and custard, apple tarts, and a warm chocolate cake for me. The cake shell was perfect, but the warm chocolate mousse like interior was phenomenal. Sitting on top of a warm, sweetened orange slice with vanilla ice cream on top, surrounded by berries, this could have been the best dessert i ever have. Now, i can really die happy.

Despite how clean, modern, and beautiful singapore is, i definitely get a george orwell 1984 type feeling. Everything is great as long as you like it, and if you don't like it or do something out of the ordinary, you bettter watch out. A great place to visit, but i wouldn't want to live there.

Time for my flight. What a trip. I'm lucky to get to travel. I must do it more often.

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