Suntec Mall near the entrance to Joe's office
Our first 24 hours in Singapore have flown by. I meant to write this new posting last night... but holy jet lag! My body still hasn't adjusted to the time change and I was sleepwalking by about 9pm last night.

Anyways... our flight into Singapore landed around 1:30 am. Much to our surprise, and relief, we were greeted by a personal assistant at the airport who helped us navigate baggage claim (it took almost an hour to get our bags!) and took us on a "fast route" through customs. We made it to our new home, the 8 on Claymore serviced residences, around 3am and spent about an hour unpacking before we crashed.

Up at 7am the next day (Friday here in Singapore), we joined one of Joe's colleagues (who lives in our building) for an early breakfast. Conveniently for us, 8 on Claymore provides breakfast seven days a week and it's served in a nice, sunny room right next to the building's pool. A typical breakfast here includes noodles, eggs, some sort of cooked vegetable, fresh fruit, yogurt, juices and DELICIOUS coffee.

Joe had a meeting at 11am with HR at his company, so I tagged along to see where he would be working. We headed to the subway station down the street and were blown away with what we saw. We live in an area called Orchard, which is known for ritzy shopping, but we didn't expect the malls to extend so far underground! The Orchard subway station (called MRT) is connected to four floors of shopping that extend underground. Not only is there so much shopping, the subway station is IMMACULATE and smells like cleaning solution. It's a very different experience from any other subway I've ever traveled on. And, on a random note, the escalators in Singapore are really fast. You have to brace yourself before you step on to make sure you don't fall! 

The subway ride was about 20 minutes to Suntec Mall where Joe works. You jump off the subway and exit into the mall (more shopping!... we've been told 1 in 10 people in Singapore are millionaires - the highest concentration of millionaires in the world) and it's about a 10 minute walk to where BASF is located in Tower 1 (I think there are about 8 towers that comprise the Suntec complex). I hung out at the Coffee Bean, which I've read is more popular than Starbucks here... not to mention that Starbucks in Singapore costs about twice as much than in the U.S.

Korean bibimbap - our first lunch in Singapore
After Joe's meeting, we headed to lunch at the Singapore convention center with two of his colleagues. Singaporeans love food and there are a million food courts here that are the popular choice for meals. The food court experience in Singapore is vastly different than in the U.S. There is a mix of asian food from different countries, and the meals are restaurant quality - no greasy fast food here! You can get a full meal for about 5 U.S. dollars.

Funny enough, we didn't try the Singaporean cuisine for our first lunch in Singapore. Instead, we had Korean bibimbap for lunch. Joe says it's the best bibimbap he's ever had in his life.

Food court at the Convention Center
After lunch, we headed back to our home for a few hours and relaxed in the air conditioning. Singapore is about one degree north of the equator, so it's tropical, hot and humid here. In fact, the first thing I noticed when I stepped outside of the airport is that this country smells a lot like the caribbean countries that I've been to. Because it's so hot, the buildings are heavily air conditioned in Singapore. I have to make sure I take a sweater with me everywhere I go because I freeze in all of the buildings!

We headed back to Suntec Mall around 3:15pm because Joe had a meeting with his boss, Friedrich. Again, I hung out at the Coffee Bean and relaxed with a book (it's so nice to have time to read for pleasure!). After Joe's meeting, Friedrich took us to dinner at the Vivo City Mall (yes, yet another mall!). Since Friedrich is German, he suggested that we try a German restaurant called Brotzeit.

Dinner with Friedrich at Brotzeit
Dinner was delicious and very fun! It was nice getting to know Joe's boss, who is a very interesting man. He's been a delegate with BASF in Asia for the last eight years. Friedrich is an adventurous man - his idea of a vacation is driving across the desert in a jeep for two weeks, camping along the way (he and his wife just got back from doing this in Australia!).

My jet lag really kicked in towards the end of dinner, giving me vertigo-like symptoms, so we called it a night around 8:30pm.  When we got home, I crashed and was determined to sleep in the next morning. Unfortunately, my body still thinks I'm in the U.S., so around 3am I was wide awake :) I think it's going to take a good week before I'm on the Singapore schedule.

So, in a nutshell, our first day in Singapore was fun, we're jet lagged and we still haven't tried any Singaporean food. We'll see what happens today!

Diane Lopez
8/5/2012 14:12:48

Wow...I'm trying to wrap my head around these "underground malls". Could be very dangerous in regards to shopping! Also, my mother said to tell you both how happy she is to see you're happy and she sends her love. Bern is in Youngstown and put this blog on her favorites so she is keeping up with your adventure! Her concern is what the heck is bibimbap's ingredients! She cracked up at that dish! Ok...until we skype again....luv and see soon. XO


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