Goin’ September way…

Wow, long time no post!  So much has happened recently. I can’t believe that I haven’t posted since August 2nd. Why? Very busy at work, nothing to report, and general craziness. It all started around August 2nd, in fact…

I got a promotion at work, which is nice; so I’m now the managing editor of the publishing side of the business. Of course, this means more work for me, so I’ve been trying to keep it all together. And so, what happened was that in August I had to worry about getting three publications put together (two regular publications, one of which I had to write about 15 pages of stuff for, and a Chinese version of one of them that required coordinating with the graphic designer and the translator), as well as our video interview schedules, the regular nuts and bolts of my daily work, training new staff, getting ready to move house (packing boxes, coordinating with the moving company, etc.), putting up a new website, conducting job interviews, moving house, getting an iPhone, preparing for a major conference that was happening in mid-September that we were an official media partner for, and all sorts of other nutty stuff. I’m surely forgetting something. The bottom line is that I worked through the last two weekends of August and had 16-hour days and just got everything done. The last week of August was the most incredibly productive week of my life – no loose ends untied. The result is that I have a new website, new print publications in multiple languages, a new apartment, and a swanky phone. Cool!

I also had a major highlight of my life in Singapore – my friend from my college days Danella came out to visit me! And she had the most awesome timing – she chose to come out just between the business of my move and the business of my conference. Perfect! Her flight was landing just after midnight, so I worked late and then went out to the airport to meet her on the last train. We took a cab back to my place and hung out for a while drinking gin and tonics and chatting. Saturday Naoko and Zen woke up and saw Danella saw (it was Zen’s first time since he had been 8 months old) and we all had a big breakfast. Zen and Naoko did art and math and Japanese lessons and stuff, while I took Danella downtown to sample the Esplanade, Raffles Hotel, the Bugis area (including Bugis Street, which Leonard Cohen once sang about), and then to Little India where we had a beer at the Prince of Wales. Walked around there a bit, then took the bus back home to catch up with Naoko and Zen for some Indian food for dinner. Unfortunately, I picked a noisy table, so it wasn’t so great, but we all enjoyed the yummy food. Sunday we went to the botanical garden and just walked around looking at interesting plants. Went into the orchid garden, but they were doing construction on the old house in there that was pretty noisy. They were also setting up for a concert and had some second-rate Sarah MacLaughlin-like singer going through the sound system, which was pretty noisy and annoying. But the botanical garden is so great, and we had nice munchies at the main cafe while Danella updated her Facebook. Took great pictures of engorged banana flowers, inviting pitcher plants, bodacious orchids, and all sorts of other cool things. Went off to Bar Bar for burgers, something we’d been promising Zen for ages and ages, and we finally did it!

Monday, I was off to work. Zen had a week off school, so he and Naoko and Danella went off to the Singapore zoo. Seems like they all had an amazing time, so it was my turn to be jealous, of course. I got back not late, then we had a nice dinner together. Tuesday Danella met a friend, I didn’t see her, but Wednesday night I did. She left on Thursday, and I continued on with the week. Friday, Saturday, work work work to prepare for the banking convention, then Sunday I went to sleep at 1:30 AM and got up at 4:15 AM for my flight to Hong Kong. I slept most of the way but, lucky for me, it was a budget airline flight and they didn’t wake me up for one of their crappy meals.

A banking convention in nearby Hong Kong, what a relief – conference hours may be grueling, but not as grueling as a regular week at work. Sunday I checked into my ritzy hotel with a harbour view, then went to a bank lunch in a ritzy meeting room down by the water (great food), then an IT vendor gathering at a groovy old building (so-so food). We arrived just as a heavy downpour was ready to lash the island. Monday was the opener, I wandered around, checked out the booths, saw people from conferences past, made new friends, chilled out, had beers, ate, made things happen, took videos, and was just generally a happy camper. The interviews proceeded smoothly, I made friends, and when the day was over I went over to a bank party in a neighbouring building. Sure, there was a typhoon approaching, and maybe some of the other ritzy events were cancelled, but since the one I was going to was in the building just next to the convention centre and didn’t require any bussing or other sorts of transportation to get people there (a big consideration when insuring these sorts of gatherings), this event was not cancelled while all others were. We went to the party, we met the CEO of the bank, we hung out, we had great views of the city, the typhoon did us no harm (nor, in the end, did it affect Hong Kong much at all), we were served an unending supply of gin and tonics, and then we went home… by public transport. Ouch.

Tuesday morning I thought that we’d be typhoon-ed out of the conference (imagine being greeted by heavy sheets of rain drenching the city), but when we looked out of the window in the morning and saw people walking on the streets without being swept away – with out even carrying umbrellas – we knew we would not be able to use this excuse to miss any interviews. And so it was another regular day at the conference, except there was no party in the evening, so I had wonton soup for dinner in a local dive – lovely. Wednesday we took care of the show and did interviews, then in the evening there was a pleasant little dinner with one of the IT vendors. It was in a private room that was part of one of the harbourfront hotels, we ate and drank and enjoyed ourselves, then at 9:00 or so we got to see the laser light show that hits the Hong Kong skyline at nights. A very pleasant evening. Thursday, the last day of the event, we got going and did the interviews, I got to the closing plenary session, then had some tidbits and beers and conversation at the closing cocktail session, then a bus back to the hotel room, then I wrote an article, and headed off to a party on the rooftop of a 31-storey building. Not bad. Woke up early the next morning, packed, headed out to the airport with my boss and one of my colleagues, sat on the plane, slept…

Moving house!

Moving stuff!

Posing Zen!

Sunset from our new house’s living room.

View of Singapore’s highest point, also from our living room.

Take a tour of our place!

Showing Danella around Singapore!



Singapore skyline – with Merlion!

Botanical Garden greens!

The flower of the fabulous cannonball tree

The succulent banana tree flower.

Pineapple flower anyone?

Bloated coconut husk heads.

Orchid paradise

The Greenman.

Orchid Number Nine.

Orchid, orchid baby.

Pitcher plant.

Business trip to Hong Kong

Smoggy arrival in Hong Kong – a view from our hotel.  Note the barely-perceptible bridge at the right side.

View from Central, 75th floor.

View from my hotel room on a nice day.

View of Hong Kong from the convention centre where our event was.

View of the HSBC building.

View from the 31st floor in party central, Lan Kwai Fong.

Lots of available taxis.

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