Singapore was everything that they said it would be. What really struck me was how clean everything was. You could probably drop a piece of bread on the floor and you can still eat it without fear of germs. And heck, tap water was potable! It's been a very long time since I was able to drink from the tap.
I made the mistake of agreeing with our EA who booked my trip that I was ok to leave Manila at 740PM. I thought that there was a time different so I would arrive at Singapore at 10PM. Just enough time for me to go to the hotel, check in, fix my stuff and go to sleep. Obviously, it was a wrong call. That's why I was not too alert at the first day of the workshop. Good thing our facilitator, my boss (indirect line), was understanding enough to acknowledge that not all of us would be participative on the first day.
When I arrived in Singapore Tuesday night, it was raining. When I woke up the next day, it was drizzling and by the time we were done, it was raining--hard. It prevented me from going around too much.
The whole workshop was interesting though--even if we worked through lunch during those two days. We ended at 530 on the first day and 6PM on the second day. I guess that's why we worked through lunch so we can leave early. Meeting my counterparts from other countries made me a bit insecure about myself and the work that I do. I felt so insignificant and for the first time since I got the invitation email, started to question my own presence in the workshop. I felt I had no input whatsoever as the other countries have better operations and business than what we do. But I learned a lot in terms of improvement of our process and having some sort of goal for my team.
One thing I noticed was that people there work really hard. During dinner on the first night, everyone was so quiet. Either everyone was really tired or everyone's just serious. We had dinner at Peach Garden Restaurant at the 31st floor of the OCBC Centre near Orchard Road. They served Chinese cuisine and it was good. Not superb but good. The portions were small but afterwards, I felt so full! It was 7 courses, I think.
On the second night, I met up with my friends based in Singapore. They took me to Suntech Plaza where we had dinner at Pepper Rice where I had a Chicken with Pepper Rice while they had Salmon with Pepper Rice (would want to try that next time). After that, we went to Carrefour where I bought some pasalubongs.
It was 9pm when we adjourned. Since my friends had work the next day, they took me to the taxi stand where I caught a cab that took me to Mustafa located in Little India. I swear, being in that mall was the longest time I held my breath. I had to go out every few minutes to catch my breath. (You have to go there so understand what I mean.) But it was the only mall open at that time (they're open 24 hours!). I managed to buy more pasalubongs and the tissue box cover that my mother-in-law asked me to buy.
When I woke up Friday morning, the sun was shining! Of all days it's when I'm supposed to leave for home. While waiting for my shuttle to take me to the airport, I walked around the block and check out the sights. Since I'm far from Orchard Road, I was only able to see a couple of temples and more buildings.
The shuttle was prompt in picking me up and when we got to Changi Airport, we found out that our PAL flight was delayed by an hour. However, there are a lot of things that one can do at Changi Airport and the hours can fly by unnoticed. I went shopping, surfed the net (go free internet access!), mailed some post cards and had lunch at Burger King.
When I got home, I still went to Duty Free as Leo was asking for Planters Cheese Curls--which they did not have. So I just bought more Combos and chocolates. Haha.
I would want to return to Singapore someday and hopefully, Leo will be with me. It was an adventure though. It was my first trip alone in 20 years!