Sunday, December 18, 2011

Singapore and Sitex Expo 2011

Today is officially "Chase Blog Backlogs" day. I can only chase one backlog per blog so I'm choosing to post about my Singapore experience last month. Was there from November 25 to 27.

Unlike my brief sojourn in Singapore four years ago, which was mostly leisure, this trip was really just about the Sitex IT Expo. Cris and I spent our mornings and afternoons in Singapore Expo and what was left of the night was spent on food tripping and exploring whatever we can. In short, we didn't really get to see much outside that convention center.

What I noticed, though, is that many things have changed in the last four years. It's like Singapore is just so eager to make itself as "vertical" as Hong Kong. Culturally speaking, Singaporeans are the same geeky bunch that they've always been (and I love them for it even if they kept talking to Cris and me in Chinese). It's really just their structures that suddenly feel like they sprouted out of nowhere.

Took a photo of the MRT area. I think one of the best features of the country is how easy the transportation system is. You can use one card for both the MRT and their bus lines. Getting anywhere is such a breeze. I like the fact that there was a lot of walking involved and it was good for my circulation.

LOL. Ok, couldn't resist having a photo with the pink Christmas tree. It's so cotton candy cute! =^.^=

This is one of the NEW things that I noticed. That beautiful line of glass buildings fronting the Marina Sands. Last time I visited the country, the Marina Sands had yet to exist. What's nice about this is that to further tourism growth, there are artists that would perform in this area for free on weekends.

My cousin Angel wanted to take us to Singapore's version of Mercato, but since I cannot gorge on fried food, we opted to go to the hawkers. That's probably the only place where I can find some good and cheap vegetarian meals.



La Pa Sat Festival Market. This was where Cris, Angel and I had dinner. The only thing I don't like about the food is that it's so difficult to find non-spicy dishes. Now I understand why Indians have lassi. You really need yogurt drinks for digestion.

Sitex IT Expo. I didn't get to buy anything for myself so I'm not quite sure if I enjoyed this place. I wanted to get a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0+ but it turns out that it isn't in the market yet.

Our  CEO gave me money to buy a laptop for the QA Director. I got a good deal since it cost a mere SGD999 (and came with free memory upgrade to 8GB). I should have waited for this trip before I accepted my company laptop a couple of months ago, hahahaha.

The thing about expos like this is that it sort of reminded me of Divisoria. You dive in there, braving the throng of people going in and out, and haggle about pricing.

And then you get to see people with varying accents tell you how great and inexpensive their digital products are. Most of the stalls had that charming guy with a mic.

One funny experience we have here was that Singaporeans talked to us in Chinese while Filipinos quickly identified us and they immediately switched to Tagalog when dealing with us. The irony is that, those Filipinos looked Chinese to me and I initially thought they were because they spoke Singlish proficiently. Despite the confusion, there were hardly any language barriers because Singaporeans can switch to clear English in a snap. (I say "clear" because many Asians, us included, tend to sound like we're chewing English words.)

What actually shocked me was that for every hour that passed, the prices dropped by SGD100. By afternoon, most of the products have either been sold out or already worth half of what they originally cost.

Above: Sony had one of the best-looking booths in the place.

I was actually raising my camera to take photos because I could not see anything but heads.

More people with microphones.

Cris was able to buy herself a Samsung laptop, a Lenovo tablet for her mom (Tita May), and a portable hard disk drive. Most of them cost about half or 3/4th the price of the gadgets you'd find in the Philippines.

I forgot the name of this Japanese restaurant that served so-so tasting dishes. The portions are huge, though.

That's my cousin Angel smiling for the cam.

Maybe this photo should help identify our location. Hehe.

The interiors are posh. The building itself reminded me of our own Power Plant mall at the Rockwell area.

Cris obsessing over a map. She does this every time we travel. For Singapore, though, she doesn't need this map much since the country is so OC and systematic that getting lost is nearly impossible.

Chillaxing just before leaving for the airport. We had about four hours left before departure so Cris and Angel played Halo on Angel's XBox.

Our last photo of Singapore. This one was taken at the Changi Airport. This is probably the first set of green Christmas trees I've seen.

All in all, I wish I could return to Singapore for a real vacation. When I can explore the place for its own sake and not because I'm in a convention, where I'm cooped up inside an enclosed hall for most of the days. I swear, when I've graduated, I will do just that.

For more photos of our nightly explorations, visit the Skysenshi's Hermitage FB page.

My next post will be about my recent Hong Kong trip, which was a lot more intimidating. (Had some minor trouble with what my mom suspects are people from Mainland China.) 



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