Thursday, October 16, 2014

Replicate me, baby!

My first three day weekend in Singapore

On Monday October 6th, it was a public holiday in Singapore. October 5th is Hari Raya Haji or the "Festival of Sacrifice" which is pretty much all I can tell you about the holiday other than we got a day off. Three day weekends in the US usually mean BBQs, fireworks, house parties in the neighborhood and lots of shopping deals. In Singapore, there are shopping deals, but otherwise the similarities, at least for my first long weekend, end there.

Will you replicate me???

Friday night started innocently enough. I went to a coworker's birthday party and arrived with a colleague. The plan was to have an early night. We had a lovely time at the party. Nice conversation, good food, a couple of drinks. We were getting ready to leave and a friend who was in town for the week from the US texted that she was having a drink at the St. Regis and we should join. I was given stellar advice before moving that if asked to do something when you're a newcomer I should always say yes. One drink at the St. Regis. How dangerous can that be? Yes, of course. Famous last words.

We went to the St. Regis and the group of mostly strangers immediately bonded. Great conversation, lots of laughs. The scene at the St. Regis was winding down and it was suggested that we relocate. Again, my answer - yes! We decided to go to the Marriott where my friend was staying. It's a very nice hotel in Singapore in a fancy part of town. The bar must be nice there, we thought. Let's go there and have a few more gin and tonics, which were the drink of choice that night.

We got to the bar and there were some groups of people there, but it wasn't too full. However, very conspicuously there were a handful of tiny, very well-dressed, attractive Asian girls sitting at the bar. They weren't drinking anything or talking to anyone. They were, of course, ladies of the night. Unknown to us, the Marriott is well-known for being a popular place to pick up prostitutes. We obviously weren't there for that and were enjoying each others' company so since we weren't going to bother them, they weren't going to bother us, and everyone can have a good time.

We moved our little party to the dance floor. After a little while, the two guys who were with us left me and my friend to go get more drinks. Well we should have known better than to let that happen. Within 30 seconds, a very drunk American came over to me.

Him: "If I stop breathing and fall on the floor right here, will you replicate me?"

Me: [blank stare for 30 seconds] "Do you mean resuscitate you?"

Him: "Haha yeah."

He then proceeded to tell me how he and his friends are American soldiers off to fight ISIS in the Middle East and that this was their last night before they left for war. As the conversation (if you could call his drunken, mostly incoherent, ramblings a conversation) progressed, it became clear that he was talking to me and my friend for two reasons:

1) We clearly weren't hookers so in his mind we were "cheap"
2) We weren't Asian and he was racist

Yeah... um no. Go tell your American hero story to someone else or go pay for one of the girls at the bar. We weren't interested. They were, of course, not deterred. Several more times different guys from their group came over to us. I started semi-frantically texting our guy friends that it was time for them to come back and get us. Through the rest of the night until we left, one guy from their group who was very tall kept following us around. We nicknamed him "the sentry" because then it was slightly less creepy. But it was actually still pretty creepy.

I'm used to the bars in San Francisco having last call at 1:30 and closing at 2 AM which means I'm put to bed before it's too unreasonably late. Well the bars in Singapore seem to never close because at 4 AM, we hustled my friend off to the airport so she could get off to her flight back to the US and the rest of us poured ourselves into cabs and made our way home.

Note to self: The bar scene is Singapore is NOT the place to meet a guy. At least not one I'd actually want to date.

24 hours in Bintan

The next day we did what an self-respecting Singapore expat does on the weekend, jet off to a different country. On Saturday I was meeting up with two coworkers, one of which was the same coworker from the previous night, to go to Bintan, an island in Indonesia, for the day/night. Amazingly the two of us who had been up far past our bedtimes, managed to get to the ferry terminal with plenty of time to spare. Our third compatriot barely made it in time for us to board, but we all got there and made it on the boat.

The main reason for going to Bintan was to play golf on one of the most amazing golf courses in the world. I do not play golf so I instead sat in the golf cart, drank champagne and heckled. All were happy and it was a great afternoon.


After golfing, we went to dinner at a seafood place right on the ocean. The food was AMAZING, especially the crab. The service left quite a lot to be desired, but the company made up for it. After dinner we went to our hotel which ended up being on the other side of the island from pretty much everything. We debated about whether to get a cab to take us back to the other side where the fun was or to just hang out at the hotel. Well, it had been a big night the night before so let's just have a bottle of wine and take it easy. Actually let's have more gin and tonics.

The gin and tonics proved to be quite a request for the hotel staff who tried very hard to figure out what we wanted, but just couldn't get it right. We obviously needed to keep ordering rounds until the bar staff got it right. This ended up being at about the same time breakfast was served. The hours had just flown by and amazingly most of our conversation was happily pontificating about work. We had installment #1 of the "Words of Wisdom" series and discussed at length the appropriate way in which to matriculate aggressively, as well as fixing all of the problems we were dealing with in our actual jobs.

Most people would think that horrifically boring, but we are all true nerds at heart so it was actually a quite lovely evening. We ate breakfast, slept for a few hours, then headed back to get the boat back to Singapore. The next day was our day off. I don't know exactly what I did that day. I think I mostly had a much needed sleep.

Hooray for three day weekends! I can't wait until the next one!

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