Thursday, August 11, 2011

going native

I'm nearly a week into the overall trip, and have successfully made it through two whole days of work in Singapore.  I've now managed to have a pretty good idea of my way around the immediate area around my hotel also- just in time to check out tomorrow.
The good news is that tonight I walked around and found the place I'm moving to.  It's maybe a 5 minute walk away, which is good.  The bad news is that with the hotel check out time and apartment check in time, I've got an overlap that means I'll probably be lugging my luggage into work.  Getting to work is super easy, unless you're dragging along a 60 pound bag.  I'm debating taking a $3 taxi ride down the block.  

I'm happy to report that the office is a good place.  It's on the small side from what I'm used to- there's only about 15 people there, and 5 of them are in a creative group that's separated from everyone else (across the lobby, through a closed door).  But they've got some chairs and couches and pillows that give it a comfortable, inviting look.  I'm working out of an office (the only one), and it has a large L-shaped bright red couch that I like.  I definitely like all the people working there, although it's way too quiet.  I'll have to work on being loud, weird and obnoxious to get some energy going in that place.  

Late yesterday afternoon though, the quiet was interrupted by a commotion outside the office.  It's a guards...the rising voices of teenage girls yelling strange words.  We're all confused, and none of us recognize who the four guys at the center of it all are.  Thankfully a few of the fans have signs, and we now know we're in the presence of Korean boy band B1A4.  I'm originally highly impressed- it's my first day at work and some actual Asian celebrities are having a photo shoot outside our window!  Wikipedia informs me their album went to #6 somewhere (I'm guessing Korea).   Thinking later, I realize that this 'huge crowd' was really more like 30 people.  And while they were definitely fans, I find it suspect that they all leave at the same time in 3 matching vans.  I come to the conclusion that the record company has paid for this crowd to be there somehow.  

Day one also brought a good meal with some of the coworkers.  We went to a Japanese place in the mall across the street from my hotel.  We managed to order quite possibly the entire menu.  My basic rice/chicken and udon noodles were accompanied by:
- some delicious sashimi (mmmm...yellowtail)
- a steamed egg.  A steamed egg is served in a small, narrow upright bowl.  You eat it with a tiny spoon.  It has the consistency of pudding, but it is definitely egg.  The bottom of the bowl is filled with broth and mystery meat- either beef or chicken, but I'm told that you rarely know which it will be.  I have a bite.  It is not something I care to have again.
- all the shrimp here still have the heads and antenna on.  I have no idea why, 
- We have a small plate of tiny fried shrimp, maybe the size of a pen cap.  They also still have heads.  You are to eat the whole thing in one bite.  They taste like fried breading, and aren't bad.
- I eat sea urchin sashimi.  It's yellowy-orange, and is the consistency of slime.  It's gooey and shiny, and everyone seems to look at me as I try it.  The taste is roughly equivalent to fish broth and ocean water.  I make a note to not try sea urchin again.
- My coworkers agree this place isn't super good- average at best.  I've decided it's probably the best place I've been, and make a note to come back.


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