Sunday, 18 December 2011

Reunions and Farewells - recapping Team Taylor's last weekend in Singapore...

Team Taylor Deportation/Repatriation Countdown
Days left in Singapore: 5
Days left until arrival in the Queen City: 12
The girls on the 2nd floor terrace at Raffles Hotel.
And a good Sunday afternoon to you all from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City.  This weekend has been AMAZING for so many reasons, the most important of which is that I FINALLY HAVE MUFFIN PUFFIN BACK!!!!!!  She and Cath rolled in the door at 7:30 AM on Friday morning, and a weekend of immortality has ensued. 

Friday was a terrific day in the office, albeit a bit sad.  The highlights were crossing off some of the final to-do's as part of handover and a terrific lunch at the White Dog Cafe with Pumpkin and Cath, but the sadder parts were saying farewell to some of my colleagues, as I've no idea when I'll cross this way again.  Goodbyes are never fun and always too rushed, especially when they're in an office and people have planes to catch.  So Nancy, should you find yourself bored over your 2 weeks stateside (unlikely) and happen to read this - let me say that it's been amazing working with you, enjoy your time at home, and all the best in 2012.  Keep everyone in line - especially if they venture into any Korean BBQ joints or converted power plant dance clubs...

The other, tougher farewell was my final 1-2-1 with Martin.  This session obviously wasn't much about current projects, issues, or thinking through the next two weeks, but rather a chat about where my function and the program have come in 12 months.  It was filled with some good laughs, some sighs of relief, and (at least for me) a twinge of sadness at the reality that this year, one of the toughest yet most fulfilling for me both personally and professionally, is now officially at its end.  The same was true in London, but with the London crowd I always had (and still do have) the feeling that I'll see them plenty in future work - same with the US crew.  With Martin and the APAC crowd, however, it's hard to say how much contact we'll have besides the occasional email or teleconference, and that does take a bit of processing after you've been in the trenches with people for 12 months.  And whilst this is by no means my "farewell and thanks" post (although that is coming soon), I would be remiss if I didn't pause here and say to Martin:  "thanks for everything, chief.  It's been an amazing experience, and I really do appreciate everything.  All the best for you and your family in 2012 and beyond."

I left that office about 5:30 or so (I know, I know - half day...), getting home and breaking the AFD streak (stopped dead at 5 again) by cracking open our final bottle of wine to celebrate the return of my better half.  Dinner that night was over at Brewerkz, as Jenny was DESPERATE for beef after 12 days on the subcontinent.  And so we said the 3rd of our "farewells" for the day - saying goodbye to the Bistro burger, the Golden Ale, and the Blonde Assassin (so guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud...peppy cheekies).  Brewerkz - for what it's worth, Team Taylor feels that you do THE BEST burger on the island - keep up the good work. :-)

No, do NOT adjust your televsion sets - what
you are seeing actually IS happening - the
Bull is eating a salad...and SHARING his
meal with another human.  Oh, the horror!!!
We hit the sack about 1 AM, and the Bull slept for EIGHT HOURS on Friday night.  It's like a light switch - Jenny arrives and I lapse into a coma.  We woke up about 9:15-9:30, making it out the door by around 11 or so.  The day's escapades started with a Starbucks (where Cath got her annual "Christmas coffee") before heading down Penang Road, where we stopped to finally inspect both the Hindu temple and the Christian Church.  There was a wedding going on in the Church (very small one - about 8 people counting the bridge and groom), so we just briefly admired the Christmas decorations before carrying on to Orchard Road, where we walked the length of the shopping street a final time, taking in the sights of Christmas and all the decorations.  Cath actually did some shopping, and then we did what any Ang Mo's should do when craving a salad on Orchard - GO TO HARD ROCK, BABY!!!!!  Oh, yeah - hot wings?  Check.  Cobb Salad the size of your torso?  Check.  Catherine asking the waiter what year the place opened and when the bar was built?  Check (6 February, 1991 in case you're curious).    Good times.

The piano bar at Hard Rock - one of Cath's memories of
Singapore from her 1997 visit. 
I mean, when it's LASHING down rain to the tune of an inch
per hour, you know what I think is a good idea?  WALKING
IN AN OUTDOOR GARDEN.  Good times...
It was then over to the Botanic Gardens, where it started BUCKETING it down.  Jenny was shocked by this, which I at first found bizarre since it has rained EVERY DAY for the last 10 weeks.  But then it hit me - she hasn't BEEN HERE in the last 10 weeks.  Ah, it all comes full circle.  We wandered around the Botanic Gardens for a bit, checking out some mutant gold fish and peculiar shaped turtles before checking out a Sarah Smith recommendation - Christmas trees of the world.  I'm pretty sure Sister Sarah was lying to us, however, as these trees looked like something out of a Charlie Brown's Christmas - HORRIBLE!!!!  Seriously - the city of Singapore basically donated what I can only describe as "mutant bushes" to various embassies and companies throughout the island, and they have then decorated them.  We think (actually, let me stress HOPE) that the children of each company's employees designed the decorations, because if not I'm going to recommend that the Ministry of Arts and Culture STEP IT UP PRONTO.  Talk about some HORRENDOUS decorations, to say nothing of the shameless advertising from some of them (OCBC - the cardboard cutout - really?  Catering company - a tree decorated in nothing but old cups with forks sticking up out of the soil?  I hope you cook better than you accessorize and present...just sayin'...).  The embassies weren't much better (Russa - the Yuri Gregarin thing?  Are you that desperate for a "win" in times like these?  Just re-elect Putin - I'm sure he'll fix everything.  But full marks to the Brits for their tree (Olympic themed) - same kudos to the Aussies).

The Intrepid India explorers posing beside the Indian
Embassy's "Christmas bush."  Seriously - somebody shoot
that thing and put it out of its misery.
After that it was the metro to Raffles, where we had a wander around before heading......WAIT.  Hit the brakes, because as we're heading home, Lady Catherine does the UNTHINKABLE - walks into a clothing shop in the Raffles Arcade.  I've never even LOOKED at these stores, as I've always assumed that things would be a fortune.  Cath, however, will NOT be deterred.  And then Sammy the Bull makes the tactical school boy error of saying, "Jenny, go see what she's doing."  Next thing I know, JENNY IS SHOPPING AS WELL.  And before you can say, "That looks great on you, la," my wife and Lady Catherine are walking out several Singapore dollars lighter.  Cath - you're no longer welcome in our house (actually, it was a great deal - not even I can complain...).

Muffin Puffin going off piste and shopping at Raffles -
who authorized this?  But I must confess she looks REALLY
cute in her new Christmas top.  Carter's - expect to be
dazzled next Sunday!
It was then back to the crib for a shower, a review of the India photos, and then a bit of cheese and crackers before we put Lady Catherine into her taxi and had (yet another) tearful goodbye with one of our best friends.  Cath - it was AMAZING having you here, and I'm SO GLAD that you came and that you and Jenny had so much fun in India.  Safe travels home, and we WILL see you in 2012!!!

As for Team Taylor, we were UNCONSCIOUS by 11, waking up at 10:15 this morning!  That's right, folks - the Bull slept ELEVEN STRAIGHT HOURS.  I am a new man - I think I'll go solve for cold fusion or world peace once I finish this post - I'm feeling that frisky. 

The girls just before Cath's taxi - CHECK OUT THAT BAG.  Folks, you
should see the STEEL CAGE and wrapping she's got inside that blue cover.
David Copperfield couldn't get into that bag (which weighs as much as she
does, for the record).
Today's been wonderful, complete with brekkie at (where else) Boomerang, a haircut for the Bull, completion of the packing (both for the trip home and the movers), and a NINETY MINUTE MASSAGE at the Balinese Hut.  MAN - that place is amazing - we will miss that (and Autie ironfist as she works out every knot in your body).

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print.  Chat tomorrow!


Sam and (FINALLY BACK AT HOME!!!!!!!!) Jenny

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