It was time to hit the road and pay for all that fun I had this summer. Flew out on Sunday afternoon to Melbourne, right after member guest. Connect through DFW and LAX to MEL. Twenty four hours after departure, I arrive in Melbourne on Tuesday morning.
I know some people think travel is glamorous but I believe those are people that don’t travel. For my final 15 hour leg to Melbourne, I thought I was going to have lots of leg room only to find out that I was stuck in perhaps the tightest overseas seat I have experienced. And Monday disappeared while I was in the air.
One of my top tech guys is a professional photographer on the side. He convinced me to bring my camera to AP. He even made an impulse buy before the trip and picked up a new toy – Gigapan. Gigapan is a robotic device you can use to create huge landscape photos with incredible resolution. The appeal for me was to use our spare time to get some nice shots, check out his new toy, and learn a few things from an expert.
Then reality sets in. August is winter time in Australia. We are not talking deep snow and sub zero weather but it does rain a lot. That hindered our photo opportunities. We had intentions to go out at 4:30 AM Thursday but the weather interfered. Of course, we were also there on business so it’s not like we had lots of spare time to begin with. All I saw of the new toy was a text picture and the only expert time I received was in front of clients performing his day job.
I managed to capture a few good evening shots on my own. Our big customer evening was high atop of the tallest building in Melbourne, the Eureka Sky Deck. The glass was a bit dirty and the light reflection was a challenge but it was fun shooting the city from 89 floors above Melbourne. And it was no surprise to see so many clients and partners were camera geeks like me. We bonded on a different level that night. Coincidentally, I managed to get one of my favorite street shots of Melbourne as I returned from dinner that night.
Make it Count
When you spend four days round trip flying to a destination, you make it count. Rather than turning around on Friday after our customers departed, I planned to spend a few more days with the AP team and partners in Singapore. So, Early Saturday morning I was back in the airport and in the plane for another 7 hour flight from Melbourne to Singapore.
I have to say that Singapore is one of my favorite AP countries. They call it Asia light for Americans because it is a very “western” city where everyone speaks English but that’s not what appeals to me. This island country is one of the most modern, business oriented, clean, friendly places I have experienced. If you visit, bring your good credit card because it is expensive but what a place. It lights up at night with an inviting warmth that is one of a kind.
You can tell from the photos from my 51st floor hotel room balcony that gives you a glimpse of what I mean. The source of all that modernity can be seen in the deep ocean harbor. Every day, the harbor is filled with as many ships as the eye can see all moving commerce from Malaysia to the rest of the world. This country’s wealth is the beneficiary of that busy shipping lane. In the foreground, you can see how that wealth is shown off welcoming the next investor, business men, and tourists to the friendly country.
Coincidentally, somewhere in that crowded, narrow, and busy waters, an American Battleship, USS John McCain, crashed into a container vessel while I was here. After witnessing in person how busy those narrow ocean straights are, I can sympathize with the captain who had the accident.
I should mention the building on the top-right of the scene. That is the famous Marina Bay Hotel. You may ask what is stretched across the top of those three buildings? It is a replica of a ship, an homage to the source of the country’s wealth. The entire city is full of some of the most unique architecture you will find in the world. This scene shows just a handful of examples. Notice the odd angles, curves, and distinctive shapes in the buildings.
From this video, you can get a better idea how impressive the view of Singapore Straights was from my room.
Visiting the City
When I have a weekend on business trips, I always try to learn something about the location I visit. In this case, I had the opportunity to see quite a lot of Singapore. On my first night, I felt compelled to check out the Marina Bay Casino. You can see how massive the casino is. Frankly, it was so big it was uninviting. I won $100 SIN and departed.
On Sunday, I visited the famous WWII BattleBox at Fort Canning. This is the scene of the largest British surrender of WWII. It was extremely interesting to learn the tactics and strategy that led to the British defeat. On my walk back, I visited St Andrews Cathedral.
On my way to “the shot”, I walked through Clarke Quay and saw some very unique Singapore architecture that I had to share.
I have to credit my loving wife for once again acting as my spotter. From the other side of the earth, she advised me to go to the marina and capture a picture of the city from the water level so I could include light reflections off the water and the setting sun in my scene. I am happy to report that on Sunday evening I succeeded and boy did it pay off but not without a little stress.
My goal was to grab a light dinner downtown at an Irish Pub then walk over to the east bay just before sunset. Unfortunately, the bellman told my cabbie to drop me off at Clarke Quay (pronounced key). I didn’t think anything of it until I walked around for a bit. Clarke Quay is not where the pub is and way away from the east bay. So I hoofed it down to the pub and made it by 6:00, plenty of time to have a pint and some fish n chips. Except it took 45 minutes to serve my dinner too close to the golden hour to risk the walk. Uber deliver me!
Sweet! I made it to the water front 15 minutes before golden hour and found my spot just below the busy walk-way where I set up my tripod and went to town.
What a beautiful scene! It’s hard to say I got one shot. I took so many shots it is hard to pick which is my favorite. I can’t wait to see how these look after a few minutes on the computer.
From this video, you can see how the scene looked from the “naked” eye.
My business trip was very fulfilling. I gain so much energy from engaging with the field team, our partners, and clients. I also had a great time in the evenings capturing some terrific pictures of the beautiful cities in AP. But I have been on the road almost two weeks. I ready to go home.
So it was up before 5:00 AM and off to Singapore airport. Then seven hours to Tokyo, a 2 hour layover, 14 hours to Chicago, and a 4 hour drive home in Chicago traffic. That is about 28 hours in total, leave Wednesday morning and arrive 28 hours later on Wednesday evening. I guess I got that lost day back on the return trip.