So I’ve been here in Singapore for about 14 hours now and thought I’d write something about my initial culture shock and adventures so far.
While this isn’t specifically production or animation related I thought it still might be fun to read.
The first thing I noticed last night was that everything here is backwards. The cars drive on the wrong side of the road and if you want to move out of someones way on the fastwalk systems at the airport, you should move to the left.
I arrived last night at around 1:30AM to my “hotel”. Hotel turned out to be a hostel and for some reason my name wasn’t on the guest list. A few quick phone calls later I managed to get in touch with one of the SIGGRAPH guys and they got me in. So I walk up to my room and there are 5 other guys in there all asleep – not only were they strangers but they weren’t a part of SIGGRAPH either. I went to sleep at around 2:00AM after trying to put all of my stuff away in complete darkness. I thought turning on the lights would be rude, but after banging stuff around because I couldn’t see I probably just trumped that idea anyway.
After sleeping for what I thought was about 6-7 hours, someone else in the room turned the light on and I could see out our window that the sun was starting to come up. This other guy was getting dressed and leaving, so I figured I’d jump out of bed too and head downstairs to check my email and see any students had emailed me in the last few days since I wasn’t able to check since I left San Antonio. I walk downstairs and the clerk informs me that I should “get some sleepy time”, because it was only 3:00AM. I had been asleep for less than an hour. I’m having a hard time adjusting to the time differences but I was finally able to get a few more hours of sleep before getting up again at around 7:30AM.
Today (Dec7) is sort of a free day for me, I’m supposed to be catching up on jetlag but I’m not tired so I figured I’d go check out the shopping malls and market places.
A lot of things are cheaper here. There is a place called Sim Lim Square that is essentially the electronics Mecca of the island. 6 Floors of every single electronic device you can imagine, and then some. Before leaving I was talking with Troy about different lenses for a Canon DSLR I recently acquired. I’m not sure how the guys at Sim Lim compete because it seems like every other vendor has tons of Canon lenses at pretty good prices. So after haggling with a few vendors, I was able to track down a 50mm/f1.8 lens, uv and polarizer, battery charger, and a lens cleaning kit for what was essentially $65-$70 USD. I’m not sure why everything seems so much cheaper, but I guess when it breaks in a week I’ll know why. 😉
I also managed to find a mall here that is open 24 hours. It’s different. A mall has groceries on one floor, toys on another, jewelry on another, and traditional cultural wear on another. One thing I noticed is that everywhere I went was very cramped. The aisles are very close together and it’s hard for 2 people to walk side by side in them. It didn’t help that I was carrying my “look at that stupid tourist” camera bag around, but I figured getting some fun pictures would be worth it.
The smell here is very different. Different places have a strong what I would call “Indian” spicy smell. It smells very good and they often play complementary music and it really creates a great atmosphere. Other places have different smells and other types of music and together you really get a sense that you really are on the other side of the world. I’ve really enjoyed just walking through the local neighborhoods and shops and taking it in. Even the architecture of the buildings (at least where I’m staying) is very different. You see movies like The Bourne Ultimatum and you see him running through a busy street in Lebanon, and the atmosphere seems similar here. There is a huge mix of culture here and it is different from what I expected.
I’m still trying to figure out how the SIM cards and wall outlets and internet connections work here but I’m surviving. This is definitely one of the most different things I’ve ever experienced but so far it’s been great. I’m looking forward to tonight to see the city really light up.
Hopefully I’ll get some actual CG related stuff up soon, but for today this will have to do.
Also, I’ve uploaded a few pictures to http://www.kenisky.com/singapore/