Speaking in Singapore

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(Ryan) This October I had the honor of being invited to speak at iOS Conf SG in Singapore. It was the last of my 5-stop speaking tour talking about my work engineering at Instagram.

We took off from JFK in NYC and were looking at about 24 hours of travel ahead of us. Since it was such a long flight we decided to try out the pods in business class.

Well worth it since we could lay down flat. If you ever have the chance to fly China Eastern Airlines, I highly recommend it!

flight pods

Our host was gracious enough to put us up two blocks away from Facebook's Singapore office. It's a brand new building with an incredible 30th-floor view of the Singapore bay.

Its funny how we're literally on the other side of the earth, but the Facebook office feels just like home.

Caitlin made sure to leave her mark on the wall!

facebook sg

One recommendation we got over and over was the Singapore Botanical Gardens. As soon as we walked in, we knew why we kept hearing about it. Gorgeous!

lillies

The biggest attraction of the gardens is the Orchid garden. This multi-acre center has hundreds of different orchid species, which grow like crazy in Singapore's climate.

botanical

botanical buda

We took a moment at the end of exploring to sit in the zen garden and relax. The whole area was tranquil.

zen garden

My presentation went great. I had already given a version of this talk 4 other times, so I felt pretty confident. However the conference had around 300 people attending my talk, which is crazy. The crowd really enjoyed the talk and I got loads of interesting questions and comments.

presentation

(Caitlin) After watching Ryan's incredible presentation (he's way too modest), I came back to the hotel, did some work, and then went to the rooftop pool to read a new book. It was super relaxing and I had a gorgeous view of the city, including Facebook's office.

poolside

The next day we went out to explore more of the city. Food is always interesting for me since I'm super picky, but several people from the conference said we had to try Din Tai Fung. They're known for their dumplings so we tried a few different types.

When you check in at the hostess stand, they hand you a menu and order form. When your table is ready 10-15 minutes later, you hand in your order and they seat you. Your food comes out 20 minutes later. We didn't know any of this, so we felt extremely dumb. But the dumplings were worth the confusion!

dumplings

Next, we went to Marina Bay Sands which a is a huge complex with shopping, dining, a hotel, and an observation deck. It's one of the tallest building in the city, so of course we had to take a selfie.

sands selfie

sands ocean

(Ryan) After the observation deck, we met up with some friends and checked out the Gardens by the Bay. Beautiful scenery with a futuristic feel.

gardens

Part of the Gardens is an attraction called "Cloud Forest". It's a huge glass dome meant to simulate a mountain environment: cold and foggy.

To be honest it felt more like San Francisco!

cloud forest

On our way out of the Gardens, we stopped by the Marina Bay Sands again for the nightly laser show. I was expecting some beams criss-crossing in the night sky, but they went all-out with music, bubbles, fire, and laser projections of people singing over the water. It was beautiful.

sands lights

The last and most bizarre part of our trip was trying a local fruit called Durian.

durian

Yes, somehow this 4 pound spiky ball is a fruit.

It's illegal to take Durian on public transport in Singapore because of the intense smell. To me, it was a cross between rotten mangos and gym socks. Appetizing, right?

You eat the "meat" of the fruit, which protects the golf-ball sized seeds. I honestly can't even describe the taste, but it was good! Almost sweet.

Caitlin couldn't stand the texture, which I understand (it feels like rotten meat...). But I give her credit for trying!

group durian

Until next time!

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