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Singapore entertainment

It's 7am on a Saturday morning and I'm wide awake as my body clock is still 15 hours ahead as I've spent the last week attending SIGIR 2008 in Singapore.

The conference itself was interesting. Lots of papers to review, ideas, discussion and other activity. We crammed a lot of material into just five days but it was well worth the trip. The planned schedule was fairly tight (early mornings, full days and a day-full of e-mail still generated from Redmond overnight) but a group of us still managed to make room for some evening excursions.

Sunday night: Conference reception at the hotel followed by late drinks at Clarke Quay, a row of ex-pat-attracting bars along the waterfront.

Monday evening: A trip to the Singapore Zoo and its excellent night safari. I'm often skeptical of such ideas but this is really well done. No fences in sight, everything is separated by ditches and water but you feel quite close to the animals.

Tuesday evening: Conference banquet at the Rasa Sentosa Hotel, Siloso Beach which happens to be a small island off the small island of Singapore. Buffet dinner on the beach watching the huge cargo ships passing by.

Wednesday evening: Guided by one of our coworkers who grew up in Singapore, we went to Little India, the overwhelming Mustafa Center, outdoor dining at Gluttons Bay and a late walk to the Merlion.

Thursday night: Orchard Road mall-hopping followed by an all-you-can-eat buffet at the Straits Kitchen in the Hyatt (excellent!).

All in all, a good trip. I am, however, very glad to be back in Seattle, free from the ceaseless humidity.