I arrived here in Singapore for IBM InterConnect in the wee hours after quite a hike from Austin, Texas.
I traveled from Austin to Chicago on AA and spent four hours on my Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong on the tarmac, waiting out some bad storms.
The 15+ hour flight from Chicago to Hong Kong was uneventful, but thankfully, I was able to still make my connecting flight from Hong Kong to Singapore, which landed just after 5:00 a.m. local time on Monday morning.
The Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino, located on Marina Bay in Singapore and host to the second annual IBM InterConnect conference Oct. 9-11, 2013 (as seen from the Swisshotel on Stamford Road).
I caught up on some reading and several movies on the long flight over (White House Down, Man of Steel, The Hangover, Part III), a trek I've made three times now and will never get used to.
I will give due credit to Cathay-Pacific airlines -- even in economy class, they treat you well.
I arrived at the Marina Bay Sands early Monday afternoon, after a quick pit stop for some much-needed slumber at the Swisshotel on Stamford Road.
The Marina Bay Sands is a resort hotel/casino fronting Marina Bay and was developed by the Las Vegas Sands. After a delay in its opening in 2010, it is now billed as the world's most expensive standalone casino property at $8 billion (including the cost of the prime real estate it sits on).
Marina Bay contains a 2,561-room hotel, a 1,300,000-square-foot convention-exhibition center, 800,000 square feet of shops at the Marina Bay Sands Mall, as well as a museum, two large theatres, seven "celebrity chef" restaurants, two floating Crystal Pavilions, an ice skating rink (sorry, ain't gonna happen!), and the world's largest atrium casino with almost 500 tables and over 2,500 slot machines.
Across the top of three hotel towers are situated a 340 meter-long SkyPark with a capacity of 3,900 people and a 150-meter infinity swimming pool, set on top of the world's largest public cantilevered platform, which overhangs the north tower by 67 meters.
Turbo's view from the 36th floor of the Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino in Singapore.
I sure hope those boats aren't in any hurry!
Originally set to open in 2009, developer Las Vegas Sands faced delays caused by escalating costs of material and labor shortages from the onset. The severe global financial crisis also pressured the company to delay its projects elsewhere to complete the integrated resort.
The resort and SkyPark were officially opened on 23 and 24 June 2010 as part of a two-day celebration, following the casino's opening on 27 April that year. (I made my first visit to Singapore on an Asian swing in April of that year).
If you've never visited Singapore, my impression has always been that it's a mix of Dallas and Houston, only on an island city-state in Southeast Asia.
It's located just 85 miles north of the equator, so the temperatures are warm, and much of the island "land" was built through land reclamation.
Singapore continues to be the world's fourth-largest financial center, and its port is one of the five busiest in the world. I could tell that just by looking out the window of my 36th floor room in Tower 3 here -- ships and boats are stretched out in the harbor for as far as the eye can see.
Most impressive to a geek like myself, however, is the speed of the bandwidth here. When I got to my room and set up my MacBook Air, I promptly got online and ran a speed test. I was expecting maybe 10Mbit/s and was stunned when I saw the screenshot you see further down in this post.
I'm rapidly making a list as to any software downloads I need doing!
Though I'm here on business and the Singaporean golf will have to wait for another visit, I am looking forward to IBM's now second-annual InterConnect conference, which will feature a host of luminaries (including IBM's own Chairman and CEO, Ginni Rometty, and Teo Chee Hean, the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore) and will convene business and IT leaders from across the globe to gain insight into best practices around the biggest trends in business today.
Turbo had to travel halfway around the world, to Singapore, to find Internet speeds worthy of his IBM moniker.
If only he could pack it up and take it home to Austin!
Cloud computing, mobile computing, social business, and big-data/analytics will be among the key topics discussed, and I will be providing coverage of some of the key sessions and also conducting interviews with some of our visiting experts via our Livestream channel throughout the course of the event.
But in the meantime, a man's gotta eat, and I'm off shortly to grab some of those delicious hot peppered crabs with mi IBM amigos! You can follow all the action remotely on Twitter at @IBMInterConnect, #IBMInterConnect.