I spent the last week in Australia and Singapore visiting customers, partners, press and attending our annual Asia Pacific Partner Conference in Singapore.

It's always fun to meet up with our partners there as they are doing so many interesting things with our products.

Singapore is one of my favorite places for food as it brings together Chinese, Malay and Indian.  One of the evenings in Singapore a few of us went out to eat at the "hawker stalls" at Newton Circus.  Some of the dishes we had included BBQ stingray, chili crab, and some durian for dessert.  None of the people I was with opted for durian so I had it all to myself!  Unlike everybody else at the table, I actually like it.  Singaporeans are crazy for their durian.  So much so that their new performing arts center bears a striking resemblance to the fruit.  The domes are know locally as the "durian domes".  If ever you want to spark a good debate between a Thai and  a Singaporean, ask which country produces better durian and then sit back and watch the show.

On the Sydney to Singapore leg of my flight I was on Singapore Airlines.  It's been a little while since I've flown with them but what a huge difference compared to United Airlines!  Everything from how the aircraft is equipped, to cleanliness and customer service is spectacular. The aircraft had wifi service. Pricing was about $27 Singaporean for the flight or $9 Singaporean for 30 minutes.  I didn't use it as I felt the price was a little steep and didn't have a burning need to sync email or get online as I had just done it using the wifi in the airport - using FirePass, of course!

What a change from the days of dial-up modems, hunting for local access numbers and un-interoperable mobile phone systems.  Business travel is much easier now than it used to be.  Now the only places that my current phone does not work are Japan and Korea and models that are capable of handling those networks are beginning to be available locally.

I was asked by several people if I followed the end of the Tour de France while in Australia.  The answer is yes.  I  set my alarm to wake up at about 1AM and watched  the final stages live. It's an illness, I know.  I saw some people out riding in Sydney.  After walking around the city for a few days, riders there don't have access to hills like we do in Seattle (my favorite is "L'Alpe d'Issaquah") - that would make riding there much less interesting!