Trip - Part II


Day 3: Wednesday
We started the day with a 3-hour tour of the Antwerp manufacturing facility. It's pretty amazing. This is a plant that makes Roundup and it is HUGE! We had to take a bus from place to place just to see the whole plant. We also walked up about 10 flights of stairs to get to the top of the machinery to get a view of the whole grounds. It was interesting learning more about one of my company's products. We had to wear these bright yellow jackets, hard hats and safety goggles.
After the tour, we taught about 5 hours of training to employees from all over Europe. They had a lot of questions, but I think it was a success. After training we decided to explore Antwerp. We walked a few blocks to a convenience store where we bought tram tickets. I always think it's interesting to check out the public transit in other places. Seems that everywhere you go (except St. Louis), the mass transit is widely used. We took the tram to the "city centre" (i.e. downtown) and just walked around. We happened upon a street vendor and couldn't resist a Belgian waffle topped with chocolate. Yum! Turns out Antwerp is a very old city and has some amazing buildings. In the heart of the city centre is the Cathedral of our Lady, which was built in 1352 and is beautiful in every intricate detail! We also found an old castle, which I later researched and found out it is called The Steen and was built around the year 1200. Amazing! Antwerp is a very neat city. We had a relatively normal dinner that night, but weren't so lucky on Thursday...

Day 4: Thursday
We had meetings all day on Thursday with representatives from many countries in Europe presenting. It's so neat to meet everyone that you've talked to on the phone and exchanged numerous emails with. It's also interesting to hear about their entities and what exactly they do, since they're all a little different. That day lunch was brought in (as is expected when you have a meeting of 20+ people), but it was from their on-site cafeteria and consisted of mystery sandwiches. They looked like all bread from the outside and were wrapped in a napkin secured by a rubber band, so it was luck of the draw what you got. They were small so I had two and the first one was pretty good - ham, egg and mayo (they put egg on a lot of sandwiches). The second one was not as good and I still don't know what I was eating. They passed around an order form for dinner that night because with our big group dinner they couldn't offer a full menu. I chose the "meat" option and lucky for me that turned out to be PIGEON!!! I was pretty disgusted and had to take a picture of it, but I did eat a few bites, and it tasted like very dark meat chicken.
Day 5: Friday

We had another day of meetings and mystery meat sandwiches on Friday, then we took a cab to Brussels that afternoon to catch our flight. The cab driver apparently despises traffic, so he kept switching routes in order to avoid what seemed to me to be inevitable traffic. It ended up taking an hour and 15 minutes for a 30 minute cab ride, and left both Jason and me ready to vomit from the crazy driving. Our flight went smoothly - we flew Lufthansa, which was a huge improvement on United! It took less than an hour to get to Frankfurt, Germany, then we used about an hour of our 1.5 hour layover walking from one end of the airport to the other to get to our gate - that airport is HUGE! The 12-hour flight to Singapore went relatively quickly with a long nap, some reading and a partial-viewing of Juno.

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