Africa, Singapore, Travel

How Emerging Markets Are Like Dating

I've been with my husband for about 11 years, so I haven't dated for a long time. Instead, I have--bizarrely-- substituted emerging markets for that crush/first-date-euphoria/ew-that's-an-ugly-quality/OK-I'm-sick-of-you-now cycle of emotions.

For instance, as discussed here and Tweeted one million times, I have a raging crush on Kenya right now. Sometimes I'm just daydreaming and people say "What are you thinking about?" and I'm like "Oh, Kenya." I hope to go early next year. Like many crushes, I may find I've just built Kenya up in my mind, and it's not that great. But I almost guarantee you for the first 24 hours I WILL LOVE IT.

How can I say that with such certainty? Because I love any emerging market for the first 24 hours. Singapore is no different. I've been here a day and I'm just blown away. I wonder if there's an endorphin link between jetlag and loving a new country? Anyway, I'm in sponge-mode asking a jillion questions and taking it all in, so I'm not ready to write much intelligent about it yet. But soon.

Meantime the worst and best part of my day:

Best: This is HANDS DOWN the easiest country for getting local mobile access. That's a little unfair, because China is pretty damn easy. But in China, I have to at least point and guesture because I don't speak Chinese and I usually just get basic voice service. Here I walked into a 7/11, and within a few minutes got a local SIM card and week's worth Blackberry service for less than $20. WHAT!? That's amazing. It took an hour to set up, because I have a brand new Bold, and they hadn't set one up before. Indeed, Blackberry has made some stupid changes to its operating system, and I've even been confused by how to do anything on the phone. I was late for a meeting, so I just left the Blackberry, came back and it was done. Wait, I don't know anyone in this country and I just left a new several-hundred-dollar phone with a clerk in a 7/11? Yes. Singapore.

Worst: The streets are almost too clean. It's raining constantly and people are just hosing down the pavement everywhere I go. I walked out of my hotel this morning and promptly slipped and fell. It looked about as cool as it sounds. What's more: I've slipped and almost fallen three more times. Upside: Streets are so clean my scrapes probably won't get infected.



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Glad you like Singapore so far, Sarah, in spite of the slippery streets. Though leaving your phone at 7/11 was definitely leap of faith. Hope to see you at Founders' Drinks.

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Srah Lacy

Sarah Lacy is an award-winning reporter who has covered high-growth entrepreneurship for more than fifteen years. She is the founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of, the site-of-record for the startup ecosystem. She lives in San Francisco.

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