The MRT series – Ang Mo Kio (NS16)

One of the first new towns, the name could have meant in the local Hokkien Chinese dialect to be “red tomato” or the ‘Caucasian’s bridge’… well it was true some colonists did have plantations here in the distant past… hmmm… make your own guess. But the current Chinese name for it (宏茂桥) suggests the former and specifically to a bridge, though it does not make reference to ethnicity…

Whatever the name, today it is yet another of our little island’s bustling heartland towns. Even more important is that one of its members of parliament is the Prime Minister of our country… and we’ve seen him hand out flyers at the MRT station during election time too…

← Yio Chu Kang (NS15)

→ Bishan (NS17)

Cleanliness and health while on the road

One of the things about traveling is staying healthy and safe. And specifically we are talking about getting bitten by bugs. Not the ones out in the jungle. But in places where you’d least expect them.

In the past we had written about what is the dirtiest items in your hotel room (here). Two years ago we wrote about bed bugs (here) as one of our first posts. Yeah, that sure wasn’t a popular post, possibly because of the featured picture but probably also because it was among our first posts. Back in the day when we first started we had hardly any readership traffic! Heheh…

Hence it is time for us to revisit this topic, since it seems that these unwanted critters are making a real comeback not just in some parts of the world, but also beginning to be present in places that are quite unexpected – like on planes… We came across this article in the Straits Times recently while troughing through past articles. Darn it got us a little paranoid… not to mention the sudden feeling of itch coming out of nowhere.

Anyway. Now you know what to look out for.

Today with lots of us on the go, it is not just these bugs that get carried around. Viruses and bacteria too are being transported along too. We’ve read what folks pack for a journey for prevention. What do you do to prepare against bugs before getting on your journey?

Is Venice most serene?

Do you know what a Thalassocracy is?

To save you the trouble of Googling it, let us tell you. It essentially means a seaborne or maritime “country”. One whose realm is primarily consisting of dominance of the seas. Now given that the sea is the dominion, how could Venice be most serene?

The sea can be tempestuous, for she can turn at will against anyone who dares to ride the waves. Not quite Poseidon or his son Percy Jackson (heheh all made up recently). Though it gives a sense of what the Venetians were up against in order to hold their dominion together. For being the most serene republic actually meant sovereign independence.

You must remember that in those days, nobility held sway. To remain aloof from subservience to the the nobility held territories, republics such as Venice had to maintain sufficient power to stay ‘serene’, ie not being harrassed or accosted to become part of a noble dominion. How they did that and became an empire on their own is an intriguing story in itself. But today we are not delving into history.

Instead we want to share with you our take on Venice and the beautiful lagoon that is the city (here). For her highways are not roads but lanes of water. And her foundations most vulnerable these days. She is so visited that she is sinking, some say drowning. Not from the waters (yet) but from the feet of many a visitor.

Have you been to Venice? Would you not like it to be preserved? How?

The MRT series – Yio Chu Kang (NS15)

Technically this is part of Ang Mo Kio in terms of neighbourhoods, Nanyang Polytechnic is here to give some youthful vibrancy to what a mix of industrial and residential area this has become. Next to the station there is a tennis centre. Come practice or observe the training if you are into the sport. But aside from that, the large industrial zone is where people come to – well work!

By now, you might have noticed we have quite a few stations’ whose name end with a ‘kang’. This is derived from the Chinese character ‘港’. Do you know why these places have this in their names? And if you ever look up the map, you might notice they are mostly in the northern part of the island… comment on this post and we’ll tell you!

← Khatib (NS14)

→ Ang Mo Kio (NS16)

Little things you don’t notice

There are just little things in life that one never really notice. And so it is with the things around us. We use them on a daily basis, come across them all the time. But we never really knew what they are for.

What are we referring to?

Those little features that we somehow missed from reading instructions about their use… heheh. Like a pair of sneakers. Really?, you hallow in disbelief. Do we even have an instruction booklet that comes with the sneakers you buy?

Well… No. But this article is really interesting. Because it tells you what those extra holes on the sides could be used for. And for that matter many other features on everyday products that we do not even take notice of. Such as the little triangle on the fuel gauge panel. Darn it if he had known, Mel would not have to check for which side the fuel pump is located each time he picks up a rental!

But the theme of our post today is about focus.

Because when we travel we will more than often zoom in on the known or ‘beaten track’ sights. It’s on every travel brochure, guidebook and probably the blog of many writers. By the way, it has been a real pleasure for us to read the ones that shared something that is truly off the beaten track. But we digress.

Like how Stephen who shared about the secret gardens of London (here), wouldn’t it be grand if we share the hidden nuggets and gems that one can find? You’ve might have started to notice we are posting more about the sights one can see outside of the glam ones in our little red dot.

Does this goad you into taking a different focus in your travels?

Roaming in Rome

You know it ain’t just spoken Chinese that have words pronouced sounding similar. We are sure as children you would have recited sang nursery rhymes. Yeah that’s the word. Rhyming and not similar. Because between the two words roam and Rome, any sentence would convey so stark meanings.

Anyway. Enough of semantics and lexicon.

Today we want to invite you to join our reminisce of the days we spent in Rome. Ah yes, the eternal city as some would call it. You might have already read about our small countries’ series – Vatican city is in there you know (here).

Coming close to the end of our 5th decade on this planet, it has been often remarked to us by our friends and family that we don’t look our age. Ok more specifically Suan does not look her age. Perhaps it was the lack of stress. But we have a theory. And it had something to do with the journey we took to Rome all these years ago.

You see, it has something to do with water. Sprouting out from somewhere to be precise. People have long yearned for fountains of youth for as far back as history will tell. Does it really exist? If so, how does it work? Can you collect some of the water and store it? Does it work with just one sip or is there a specific dosage required for its effect to manifest itself? (oops occupation hazard…).

Keen to find out? Why not look out for it in this essay? So begins our Italian reminisces… What was most memorable for you about Rome?