They call it ‘crop dusting’

Something a little humorous today.

Alright, this can be serious stuff for some. Readers who fly often enough know that one frequently need to release tension at their rear ends while in the air. Yeah, we’re talking about farting in public. And specifically on the aircraft. Many explanations are pro-offered for this, including this article from the Huffington.

HAFE – High Altitude Flatus Expulsion. What a mouthful.

Essentially it means flatulence, or in other words – passing of gas out of you know where. So why do we have to HAFE in the air? Well that probably varies from person to person, but it is mainly due to the gas in the intestines expanding when you get higher up in altitude. Lower pressure outside the body, higher inside…

And there are suggestions in the article on how does one can combat it. Keeping it in is NOT one of the solutions. In fact, the medical professionals interviewed for the article suggests that keeping it in will not only lead to discomfort but also more bloating and pain. It may even lead to inflammation of the colon. So, one have to learn to let it go. Aye…. feel better now?

Avoid salty and fatty food and drink more water. But wait. Did we not know that food served on the plane are normally more savory? Read here for our take on that. How about walking about the plane to ‘improve the flow’? FAA regulations discourage ‘loitering’ about the plane… Perhaps anti-gas medication is indeed one of the better solutions but we personally would not consider it. We still think the ability to let go is best.

Afterall, when you are on your journey you want to be in the pink of health when you arrive at your destination. Nothing is worse than being cramped up when you land. If there is need to visit the lavatory more often on the plane, so be it. Don’t hold back, its good for you.

Hmm…wonder if the same effect takes place when we get to places of high altitude? HAFE you experienced this when you fly?

Martial arts mountain?

Anyone still remember Wutang clan?

Ok, we digress.

The point is – martial arts. The Kung Fu kind that is. Some might have watched the lego movie some time back. Notice where these martial arts gurus are always living in seclusion in the mountains? Darn the lego bricks keep popping into our minds…

At the end of our Silk road journey, we had ended up in the city of Xian (西安). Formerly the ancient capital Changan (长安). It was such a pity we did not spend more time in the city itself, and instead went far out and away. Well, all reasons to return since there are now direct flights from Singapore to the city!

One such journey was made to the venerable Huashan (华山). It’s a mountain of religious significance and about 120km from Xian. It was also a place where people came to seek immortality, perhaps from the herbs and plants that can only found there. You see, the theory was ; if these plants can survive in these inhospitable environment for such a long time, surely they contain the secrets of living long too?

While we did not climb all the way (yes we had help), we did ascend one of the peaks of the mountain. Wow. Non mountaineers being on the summit at >2100m high. That personal record of us sea-level plebians would only be surpassed 7 years later. Ok, so our record isn’t something to crow about…

If you have already covered all the sights of Xian, what are you to do? Perhaps you need to learn more about what one can do from Xian, get to Huashan.

Read all about it here!

VR may yet be a savior

You might have read our past posts on Virtual Reality (here and here). But this article gives hope that VR may yet be a true saviour for what seemed likely to be lost heritage and treasures of human civilization.

Recently, we read an article on NatGeo featuring how many UNESCO heritage sites are at risk – from a variety of factors. And while we agree that the overburden on the sites from too high a volume of visitor traffic is one factor, what is also not frequently discussed is how some of these sites are in danger of totally disappearing.

Take Syria for example in the article link we cited.

As recent as earlier this year the conflict waged around the city of Palmrya brought not only suffering to people living around the city, but also upon the city itself. Much of the ancient city ruins (yep they already were) were further damaged, intentionally it seems reducing quite some of it literally into rubble. As if being ruins were not bad enough… And then there are sites where there had been so much stress from having too many visitors that damage is all but apparent. Rialto bridge….for example.

So here’s the thought.

Would it be better for the heritage sites to be preserved barred from human visitorship? And that the sites would be documented in such a way that one can purchase a virtual tour of the site, even remotely in the comfort of your own living room. That way, the site continues to receive funding from virtual visitors to maintain the site. Folks too may experience the joys of “being at” the sites without the travails of air travel (read here).

Would you become a virtual tourist? Do you think Virtual reality travel will be the savior when it comes to preserving memories of human civilization and heritage?

Little nuggets of fun Tokyo

So far, we have written and shared our previous journalog and handprint story of our Japan journey for 2017. But what we left out was a treasure trove of experiences in Tokyo that we thought we might want to share with you too…

You might have read our report from the field in the past (here and here), we were in Tokyo during the ‘red’ day. This is when women express their affection for their men. You might have also noted that the days were beautiful with clear skies – yep we ordered that. And make sure you place your orders early when you’re going…because there will not be a refund. LOL.

Yes there are many posts out there recommending what to do. When you are done with all of them, the following could be something to consider:

Walk along Ginza on car free Sunday

Every weekend on both days, Dori-street along Ginza will be closed to vehicular traffic between noon till 5pm. Even if you are not intent on shopping, get there to see what people get up to. Some set up deck chairs and umbrellas and sit there all afternoon!

Visit Hama Rikyu gardens

This one’s a little gem and does take a little effort to get to. However, for 300 yen you’d see a wonderful garden set in this bustling city. Yes we know there are free ones elsewhere but this one deserves special mention.

Take a bus to Gotemba

If shopping in the city is not enough for you, then the nearest outlet mall would be at Gotemba. There you can buy luxury good for a discount. Now who would’nt want that? But take note this secret place is now common knowledge, perhaps consider the one at Karuizawa instead…

Buy the delectable cakes from department store food center

Oh this is surely something you must simply be between 7:30pm till 8pm. At almost every large departmental store’s basement food center, there will be an almost frenzy atmosphere of last minute buying. The food is offered for steep discounts since it will not be kept. Be prepared for a squeeze!

No matter whether the above are something you’d consider or not, Tokyo is sure a city that may enamour you to be back and again!

Artsy water towns

Now the climate in the central part of China is one of moderate mild. Whilst the north curls up in a frigid freeze and the south continues to bask in relative warmth, the middle ground that is around Shanghai falls roughly in between. Yeah right. Tell us something new we hear you coo…

Perhaps it is the proximity to the sea. But most probably because of the geography too. This part of China is where the Yangtze (长江) river comes to an end, disgorging a vast amount of water into the sea along with the silt. And all around it are tributaries of water feeding it, on its relentless drive towards the ocean.

Now we all know water is life and where there is an abundance of it, human settlements gravitate towards it. There are many towns all within a drive from Shanghai, home for four years. These spawned from the communities that harvested the bounty of the land, which from period of the three kingdoms were already called the ‘land of rice and fish’. Thus they have a rich heritage spanning many hundreds of years and demonstrates the embarrassment of riches that China was in during the 16-18th centuries.

Before its exorable decline.

Today, it has survived the ravages of recent history and restored somewhat its original grandeur. Perhaps too commercialized. However still a highly recommended journey for visitors to Cathay, especially those residing in Shanghai or surrounding cities for a while.

Join us to re-live the days we spent strolling the old artsy towns of eastern China. Do you think these towns have anything to compare with their contemporaries in Europe?

Fancy Yoga lessons

You know when we lived in Amsterdam, we got used to what can be considered quirky events taking place in the city that it was like “so what”? Afterall we were living in AMSTERDAM! Right? So this article has got to be something you take a short read, for it demonstrates why we never tire of being in that city.

Suan goes for Yoga regularly. However she says “Darn it I will never step into a barn and do yoga”… ok you get the picture?

We normally do not re-blog, but probably worth putting in a link to this original post about our move to Holland, the Netherlands if you will. And if you do, do read the pages that are in a links of the post too. It contains little nuggets about our life in Holland, summarized into short essays telling you some of the quirks about living in this city and country. Yeah three years you know, so it’s not easy to condense! Thus, we shall not reveal too much here.

If there is one thing we can say though , it is that making the move to Amsterdam was the best decision we made. Sure it came with a nice expat package. Can’t complain about that. But it’s about the fact that we had our ‘YOLO’ moment. Many folks yearn for this we know. We were lucky. Extremely. And glad to have done it.

Yoga with goats and you can only find weird stuff like this in Amsterdam. Would this be an attraction you’d sign up for when you are in the city? Or will this goad you to move to Amsterdam?