Living alone for 40 years!

This is one of the more interesting article that we’ve read from the Daily Mail’s travel section in a while. Incredible as it may sound, there is a person who’ve spent 40 years living alone. And not in a home in some neighborhood. But on an island off the remote eastern coast of Canada.

Well more like in the atlantic ocean since it is ~175km from Nova Scotia. Ok, so if you read the article it does say that there are teams rotating to the island. So she is not totally alone, though she does not have a companion with her. Especially when those crew members leave for the mainland.

In case you are really curious, here’s a map lifted from the article:Sable island map

Talk about a long journey! No, it is not in the middle of the Ocean, but it certainly far out and isolated enough! But today we are not assessing if Zoe is truly alone. We just want to point out how passion for something brings one to extremes of devotion and expertise. There is an old Chinese saying 行行出狀元, which in modern context means you can achieve success in your chosen path of expertise/line of work etc.

Unlike artists that seem to get a little more glamour for the devotion to their art, folks like Zoe take a backseat away from the limelight. Instead of basking in the warmth of appreciation, they humbly continue on their life’s work. Out in the middle of nowhere as we see it.

Do you have a passion for what you do? Where was the most isolated place on earth you’ve visited?

Did Hamburg invent Hamburgers?

We certainly hope this piqued the interest of foodies. Because this is a venus flytrap to draw you to read our little story (here) of being a burgher in the city of Hamburg… for a couple of hours bordering to a night.

So, did they?

We mean : was the iconic hamburger invented in the city of Hamburg?

Well this would really depend on who you ask. For some folks contend that while the inspiration did come from Hamburg, the burger was ‘invented’ in the US. You see, they say that the steak of minced beef with garlic, onions, salt and pepper were presented as the “Hamburg steak” in the 1800s. And it made its way to the Americas, ironically on the ‘Hamburg-Amerika’ shipping line… eventually served between two pieces of bread.

Fact or fiction? We will leave you to do the research and debate the origins.

Today the burger has become basic fare for a lot of people around the world and not just in America. From luxurious creations to simpler diner versions, folks from all over the world tuck into this creation that has simply wandered across the world.

But today we are just reminiscing the times when we were temporary burghers of the city of Hamburg. Nope, we did not turn into pieces of meat. For the word ‘burgher’ in German means something. Do you know what that is?

Curious now to see what we were up to in Hamburg? Read it here! So starts our handprint stories on Germany!

The MRT series – Bukit Gombak (NS3)

Not too far is the Ministry of Defense… just behind the ‘little Guilin’ (桂林) – it was an old granite quarry that filled with water. Disused for a long time and mostly ignored… and then suddenly everyone thought it looked like those scenic views one gets in China. We assume you know where that is…

Well, you’ll need to shift your angle of photography a little to make sure those apartments do not appear in the picures as ours do.

A pretty cool place for a stroll, come here to watch terrapins. Mel caught a cat eating grass here. Perhaps it was looking for herbs?

But what is in the name of this place? Here’s a thought : try Google translator to have the word ‘Gombak” translated into English. What did you get?

← Bukit Batok (NS2)

→ Choa Chu Kang (NS4)

No more check-in counter staff?

We visited the newest terminal (4) of our little red dot’s Changi airport for an open house last year in August. And while we awed at the crisp new carpets and hardware of the terminal, the thing that caught our eyes were these odd looking pods at what appears to be the check-in area.

Except that there is no counter where a check-in associate will attend to you.

Instead, you will find this pod where you will place your passport for scanning. And to issue you the boarding pass you’d need to put your face into it too… heheh… ok, position your face at a certain angle. So that the software can take a quick scan and determine if you are you. And that you are not someone else who claims to be you. You got that?

Anyway. The iPhone can already do that. Big deal.

Put in your own luggage and should it be overweight, make payment somehow. Or take out some stuff… wonder how that will work in practice though at this stage there are folks around to guide you (yep the terminal went live in October last year). There has been lots written about the terminal since, and we will be trying it out for ourselves finally next month.

It is interesting to see how they do this to verify and issue you a boarding pass, but do not do the same at the passport control. There, you will still see customs and border officers looking at the photo in your passport and and then glancing back at you, perhaps asking some odd questions like why are you coming or leaving. Got any money on yea? How much? Good ole fashion verification… kinda odd isn’t it?

We wrote about travel likely getting easier (here), but we also wrote about it getting trickier (here). Will we make up our minds? Do you see the dilemna here?

How we got to Russia

Not in a Lada.

You might recall that we finally touched Russia and added it to our handprint map two years ago. And in our journalogs (here and here) we shared the daily activities of the group tour. Fortunately we did not mis-goose step our way in Moscow and initially it was rainy… but we enjoyed it thoroughly.

Did you wonder why we chose a group over independent travel? As you might know, we try our best not to join group tours.

So what were the considerations for making our initial journey with a group? In our little essay, we recounted the events leading up to our final decision to be part of a chaperoned group rather than getting around by our own wits. Read here all about it. We have to say that despite all the reservations we had, we quite enjoyed that trip even if it felt a little ‘herded’. You know what we mean huh?

For an initial foray into a country with language completely different from anything we know, it was definitely a great introduction. Some day, we will plan a return journey getting a little off the beaten track. But not before we check off all the must sees first.

Have you been to Russia? What was your plan and journey to Russia like?

The MRT series – Bukit Batok (NS2)

Out here in the heartlands and not too far away from nature too. But did you know that this area, along with the now pricey Bukit Timah – used to be targeted for industrialization from way back to the early days of our republic? Some might know the old Ford factory is along upper Bukit Timah… (another MRT station post some day).

Wow. If that had come through, then Bukit Timah would not have been a coveted address! But then we digress, as we are focused on Bukit Batok.

But then “Batok” here is not an abberation of buttock, so don’t get any ideas! But we aren’t sure if it really means coughing hill either… anyone’s got another version of how the name came about?

←Jurong East (NS1)

→ Bukit Gombak (NS3)