The MRT series – Queenstown (EW19)

Was this named in honour of Queen Elizabeth? Absolutely! That’s because until 1965, this island was a crown colony. And this part of town was developed in the 1950s.

You might note that the first HDB flats were built here as an extension from Tiong Bahru (here). It is also here that one will find landed terrace houses that are actually public housing… huh? That’s right, you read it right!

Yeah, in a few spots on the island these rare homes were built back in the 1960s… Did you spot them while walking here? Where else do you think they can be found on our little island?

It’s incredible in some ways. These landed public housing almost next to newer ones that tower over them at 30+ floors. Wow. What a contrast indeed.

←Redhill (EW18)

→Commonwealth (EW20)

Part of the MRT series here.

Searching a way to Mexico

Two years ago when we first started this blog, we wrote about a dream journey to Mexico (here). We said that if we make that journey, we would be focused on the pyramidal structures constructed by the Mayans and Aztecs. But then in the past 24 months as we continued our research and crafting of an itinerary, our views have changed.

Mexico is not just the land of the Aztecs or Mayans, it is also an eclectic culture of Spanish and local traditions. In a way we had experienced some of that back in our journey to Peru (here), though it also stands unique on its own. That is an example of what we want to see in a country.

And this time we’ve learnt our lesson. We shall not pack all of the journey into two short weeks like we did in Peru and Chile. Because when you only see snippets it makes you want to return. Darn it means budget constraints again… so it would be best to ‘get it over with’. This will be just 3 weeks solely on Mexico. And already that is not quite enough we hear some of you whisper…

Yes we know that.

But as folks who need to work for a living (not living to work heheh), there will be limits to how long we can be away from our jobs without losing it… So here’s to our dream of placing our handprints on Mexico.

We are adamant about getting to Mexico. Have you been there? What would you recommend?

The amazing fjords

It was definitely amazing. While we did not take photos precariously hanging for dear life off the edge of a cliff, the views from the water was equally spectacular. Now you need to understand that almost the entire coastline of Norway is made up of these “mountains”. Yep. They rise from the very deep and what you see are like icebergs, just the tip only.

In fact they rise so high that some parts are still covered with snow when we arrived in high summer (it was June). So you’d understand that we remain in “winter” clothing simply because the tropical in us could not adjust so quickly.

Our journey only took us to one – the Sognefjord. And it is quite a place to get to and links with a railway that ascends from water’s edge to the skies… ok just up the mountain. But it was a steep incline at some places and the train felt like it was heaving and puffing to pull its own weight plus the lot of us tourists.

And what else can you expect to find here?

Trolls. Heheh. Fortunately not for real, but in the form of figurines. In the town of Laerdal they appear to be attempting to capitalize on this myth. Perhaps one could be lurking in the mountains and fjords around you… watch out!

Join us here for this reminisce of the fjords. Did you take a dare devil photo at the edge?

The MRT series – Redhill (EW18)

Also called Bukit Merah, the place was so-named because of the red soil. Have you heard of the story of Hang Nadim? This was the boy who gave the idea of solving the swordfish infestation to his King. But the story goes on that he was eventually executed by the King who was jealous of his youthful wisdom… and that the hill he was executed was stained red with his blood.

Yeah it may sound like a myth, but it’s no myth that this area is red hot property! For some reason, this and the few adjoining areas are well sought after as a place to live. Perhaps the name is apt. Red hot hill of apartments that are very much sought after… heheh.

←Tiong Bahru (EW17)

→Queenstown (EW19)

Part of the MRT series here.

Bad Medicine is what you do not need

Late last year, we chanced upon an article (here) at the Independent on the risk of buying medicines at airport pharmacies that can be illegal or against the law (within limits) at the destination that travelers journey to.

While the focus of the article was on British travelers making purchases of medicinal product while headed for the middle east on holidays (or work), the same can be applied to airports elsewhere. Simply because there is no unified regulatory standard across all countries for what is approved and what not. We should know… heheh. And it surely extends beyond medicines too…

Mel recalls a colleague visiting Amsterdam and bought some ‘magic’ cigarettes that seemed to make him “strong”… he was about to bring it home with him when Mel stopped him. Phew! Can you imagine the consequences? Have you had experiences like this?

We’ve written about staying healthy while on your journeys (here and here). Perhaps an important part of that includes bringing along your medication. Bonjovi might have objected to the title of this post, but we think it is important to do some homework.

Do you bring medicines with you when you journey abroad? How do you know that it is not illegal and may cause you troubles at your destination?

Is Ikea its most famous brand?

The title of this post should give you enough hint about which country we are referring to. At one time barely 250 years ago, this country was one of the strongest militarily in the Nordic region. So much that it dominated to the extent that the Baltic sea could have been named after it.

Yeah, we’re talking about Sweden. Land of Abba, meat balls and Ikea… ok so we jest, in case Swedes object.

Our reminisce of the time we spent in that country is concentrated almost entirely in Stockholm. For that was the main stopping point in our coach trip around Scandinavia so many years ago. You know the trouble with groups is that one does not have control over the itinerary and timings. So we’ll probably make a return some day.

What made the most impression on us on that journey? We think its got to be the warship Vasa. Get to the museum where the extricated ship is now on display. As impressive as it was, it was ‘top heavy’. Too many guns almost like an inverted pyramid. A good lesson for all to learn, particular corporates with high paid management… heheh.

It was such a brief whirlwind journey through it that we did so long ago (here). We know there are lots more to see and do in Sweden. What do you recommend?