More animal funnies

Oh do we love funny animal shots…and this one from the Daily Mail was such a favourite! Don’t you think the seal was cute? We certainly think so!

Cute Seal
Lifted from the Daily Mail. It looks soooo happy!

Have you any cute animal pictures to share?

This would be a fine hotel to “book”

When you check into the Literary Man hotel in the town of Obidos, Portugal you might not sleep a wink they tell you. Why you ask? Because the hotel has a library stocked with approximately 50,000 titles. They range for fiction to cookbooks to vintage collectibles. It is said to be an affordable night’s stay too.

You might recall that Mel’s fascinated with books. As an antiquities’ buff, Mel has accumulated a healthy collection of history books. Some during the days when we lived in Holland, and yet other more recent purchases off Amazon. So this resonates well with him.

However this is by no means the only hotel that is book themed.

Back in 2013, CNN listed a bevy of 14 hotels (read here) around the world. Check out the Nines in Portland. They have a deal with Powell books, one of the sources that Mel pursues for his book fix. Or the Heathman hotel, also in Portland (why ah?). For the Hobbits fans out there, decor at the Hobbit motel in New Zealand revolves around the book(s). But none of them matches the Literary Man hotel’s phantasmagorical setting for book buffs.

So why not consider Obidos? A reasonably exotic locale (depending on your point of view), affordable nights’ stay, a warmer climate (for those in the throes of winter). All good reasons to kick back, relax and enjoy a read!

Will you book a reading holiday?

Slow planes or was it slow coach?

It’s sure interesting to know that perhaps our aircraft journeys have lengthened. If this article is to be believed, we now take a longer time to get to our destinations. Did you notice that too? Or is this just a figment of imagination?

Actually we noticed something too.

HND to NRT.jpg
Would it take 30 minutes to fly 73km? LOL

A few years ago, the company that Mel worked for had a corporate policy of flying coach for flights 7 hours or less. Scouring the flight schedules, it was found that a SIN/NRT flight takes 7 hours and 5 minutes. The alternative SIN/HND flight on the other hand was 6 hours 30 minutes. Having to visit Japan rather frequently, he chose the Narita flight…heheh. But a difference of 30 minutes between the two airports?

Now either the plane to Narita was much slooower, or the one to Haneda flew faster. Or perhaps they both were slower? If you had read the article above, you would have realize that the reason for ‘slower’ flights could stem from the urge by airlines to save on fuel costs. Recall that oil prices spiked up close to US$150/barrel in July 2008?

Like driving a car, it does not mean that getting into the top speed will mean the maximal use of the gearbox. If one were to google for fuel efficiency, you’d find that 55mph (90kmh) is prescribed as the optimal. In fact driving faster leads to a drop in fuel efficiency. Guess this applies to airplanes too right? Afterall, airlines are for profit organizations. They’d do anything to fill up the plane and drive fly it more economically.

A funny story

Some years ago, Mel & Suan went on a journey to Hokkaido. We were waiting at the boarding gate for a domestic flight to Sapporo from Tokyo. Boarding annoucement (first in Japanese, then later in English): “Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to start boarding. Prior to boarding, may we ask that you take use of the airport’s restroom facilities.” – weight, that could be what they are trying to reduce! Saves fuel you know if the airplane is lighter you know…heheh.

Anyway. Mel’s mom used to call out to him ‘hey slow coach, catch up!’ (Mel’s not a tomato btw), while on hikes when he was little. Was Mel a slow coach? No. He was just walking at the optimal speed using the least amount of effort and energy.

Did you notice your plane turning into a slow coach? Tell us!

 

Yet another new theme park?

We’ve written about the happiest place on earth. How about a theme park for the world’s most prolific circus? Yes we are referring to Cirque du Soleil. If you are a fan, you probably have watched at least one of their many traveling acts around the world. In a number of locations such as Las Vegas and Tokyo you can catch shows at permanent venues. What if Cirque decided to lift entertainment to yet a higher level?

What can that be we hear you whisper…

Why a theme park of course! Perhaps this is old news to you. But for us this development is definitely thrilling!

Currently in the works, this theme park is located in Mexico’s Nuevo Vallarta. Well, specifically at the Vidanta resort. In 2018, imagine walking amongst what appears to be Mayan ruins at your next show. All these within the confines of a luxury resort, or so the creators purport.

We checked out Vidanta’s website and its seven resorts. LOL we spotted the comment from some Trip advisors about the timeshare presentations…heheh. Wow still hawking these products in an age of AirBnB huh? You know the ‘discounts’, free shows and meals they bundle into a presentation…ok we have a timeshare too from many years back…not that we regretted.

Anyway, this is yet another example of experential tourism lifting off. You see this almost everywhere these days. The tried and tested regimes of showing you a relic or two does not seem to work anymore. In order to have a ‘share’ of your mind, companies are coming up with ever more spectacular experiences.

If financials were not a concern, would you journey to this latest theme park?

Out of place seating

In our journeys, we love to look out of the plane window and awe in the sight of take off/landing or simply the landscape and cloudscape outside. So when this article at the Huffington suggested that the seats on the plan are designed not always to align with the windows, we had to check it out.

If you read the article, it quoted “frequent flyers” suggesting the left side of the plane offering more ‘head room’ to lean against. The idea is about getting some sleep that way… That seems to suggest the seats are not aligned next to the windows.

airplane-seating-plan
Best one we can find on the web…

Now you’d need to discern between airlines and aircraft models. Even within the Boeing or Airbus families there will be differences. Moreover, airlines dictate how the configurations of seat rows will be. And where to place the toilets and attendants’ working area.

If there is one more thing to note, it will be that at the tailend the seats may be angled due to the curvature of the plane chassis. Again this is dependent on the aircraft model and configuration. You might have airlines choosing to place all the toilets at the back end. That could render all seat rows to be equal.

For us, the reason for having the window seat is to be able to look out of it. And to capture ocassionally a beautiful vista that only a bird’s eye view can afford. Don’t you just love looking at the cloud formations when flying in the daytime? How about the sunrise/sunset with changing hues? While we have not mastered how to take better pictures of cities from the window, looking at the lights emanating from them makes us wonder about what folks are doing at home on the ground.

Have you notice that your airplane seat is not aligned with the window?

A Novel travel guide

If you read JK Rowling’s book or watched the movie, you might think that King’s Cross Station does have a ‘Platform 9¾’. In that you need to run full speed against the archway beam – “crashing” through to the platform that is between 9 and 10.

Perhaps not as dramatic.

What about novels such as Oliver Twist? Well this little boy walked through London and the novel described quite a fair bit about the landmarks of the city. Though the names have changed and city ‘re-arranged’, quite some of the landmarks remain recognizable. Nicholas Noyes pulled together an excellent page which you might find fascinating. Read his work here. Nicholas suggests that the novel had always been a guide for middle/upper class folks readers to ‘see’ the dark and small alleys of poorer suburbs/sections of the city during Dicken’s time. Comments?

You might recall that Charles Dickens had a rather turbulent or perhaps traumatic childhood. His father was thrown into debtors’ prison and it was only by a fortuitous receipt of an inheritance that the family got out of jail!

Do you know of any other novel that can be a travel guide too?

We wrote about an old Baedeker guide of Paris still usable here. Can you imagine an 1897 guide (in German) describing the city of Paris is still largely relevant? Incredible isn’t it? How much has changed in the place you live in? Will someone from the waaay past recognize anything?