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?

Staying at the airport control tower

No. It is not that the airport terminal or the local airport hotels have run out of space. In July of last year the Arlanda airport folks held a competition where winners can spend some time living in the former airport control tower (here).

Fancy being in the control tower where folks once directed aircrafts?

Today though our post is not about staying in what we’d consider a quirky location. You can easily do that with AirBnB by looking up exotic locations on offer. What we want to talk about today is about airports. You know, the places where you take a plane.

As you might have read (here), our little red dot just opened a fourth terminal at our international airport (we have 5 others airports/strips btw). Now that’s nothing if one’s been to the large hubs in the US (O’Hare, McCarran, JFK etc) or in Europe (Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle etc). And it is not a boast about size.

It’s about the fact that airports are ‘putting on weight’. From a size 8 to a size 12 so to speak. Finding sufficient land to “fit” the expanding waistlines of airports can be a challenge. Getting from one side of it to the other a chore. They’ve become miniature cities in themselves such that some are sited well out and away from the cities they serve. Someday, we predict that they will become tourist attractions in themselves too. Just like the abandoned Arlanda control tower in the above link or the one at former Kallang airport in our little red dot.

Have you explore airports before? Or do you simply transit through them?

A Bangkok getaway II

Oh such fun. Being away during a super long weekend. You might not know it, but the lunar new year falls every year between the gregorian calendar months of January or February. And after giving out red packets (of money) and eating all the peanuts equivalent to a year’s normal consumption what is one to do?

In the past we used to stay in the little red dot and visit even more relatives and friends (and eat more peanuts). But today with the constant contact we already have every now and then, plus social media it seems we’ve run out of conversations when we meet face to face! So this is the second year that we’ve determined to move away from the familiar faces and to a place where we are not so familiar with.

But where can one go in these months of the year? For a quick jaunt that is.

Obviously China and much of northeast Asia (except Japan) is closed. Tokyo would be wonderful to be for a few days… or it might be places such as Australia. Our surrounding archipelago of islands sounds like fun too. Or it could be the land of smiles. Where’s that you ask? You must have not been watching any of the infomercials promoting Thailand huh?

So here we are lounging by the pool of the Conrad Bangkok, writing and sending this post before we head off for another culinary orgasm in the Asian city of Angels (yeah here’s looking at you Lala land).

Think of this as a post card that says “wish you were here”… (NOT!)

Do you enjoy visiting Bangkok? Because we do. What are your favourite things to when you visit a city besides eating?

All hail the (狗) Dog!

Ok. Who let the dogs out? Who… Who? Who? Who? Well it is time to let them out since the Rooster has scooted out to make way for the dog. In a day’s time, it will be the lunar new year so here’s advanced greetings to you all!

May the force be with you, bringing vitality and vibrant “chi” (氣) energy.

You see the connection between Star Wars’ Jedis and the kungfu masters? To be honest it was hilarious. When we first saw Star Wars (episode I for some folks) back in 1980, we thought Jedi power sounded very familiar. No we did not watch it when it premiered in 1977 in case you were wondering. The little red dot was more of a developing country then. Incredible huh?

You see we were brought up with the kungfu genre of heroes using invisible force emanating from their palms. They could also freeze you in place with a tap on certain accupuncture points too. And they are light footed enough to jump from house to house, or sometimes fly at you like birds. As we say around here, “don’t play play” with these kungfu experts, ahem Jedi knights.

What has all these to do with the lunar new year of the Dog?


But thanks for reading till the end. It will soon be ‘reunion dinner’ night, so no more reading and commenting on WP for a while. Some will dance to the rhythm of ‘agogo’, while others relax over the days giving away packets of money to children. But every day or so there will be a salad toss up, ‘lohei’ we call it here. Google it. We are sure you might find it fascinating. Huat ah!

Do you have lunar new year celebrations at a location near you?

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?

An announcement

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are pleased to inform you that we are starting up a new series of posts. It has been almost 2 years in the making and it is still not complete. A little like making a very expensive movie. Because this series involves many ‘actors’ with a script that is constantly changing. Afterall the world is dynamic right? So you can expect the posts to also change in shape and form as it continues…

Introducing : Singapore’s MRT stations. Ok so not focusing on the stations, since they’ve been the source of quite some angst and negative news in recent years months. But much more about the neighbourhoods around them.

MRT Series header

Each week or more accurately every 6 days (since we post every alternate day), a photo essay post will be shared on an MRT station and its surroundings. Now our little red dot might not have as many subway lines (we call them MRT lines) as some of the larger metropolises of the world, but we do have five of them at present (with more to come).

Starting from the oldest line (the North-South line), each station will be accorded its own post along with a small amount of commentary. Sorry can’t stop talking writing. As we said earlier in the post, the script will be dynamic since it is not possible to control the weather, the festivities or who will be around the stations when we captured those snapshots in time.

You can say it was both hard work and pleasure as Mel (and occasionally Suan) explore each of these stations and their environs over the weekends when we were in town. Or sometimes during the week too when a longer lunch hour afforded it. Look forward to be surprised by what you can see from around these stations. Because we were too.

The first post begins next week. Don’t you think “traveling” in your own backyard is something to consider?