Walking on broken glass

Okay, not that Mel & Suan will advocate doing this. Recall that we’ve written about glass walks that jut out over empty space (here and here). Many of them are in places of natural beauty, so folks can enjoy a view. Well, a couple of months back we read about this new rage to provide similar experiences in cities too. And it seems to be a competition out there!

Now if the city of Chicago approves, then the owners of this office tower just might get the opportunity to build a glass walkway high in the sky. Read here for the article. If you did not manage to click on the link and read, well let us share with you that the owners of the building intends to provide visitors the opportunity to abseil from the 103rd floor to the 102nd too. No glassway there! Buy your own insurance. Not sure if even any company might want to extend cover…

Ok, our own experiences had not been that dramatic. At least not yet. We have been to quite a few glasswalks though, the most recent one in Busan. For us the Tianmen (天门山) mountain in ZhangJiaJie (张家界) provided one of the most challenging, as the walkway was hugging to a cliff hundreds of meters from the ground. Even holding to the railing was scary to some. They feared the railing might give way… yet not far they actually build a bridge between two mountains! Missed that one because it opened a year after our journey.

We also missed the one at the west rim of the Grand Canyon. So we now have excuses to journey to these sites again. From the looks of it, there will be more glasswalks coming to a place near you.

Do you have a phobia walking on glass floors over great heights? Where have you done that before?

Is this the best job in the world?

Some reality check indeed for all those who aspire for these ‘best job in the world’ roles. Ben sure brought in a dose of realism as he shared how he went through one the first of these roles (here for the article).

We are sure many of you would have experienced this. You read a job ad. The job description is given to you. It reads to be really exciting. You start to dream about the kind of things you will be doing on the job. The interviewer? Well he (or she) did not paint a bleak picture either. And so you sign on the dotted line…

Bam!

Three months later you are wondering what were you thinking. This job ain’t what it was advertised and sold to you! So you rant. Oh how often has this occurred to you? Perhaps one time too many? Maybe you were lucky enough to find the right fit in the right employer. All the time. Lucky you.

So is being a travel ambassador of sorts really that dream job?

Well according to Ben – we think it hinges between yes and no. Granted that he traveled the length of the Great Barrier reef in almost every imaginable transport device from land to sea to air. But it was certainly no bed of roses either with the hectic schedule visiting 60 islands in 6 months while conducting a bevy of interviews, shows etc. In fact, this might sound like a rather high end corporate role. Except it might not pay as much nor come with some of the benefits one can expect from the behemoth transnationals of the world.

But that would not be the point isn’t it?

We are sure Ben will have the memories of his 6 months etched somewhere in his mind for a long time. Would you apply the next time such an opportunity comes along?

Should there be dress codes on planes?

A couple of months back, we read about this furore over how United offloaded two girls for wearing leggings (read here for the article). The official reasons for this was : they were traveling using company benefits and needed to adhere to a specific dress code.

We are not debating this.

Rather, we are wondering aloud whether there should be any form of dress code at all for folks in general getting onto a plane. Recall we wrote about etiquettes (here)? Granted it was about the private jets but should not the same principles apply? Yes you may still wear large sunglasses to appear mysterious, although not at security though. They want to look you in the eye… heheh.

Certainly one would not dress skimpy like one’s at the beach, just because one’s on a plane heading to an island for the sun & sand right? And we are certainly not advocating to be dressed to the nines for a flight, as if it was a gala function one’s attending too. On the one hand you have restaurants, clubs and even some hotels that impose dress codes for entry. On the other one would not regulate how people dress when taking the bus…

So the question remains. Should there be dress codes imposed? What do you think?

So, is flying taking the bus or more like going to a restaurant? Does it even make sense to have this comparison? What has have been the worst of dressing that you’ve seen in your flight experiences?

Scammed! Fake travel sites…

Some fraudsters are so blatant! In an article a few months back, a seemingly unapologetic scammer appeared to nonchalantly continue selling rooms at some of the most beautiful views on the islands of the Aegean sea. Eventhough they are not authorized nor have any dealings with that establishment!

Mykonos14.jpg
This one’s real ok. Photo’s ours by the way

Not only did they stole from the identity of the genuine sites, they also set up pay for clicks with Google! Yeah the link has been discontinued since the discovery of this fraud, but that tells you that even Google can be duped. Can you imagine the disappointment horror of the folks who turned up only to be told there wasn’t a reservation made? Not only did one suffer monetary loss, one’s holiday would also be ruined!

This brings us to the point of our post.

With the internet, individuals are empowered to start businesses online without the need for brick and mortar presence. The very same versatility employed by well meaning folks can also be exploited by criminally minded individuals and groups for fiendish ends. Think about it. In the paragraphs of the above example, not only have victims lost money and holiday time, they have “lost” personal and confidential information too,  such as credit card(s), contact details etc. The same identity theft of a business can also extend to fraud committed in your name.

Sure would not like receive a subpoena in your letterbox!

Like its cousin fake news, such fake travel sites are the scourge of the internet. Have you been affected by such sites before? How do you think this form of fraud can be prevented?

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?

A bed for the flight

Now even business class fliers can experience having a double bed while flying 30,000 feet in the air in this article. If Qatar Air’s antics are emulated, we just might see even more airlines offering the same experience in this increasingly cut-throat segment of the airline industry.

The new design on the aircraft is said to be able to close out an area of 4-seats into a family pod! Qatar is sure trying to woo passengers away for a larger market share! You might recall how we wrote about first class travel (here) being neophytes when it comes to that level of luxury in the air. But this requires a couple or a family to share the bed or ‘communal space’…what if one were only traveling with a colleague for business?

Wow.

First we had the craft beer for the flights (read here). Then we have bars on the planes. All of them were for whom we called ‘airline royalty’ (read here). Perhaps we should start considering flying on air-ships that take a little bit longer than aircraft to get where we want to. And in the process, check into a cabin for the super long flight enjoying wonderful meals on top of the world. Literally…

Will we soon see the rise of cruise lines in the air? You just need to know that back in the early days of flying commercial, it took literally days to get from one end of the world (eg Australia) to the other (eg London). There were many flight stops along the way where passengers relaxed and changed. As if they were disembarking from a cruise ship.

Would we be headed back in that direction? If we can have Uber and AirBnB (a reboot of the old sharing economy), why can’t we have the same in aviation? Perhaps that all of this might be heralding in the second golden age of flying?