Only the wealthy may come

You have to hand it to the Daily Mail for picking up this story…In this post, we are told that the country’s leadership has opted for a high value; high quality tourism approach. Only 5-star hotels and resorts will be approved hereon. And they are suppose to come with their own water treatment and backup power systems, supposedly for environmental reasons. However, budget travelers need not fret. AirBnB is still available. And along with that the local hostels too. Perhaps what will be costlier will be the flights!

Why has this come to pass you ask?

Quite possibly, the islands had felt the strong wave of tourist numbers flooding their shores! Recall that we wrote some time back about the sheer growth of tourism volumes here? And that we had predicted too that there could be repercussions. In the form of a push back. Enough is enough!

Now granted that the push back we anticipated is from the local folks, but you should also know that all politics are local. If the constituents are not happy, well the politicians are likely to pander to the direction of political winds to stay in power. Not unless you have a dictatorship…Thus this latest development in Palau is not a surprise to us at all.

And we believe this is the harbinger of the future…

Could quotas be introduced in “hot” tourist destinations? Want to visit Barcelona? Go online and apply for an TSTA – ‘Tourist system travel application’. Like its cousin ESTA, you have to pay for this application and it has a limited validity. Without this you can’t get on a flight, bus or train to the city. Even if you are on a cruise ship, you cannot disembark. Aargh! How will long term ‘travelers’ be affected?

Will this become a reality?

Perhaps not as drastic. But nevertheless some form of “control” is likely to be on the cards. In our humble opinion that is. There cannot be action without a reaction – no matter if it is equal or not in force. Just as the pendulum swings or sine wave oscillates, at some point the huge number of tourists will cause sufficient strain to the infrastructures of destinations to buckle. We just might see more cities and countries adopt some form of what Palau just decided to do. Perhaps it’s just a matter of time.

And that’s how the cookie crumbles.

You read this prediction first – here on our blog. What do you think about our prediction?

Invading travellers who try to be local

In one of our last posts, we featured some numbers in relations to the movement of people on this planet for leisure purpose. By now we are wary of calling it travel or touring. As you know there IS a difference in the minds of some! Fine.

Mel recalled a semestral course he did on social pyschology many years ago. “Verstehen” as a concept introduced to him as a young student (yeah we were young once too!) meant to put yourself in another person’s shoes so to speak – to understand deeper, ie from the perspective of that person.

So applying this concept, it is interesting to theorize how the local folks who live in some of the world’s most sought after leisure destinations feel about the ‘non locals’ that appear in their midst – sometimes attempting to be like a local (Read Chiseche’s post here on ‘the settler’).

You know, in every country the local language has its own colloqualism, slang, whatever. In our little red dot, the locally mangled form of English (fondly called ‘Singlish’) can be dumbfounding, weird or downright hilarious to those native speakers of her majesty’s tongue. Such examples include the use of the word “lah” in daily speech.

Defined as a slang rightly or not, it is used lavishly in many (not all lah) sentences uttered by the local Singaporean. However, lest you think that it is simply attaching it at the end of any sentence, think again. Listen very carefully (ok read), for we shall only say (write) this once : the use of “lah” is a linguistic evolutionary development of the highest order in our opinion.

Like the F word which is most versatile, “lah” can be used to emit a range of emotions and meanings through emphasis, perhaps these are examples (not perfect):

  • Don’t be like that lah (frustration)
  • Ok lah (it’s alright)
  • Cannot lah!! (possibly upset)
  • No lah (disbelieve)

If ever you are in Singapore and plan to stay longer as a “traveler” who thinks you have become a local, do refrain from using lah too often. It’s just too strange! LOL.

We are sure you have local expressions that that are versatile like the ‘lah’. Care to share them?

Funny business

The Europe atlas

We had previously written about airport names here and how they are the same, yet in very different parts of the world.

Well this post is about weird town names. Do you reckon Middlefart is a swear word or the name of a town? No prizes for guessing it’s the name of a town. But where would you guess this town be found?

When reading this article quite some weeks back, we cannot help but to write more about our own experiences with funny town names…But we highly recommend that you read the article because there is an atlas mapping out the offending names across the world. And the one here is just a sample for Europe. And a very recent one too here. Poor guy ended up with T-Shirts facing a blizzard…

Seriously though, who made English the default way to pronouce city names anyway? LOL. If you take that with a healthy dose of salt, then it is really hilarious. Will you want to go Puke (poo-kay) in Tonga? Nah, we’d rather keep it in! But we found out that the word actually means ‘to be sick’ in Tongan, an uncanny similarity to the English word…or perhaps it was a borrowed word from some passing sailor?

Have you visited places whose names sound bizarre in English? Tell us!

Poster Funnies

Neon signs work, until they don’t.

This Daily mail article (here) shared some hilarious neon signs that were defective to say the least. Best one in our opinion is: bad-signage

Closer home to Singapore, we had this on the bus:


Yes we are aware that Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world, but we shouldn’t have to bust our ass to open windows right?

And finally, our favorite photo bomb of all time:


This fella must be the leader of the pack!

Have a wonderful mid week!

Anything is Possible at a Chinese Airport

Sometimes, when you least expect it. Some one comes up to you and says – Surprise! We’re bringing you through airport security in a zippy! Nope this’s not candid camera…

Isn’t that a happy thought? Just when you have almost lost all sense of hope of ever connecting to that flight whose gate was due to close…reminds us of our recent incident in Beijing! Except there wasn’t such a man with a neon sign. Read Issac and Olena’s near harrowing ordeal. You’d love the happy ending!

Living (& teaching) in China Blog

Isaac and I moved to China in July 2016 in hopes of discovering Asia and traveling as much as possible. During our first 5 months here we visited Shanghai many times, took a train up to Beijing, explored an ancient water village and hiked in a rain forest during a typhoon just to mention a few of our many adventures! Until recently, however, we hadn’t experienced Chinese airports…

We booked our flights with Southern China airline from Shanghai to Phuket and then from Bangkok back to Shanghai way back in August. Using Skyscanner we got a great deal and only spent about $250 on two round-trip flights with one layover each way. It was a bargain!

Leading up to the flight, the agency that we booked with, Vayama, kept changing our flight times every two or three weeks. We didn’t think much of it, until the week before our flight…

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