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?

The Dutch re-invented walking

Huh? Who invented walking the first place you ask. You know in Singapore we have been struggling to manage mobility devices. These are the small electric motor driven bicycles, hover boards or kick scooters. The issue is how to share the limited walking path with pedestrians. Bear in mind there isn’t as much of a bicycle culture like in the Netherlands (where we lived a while), sequestering a part of the road for bicycles or these mobility devices.

But today we are not debating this issue.

Rather, we are making reference to the fact such electric mobility devices do not give you any exercise. Ok, perhaps the kick scooter without a motor. Since you are virtually dependent on electric power for movement for most of these devices. How would you like such a device that will get you to where you want and yet give you an exercise?

Consider the “Lopifit”. Instead of cycling, you can now threadmill your way to work (read here). Really? Yep. Walk on the device as if you are strolling or Walking at a fast pace. The choice is yours. Know that as you do your health app in your phone or watch will be clocking the distances covered. Up to 50 miles (80km) on one charge, you can scooter walk your way from Changi airport to Jurong (far western end of Singapore) and back! Now that should help burn some of the calories that you might accumulate later in the day…

Not bad eh?

Since Singapore is moving towards putting in more infrastructure to facilitate these personal mobility devices (PMDs) and goad folks to be car-lite, this invention comes at an opportune time! For a ‘low’ price of just approximately US$2400, you will define mobility in a way no one else will!

Will anyone buy this?

Hyperlooping around

Does anyone still watch star trek? Why you ask? Because you recall these folks use to ‘beam’ themselves to and from the starship all the time in their adventures across the distant galaxies.

We might not get there yet, but close. New technologies such as hyperlooping is being developed. And if this article is to be believed, one would be able to make the journey from London to Edinburgh in 45 minutes! Wow, that’s almost like Scottie beaming you up!

How does this technology work and is it safe?

g-force-faceWell according to what we can find out from the web (assuming it is not fake news), folks sitting in a pod placed into a near vacuum tube will be propelled at more than supersonic speeds. Now you might have all seen movies where people being hurled at high G-forces look like…

Will this be how you would feel and look like as you hurtle through the tube? LOL. Heheh, well we don’t look like that when we fly in a plane right? So, nah don’t expect to be like that in a hyperloop too…hmm…

Of course this technology is still in developmental stages. It will take some time to build the vacuum tubes over the vast differences distances. Just like the laying of pipelines. And then there will be the testing for safety etc. All-in, it might be a few more years before we can smell the exhaust of the pods.

Here’s to new technology. Will you take a ride on a hyperloop when it becomes operational?

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?

Do you believe in curses?

This is an interesting article in the Huffington (here) about folks mailing rocks back to the general post office of Hawaii. If you read the article, you would know that the senders were returning volcanic rocks that they had picked up during their journeys to these pacific islands.

Why? Pele’s curse. Nope, not the footballer for those who know. LOL…

There is no deity in the Hawaiian islands with this name. Corrected: Pele is the Goddess of Fire and Lightning (thanks Lucy for sharing this). Do visit her at lovefoodwith lucy because we share a common love of food! Heheh.

It’s supposedly just a legend that if you take any sand or rock away from the islands, bad luck will befall upon you. Perhaps these folks had found out about the “curse”, or they had really encountered a series of unfortunate events? In any case we wrote about what ‘bad’ tourists and travelers bring home with them (here). Tsk tsk we hear you…

What we like to bring home with us aside from the usual tourist souvenirs would be pictures, photos and memories of the journey. As we recount the year, there were many striking instances that leave deep impressions upon us, but none of which will cause us anxiety such as that of Pele’s curse!

Maybe for Fengshui sake we might need to re-arrange the furniture a little…LOL. Hey but for some folks this is serious business and may lead to bad luck if they don’t observe the customs. Not a curse perhaps but close enough. Who wants bad luck?

Have you any similar stories to share about taboos that tourists should look out for?

Manage stress with travel?

Not sure if you are familiar with the saying : “Health is Wealth”. There was one flight in which both Mel and Suan coincidentally watched the same movie. The Japanese satirical movie’s story centred around how a squire worked for a samurai lord.

In the story, this squire falls asleep and is visited by the first god. This one’s the god of health. In it, the god told the squire he was about to take away his health. A healthy dose of conversation took place as part of the movie… The squire awoke and thought nothing of it. Some time later, he fell ill with fever and could not get out of bed. It was difficult to sleep but when he did he dreamt that the wealth god had come.stress

“Aaargh, away with you wealth!!” cried the wealth god to the squire and as quickly as he came he was gone. When he finally awaken, our squire was surrounded by family. They sobbed to him : “oh how the samurai lord has seized all our moneys and treasures for his war!”. All the events that followed and the stress cause the squire to fall into a coma – clearly shocked. It’s dark and gloomy and all the squire could see was the mist. Then a clearing. A figure. A hideous looking figure of a man. That our dear friends was the god of death!

If this report is true, it’s definitely alarming!

We once heard from friends posted to work in the Philippines that people they knew in the corporate circles were ‘dropping like flies’. Perhaps they drank and partied too much…but…and this is a true qualification; many years back we had good friends who reported having gout and hypertension. And these folks were at the height of their early 30s. All because of the food we eat and the little exercise we do. And it seems that apart from lifestyles and diets, stress of life (and/or work) are very likely factors too.

While it is one thing to manage our diets, it may be quite another to manage stress. Can travel help distract you from stress or will it worsen the situation? Remember our post on whether you are overworked? Do you feel stress is overwhelming you?

If so, what do you think you will do about it? We travel to unwind. How about you?