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?

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?

Red Day Valentine’s day!

Do you know the origins of this celebrated day of love? Was it really in dedication to the martyr of a Saint with this name? Or was it a disguised form of fertility worship to Faunus? In the last two years we wrote about this special day (for us anyway) celebrated while we were in Tokyo.

Well this year’s different.

We’ve changed the city to have the celebration. Because once again this year this day happen to also fall close to the lunar new year, it had to be ‘deferred’ a little till we get to that city.

Now it does not mean that today is only dedicated to love between a couple. It can also be dedicated to all of your loved ones especially family. To whom you send a message reminding them that you are thinking of them. And that they have a special place in your heart. Sure. It does not only have to be this day where this is professed. Have you walked the talk?

Yes it may be hijacked by commercial interests these days. But it does not matter if this celebration was truly in commemoration of the saints, or the continuation of a pagan fertility ritual, one more thing that could be worth pondering. We also exchange greeting cards with each other. With the cute stickers and romatic prose, we “mail” them to each other and display them on our glass cabinet. Not all treasure needs to glitter you will know… and yes it does clutter the cabinet for a couple of week… so?

Do you still send cards? Or have you moved to the digital realm for this too?

Is this a cool adventure – trekking the desert

How cool would it be to trek across the desert. Searching for unfound civilizations that may lay in the sands of time. Well, not quite though. It is tougher than one romanticizes for the desert is inhospitable. So when this article told of folks treking out in the Tengger desert, we were instantanously intrigued.

Ok so the article’s focus was on how folks in China become more adventurous with rising affluence. But you know our post is not about that. For it is not just the deserts of central Asia that exudes an exotic feeling of exploratory prowess. The Saharan experience would surely have concocted the same.

The unknown has always have a magnetic appeal to humans.

Like the galaxies, we imagine what is out there in an expanse that is seemingly lifeless or empty. Are there mysterious beings and civilizations that are hidden out there for us to discover? Are they benelovent or will they be aggressors? Can diplomacy work? Will we be like the crew of the starship Enterprise to ‘boldly go where no wo(man) has gone before’? Cue the music…

End the music!

We were recently in the deserts of the Wadi Rum. Ok so it was not exactly a hike in the desert as we viewed the world passing by from the back of an open Toyota pickup truck. But it was sure damn cool (being outside the car) while it ‘surfed’ the sands. In case you are wondering, those melons in the featured image were from the deserts of Dubai, not Jordan… and they are not edible too if you are curious.

Which deserts in the world have you visited?

Traveling = the wicked contagious disease

With a post title like that, darn sure it should attract some attention. If not, well; when you fail, pick yourself up and try again. For failure is the mother of success, says some Chinese proverb… yeah. Right.


If you’ve picked up on reading this post, you’d either be curious (the cat) or agitated (the dog). Essentially we place you in these two categories (labels)… it just came out of the grey matter so don’t ask why.

Back to the matter at hand.

Some months back (last September to be precise), we reminisced about our journey to the caves of 九乡 (here) in Yunnan China. And we were engaged in a conversation with a wombat (heheh read more him here). Somewhere in that exchange, we concluded that travel seems to be a disease. An affliction that can apparently be chronic. Ooooh…

Now it used to be a disease for the wealthy, you know the likes of gout, hypertension… and appears also to be something that infects older folks as they retire. You know, have some money, go travel to see the world. In recent years though… it has spread. An epidemic if you will. And it has reached the far corners of the world. Ok so we exaggerated. So what? We sincerely believe many out there will agree. If not post a comment and we can debate ok?

Our story is one of catching this bug when we came out of college (if you’ve read our about section). And for over a quarter of a century we have spent so much money seeking treatment in an attempt to finally rid ourselves of the virus that has turned us into ‘travombies’. Everyday when we have time we’d be searching the web for the next journey, the best deals… mostly in the night though because we seem to be perfectly normal folks in the day when at the office…

Maybe if we finally touch Antarctica we would be cured once and for all.

Are you one of them travel zombies (aka ‘travombies)? How can you be treated? Do you think you can ever be cured? Tell us!

Who are the ‘worst’ tourists?

An interesting write up by Tim Pile here at the SCMP last year. We’ve all read about horror stories relating to bad behavior of tourists from certain nationalities. They come from the North, South, East and Western hemispheres. Basically they can be from anywhere. Did you read Tim’s article in the link? If so, now you know who potentially the worst of them are.

But today our point is not to identify the ‘worst’ tourists by nationality. Rather it is about stereotyping. Certain groups of people are supposedly industrious. Others are good business people often amassing a lot of wealth. Some folks are plain stingy and mean. You see where this is going?

It does not help that media tend to sensationalize news. One black sheep these days appears to taint the entire flock black grey too. Not a fair assessment in our opinion. Live and let live. Why can’t we all just get along? Because we all have our own cultures that would be normal in our part of the globe. We travel to learn about how others live and to appreciate it.

We so often associate specific traits, characteristics, behaviors to groups of people. Labels these are, and oftentimes they are demeaning too. So before we start pointing fingers at anyone else, let’s start from ourselves. Charity begins at home and so does self reflection.

A tough and contentious topic. Any brave soul care to air a view? Or will this become another commentless post?