Visiting and relaxing in a sanitorium

Heheh… the word sanitorium in the modern context might suggest to you that one’s gone bonkers… Or that one had contracted a virulent form of TB. But did you know that sanitoriums were not all built for the purposes of taking in such afflicted persons?

If this post is true, then the good folks of the soviet era did have a little more joy than we are told. Though it would only be for two weeks, the vouchers or subsidized holidays would be a respite from the daily grind. Did you read the post? They sure have some strange ways to relax!

You might recall, outside of the soviet system in supposedly capitalist countries we also get the two weeks of paid vacation (some places much more), but we have pay for our own relaxation… hmmm… the irony. Is it really so much better to have to slog your way and yet be “worse” off? Do you think you are worse off today then before or will things only look up?

The world is in flux these days. Income inequality is rising. Technologies are disrupting the way businesses and how their processes are being run. New ways of doing things are emerging that will subsume existing ones in a disruptive creation. It’s no surprise that many folks who are caught up in these changes on the wrong side of the road are beginning to resist the tide.

Many might wish for a return to the past when life was predictable. At least the soviets had a way for workers to relax. Will you travel to a Soviet era sanitorium?

Lost towns?

Technology and urbanization. Now these two words might not seem to be very linked to each other, but we tell they are so. Because from our view, technology’s advancement is one of the developments alongside urbanization. True that there are many other factors for growing urban living, but today we are not debating this.

As the title of this post suggest, we are focused on towns. Villages if you will. Some months back we read this article about the dying towns of Italy (our interpretation). An interesting read if we may recommend.

Oh how we identify with this trend. The gradual and sometimes fast moving changes that decimate depopulate towns of people, mostly youths leaving to seek their fortunes in the big city. We’ve seen this in Japan, China and to much extent in countries such as Thailand and Cambodia too. Towns being “absorbed” by megacities as they grow fat large. We’ve seen almost entire towns inhabited mostly by elderly folks. And as these folks pass on, so does the towns that once bustled with life. And a loss that is not just people but also culture, heritage and traditions.

Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing…. so goes an old song.

The article cited above also spoke about rejuvenation. And not just as specks of attractions that see thousands in the day and fall into still silence in the night. We’ve stated out view on how we’ve witnessed to much loss while living in China.

When will we ever learn?

Reaching the ends of the world

This article reminds us how far the human race will go to the ends of the planet. Not for sightseeing though, but as part of a long migratory trek out of ‘eden’. We said last year that perhaps we could get to Oymyakon, where barely a few hundred souls eke out a living.

But can you imagine living in the equivalent of the outback in the cold?

For us though, we still prefer the cold to the heat. You see we are folks with a lot of sweat pores. So we drip sweat in the humid heat. Hence the preference for somewhere cooler and the prevalence of our writings about somewhere freezing, not that we’d necessarily make the journey to live there permanently.

One thing’s for sure. It appears that it shall be hard to do some basic things in life, such as taking a bath or a leak. Peeling away many layers of clothing only to have them put back on again. Freeze drying your laundry… And that invariable shiver when you put on crisp (no pun intended) newly freeze dried cleaned clothes that has come straight from the coldpress cupboard. Consolation could be that you don’t need a fridge.

Alright. A meaningless ramble today. We told you we do this on occasion.

Think about it. It would surely take a big fat hardship allowance to induce anyone to move out there. And it was ever offered to you with lots of money, would you take it up?

Your airline has gone what?

Bankrupt.

Surely worse than having a employment situation where airline workers go on strike. Or the occasional delays one encounter because of weather, operational problems (with the aircraft) or airport congestion. Because what would one do if you were in a foreign land having flown out, only to find out that the carrier you’ve paid to bring you home has gone belly up?

2017 saw a number of such bankruptcies that caused quite a lot of anguish to both employees (of the airlines) and customers (aka the passenger). Would you buy the airline’s assets (here) as it disposes of them in bankruptcy?

In the past two decades, there had been a proliferation of airlines both full service but mostly budget oriented across the world. The business model premise on efficient use of aircraft assets (ie turnaround) and minimal frills (except when you pay for it). Competition have been intense (still is) and for years consumers appear to have been beneficiaries, ‘proletarizing’ travel making it accessible to almost anyone. Sustainability appears to be something that is now creeping up against these business entities…

While failing airlines are not unusual, today’s post harks to what we as travelers need to be aware of. It pays to look carefully at which carrier you are booking with with a few considerations such as :

  • Insurance of the travel kind. Does it cover airline insolvency? How can you claim them and to what limits?
  • Track record of the carrier. Punctuality, reliability/safety etc… has it been in financial trouble before? Would you even do this?
  • Alternate travel arrangements, ie a mitigation plan. Yeah this might be a little over the top but if you travel cheap… might want to think about it.

Because while size may not seem to matter, it does when the unexpected occurs. Large airlines go bust too. Digressing: this applies in the event natural disasters occur too, leading you to be potentially stranded.

Have you experienced booking on an airline that went bankrupt?

Cat in a bag

Wow. The things that they keep coming up with. You know animals have rights too (to some folks and not all). You cannot simply keep your pets in shabby conditions (absolutely agree). Afterall, it is part of your responsibility when you have a pet. But what about pampering your pet?

Now if you want to give your little kitty a view as you lug it around, perhaps buy one of these bags (here). Can you imagine buying this bag for your cat? It ain’t cheap btw and we spoke with one owner as we waited for the taxi one day.

But today we are not focused on getting the bag. Or the cat.

Well, ok sort of related. We are talking about folks bringing their pets with them on a journey. Did you know that as many as 56% of US pet owners have driven their dogs around at least once a month? Sure the regular visit to the vet is important, but quite some bring their pets with them on a road trip. Does the image of a dog sticking its head out of the window tongue drooling pop in your head?

How about air travel? Now that’s less frequent (phew) but still at 6% is quite high. Imagine this percentage of the 78+ million dogs in the US getting on a plane every year. Did the math in your head? Remember our piece on emotional support animals? Some of them actually have jobs too you will know. Which do you think is easier to bring along? The cat? Or the dog?

Do you have a pet? Have your brought it with you on a road trip or onto a plane?

Taking an Air Cruise?

Once again it’s time to recap what’s going on with trends in travel. From this article, what caught our eye was Uber private jetting (wonder how recent developments with them will be though). Yep, you read that right. This sharing economy is really taking off (no pun intended).

But the icing on the cake really was the section of the post that suggests there are folks who would gun for taking round the world (well not all the way round) air cruises. Huh? You might recall that we wrote (here) about the nostalgic days of air travel in the 1950s and 1960s. Back in the day a journey from say Australia to the UK could take several days, even by flight. And what journey did the passengers have? Why they had stopovers where they’d be checked into hotels before making the onward journey flight.

Seems like this form of travel is making a come back!

So who says one cannot do a cruise with planes? It will not be the plane being in the air for the entire duration of a week, but surely as cruise ships dock at ports the planes can do the same (not the seaport lah)? And it has always been our prediction that some day, airships will come back in vogue not as transportation but as pleasure crafts. It’s a matter of time.

We predict that within the next 10 years, air cruising will become affordable to the masses as sea cruises are. When that becomes a reality, will you be one of the first to jump in the air?