Final stop for Hong Kong’s ding ding?

With a title like that we expect a little more response from Hong Kongers or residents of the SAR. The article in question (here) seeks to elaborate how competition from other modes of transport may erode the lure of taking an iconic ride on the world famous trams of Hong Kong island.

Really?

Our first ride on the Ding ding was in the early 1990s fresh out of college. It was already a tourist attraction, though there was a considerab number of locals taking the tram. More about that in our Hong Kong handprint story (which will come soon enough). True the SAR has numerous other attractions and a plethora of things to do. But we are sure that many who visit the island even today would consider a ride on the tramway to be a must do activity.

Constructed in 1903, the tramway is now well over 100 years old. Like a venerable old dame, the tramway has seen booms, busts and wars. The familiar “ding” that one hears as the tram comes through is iconic as the dim sum that one seeks in Hong Kong in our opinion. We actually compared that with the one in San Francisco. Although different (the Hong Kong one is double decked), they were both constructed and put in service around the same decades of the 19th century.

Real estate is precious on tiny Hong Kong island. Would this little piece of gem be removed? How do the locals feel about this iconic symbol of Hong Kong? Will Hong Kongers nd residents tell us your views?

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?

Don’t eat airline food anymore?

Would you listen to a celebrity chef cum reality TV star cum restauranteur? For one thing, the quoted person in this article suggests that he himself will not touch airline food. Apparently from his own wealth of experience working for some of the most prestigious airlines in the world, he knows enough to avoid it.

Does this kind of review(s) influence you?

Now one thing that the above article does not provide are concrete reasons from who we’d refer to as a so-called social influencer. He simply referred to the fact he knows where the airline food has been and how long it took before getting on the plane with the passengers. Which honestly is the same with all pre-cooked meals anyway…so what’s new? It just need to be served and consumed within a certain number of hours when stored at the appropriate temperature and conditions.

You might recall we wrote a little post about gorgeous airline food and shared with you some of those we had the privilege of sampling at 30,000+ feet in the air. At that rarefied air, food taste different than you are back on planet earth we asserted and convinced you (we hope). The meal(s) you have onboard would thus be something you’d likely reject/avoid on a daily basis.

You might also recall yet another post we wrote (here) where we pointed out that the water in the tanks of the planes potentially seethe with undesirables… so take the coffee and tea at your own risk we are told! Stick with bottled and canned drinks we guess. Perhaps that’s the excuse to be sanitized with lots of alcohol, our preferred one’s from Chianti (here). Heheh.

Would a social influencer sway you? Are all of these sufficient to convince you never to take airline meals ever again?

They call it ‘crop dusting’

Something a little humorous today.

Alright, this can be serious stuff for some. Readers who fly often enough know that one frequently need to release tension at their rear ends while in the air. Yeah, we’re talking about farting in public. And specifically on the aircraft. Many explanations are pro-offered for this, including this article from the Huffington.

HAFE – High Altitude Flatus Expulsion. What a mouthful.

Essentially it means flatulence, or in other words – passing of gas out of you know where. So why do we have to HAFE in the air? Well that probably varies from person to person, but it is mainly due to the gas in the intestines expanding when you get higher up in altitude. Lower pressure outside the body, higher inside…

And there are suggestions in the article on how does one can combat it. Keeping it in is NOT one of the solutions. In fact, the medical professionals interviewed for the article suggests that keeping it in will not only lead to discomfort but also more bloating and pain. It may even lead to inflammation of the colon. So, one have to learn to let it go. Aye…. feel better now?

Avoid salty and fatty food and drink more water. But wait. Did we not know that food served on the plane are normally more savory? Read here for our take on that. How about walking about the plane to ‘improve the flow’? FAA regulations discourage ‘loitering’ about the plane… Perhaps anti-gas medication is indeed one of the better solutions but we personally would not consider it. We still think the ability to let go is best.

Afterall, when you are on your journey you want to be in the pink of health when you arrive at your destination. Nothing is worse than being cramped up when you land. If there is need to visit the lavatory more often on the plane, so be it. Don’t hold back, its good for you.

Hmm…wonder if the same effect takes place when we get to places of high altitude? HAFE you experienced this when you fly?

Little nuggets of fun Tokyo

So far, we have written and shared our previous journalog and handprint story of our Japan journey for 2017. But what we left out was a treasure trove of experiences in Tokyo that we thought we might want to share with you too…

You might have read our report from the field in the past (here and here), we were in Tokyo during the ‘red’ day. This is when women express their affection for their men. You might have also noted that the days were beautiful with clear skies – yep we ordered that. And make sure you place your orders early when you’re going…because there will not be a refund. LOL.

Yes there are many posts out there recommending what to do. When you are done with all of them, the following could be something to consider:

Walk along Ginza on car free Sunday

Every weekend on both days, Dori-street along Ginza will be closed to vehicular traffic between noon till 5pm. Even if you are not intent on shopping, get there to see what people get up to. Some set up deck chairs and umbrellas and sit there all afternoon!

Visit Hama Rikyu gardens

This one’s a little gem and does take a little effort to get to. However, for 300 yen you’d see a wonderful garden set in this bustling city. Yes we know there are free ones elsewhere but this one deserves special mention.

Take a bus to Gotemba

If shopping in the city is not enough for you, then the nearest outlet mall would be at Gotemba. There you can buy luxury good for a discount. Now who would’nt want that? But take note this secret place is now common knowledge, perhaps consider the one at Karuizawa instead…

Buy the delectable cakes from department store food center

Oh this is surely something you must simply be between 7:30pm till 8pm. At almost every large departmental store’s basement food center, there will be an almost frenzy atmosphere of last minute buying. The food is offered for steep discounts since it will not be kept. Be prepared for a squeeze!

No matter whether the above are something you’d consider or not, Tokyo is sure a city that may enamour you to be back and again!