Durian Party, part deux

One year ago, we posted about how we in the little red dot have Durian parties. Today’s post sets out to explain what this fruit is about and where it stands in the culture of our little red dot. Well it’s that time of the year again. For those aspiring travellers who wish to be immersed into local culture, well this is it.

The mighty Durian. Ok the King. Not Elvis.

No. Not the funny looking theatre that you can see along Marina Bay in our little red dot. We are referring to this lime greenish fruit with a lot of thorns. And one that for some – smells. BAD. Woah!

Did you know

  • Though Thailand is not supposedly where the fruit is native (it’s mainly Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei), but produces the bulk of commercially traded fruit?
  • The fruit does offer nutrition other than the perceived sugar only (because it’s sweet), such as potassium, iron, vitamins B and C in reasonable dosages?
  • Even Elephants and Tigers are said to eat the fruit (to be verified). Probably the ones that have ripened and fallen to the forest floor.
  • There are varieties of the fruit that have very little odour. In fact there are so many of them for different taste, aroma and even shape.

Heheh. Does not matter how many facts one list. You either love it or hate it. And for travelers who want to blend in and be ‘like the locals’, this would be your challenge. You are not a local in southeast Asia if you hadn’t ate this fruit. Come on lah. If the Kings of the animal kingdom enjoy this fruit, why not you?

Doesn’t this goad you to pluck up the courage and try out the ‘King’ of Fruits?

What is your travel personality?

We’ve written about this before as a satire (here). And this is a follow up. If one reads up various posts and articles (such as this one for example), you might be tempted to simply find a box which you think you fit. That’s because we all have some form of confirmation bias and perform a kind of self service on ourselves. Very often we apply extremes on ourselves more than we should though exceptions apply.

This is almost like a lesson in behavioral science, and essentially many elements of it are. But of course we are only interested in one of the outcomes – how one approaches traveling.

We recall a song. And it goes like this ‘people are people so why should it be? You and I should get along so awfully’…oops anyone know Depeche Mode? Our point is this – that for all the studies in the world, there are so many characteristics of each individual that will not fit exactly into any “box” crafted out in a study. Especially not one that is pre-cast in a specific mould. Why people continue to say: ‘I’m a traveler as opposed being a tourist’ when there is so much of a blur between the two when compared holistically? Why tease out just the differences and not the similarities?

Does anyone really care how someone claims to be a traveler and not a tourist? Maybe this will set you off on your own philosophical journey. But this ends our take on this topic.

Heheh. We challenged you to consider signing up as part of the WTI’s certification programme in this post. Perhaps we need to repackage our business proposal?

History through food?

Can one relate to the historical elements of a place from the food scene it has? This article set us to think. Do we think about how the cuisine we take for granted today came about?

We recall a story about how pig trotters soup became popular in Chinese cuisine.

It was said that during the period of the northern and southern dynasties in China (~AD 317-589), there was an emperor whose army had been anniliated during battle. This emperor fled from defeat seeking to return to his capital and had to find shelter while disguising himself as a beggar. He came upon a farmer’s hut and sought refuge. And the poor farmer despite having nothing, offered to share some pig trotters soup with the fallen emperor. It was said that since that time this soup has gained popularity, because the emperor put it on the imperial menu…heheh. We cannot seem to verify this story on the web (perhaps it is only in Chinese), so take this with a pinch of salt…as seasoning lol.

Perhaps the article we cited (in the link above) was not suggesting about how food is intertwined with history. But the point of our post is about how we as travelers may appreciate more the food of a place we travel to, if we were to know a little about how it came to be. Wouldn’t that be part of the experience just as much as knowing about the sights we see?

Like the time we read Ken’s article about Bologna, isn’t it intriguing to know that the origin of the term Spaghetti Bolognese was a mis-interpretation? Btw, it’s always a pleasure to read Ken’s posts. Check his blog out at Journeys of Len.

And we are sure that many such stories abound in other cultures and countries about why certain foods are to be prepared and eaten in a specific way. Do you have any juicy stories from your travels to share?

Let’s go to Oymyakon…

Coming from us you’d think Oymyakon is a place in Japan. Well it sort of is…close, about 2200km north of Hokkaido across a stretch of ocean….heheh

So where the hell in the world is Oymyakon? If you Google it, you will see that it is located in the eastern reaches of the Russian far east. So you thought that -27°C is cold? How about -90? Fahrenheit!! For those who remember how to convert this to Celsius – thats approximately -68°C… enough for cars to be useless there, or so we read.

Incredible as it sounds, there are actually 500 souls (give and take a few) living in this village according to the Huffington article.

Such a cool pic.jpg
Lifted from the article. Cool or what?

It is reported that this is the coldest permanently inhabited town/village in the world. And the pictures in this article come from an Amos Chapple who visited this remote and cold (lol – understatement) place of inhabitation. Why of all places he, and apparently a female partner (who models in the photos) visited such a location is beyond us. Wait…why do we tropical folks went to the slightly less cold Harbin is a wonder too! Btw if you look at the photos it’s sure damn cool – no pun intended.

Can you hear Suan in the background going all excited about how awesome this photo looks? For the backdrop and fashionable model that is…

Hmmm, for that matter why do we (humankind) climb the highest mountains, dive the deepest oceans and trek the driest deserts? Because there is an insatiable thirst in our species to get out there and explore the ‘unknown’. We wrote about (here) how NatGeo is sponsoring Paul Salopek in his trek to the ends of the world.

Alright, so this place is not exactly unknown. But it is the novelty of the experience and the memories of “roughing” it out that was probably what went on in Amos’s head. We think.

Shall we make a journey to Oymyakon?

Bespoked travel plans

We’ve written about boutique airlines (here), and we’ve shown how the really wealthy purchase what would be considered out-of-this world experiences (here). For folks with busy lives that leave them little or no time to develop their own travel itineraries, perhaps intermediaries can still be the answer.

Now even plebians such as we can craft unique travel journeys that might erstwhile be the domain of the wealthy. We came across this website after reading Thrillist, and by no means are we in any way linked with them.

Just that this is yet evidence that travel has become mundane.

Yep. We know this is a sweeping assertion. But hear us out.

Try this as an experiment. Type “Paris” into the search field of wordpress. Do you see how many posts come up? While they all may be unique and individual experiences, does this not make one ponder about how common a trip to Paris is these days? Add to the folks on other social media outlets and the ones who don’t (ie social media hermits), there is an incredulous amount of sharings and pictures out there!

Just as we wrote about in naughty cruise journey, people are increasing looking for customized ways to experience travel. Perhaps this is the reason why we see the rise of the ‘Travelers’ – ie folks who want to ‘live’ like a local where they travel too?

What do you look for when you travel? Do you travel with a purpose?

Long term effects of travel (flying that is)

You might recall that we made mention about how flying dumbs down your sense of taste (read here). Well, yet more articles had been circulating about the health impact of long distance flying. This is probably applicable to road warriors who ply the skies for work.

We are quite ‘avid’ fans of reading the UK Daily Mail, travel section only of course…all to trawl for a good story. And one of their article suggests a wide range of potential health problems afflicting those sitting for long periods in that aluminium can – hurtling at supersonic speeds. Heheh….as if we all did not know of it already.

The list of acronyms representing the different ailments that can afflict one on flights is quite long. And not being medical professionals, we are cannot comment on whether these effects are real and impactful as suggested.

One thing we did note from the article is the amount of UV and cosmic particles one can be exposed to while on a longer haul flight. Wow, 56 minutes of flying is like 20 minutes on a tanning bed…so on an intercontinental flight of 12 hours…Wonder if that would be less if we flew at night? LOL. Seriously, can someone answer that?

The other would how sitting for long periods might lead to increased cardiovascular disease (not just DVT). Sigh, being office workers how are we to avoid sitting down in meetings or at our work desks?

What do you do in your daily lives that may mitigate the effects of flying? Mel and Suan exercise quite regularly. Do you think taking flight will negate the therapeutic effect of the vacation?