Biting pieces of the Apple

There are many blogs and essays on the web about New York City. Plus the instagram photos, snapchat etc. We’ve been privileged to have been to the city quite a number of times over the last many years. But like they say, sometimes you don’t cherish what you have around you, that you see everyday…

Our story on the big Apple is really about some of the differences between when we first visited and recent years. This piece here shares that with you. And since there are so many places and things to describe, we thought we’d separate them into “bite sized” chunks for your to chew on.

What is there to see in each part of town? Well here’s our take:

  • Down Town is so busy! Aside from the finance district, it is also a jump-off point to liberty island, read all about it here.
  • Mid Town is all about skyscrapers it seems. So it should not be surprising to know that our take here on this section of the city would focus on them!
  • Up Town for us has largely been central park. But it is not the only attraction, though today for us it still is. Read all about our exploration of the largest green corridor of the city here.

We are sure you’ve got your own NYC stories to share. What would it be?

The MRT series – Dhoby Ghaut (NS24)

Do you know what a Dhobi is? You see, in the late 1800s, washermen from India used water from a stream here to launder clothes. So the name stuck. Today it is not just part of the prime district but also an interchange to the Circle and Northeast lines. And did you know our little red dot’s Presidential palace is nearby? Read all about our sharing of the Istana here!

One thing though. You are not normally allowed to take photos of the Istana gate. Notice the policeman marching up in the photo… This is also where McDonald house is located. The site of one of the earliest terrorist bombing that took place in our little red dot in 1965… a historical place indeed!

← Somerset (NS23)

→ City Hall (NS25)

Part of the MRT series here.

Competition is a good thing?

Vacations. Trips. Journeys. Today we take them for granted. Be it sea, air or land, travel has never been easier or better worded – accessible. We recall as young kids going to the then Paya Lebar airport (yeah it’s an airbase now) to send off loved ones. It was such a big event that entire families turn up. Wow.

Over the years, flying and indeed cruising came to be common-place. It used to be folks who went on vacations often would buy lots of souvenirs and food as gifts for friends and family. Today, some folks can actually count the airport as their second home. Talk about owning a large piece of real estate (dream of many red dotters) heheh…

So this article intrigued us.

No. Not the fact that low cost airlines have brought fares down. That’s a given. Our perspective is drawn back to the issue of how sustainable this all can be. You might know of our rants (here, here and here) about how crowded it is getting to be. Many cities are simply reeling from too many visitors that their infrastructure were not geared up for.

Thus competition is great. Wonderful in fact. But it seems to have spawned ‘side effects’ no? Like the leader of our little red dot inferred last year, too much a good thing might be bad (referencing sugary drinks and the link to diabetes). Just like the cost of sugar-laden products have come down, so has the cost of air travel.  Too many folks circulating in sightseeing cities like the sugar level in blood might cause a host of problems.

What do you think?

Home of the power rangers

Heheh… imagine your congressman in those colorful tights. And those fancy looking face helmets too. Plus the ‘weapons’ they would be wielding striking a pose whenever they are about to dispense with their power rays votes in congress. They would look like clowns wouldn’t they? We assume you know who the power rangers are…

The seat of power has always attracted the moneyed classes. And it would not be any different here in the district of Columbia. Massive emblems of state power had been raised. No effort lost in building a magnificent capital filled with monuments, free museums and administrative buildings. Running a country is big business you’ll know.

And all of these were built from scratch on a patch of land that was neither a settlement nor a strategically held location. Did you know why this location was chosen to construct the capital of the world’s sole military superpower?

We spent a day rummaging through many of the sights on a rainy day. Tried to touch the moon rock, did not stay long enough for the museum to come ‘alive’. Awed by the statues of heroes long past while munching lunch on the go. However decided not to join the protesters in front of the White house.

Reminisce with us here on our short stay in the capital of power. Where would you spend the most time if you were here?

The MRT series – Somerset (NS23)

New malls have sprung up where historical Specialist Shopping centre once stood. And across that was the hangout of the ‘centrepoint kids’ in the mid 80s (no we did not join)… don’t know what we are talking about? Google it! On a serious note, did you know this area contains a gem of conservation? Look out for the houses on Emerald hill just across the station exit!

Built around 1902, Peranakan place or corner was home to some straits born Chinese who ‘gathered’ in this district. Today many folks in our little red dot can be said to have some form of Peranakan heritage due to the mixing of people over the last 100 years. Do you know what being Peranakan means?

← Orchard (NS22)

→ Dhoby Ghaut (NS24)

Part of the MRT series here.

Educational travel for children

In the past few years, our little red dot had been making strides towards childhood education. While the focus might had been on early childhood development, development for kids in their pre teens would be important too some contend. And we are not referring to enrichment classes such as music, abacus etc.

It was thus an interesting article (here) for us to chance upon again.

Now those of you with kids hear this. Before you run off and book the next journey, heed well to do sufficient research. For aside from ensuring that the experience will indeed be educational for your children, it should also be safe. For many of the places where these can be had are also in the third world. Not only would personal safety be a consideration but also risks from diseases caused by food and water.

Think about it. Imagine being able to facilitate your child to understand that in the wide world out there, that remains many many folks living in squalid conditions. Oh fortunate we they all are!

But would it be possible to also experience the same in your own home country? Chances are the answer being a big Yes! We are not sure about where you live. But in our little red dot, there remains pockets of poverty. Unbelievable but true and that is a sad fact of life. Perhaps that can be of consideration.

Do you have children? Well we don’t have any. We wrote about getting them to be a ‘travel agent’ too (here). What do you think about such an experience for them?