Happy 52nd birthday!

Wow. Living in the western part of our little red dot, we get mini previews of the jets and helicopters flying past almost every weekend when the rehearsals take place for the parade that will be held on our independence day. We call it National Day here in our little red dot.

Singapore_240-animated-flag-gifsOn that day and the many before (and after), flags deck out apartment blocks across our little red dot. Street lamps become adorned with streamers topped by our national coat of arms. And the local parade(s) and neighbourhood get-togethers that take place all over the island will be fun filled activities too!

Fireworks. Of course there will be a beautiful display in the night skies tonight at the Marina bay area. And this year we will have a drone show too. Watch them move in formation as it fortell what the future might hold for little red dotters.

Neighbourhood 7Some people are zealous patriots, others may be a little lukewarm. But for someone who had been living out and about the world before for quite many years and seen a little of what is out there, we are immensely proud of our little red dot. Perhaps arrogant in some ways. But there are many many reasons for that. Come here and see it for yourselves so that we can rub it in your face! LOL.

Ok. Seriously.

NDP Fly pass 8It has taken a long time in our development from third to the first world, yet we are considered a young nation. And indeed we still have a long way to go, such as being a truly first world culture. We are still a cleaned up city as opposed to a clean one. Our driving etiquette can do with some improving. Our mass rapid transit system needs a massive overhaul. But as one school that Mel went to proclaims: The best is yet to be!

How does your country celebrate its independence?

Should there be dress codes on planes?

A couple of months back, we read about this furore over how United offloaded two girls for wearing leggings (read here for the article). The official reasons for this was : they were traveling using company benefits and needed to adhere to a specific dress code.

We are not debating this.

Rather, we are wondering aloud whether there should be any form of dress code at all for folks in general getting onto a plane. Recall we wrote about etiquettes (here)? Granted it was about the private jets but should not the same principles apply? Yes you may still wear large sunglasses to appear mysterious, although not at security though. They want to look you in the eye… heheh.

Certainly one would not dress skimpy like one’s at the beach, just because one’s on a plane heading to an island for the sun & sand right? And we are certainly not advocating to be dressed to the nines for a flight, as if it was a gala function one’s attending too. On the one hand you have restaurants, clubs and even some hotels that impose dress codes for entry. On the other one would not regulate how people dress when taking the bus…

So the question remains. Should there be dress codes imposed? What do you think?

So, is flying taking the bus or more like going to a restaurant? Does it even make sense to have this comparison? What has have been the worst of dressing that you’ve seen in your flight experiences?

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?

Crashing waters of the Yellow river

Rivers. They are a source of life with the water they bring. But they can also be a tempestuous beast that taketh away – both property and lives. China’s ‘mother’ Yellow river (黄河) has been both the love and sorrow of the Chinese people over the past few millennia. Like its cousin the Yangtze (长江), the river nurtured a civilization that advanced to magnificent heights. But it also unleashed sorrows when floods wreaked destruction, sometimes leading to regime change.

Thus it was a real treat to set off to see the first large falls of the river in the remote Hukou (壶口) valley. There in the foothills of the mountainous Sha’anxi and Shanxi provinces (陕西/山西) the river channels from a width of what hundreds of meters wide to merely 20-30 meters or so abruptly, leading to nothing but a torrent over a fall!

In fact this surge of waters is so huge that its roar can be heard kilometers away. Ok we exaggerate – one or two kilometer… And back in the day we walked right up to the edge with little more than chain links as a barrier between us and certain doom if one falls over… Bear in mind we were there in the autumn, when the volume of water would be much lower. Imagine the near tsunami wall of water coming through after the spring melt! Or after the torrents of the mid year rains.

You might know that they closed access to the falls in July of this year precisely because of that…

Ok, a little melodramatic. But it was indeed a spectacle that blew us away. Not just because of the sheer magnificence of the falls, but also the fact that it was a hard journey through the mountains where people still live in caves…really.

Got you interested? Read all about it and more in our road trip here from Xian!

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?

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?