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?

A beery good drink at 35,000ft

You might recall that we mentioned briefly in our post on gorgeous airline food (read here) that one’s sense of taste appears to be ‘dumbed’ down from the altitude (and perhaps attitude) and also the high decibel sound in the cabin.

And you might also have read that, when flying try to avoid drinking alcholic beverages.

What if the airline you were flying with tells you they have brewed a fine draft that has been crafted to taste its best at 35,000 feet in the air? The daily mail’s article tells that this is being served to first and business class passengers for selected flights between March and April. So by now, this offer is over…

But today the point of our post is not how to have a beery good drink 10km up in the atmosphere.

There is much debate about the affects of alcohol on the health of passengers when flying. Some cited research suggests that with low air pressure from the altitude, our blood is effectived thinned. This is said to accentuate the affects of alcohol. Others disagreeing, believe that the air with lower oxygen level leaves less of this vital element in your brain leading to intoxication. Either way, perhaps this might explain why people get inebriated and exhibit anti social behavior when flying?

A spate of incidents on planes in the last 12 months had prompted some airports to even consider banning alcohol not just on planes but also in the terminal itself! We had wrote previously about badly behaved passengers.

We have a tipple or two when we fly. Is a drink while flying ok? What do you think?

Rockhampton, well…rocks!

Just to give you a clue, getting to Rockhampton was not a leisure journey. Well at least not on paper if you know what we mean. But the question we want to pose to you is : how would you like to be asked to go on an all expense paid excursion for 3 full weeks?

First, some geography.

Rockhampton is a city on the coast of Queensland, the state on the northeast corner of the continental sized island. It is known as the capital of beef. Normally not on the radar of most travelers, it is nevertheless a significant sized city. Now what in the world would one be there for?

Well, for one thing Mel was called up. Reserved, booked, whatever one calls it – by the army. You see before he can get his watch and end his reserve duties, he had to perform one more act of service for the country. And so he left Suan behind for the all-expense paid “vacation”. Read all about his little ‘time out’ here. Unfortunately there are other things which cannot be shared (otherwise we will have to “silence” you…heheh).

One thing though. The entire stretch of coast along Queensland is alluring. It beckons to you. Have you seen instagram photos of the islands and reefs? Incredible! While we have done the Great barrier reef from Cairns, we dream of doing a road trip that spans from Brisbane till well north of Cairns.

Have you done this drive? Do you have any tips to share?

A transparent canoe?

Some of you might like kayaking or canoeing. Braving the open seas hopefully not too far off the coast. Enjoying the freedom to travel over water just like roadies doing an epic drive. If only you can also see what’s under your canoe or kayak too as you paddle!

Well, that’s a wish coming true.

Introducing the Crystal kayak (read here for article). Made from polycarbonate material, the kayaks are transparent on all sides except for the frame. Now you don’t have to snorkel to see the fishes beneath the water. You can become an observer from a distance, and not intrude overtly into the lives of the denizens of the deep…heheh, we are simplifying it a little. But you know that.

The kayak will grant you the opportunity to look beneath you even as you paddle or thread water. How deep you can see will depend on where you are and how clear the waters are, obviously. So in our view this is best for crystal clear waters in places like the Maldives, parts of the Caribbean etc. You know, places where there are few/no pollutants and little churn that turns the water murky.

The article says the product is ‘flying’ off the shelves even though it is priced at £1,199 each (right at the time we read the post). We don’t know about you. But we sure weren’t thinking about buying one for ourselves. Rather, we were hoping the resorts we will reside in will have one (some we mean).

Here to another innovation in the world of leisure travel. Would you kayak in one if you had the opportunity?

Wearing your carry-on luggage?

Do you have a peeve about the limited amount of carry-on luggage you are allowed to bring onboard the aircraft? What if someone tell you that the jacket you wear can hold up to 15kg worth of stuff?

Getting to SFO airport
That was just her luggage.

And combined that with a reall carry-on bag, you could almost double the weight of things you can bring with you? Especially in the throes of winter when you already have lots to carry with you…

Look no further. Here’s the ‘airport jacket‘.

If you read the article in the link, you will know that this is yet another ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. With lots of carry-on stemming from traveling with a small child, the inventors tried stuffing all of their things in their pockets to avoid paying extra.

So with 14 deep pockets, this product is said to provide you with the option of stuffing enough things and avoid checking in luggage altogether. Though in our opinion there will be certain things you simply cannot bring with you…such as scissors or shampoo bottles  that exceeds the customary 100ml limit. And so we note that this is probably a product more adept for folks who are on short travel stints.

One practical thing though is that you do not sit with this on throughout the flight. Sure you can, but it will be very very uncomfortable we think. You will still fold it away like any clothing into a “bag” and tuck it beneath your seat in the overhead compartment. Unless you bought a ‘basic economy’ ticket (read here), which would bar you from the privilege of using the overhead storage…

This unfortunately is only at the conceptual phase of development, so cannot run out there and buy one. Venture capital support is required to get this off the ground. Do you think this is a commercial viable product? Would you buy one?

Swim in the Great Barrier reef!

With our little red dot relatively close to Australia (proximity wise), it’s no wonder that it should be one of the top destinations not just for study but also for travel too. And especially with the Australian unit coming down to almost parity with the Singapore dollar, things have gotten “cheaper” by default, just like they have across the causeway.

But we digress.

Grea Barrier reef mapThis post is about the Great Barrier reef. We are sure you have heard about it. How can you not! While it is not a single contiguous reef, it is made up of many adjoining ones, said to be collectively the largest in the world.

For one thing we all should be concerned for the reefs. In recent years, quite a significant portion of it was affected by climate change leaading to warmer temperatures of the water. This caused bleaching – you know, corals turning white and dying since they are sensitive to the temperature.

And then there is the threat of pollution from both mineral extraction and agriculture. The runoff from land laden with chemical wastes poison the waters too!

The featured picture shows a leaping salt water crocodile. No, we did not snorkel with this fella. It would be too much excitement…Not only did we enjoyed the reefs from Cairns, we also explored the surrounding natural sights. Find out what we did in this essay.

Have you been to the reefs? Will you make plans to return soon?