The Dutch re-invented walking

Huh? Who invented walking the first place you ask. You know in Singapore we have been struggling to manage mobility devices. These are the small electric motor driven bicycles, hover boards or kick scooters. The issue is how to share the limited walking path with pedestrians. Bear in mind there isn’t as much of a bicycle culture like in the Netherlands (where we lived a while), sequestering a part of the road for bicycles or these mobility devices.

But today we are not debating this issue.

Rather, we are making reference to the fact such electric mobility devices do not give you any exercise. Ok, perhaps the kick scooter without a motor. Since you are virtually dependent on electric power for movement for most of these devices. How would you like such a device that will get you to where you want and yet give you an exercise?

Consider the “Lopifit”. Instead of cycling, you can now threadmill your way to work (read here). Really? Yep. Walk on the device as if you are strolling or Walking at a fast pace. The choice is yours. Know that as you do your health app in your phone or watch will be clocking the distances covered. Up to 50 miles (80km) on one charge, you can scooter walk your way from Changi airport to Jurong (far western end of Singapore) and back! Now that should help burn some of the calories that you might accumulate later in the day…

Not bad eh?

Since Singapore is moving towards putting in more infrastructure to facilitate these personal mobility devices (PMDs) and goad folks to be car-lite, this invention comes at an opportune time! For a ‘low’ price of just approximately US$2400, you will define mobility in a way no one else will!

Will anyone buy this?

Hyperlooping around

Does anyone still watch star trek? Why you ask? Because you recall these folks use to ‘beam’ themselves to and from the starship all the time in their adventures across the distant galaxies.

We might not get there yet, but close. New technologies such as hyperlooping is being developed. And if this article is to be believed, one would be able to make the journey from London to Edinburgh in 45 minutes! Wow, that’s almost like Scottie beaming you up!

How does this technology work and is it safe?

g-force-faceWell according to what we can find out from the web (assuming it is not fake news), folks sitting in a pod placed into a near vacuum tube will be propelled at more than supersonic speeds. Now you might have all seen movies where people being hurled at high G-forces look like…

Will this be how you would feel and look like as you hurtle through the tube? LOL. Heheh, well we don’t look like that when we fly in a plane right? So, nah don’t expect to be like that in a hyperloop too…hmm…

Of course this technology is still in developmental stages. It will take some time to build the vacuum tubes over the vast differences distances. Just like the laying of pipelines. And then there will be the testing for safety etc. All-in, it might be a few more years before we can smell the exhaust of the pods.

Here’s to new technology. Will you take a ride on a hyperloop when it becomes operational?

Fly the friendly skies?

Well. Not so friendly afterall huh?

Oh gosh there were soooo many more satiricals and critiques on the web. You just need to do a search in Google and click on images tab.

Ok we will stop beating United.Hospitality.jpg

The point of this quick post this evening is the spotlight on the frequent overbooking taking place. Many a reason had been pro-offered for doing so. Yes we know in this incident the flight was actually NOT overbooked according to latest reports. But we are not specifically discussing about this occurrence.

You recall we had dumb travel luck right? Again it was due to overbooking. So this is not the sole domain of airlines in the west. The issue at hand was how the overbooking was managed.

Wouldn’t it had been the procedure to prevent passengers from checking into the flight instead of removing them from one? That is, if the flight was truly overbooked, or in this case a few seats were required to transport airline staff. Whatever the reasons. Did the requirement to send staff came last minute? That last minute? Wow.

Some folks haved call this Brand suicide for the airline.

We think they’d not likely be the only one. Just the first in a line of ill(ustrious ) airlines to be caught with its pants down. If you were ‘chosen’ to be removed from a flight after you had checked-in and properly seated in the aircraft, what would your reaction be?

Oh Toyama!

To be honest Mel was a sceptic when Suan first crafted the 5-day itinerary to Toyama (富山).

toyama-japan-map
Not East nor West…

Afterall, where IS this place anyway? Located on the northern stretch of Honshu (本州), this coastal plain is buffeted by the Tateyama mountains on the east, where we had seen the famed ice walls. We took a Shinkansen that hurtled us 300km away from a sunny Tokyo in order to get there (Toyama we mean).

If one peruse web literature about the city and provincial area, it is a story about how this rich agricultural plain was once a battlefield many a time. You know a prized asset is always fought over right? Well, that’s the story of how royalty and nobility have been treating plebian folks like their property over the ages…

The city of Toyama was flattened at the end of WWII because it was an industrial center. But as a provincial area it re-emerged quickly in the post war years. In fact, Takaoka (one of the cities of Toyama perfecture) was a medieval seat of the metal casting industry, so that tradition has carried on and over into other technological areas as well.

What did we do while in Toyama?

We picked up a rental car near Toyama city train station and made a mini road trip. The drive took us to various historic centers, stopping invariably at roadside seafood markets and enjoying the scenic views along the way. It was also a time to do some hot naked baths again in the Ryokan Onsens (Japanese traditional inns). You have to try it some day too!

Key highlights:

  • Enjoyed Onsen baths with a quite a few having wonderful views
  • Ate Firefly squid and famed beef croquette from Japanese TV…
  • Took in a beautiful panorama of the Tateyama mountain range

Did Mel become the converted from this planned journey by Suan? Let’s read more about this road trip here!

Invading travellers who try to be local

In one of our last posts, we featured some numbers in relations to the movement of people on this planet for leisure purpose. By now we are wary of calling it travel or touring. As you know there IS a difference in the minds of some! Fine.

Mel recalled a semestral course he did on social pyschology many years ago. “Verstehen” as a concept introduced to him as a young student (yeah we were young once too!) meant to put yourself in another person’s shoes so to speak – to understand deeper, ie from the perspective of that person.

So applying this concept, it is interesting to theorize how the local folks who live in some of the world’s most sought after leisure destinations feel about the ‘non locals’ that appear in their midst – sometimes attempting to be like a local (Read Chiseche’s post here on ‘the settler’).

You know, in every country the local language has its own colloqualism, slang, whatever. In our little red dot, the locally mangled form of English (fondly called ‘Singlish’) can be dumbfounding, weird or downright hilarious to those native speakers of her majesty’s tongue. Such examples include the use of the word “lah” in daily speech.

Defined as a slang rightly or not, it is used lavishly in many (not all lah) sentences uttered by the local Singaporean. However, lest you think that it is simply attaching it at the end of any sentence, think again. Listen very carefully (ok read), for we shall only say (write) this once : the use of “lah” is a linguistic evolutionary development of the highest order in our opinion.

Like the F word which is most versatile, “lah” can be used to emit a range of emotions and meanings through emphasis, perhaps these are examples (not perfect):

  • Don’t be like that lah (frustration)
  • Ok lah (it’s alright)
  • Cannot lah!! (possibly upset)
  • No lah (disbelieve)

If ever you are in Singapore and plan to stay longer as a “traveler” who thinks you have become a local, do refrain from using lah too often. It’s just too strange! LOL.

We are sure you have local expressions that that are versatile like the ‘lah’. Care to share them?