Slow planes or was it slow coach?

It’s sure interesting to know that perhaps our aircraft journeys have lengthened. If this article is to be believed, we now take a longer time to get to our destinations. Did you notice that too? Or is this just a figment of imagination?

Actually we noticed something too.

HND to NRT.jpg
Would it take 30 minutes to fly 73km? LOL

A few years ago, the company that Mel worked for had a corporate policy of flying coach for flights 7 hours or less. Scouring the flight schedules, it was found that a SIN/NRT flight takes 7 hours and 5 minutes. The alternative SIN/HND flight on the other hand was 6 hours 30 minutes. Having to visit Japan rather frequently, he chose the Narita flight…heheh. But a difference of 30 minutes between the two airports?

Now either the plane to Narita was much slooower, or the one to Haneda flew faster. Or perhaps they both were slower? If you had read the article above, you would have realize that the reason for ‘slower’ flights could stem from the urge by airlines to save on fuel costs. Recall that oil prices spiked up close to US$150/barrel in July 2008?

Like driving a car, it does not mean that getting into the top speed will mean the maximal use of the gearbox. If one were to google for fuel efficiency, you’d find that 55mph (90kmh) is prescribed as the optimal. In fact driving faster leads to a drop in fuel efficiency. Guess this applies to airplanes too right? Afterall, airlines are for profit organizations. They’d do anything to fill up the plane and drive fly it more economically.

A funny story

Some years ago, Mel & Suan went on a journey to Hokkaido. We were waiting at the boarding gate for a domestic flight to Sapporo from Tokyo. Boarding annoucement (first in Japanese, then later in English): “Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to start boarding. Prior to boarding, may we ask that you take use of the airport’s restroom facilities.” – weight, that could be what they are trying to reduce! Saves fuel you know if the airplane is lighter you know…heheh.

Anyway. Mel’s mom used to call out to him ‘hey slow coach, catch up!’ (Mel’s not a tomato btw), while on hikes when he was little. Was Mel a slow coach? No. He was just walking at the optimal speed using the least amount of effort and energy.

Did you notice your plane turning into a slow coach? Tell us!


Surmount that travel record!

For all nomad wannabes, James must be your idol. At age 24 he is said to have travelled to 196 sovereign countries around the world. That incredible Journey took him five years, splitting time to read for his graduation from the London School of Economics…

wtiYou see, for doing this he could have been awarded the “Tribal Chief” certification. Recall this is a lifetime award and he need not re-certify. Let his exploits be framed into the halls of fame! Remember this is the highest accolade that one can purchase be bestowed upon from the World Traveler Institute (WTI) – no affiliations with the UNWTO of course…since we made it all up. But since we had no takers, this business venture has not lifted off. Anyone still interested?

If you read the article, you will  note that James did not just dropped everything and went traveling. He actually managed to graduate from the LSE in the process of doing so! Woohoo! Yeah there was a gap year, but can you imagine being to all sovereign countries on this planet in that span of time? The passport must had been fully stamped! LOL.

And funds do run out when you are ‘YOLOing‘…so James was candid about the fact he had to get into all kinds of jobs to support this traipse around the world. Consider that this is a far cry from his current job! Don’t stalk him though.

But the question for today’s post is not about YOLO travel. It’s about what you do AFTER you have completed this “quest” (in our opinion). Aside from sharing the experience to 80,000 followers on instagram, what else would one do? Would it be meaningful?

If you were James (at 28 and visited all the world), what would your life goals be next?

A Novel travel guide

If you read JK Rowling’s book or watched the movie, you might think that King’s Cross Station does have a ‘Platform 9¾’. In that you need to run full speed against the archway beam – “crashing” through to the platform that is between 9 and 10.

Perhaps not as dramatic.

What about novels such as Oliver Twist? Well this little boy walked through London and the novel described quite a fair bit about the landmarks of the city. Though the names have changed and city ‘re-arranged’, quite some of the landmarks remain recognizable. Nicholas Noyes pulled together an excellent page which you might find fascinating. Read his work here. Nicholas suggests that the novel had always been a guide for middle/upper class folks readers to ‘see’ the dark and small alleys of poorer suburbs/sections of the city during Dicken’s time. Comments?

You might recall that Charles Dickens had a rather turbulent or perhaps traumatic childhood. His father was thrown into debtors’ prison and it was only by a fortuitous receipt of an inheritance that the family got out of jail!

Do you know of any other novel that can be a travel guide too?

We wrote about an old Baedeker guide of Paris still usable here. Can you imagine an 1897 guide (in German) describing the city of Paris is still largely relevant? Incredible isn’t it? How much has changed in the place you live in? Will someone from the waaay past recognize anything?

How far will you go?

In recent years, newly wedded couples in Singapore have been yearning to seek out locations for that ‘special moment’. It used to be locations in Singapore that exude old rural or colonial charm. Then it became holiday shoots where couples enjoy a vacation while taking their wedding shoot at the same time; to countries such as Taiwan and Korea. Some are making their way to even more exotic locales!

It seems that our younger compatriots are willing fork out great sums and go to great lengths out of their way for the moment of a lifetime!

Just how far will you go for a wedding photo of your dreams? Would you drive more than 6,200 miles for it? Well this couple did. While they reported that only 30 photos out of the 580 that they took they loved tremendously (a 5.2% hit rate), it was the memories (see we told you!) that mattered ultimately more than the photos themselves.

Now they have bragging rights : “most dramatic wedding picture” etc. Which we think they thoroughly deserve. Because, lest you think it was just glamour, the couple did not hesitate to remind that to get well off the beaten track, you have to walk (work) for it. Hiking or trekking is not the kind of thing Mel and Suan subscribe to. And carrying 25+ kilos of gear, that reminds Mel of military service days. He’ll take a rain check on doing that…heheh.

We are not sure how many will this appeal to. Perhaps you can tell us if this would be something you’d do for your dream photo?