Is Ikea its most famous brand?

The title of this post should give you enough hint about which country we are referring to. At one time barely 250 years ago, this country was one of the strongest militarily in the Nordic region. So much that it dominated to the extent that the Baltic sea could have been named after it.

Yeah, we’re talking about Sweden. Land of Abba, meat balls and Ikea… ok so we jest, in case Swedes object.

Our reminisce of the time we spent in that country is concentrated almost entirely in Stockholm. For that was the main stopping point in our coach trip around Scandinavia so many years ago. You know the trouble with groups is that one does not have control over the itinerary and timings. So we’ll probably make a return some day.

What made the most impression on us on that journey? We think its got to be the warship Vasa. Get to the museum where the extricated ship is now on display. As impressive as it was, it was ‘top heavy’. Too many guns almost like an inverted pyramid. A good lesson for all to learn, particular corporates with high paid management… heheh.

It was such a brief whirlwind journey through it that we did so long ago (here). We know there are lots more to see and do in Sweden. What do you recommend?

The Long Journey Q4-18

And now, the end is near, and so we face the final curtain issue
My friend, we’ll say it clear, we’ll state our case, of which we’re certain
We’ve lived a life that’s full, we’ve traveled each and every many many highways
But more, much more than this we’re did doin’ it our way…
Here is the link to our final rendition of the Long Journey as a newsletter: link here.

Oh time has truly flown as this tenth year and 40th edition is finally available for publish and reading. Time to bid adieu to this publication. We thank you for your reading and support all this years.

Come back more often to read all about our other stories!

Of travel scams and losses

What are the most common scams one can encounter when traveling abroad? We are sure you would have heard of more. But there is an interesting infographic in this article that sums it up. Remember we wrote about fake travel websites (here) last year?

Today’s not really about scams.

Some months back, we read about Joy’s experience getting around with luggages in a busy Athenian metro station. It was surely not a happy experience to lose all your money and documents and finding it hard to obtain help in a country which does not speak your language. We are sure some of us had experienced the same frustrations and sense of loss (not just of the money and documents) when this occurs.

And does anyone recall the recent news about Himalayan helicopter rescue insurance fraud?

Isn’t it such a sad state of affairs when there begins to be growing prevalence of petty crime in any travel destination? Perhaps our little red dot is small, and great pains had been put into ensuring that there remains low crime (though not no crime). And not just against tourists but also in general around the country. Because one of the most enjoyable thing about traveling to any place is NOT having a feeling of vulnerability.

But it does not mean that its all hunky dory here. Because there are many scams going around too… yes here! So much that our little red dot actually have an active scam alert site to warn of the schemes out there (https://www.scamalert.sg/). Essentially they advise

  • 别慌 (don’t panic and become vulnerable)
  • 别信 (don’t believe blindly)
  • 别给 (don’t give information freely)

If only there were ways we can emulate Japan, where discipline, honesty and politeness seems to be innate in the people. When can we become like that? Do we aspire to be so?

What is your view?

Are we there yet?

Have you ever asked this question before? Or have you been asked this question. We’ve read, watched and even witnessed real life manifestation of this query being put forth to hapless adults, often by the little ones.

But what if the little one asking the question was not a child of say – 7, but a child say 30? or 47?

Yep.

We’re addressing the fact that we all become children, excited and chatty when on is about to embark on what one considers an ‘epic’ journey. Perhaps we do not ask the same question but would it not be the same to ask “what time is it? is it time to go?“. Many times over a very short period of time – say an hour. We think the solutions pro-offered in this post can also be applied to adults, or ‘children’ above the age of 21. Did not read the link?

Let us enlighten you with some nuggets we find interesting.

You might want to consider doing a lot of sleeping while you are in the air on the way in that ‘epic’ journey. And make sure you watch a few movies or play games. If you are doing these, break the activities up to make it stretch out. Of course this is only if you are on a journey that takes more than just a few hours.

But what about those who hit the road jack (not on a coach) driving and coming back no more? We found that putting in a list of songs and singing along with it helps a lot. That’s what they said! Which is why you might see a lot of hidden references (some more obvious than others) to songs in our writings. Did you spot any of them?

But we also have another dimension to look at when examining this age-old query posed by excited younglings. We set out to have our handprints across the world. Are you trying to do the same? Are you there yet?

Sleep well on your journeys

Do you sleep well at night?

Ok, what we meant is – do you have a good rest each night when you are on your travels around the world? Some people say they cannot sleep while flying. Or that they cannot fall into a nice deep sleep in an unfamiliar environment. And it was this article that set us thinking about whether one gets sufficient rest while in one’s journey.

Sure this was more about hotels etc… but some of the tips are quite useful.

Yes there is so much literature out there about the optimal hours of sleep. But obviously with the precious limited vacation time that many have, each day out there will have to be fully harnessed? Surely a few days will not matter?

We think that regardless of whether a journey is for business or leisure, having enough rest is critical. We recall the days when we joined group tours. Oftentimes in that distant past, we get to check into the hotels in the dead of the night. And a typical morning call would be like 6am in the morning. You hardly get a good 5-6 hours of sleep and many a time some will be caught napping on the coach. Imagine that, with the coach driving across the scenic mountains of Norway and you are asleep?

Do you stick to a regime of sleep every night when you travel? Or do you maximize your time exploring and partying away till late? Which is the better way?

Our Penang stories

As you will know, we have moved away from the table format of sharing our journalog in WP. Too much work and bugs to fix each time to try translating the formats into html to our liking. Also, we’ve stop subscribing to the premium service of WP (waste of money). So, this one’s going to be a link to handprint stories like our earlier one this year to Bangkok.

What is there to do in Penang? Eating of course!

Yeah. On this occasion we determined to stay solely in Georgetown, World heritage site. Staying close to the old town helps. Not really to see the murals (we did) or seek out the old shop houses (that too). Read all about those here. And we did not take the trishaw too, which we recommend you do. If it weren’t for clocking steps for the National steps challenge, we’d be sitting around all the way. But that helped, because it whipped up an appetite.

What did we eat to replenish the lost calories?

Wow. It was all a blur, because we literally moved from one meal to the next. Ok, so that’s exaggerated. It should not surprise that we had the capacity to eat more than usual, since we had been walking…

You will surely need to read it all here to know. Because the link will bring you to all the colors of food we had, and much more! Have you been to Penang?