How good’s your listening?

As you might also notice, there are many people on headphones walking around with their smartphones. Today this would be as ubiquitous as it can get. Since it is also said that there are more than 2 billion smartphone users in the world today though folks may well quote statistics that differ.

Not the point of this post.

We were more interested in how using headphones will affect hearing. This intrigued us because we read of this guy here who can recognize birds just from listening to their song. Wow. Now that surely takes great hearing to be able to first tune in to the chirping and then discerning it. Tweet! LOL.

Where we live (ie the little red dot), its never truly quiet. We have plenty of traffic on the roads and in the skies that contribute to the hustle and bustle of daily life. Then there are the neighbours, the chattering of children and crying of babies… All in a day’s life indeed. Some people simply hate that while others love it. Talk about a man’s meat being another’s poison.

We all encounter challenges in listening in our lives from the office to being at home. How do you filter out the noise?

The Halong bay on land?

With a title like that, we suspected it might invite scepticism. Afterall, what does it all mean? You know the karst limestone hills that dot the bay. And if you don’t, go look it up. Some say it is gorgeous, others say it’s scenic. But that’s the bay. Is there an equivalent on land in Vietnam?

If you ask us, perhaps the scenic views at Ninh Binh could be the reason for answering a yes to the question.

For we spent a good 4 days in them. Not all of it in the mountains, but enough to tell you that it is one place to consider. For not only are there resorts offering you creature comforts but also the views. Just don’t expect a vibrant night life though.

Our days there were relaxing yet full of discovery. For in Ninh Binh time slows down as you are paddled down waterways watching goats forage, padi snails being picked and ducks playfully swim by. We hope it does not change too much and become crowded, because it would all be such a waste to lose the tranquility.

Have you ventured out of Hanoi? If you read our handprint story would it inspire you to make a journey to Ninh Binh?

Touching a volcano

Have you stayed on a volcano that is not dormant? We don’t mean visiting, but staying there. As you know, the Philippines lies on the pacific ring of fire. The Taal volcano is said to be the most active one after Mayon. Its most recent stirrings was in 2011, and fortunately did not lead to a severe seismic event.

That was where we spent a weekend.

Guess one can say we ticked a bucket list item: “staying on a volcano”… beat that! Heheh. Alright, so living it dangerously wasn’t really what we did. However it was indeed a beautiful place to be. It’s no wonder that the views are rated as some of the most picturesque in the country. You need to be here to witness it for yourself. Or, you could read more about our volcanic adventure here.

If you read the page, did you see how people have enterprisingly made use of the lake? We did not visit the island within an island. One of the few in the world… sigh. That would mean we need to make a return trip. Intrigued? You should be. For if it weren’t the crowds on a weekend we chose to be there, we would have seen and done more.

Wouldn’t this inspire you to come here too?

Have you seen sleeping whales?

We’ve written about our snorkels and how beautiful the world underneath the seas are. But have you ever wondered, with all the tempestuous sea currents and potential predators – how does a fish sleep? Does it even sleep at all? Perhaps the naturalist or Zoologist within the midst of the readers can tell us more.

But today we are sharing with you a link (here) where you can see more of the photos taken by Franco off the coast of Dominica. Since we’ve just rambled a few days back about not seeing them – Whales, that’s what we’re talking about. It is said they don’t really sleep but snooze (ie nap?), and even then for short stints of between 6 to 25 minutes. Wow.

Sleeping Whales
Lifted from the Daily Mail

They look so majestic even as they sleep, don’t they?

We touched the tip of Mexico

Yeah. We have been dreaming about a journey across Mexico. And we had a taste of this “forbidden” fruit many years back. However, work and circumstances did not facilitate us returning for a bigger bite. If you had followed our earlier post you’d know that we were on a Caribbean cruise.

And this was the final stop before we headed back to Miami.

We had been looking forward to getting to Mexico and finally touching it. The original intent was to take a sightseeing tour to Tulum on the mainland. But the cruise ship was docked in Cozumel and the cruise line could not have conducted the tour to the Mayan sight. Because it would not be feasible from a time and distance perspective – sailing, take us away…

Sigh.

So it was with a heavy heart that we started looking around what else we can do. Well there was a tour that promised the experience of 4WD driving in the “jungle”… ok not exactly this word but something close. If you ever see that offered on your cruise, we’d recommend you skip that. However, there weren’t that much other palatable choices either. So we took it in our stride and made the best of the day.

We hope to get back to Mexico someday. This consoling short stint is all we have at this time. Have you been to Cozumel before?

So ends this jaunt at sharing our handprint stories from Canada and the Caribbean. Next, we shall bring you some interesting bits of continental United States. Heheh… look out for them!

A most glorious falls

Yes we know that there are many large and beautiful waterfalls in the world. And it is such a coincidence it is oftentimes the border between nations too. And the Niagara is no different. Like other renown sites such as Victoria falls or Iguazu falls, it sits on a human defined border.

Did you know that approximately 750,000 gallons of water fall over every second here?

We were fortunate to have spent time on both sides of the Falls, the US side first followed by the Canadian side the next day. Because you must. For trying to see it all in a day would only belittle the glorious views. At the time of our visit, it was so easy to walk across rainbow bridge between both sides without customs procedures. Yeah there was a customs officer on the US side but he was there only to ensure the crowd going across to the US side was orderly.

Go over to the Canadian side to observe all of the views. Get up high too and take in the panorama like our feature picture.

There were two beautiful days we ordered and received to enjoy the falls. Come reminisce with us our view of Niagara here. Which side of the falls (country) do you think the views of the falls are more spectacular?