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?

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?

Travel is life and death

Now a dramatic title like this coupled with a nice map of Easter island means either an exciting topic or a juicy piece of news. Perhaps not for you, but we find this report quite disturbing yet promising.

What is it?

It’s about how the millennial generation (in the west) have lower priority to save for a home and paying off debt (student loans or otherwise). Instead, saving to travel is of a higher priority in the sample population surveyed. Talk about asking the barber (in this case a travel company) if you need or want a hair cut…We suppose the report (cited here) needs more scrutiny on who and how they surveyed and we hadn’t the time to search and slice/dice the report. So we will take it at face value (which is really unusual for Mel).

In any case, anecdotal evidence in the form of web chatter suggests that there is a higher proportion of younger folks who yearn to push out onto a life of traveling. The plethora of blogs and instagram accounts bent in that direction could be cited as evidence. Or can it? What if, as in the recent political elections – these high profile examples are merely a vocal and highly visible yet tiny minority? Or that the sampled population in the above report had skewed in favour of those already predisposed to travel over other aspects of life?

Have we marginalized the silent majority (again) because the limelight that has been usurped from them? If you are a 20+ year old today, what would your aspirations be?

City of Angels

In about 2 days, it will be the end of the zodiac year of the mischievous monkey and we shall be welcoming the fire Rooster. We say Rooster, because the year of the chicken does not give it as much umph… 2016 has indeed been a funky year with the Monkey zodiac wrecking a fair bit of pranks all over the world!

Here we are again at the airport firing this post away. We are escaping from the little red dot and on the way to Bangkok, the city of Angels as its original long form name in Sanskrit reads. Here we will spend a super super long weekend away from all that lunar new year madness back home…since reunion dinner’s been had. It seems these days there are more people like us. Don’t judge.

You know there is so much written about Bangkok that it would be probably pointless for us to add to the mix. Known for excesses that defies imagination, this reminds us of a song. And it goes like this: “One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble”….anyone knows or remembers Murray Head?

So what will we be doing? What else but to experience a culinary overload? LOL. We have a reputation to keep up you will know! Ok, so we will also some exploring too, some of it in Bangkok and others outside of this sprawling city of angels. Watch out for our journalog coming your way soon!

PS: we got upgraded to Premium Economy on Cathay for this flight…heheh what a good start!

Anything is Possible at a Chinese Airport

Sometimes, when you least expect it. Some one comes up to you and says – Surprise! We’re bringing you through airport security in a zippy! Nope this’s not candid camera…

Isn’t that a happy thought? Just when you have almost lost all sense of hope of ever connecting to that flight whose gate was due to close…reminds us of our recent incident in Beijing! Except there wasn’t such a man with a neon sign. Read Issac and Olena’s near harrowing ordeal. You’d love the happy ending!

Living (& teaching) in China Blog

Isaac and I moved to China in July 2016 in hopes of discovering Asia and traveling as much as possible. During our first 5 months here we visited Shanghai many times, took a train up to Beijing, explored an ancient water village and hiked in a rain forest during a typhoon just to mention a few of our many adventures! Until recently, however, we hadn’t experienced Chinese airports…

We booked our flights with Southern China airline from Shanghai to Phuket and then from Bangkok back to Shanghai way back in August. Using Skyscanner we got a great deal and only spent about $250 on two round-trip flights with one layover each way. It was a bargain!

Leading up to the flight, the agency that we booked with, Vayama, kept changing our flight times every two or three weeks. We didn’t think much of it, until the week before our flight…

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