Only the wealthy may come

You have to hand it to the Daily Mail for picking up this story…In this post, we are told that the country’s leadership has opted for a high value; high quality tourism approach. Only 5-star hotels and resorts will be approved hereon. And they are suppose to come with their own water treatment and backup power systems, supposedly for environmental reasons. However, budget travelers need not fret. AirBnB is still available. And along with that the local hostels too. Perhaps what will be costlier will be the flights!

Why has this come to pass you ask?

Quite possibly, the islands had felt the strong wave of tourist numbers flooding their shores! Recall that we wrote some time back about the sheer growth of tourism volumes here? And that we had predicted too that there could be repercussions. In the form of a push back. Enough is enough!

Now granted that the push back we anticipated is from the local folks, but you should also know that all politics are local. If the constituents are not happy, well the politicians are likely to pander to the direction of political winds to stay in power. Not unless you have a dictatorship…Thus this latest development in Palau is not a surprise to us at all.

And we believe this is the harbinger of the future…

Could quotas be introduced in “hot” tourist destinations? Want to visit Barcelona? Go online and apply for an TSTA – ‘Tourist system travel application’. Like its cousin ESTA, you have to pay for this application and it has a limited validity. Without this you can’t get on a flight, bus or train to the city. Even if you are on a cruise ship, you cannot disembark. Aargh! How will long term ‘travelers’ be affected?

Will this become a reality?

Perhaps not as drastic. But nevertheless some form of “control” is likely to be on the cards. In our humble opinion that is. There cannot be action without a reaction – no matter if it is equal or not in force. Just as the pendulum swings or sine wave oscillates, at some point the huge number of tourists will cause sufficient strain to the infrastructures of destinations to buckle. We just might see more cities and countries adopt some form of what Palau just decided to do. Perhaps it’s just a matter of time.

And that’s how the cookie crumbles.

You read this prediction first – here on our blog. What do you think about our prediction?

Out of place seating

In our journeys, we love to look out of the plane window and awe in the sight of take off/landing or simply the landscape and cloudscape outside. So when this article at the Huffington suggested that the seats on the plan are designed not always to align with the windows, we had to check it out.

If you read the article, it quoted “frequent flyers” suggesting the left side of the plane offering more ‘head room’ to lean against. The idea is about getting some sleep that way… That seems to suggest the seats are not aligned next to the windows.

airplane-seating-plan
Best one we can find on the web…

Now you’d need to discern between airlines and aircraft models. Even within the Boeing or Airbus families there will be differences. Moreover, airlines dictate how the configurations of seat rows will be. And where to place the toilets and attendants’ working area.

If there is one more thing to note, it will be that at the tailend the seats may be angled due to the curvature of the plane chassis. Again this is dependent on the aircraft model and configuration. You might have airlines choosing to place all the toilets at the back end. That could render all seat rows to be equal.

For us, the reason for having the window seat is to be able to look out of it. And to capture ocassionally a beautiful vista that only a bird’s eye view can afford. Don’t you just love looking at the cloud formations when flying in the daytime? How about the sunrise/sunset with changing hues? While we have not mastered how to take better pictures of cities from the window, looking at the lights emanating from them makes us wonder about what folks are doing at home on the ground.

Have you notice that your airplane seat is not aligned with the window?

The island’s name is Bond, shaken not stirred

James Bond would be proud. Because his name is used to name an island. We are so ashamed….that we mixed up the movies which led to the fame of this island. You see, we had this image of Ursula Andress emerging from the sea in a white bikini and a gun diving knife strapped on her you know where. And we thought – ah this must be it in Phuket. You see we had some confirmation bias – because we saw some tourists (ladies) posing knee deep in the clear waters, seductive pose not withstanding.

Nooooooo! Ursula starred in “Dr No”. Did you know that the white bikini she wore in that movie was sold at an auction for more than £41,000 in 2011? Sorry we digressed again.

The movie that actually inspired folks to name this island after Ian Fleming’s written character is “The Man with the Golden Gun”. You see the island in the story of the movie was the hideout of the villain Scaramanga. That island is supposedly in ‘Red China’, which in the 1970s was still out-of-bounds least of all to film producers of the west (this film was released in 1974). An alternative had to be found and it fell to Ko Khao Phing Kan.

So….no bikini clad lady emerging from the sea here!

Ok, what then is there to see here then? Read it all in our little story!

PS: Did you folks heard of Bangkok’s plan to “clean” up street food vendors? Seems like they are doing it in the name of ‘reclaiming’ the side walk. In the process, many vendors will likely not have space to operate… Oh no! On the other hand, they could be housed like food centers that look familiar with what we have here in the little red dot!

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?

Your personal drone photographer

Oh juxtapose once again.

There are luxury travel companies offering packages that takes drone videography of your journey (read here) in the name of seeing where they’ve travelled from a different perspective. And back on the ground, there would be professional shooters photographers to assist in taking selfies of you (and your partner), without the hassle of you doing it yourself. Yep, no more selfie stick or stretching your hands out…

You see, this touches so many topics. We’ll just comment on three.

For one, it seems not only wedding couples are getting feted for such treatment these days. Though yes you do pay for them. No need for selfies? Heheh, normally Mel & Suan asks someone’s help to take a photo when possible. It’s free by the way. You just need to return the favour if requested. Nope it may not end up with a professional looking photo, but do you really want a photographer following you all over? Ok, ok some do relish the attention…

And those drone photos and videos. How would you know if those were really your journey(s)? Could had been edited seamlessly and easily these days…LOL. Hey, if Mel can cook edit, so can you! Seriously we don’t think anyone remembers Martin Yan, hence you are not likely to find that funny…but we digress. You might have read about our post on drone photography here, guess it will be a little challenging to get that kind of photos with a drone. Perhaps one day there can be an under-water drone that helps divers take photos like the one taken for us (by a diver) in Okinawa of a whale shark.

Finally, the ones who call themselves “travellers” are going to see red on this one. Camera (phone) toting tourists jamming up the streets, not appreciating local culture and norms already creep these folks out. Now, you have an entourage? OMG. Someone’s gonna have a heart attack! LOL.

Would you fork out the $$$ and sign onto these tour packages?

Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea

Snorkeling is such a fun way to interact with the fishes and corals in the sea. We mean, you see but don’t touch. Interact we hear your puzzling response. How does one interact with fishes and corals? By the way, all you sea lovers out there remember not to touch and take anything from the waters ok? Look, can. Touch, take or damage – a big NO NO.

So begins our short Thailand series.

Well, you don’t. Interact with the fishes that is. But that first paragraph was to introduce you to fun ways you can enjoy yourself when in Krabi. That is, being in the water and not just on land.

We had found this really good deal that included flights and 3 nights’ stay at the Sofitel in Krabi. Not one to pass up on a deal, we found the nearest long weekend and flew away…only to discover that it was the wet season! Sigh. That’s why it was so cheap…though the good thing is – there were hardly any other visitors staying at the hotel. Why? Because it was raining torrents for much during those days!

Well, that was also what we expected when we signed up on a snorkeling tour to the islands. Islands devoid of tourists. But hell no! There were soooo many people on the boat (and so many boats too) jostling for a piece of the ocean. Now, September is the shoulder season and the waters can be churning a little making it murky. Not quite the Maldives! Fortunately for us the day was not rainy, merely cloudy – so it was not a total loss.

Take a look at this essay and re-live the days we spent with the denizens of the sea. Do you enjoy snorkeling?