Archive | January, 2010

MIA in Asia

19 Jan

So you may or may not be wondering why I have not been updating and posting lately. Turns out I’m on my latest trip. Been abroad since January 5, 2010, and will be travelling for the next 10 weeks. Slated to return home on March 15, 2010.

My friend and I flew to Shanghai, and the plan is to travel west through China intop Tibet, Nepal, and into India and travel through India, returning home via Singapore and HK. Sadly I have decided to not drag my laptop around with me on this trip, but do not fret, I do have my camera. So once I get home, expect some exciting updates fo sho!

I might chime in occasionally at these brutally slow internet cafes if I can find enough of them and the time to do so. But I’ll be back full force in March, so bare with me!

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On Top: Burj Dubai

3 Jan

The worlds tallest building is finally complete, and it’s official inaugeration takes place tomorrow. The Burj Dubai is one of many attempts to put the UAE and Dubai in the world spotlight, but probably its most notable. Total height of the tower was kept somewhat secret during its construction, but it was hinted it would be over 600m. We now know the official height of the tower is 818m or 2684 ft tall. That puts it ahead of the previous tallest building record holder, the Tapai 101 in Taewon, and beating out the tallest structure in the world, the Warsaw Radio Mast.

The Burj has set a handful of new records as well including tallest freestanding structure, building with the most floors at 160, not only the tallest but the fastest elevators at speeds up to 64km/hr, and the highest outdoor observation deck to name a few. The tower was built by South Korean company Samsung Engineering and Construction, even through a rocky recession in 2009. Dubai was one of the biggest real estate bubbles in the world, and was not impervious to the effects of a global recession, but the tower was still completed.

But will the Burj Dubai stay number one? Probably not for long, in the quest to one up, there is already talk of the Al Burj tower with heights of over 1200m. But for now, enjoy the Burj Dubai, and take a look at some of these youtube videos, pretty amazing.

Travelling without the iPod

2 Jan

At a time, when anyone and everyone is seen with little white earbuds in their ears; on the bus, on the train, in school, on the street, riding their bike, I find it necessary to point out certain times to leave the iPod at home.

And one of those times I find it not only necessary, but critical that you leave your iPod or any other electronics at home, is when you are travelling. Let’s face it, if you went through the effort of lugging mini speakers along for your iPod, you probably didnt venture too far off the beaten path, and that beach your at will probably have somebody else playing Bob Marley anyways. And nothing screams “don’t talk to me I’m antisocial” like headphones on while riding the train or bus to the next city on your itinerary. Point is, if your blocking out your surroundings on a trip, your also blocking out potential conversations and experiences at a time when you should be absorbing as much as possible.

Travelling is about experiences, its not about killing time between the next “snap a picture proof I was here lets move on now” moments. It’s about listening to the sounds around you, the way the train wheels squeel along the tracks, the strange music that bus driver is playing, picking out key words in a conversation between people speaking a foreign language your trying to grasp. This is it, you went through a great deal of trouble to be somewhere else other than home, you came to see how people live, new smells hit your nostrils, your touching and feeling, why not listen, listen to the sounds of this new place.

You’ll be surprised at how many chance encounters with friendly strangers can happen when you simply open yourself up to the possibilty of interaction. You can listen to your new playlist anytime when you are at home, how many opportunities are there to converse with somebody who lives a world away?

Are we in a new era of antisocial behavior never seen before? Is it healthy? Lynne Truss doesn’t think so, in her book ‘Talk to the Hand’ she figures “this is an age of social autism, in which people just can’t see the value of imagining their impact on others..”. Not convinced? Google the term “ipod antisocial” and you’ll find a plethora of articles and blogs discussing the topic.

So if a cellphone or an iPod can have such detrimental effects to our social life at home, the reasons to leave the iPod behind are only compounded when embarking on a new trip. So do yourself a favor, when your packing your bag, leave the iPod in the dock, you’ll be glad you did.