A quirky tradition of St Kilda is the impromptu recycling residents perform by leaving their unwanted rummage on the footpath for others to usurp, free of charge. Beggars can be choosers after all. Almost all of it seems to get snatched up. When I put a refrigerator outside after dutifully duck-taping it closed and calling the council to pick it up, my neighbours came a-knockin’ asking whether it still worked. “Of course,” I answered “but once I couldn’t cram anymore cash inside, what was I to do with it?” Ask a silly question…
Some stuff nobody wants; tube TV’s and CD racks come to mind. These spend a long time out there. When analogue broadcast met its demise, one couldn’t walk down the street without climbing over once-loved TVs.
Continue reading Trashing St Kilda
Singapore has changed remarkably and rapidly, yet the same gracious city sat before me. I’ve switched planes at the flawless Changi airport several times, but only once have visited the city, and that was some 15 years ago.
We set out determined to be as gracious as its denizens. Today’s agenda was to visit the new must-sees, and revisit some of the old. .
Top on this list was the new Marina Bay Sands Skypark, a dynamic architectural monstrosity that resembles a cruise ship run aground atop three sixty story buildings. Instantly iconic, like the Sydney Opera House or the Eifel Tower, the locals better enjoy looking at it because it is almost always in view.
We decided to take a page from Guy de Maupassant’s book, and headed to the Skypark for lunch. (Guy always dined atop the Eiffel Tower, explaining “It’s the only place in Paris that you can’t see the Eiffel Tower.”) Continue reading 06. Rash Acts in Singapore
To start at the ending, let me say that sometimes resistance to authority is involuntary, even in times of military coup.
Our train was scheduled to depart Bangkok at 2:45pm, so we had a leisurely morning by the pool to reflect. Happily, the warnings of death and deprivation from torrential rain, floods and mudslides in our path disappeared without incident or explanation. Not so happily, at least not for Cambodians working illegally in Thailand, the junta announced a crackdown on these entrepreneurs. Nobody was sure what that meant, but neither was anybody waiting around to find out, the result being a surge in ticket sales of anything moving people towards the Cambodian border. We were headed in the other direction, towards Malaysia; Penang to be specific.
I will take this opportunity to remind you that these writings are not intended to be “guides”, but rather one man’s opinion, namely, mine. This approach frees the author – me – to say some horrible things about a destination. I’ve never seen a Frommer’s, nor Fodor’s, nor a Lonely Planet guide open with “Before visiting here, think again.” Continue reading 03. But I Must!
It was dark. The feral dogs sensed our distress, their teeth glimmering in the distant streetlight. We were drenched in sweat from having carried, more than rolled, our wheelie bags for over a half-hour, the mangled narrow Bangkok sidewalks being unsuitable for walking, much less rolling. I still don’t know where we went wrong.
It looked simple enough on Google maps, a 25 minute jaunt of slightly over 2 kms, only three turns, all to the right, and we’d be at our hotel. Maybe we exited from the wrong end of the Makkasan Airport Link station. Whatever the reason, when the second right over the canal (expected) dead-ended (unexpected), I knew we were lost. Continue reading 02. Boppin’ & Baskin’ in Bangkok