Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

Durian - a love affair

5 obvious things that indicate the iPad is an example of the next shift in computing

I recently was loaned an iPad 3G for a week and used it on a trip to Florida where I did not plan to take my laptop.

I used it for a many things. Some of which I could also do from my iPhone (but not as easily). Mostly:
  • Watching & listening to video podcasts.
  • Checking email & calendar.
  • Reading technical user manuals.
  • Sharing photos, podcasts & videos.
  • Collaborating over maps and satellite images.
This inspired me to come up with five obvious things that indicate that tablet computing is the next shift (game changer) in very personal computing:
  1. Instant-on - Little or no boot up time is required. When a question or issue is raised the tablet is ready to deliver with little or no lag. Immediate gratification.
  2. Not just mobile, but conveniently transferable or "handoff-able" - This promotes an information gift culture.
  3. Easy to use - little or no instruction to navigate and manipulate information. The touch environment makes navigation simpler and more intuitive than conventional use of keyboard and mouse or touch pad. Simple is good.
  4. Transparent - After the novelty of the new gadget wears off users get right to the content. Interacting with the content causes collaboration rather than just presentation. Content is king.
  5. Fun to use - There is no reason that something as serious as the next evolutionary step in computing can't be fun. Adoption is compelling.
I predict that in less than 5 years we will all be sporting tablet-like devices over notebooks or netbooks.

Top Travel Twitter Tips

"Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service, that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length." - Wikipedia
I highly recommend using Twitter (tweeting) with Twinkle while traveling. Tips from followers and local information from nearby Twitterers prove very valuable.

Twinkle is a Twitter app for iPhone that uses the iPhone's geolocation function. You can also upload photos to reference in your tweets. This useful iPhone app was created by Tapulous.

Here are my top tips for using Twitter when you travel:
  1. Don't tweet while you are driving - Tweet only when you are a passenger or are safely stopped.
  2. Tweet when you are hungry - Locals may chime in with a great place to stop and eat.
  3. Tweet the local traffic conditions (when you are in a traffic jam) - Fellow Twinklers may suggest alternate routes.
  4. Tweet the weather conditions - Online weather maps are useful, but an evaluation by locals or fellow travelers may be a lifesaver.
  5. Tweet your ETA - Let folks at ome know you are safe.
  6. Tweet when you are bored - Tweetdom may suggest interesting nearby points of interest.
  7. Tweet a photo when you see something unusual - Comments on your photo can be useful feedback for your return trip.
  8. Tweet local fuel prices - Fuel prices can vary surprisingly on a day trip. Gas prices on the way to Chicago ranged from $1.59 to nearly $2.00. Know when to fill up.


My last night in Bangkok, Nuk's mother, Tasanee, teaches me some Qigong.

Qigong is an aspect of traditional Chinese medicine involving the coordination of different breathing patterns with various physical postures and motions of the body.

There was much hilarity as I (the farang) tried to reproduce some of the positions she demonstrated.

Gaining Perspective from Bangkok Traffic

Bangkok Traffic
Originally uploaded by Life in Nanning.

Let me tell you a little bit about transportation and traffic in Bangkok. We took many modes of transportation in this bustling city.
  • On Foot - Lots of people, lots of places, lots of walking. Thai foot massage places and shoe repair vendors are everywhere.
  • Private Car - Thais prefer to back into car park spaces, I'm not sure why.
  • Taxi - make sure you tell the driver to start the meter.
  • Skytrain (BTS) - Very easy to use, clean and air conditioned!
  • Subway (MRT) - Much like any modern subway.
  • Songthaew - literally two rows in the back of a covered pick-up truck. 6 Baht anywhere in the circuit. Fun to ride on the very back.
  • Chao Phraya Express Boat (River Taxi) - Step quickly and carefully on these boats, they don't hang around the dock for very long and the boat and dock are usually moving.
  • Tuk-Tuk - Noisy and fun, but the heat and fumes in a traffic jam can give you a headache very quickly.
  • Motorcycle Taxi - not for the fain of heart, but these guys will get you through any jam effectively if not safely.
  • Klong Taxi - Only one we didn't do. The klongs (canals) are very stinky.
Moving through Bangkok traffic was one of the primary methods by which I gained perspective into the Thai way of thought (and by comparison my own western way of thinking).
  • There are constantly traffic jams, however no one honks their horn in anger or frustration. A short horn is used to signal intention to cut in or permission to cut into traffic.
  • The motorcycles stream between the buses, cars and tuk-tuks like sand through rocks in a riverbed. Few people wear helmets. A family of 4 or 5 can fit on a small motorcycle.
  • Traffic signals are frequently ignored. One stream of traffic edges slowly into another and gradually cuts it off to flow for a while itself then visa versa.
  • I learned not to look out the front of the vehicle I was traveling in, but rather off to the side. My life was well and truly in the hands of others and I just needed to let go and live it. Thais are not paralyzed by safety issues. They seem to recognize that life is short.
  • I saw evidence of only one serious accident on the highway on my way to the airport at 3:30 am.

The Dome State Tower, Bangkok

In a poetic gesture at the end of my trip my brother takes me to the Skybar at The Dome State Tower, Bangkok.

I looked down on Bangkok - A city I'v gotten to know much better than I thought, and toasted life with my brother.

I come away a changed man.

Tawandang German Brewery - Bangkok

Tawandang Brewery - Bangkok
Originally uploaded by brewer.
It's kind of hard to explain this supper club, theater, concert hall, brewery-type place called Tawandang German Brewery

German foods like fried pig knuckles and sausage go surprisingly well with traditional thai cuisine!

Bangkok Blue Elephant Cooking School

Took a Thai cooking class this morning. It started with a field trip to a local wet market to research ingredients. Ended with everyone eating their own cooking in style in the large dining room.

I made soup, shrimp curry, papaya salad with fish, and chicken cashew stir fry. Arroy!

Learn to cook and make new friends!

Siam Niramit

Siam Niramit
Originally uploaded by fanelendil.
Huge, well done cultural show in Bangkok. The gigantic stage is listed in the Guinness World Records, featuring over 150 performers with as many as 500 costumes. Special stage effects during the show included simulating a thunderstorm with real water. The stage actually has a river running through it. Very Las Vegas, baby!

Varanus at Lumpini park, Bangkok

Met this guy today in Lumpini Park. I'm used to squirrels and gophers, this guy startled me.

This park is the largest in Bangkok and I found a nice spot under a Bodi tree to listen to my Alan Watts podcast.

I love this city! Life is good.

High Tea at the Mandarin Bangkok Hotel

I didn't have my camera at this point so thanks for the photo Aaron!

Originally uploaded by aaroncaley.

Fried Frog & Bugs Today

Fried Frog
Originally uploaded by nigimon.
I had some fried frog, grasshoppers and ants for a snack today. They are crunchy and salty like pork rinds. Very good actually.

This is also what happens to a frog if you don't remember to water and feed them.

Went to Bed

Bed Supper Club, Friday night
Originally uploaded by jae michie.

My brother took me to the Bed Supper Club with last night. You gotta check this out - it was unreal. Shorts and flip flops are the standard dress code in BKK, but this place required shoes long pants and your passport for identification. It wasn't so much a meal as it was an artistic experience. I swear the duck tasted like beef!

I Meet Aaron Caley a Food Blogger

Fry Bread Stand
Originally uploaded by aaroncaley.

I just lost my camera on this trip so I am missing a few photos of some of the delicious food I have been eating in Thailand. Not to worry. My brother Nick introduced me to Aaron Caley, an educator and food photo buff. Now I can just reference Aaron's pics. You don't mind do you Aaron?

Aaron and BKK Savvy gourmand Ellen took my brother and I to a marvelous Korean restaurant in BKK. They had lived in Korea for some time and gave us a etiquette lesson on how a Korean meal should be consumed. Very interesting and enlightening.

Aaron posts food stories and photos on his blog called DishADay. It's "A blog about but not limited to: Thai snacks, meals, and cantankerous commentary." Check out his video about Kung Ten, a dish consisting of live freshwater shrimp. You have heard of extreme sports? Aaron is an extreme foodie!

Lucky Shirt

This guy was our driver to take us back to Krabi airport from Koh Lanta. While we were on the ferry between islands he told us the story of how he survived the Tsunami (in Thai). He described it as 5 waves that tossed him around until he latched onto a tree.

He got scraped up pretty bad, but was well enough to help others in the aftermath.

He was wearing his favorite red shirt when it happened, which was all torn up, but he had it carefully repaired and was telling us that is is now his lucky shirt. I'll say...

Wat Tham Seua (Tiger Cave Temple)

Originally uploaded by Weirdo Wardo.
Tiger Cave Temple is 5 km from Krabi Town. A small temple built inside a long shallow limestone cave, surrounded by natural forest.

Two staircases wind up the limestone cliffs. The first one leads with 1,237 steps to the top of the mountain and I climbed every one of them.

We saw several monkey families living around the stairs. There is a huge sitting Buddha and a golden pagoda at the top.

"Did you bring the water Nuk?"

Please Pass the Pangasius

We had dinner last night along the Chao Phraya river in BKK at my brother's favorite restaurant Baan Klang Nam. The restaurant is known for serving giant Prawns. The ones we had, had to be 1/3 lbs. each!

One of the dishes included giant pangasius or Chao Phraya giant catfish a species of freshwater fish in the shark catfish family.

Full-grown adults can reach ten feet in length and weigh up to 646 pounds. It was served with some fried garlic, chopped salty pickled radish and a spicy sauce. Mmmm, good.

All the food here has been an adventure. We have sampled Laos-Isann, Muslim, Cantonese, Thai, Indian (southern) cuisines so far.

I have not eaten ant bugs yet, but soon, very soon...

Things We Don't Tell Our Mothers

There are a few things we did on this trip our mothers probably would not approve of. Racing around on a motorbike in a 3rd world country with questionable noggin protection is one of them.

This video shows us getting off-road in the rubber plantations and forests of Koh Lanta. I'm sure there were snakes under foot too mother.

My Brother The Gourmand

Originally uploaded by Weirdo Wardo.
I finally hook up with my brother Nick Tongen in BKK. He teaches English as a Second Language to private primary school students.

He takes me to Cafe de Laos for some Beer Lao and some authentic Laos-Isann cuisine. It was spicy and good.

We talked great deal about my other brother Chris who would have also enjoyed it.