Posts

Showing posts from April, 2015

What It's Like to Stay in a Capsule Hotel

Image
At the tail-end of my trip to Japan when I was returning from Nagano I realized that I will be arriving in Tokyo in the evening and that my flight the following day is in early morning. I did some calculations with travel time to the airport - about 60 kilometers away - and I concluded that the best option for me is to spend the night near the airport, so I need to find a convenient place to crash for a night. I didn't want to sleep in the terminal, and booking a whole room at a hotel would seem wasteful as I'd only be spending a few hours on it. If it were a Venn diagram, the intersection of those considerations is the 9 Hours Capsule Hotel in Narita Airport. Like their high-tech toilets and robot butlers, Japan seems to have a solution for everything. 
I admit that I've always been curious on what it feels like to stay in a capsule hotel. I've read about them in cyberpunk novels (Neuromancer by William Gibson, I think) and seen them in anime films, so this was a gre…

Kayaking in Taal Lake

Image
My company takes us out of town every year for our summer outing and team building activities. It is usually just outside Manila, within a hundred kilometers or so, considering the logistics of bussing hundreds of people. I usually do not miss in attending these events, as I  would not usually say no to a trip, a free one at that, right?

For this year the location was Club Balai Isabel, a resort located in the town of Talisay, just along the edge of Taal Lake, where the world-famous, and very active, Taal Volcano is located. You can see the volcano when you walk along the freshwater lake, sitting there at the middle like a sleeping dragon, ready to be roused from its slumber and to wreak havoc on the neighboring towns. This is my second time to go to the lakeside, the first one dating way back my pre-blogging years.

After participating in the mandated activities we are pretty much free to do anything we wanted. Aside from having second helpings at the buffet table and imbibing beverages…

Trip report: Bangkok

Image
My  first foreign trip in 2015 was during the Holy Week, to Thailand. This was my fourth visit to Siam and the City of Angels, but this trip was primarily for my mom. I often exhort people through this blog and social media to travel more, and I think the best way to do the talk is to include my mom in my travels, right? While I'm at it, my aunt also joined us for her first trip abroad. I'd be tour guide for this trip, and I will be basically revisiting the places I've been to in Bangkok. 

Traveling with my mom (this is our third foreign trip together) is a different beast compared to my usual trips. I put more effort in planning and logistics of the trip, which means booking the hotels in advance, no chicken buses, and the itineraries are often set way ahead of time. It also means no hostels, as I want her to be more comfortable throughout. Excursions to tourist spots also need to be spread throughout the day to account for rest periods, and more often than not, shopping (…

Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle

Image
Glass is an interesting material but is something that is taken for granted for its ubiquity. It can be shaped into something organic looking but at the same time exhibit shapes and colors that are not found in nature. It was taught, in my chemistry class, that it's not actually solid but a super-viscous liquid that is resistant to flow. It's has been around for hundreds of years, and its properties enabled artisans and glassblowers to fashion it into useful objects, like goblets and jewelry, some of which ended up in museums years later.


One of the most fascinating use of glass as objet d'art that I saw was in Harvard Museum, when it was fashioned into life-like representations of plants and flowers, but those were created for scientific use as much as for art. 

There was a movement in art that uses glass as an artistic medium and not as something functional, like the stained glass windows of medieval churches. This glass art movement created mostly three-dimensional object…

Are you a Travel Completist, Hoarder, or Grail Quester?

Image
I was reading an article on io9 about a breed of memorabilia collectors called the completist - the one who is always compelled to collect every single item to complete a collection, and who thinks that a collection is not worth collecting if they don't have every item in the set. I somehow related to the article because I am a collector of sorts, too. I collect 1:400 scale die-cast planes (which I blog here), and I used to actively collect phone cards from different countries.
The article also also got me into thinking that travelers may have some completist streaks too, and may tend to go to certain extremes in doing so. I also think that aside from being a completist, some travelers may also become a hoarder, or a grail quester.


What are these three?
A travel completist may begin with a bucket list, such as to visit all contiguous states in the continental US, or all the UNESCO World heritage sites. I've read that for some, traveling to all countries in the United Nations…