Thursday, December 27, 2007

The New International Terminal

Houston Intercontinental Airport's international terminal is not very old. In 2007, I've flown into the new terminal twice, and have to say that it is a vast improvement over the old. It is spacious and orderly, and the staff is very efficient. And what I like best, the staff is also very polite. In the 15 years I've lived overseas, I've used many points of entry into the US, and "polite staff" isn't a comment I've often made. Quite the opposite, in fact. So, it is very refreshing to meet polite staff in an international terminal at a US airport.

The good service at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport makes a huge difference to jetlagged passengers arriving in the country after a long, tiring journey. There is nothing worse than meeting with pushy, rude customs officers. It is bad enough for me, a citizen of the US and someone familiar with the culture and accent. It must be horrible for foreigners coming into the country. In fact, that is exactly what I have heard from many of my friends from overseas who have traveled to the US (with LA ranking as the airport with the rudest staff — Minneapolis being a close second, from reports I've heard from many travelers). It is a shame that this is the first face many travelers meet upon their arrival in the US.

So, kudos to the people in Houston who make arriving in the country not only palatable, but convenient and comfortable. And also to those who put together and maintain the excellent new facilities.


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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Changi Beach

Changi Beach is a great place for cycling, a nice walk, or just about any other sea sport.

When I was there on my bike recently on a nice windy afternoon, I saw several people out on the sea kiting. It was a great day for the chute-powered wakeboards, with the high winds out on the sea. I spoke to one of the guys who was kiting that afternoon, and he said it is a difficult sport, but one that offers quite a thrill. That was certainly the feeling I got from watching it.

I have not gotten to give it a try yet, but I think it is something that I would enjoy a great deal, and if I can find the time (and energy!) to give it a shot one day, I might just do so.


If you are interested in joining the kiters at Changi Beach, you'll have to do a little training first. The fellow I spoke to on the beach gave me a number for the guy who does the training. You can contact Nasir at 96620354 if you would like to find out more about lessons. Try to get to it soon. This is really the season for kiting, with the high winds that you'll find on the sea right now. After the monsoon season ends, you might still can kite, but it won't be as fun, even on the days when it is possible.


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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Feng Jing

Feng Jing is one of the many "ancient water villages" that surrounds Shanghai. It is not one of the more famous ones, which is nice because it means it is not crowded with tourists.

There are several things worth seeing in Feng Jing. The cartoons on the walls of one of the old houses are very amusing, and worth browsing through. Outside of that same house, there is a "4 century old tree" that is really creates some fantastic views, especially in early winter (or late autumn, I would imagine). The leaves that sit at the base of the tree right now are a bright yellow, and create a perfect atmosphere for the old village.

Also of interest in Feng Jing are the remnants of a panic-driven era several decades ago. There is a large underground bomb shelter, big enough to hold hundreds of people if needed. According to the signs posted there, only about 10% of the place is presently open to viewing. I cannot imagine the extent of the shelter, as the portion I saw was already quite overwhelming. It made me think of the bomb shelters that many families in the US built in their back yards during the 1950s. It's rather telling, isn't it? In the US, each shelter was built to house a single family. In Feng Jing, the place is big enough to house the entire village for a prolonged period.

Other signs of a more paranoid, ultra-patriotic time still survive in Feng Jing too. There are countless Mao buttons hanging in one museum, many propaganda posters that are very dated, ration coupons for various items, and even a small fighter plane that the village helped purchase. The sign beside the plane reports that it was responsible for shooting down 3 planes of the "US agressors" during the Cold War days.

Feng Jing is a place worth spending a day. It is pleasant for walking about, and it certainly gives you a feel for a China of days now past.


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Travel Insurance

It is a sad thing when bad things happen to holiday-makers, but it isn't all that uncommon an event. I've heard lots of stories about people meeting with mishaps while traveling, anything from the inconvenience of lost luggage to the more serious problems of permanent physical damage due to accident. I've known people who have experienced the small inconveniences many times, and have one friend who is permanently wheelchair-bound due to an accident with an airline.

It is for this reason that so many people choose to buy travel insurance before they set out on their journey. For reliable Australian travel insurance, underwritten by Allianz, it is as easy as an online purchase. That makes it very convenient in the midst of the rush of planning for a trip.

Best of all, you can find very cheap travel insurance at this website, allowing you to choose from some very competitive offers. No one likes to think of unpleasant things happening while traveling, but they can and do happen. Travel insurance allows travelers to plan for any eventuality.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lao Beijing

Lao Beijing, in Plaza Singapura (#03-01) is a great place for a night out. The menu features a wide array of China specialties (not just dishes from Beijing), the atmosphere has captured the feeling of China well, and the staff is efficient and friendly. We started off with the Peking duck, and it was done just right. The skin was crispy, just like it is supposed to be, even though the meat was cut a little thicker than you normally see for Peking Duck.

With all of the dishes we had — including Hunan prawns, popiah, shark's fin soup, shredded pork rolls, guo tie (fried dumplings), and a mango dessert — there was not a single one that missed with our group. Lao Beijing is a perfect spot for a family outing or a dinner with friends. There are also branches at Novena Square and Tiong Bahru Plaza, but I have heard that neither is as nicely decorated as the Plaza Singapura location.


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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Some pretty pictures

I'm going to be out of town for the next few days (nearly 2 weeks, actually). I don't know how much computer access I'll have, so I thought I'd put a bunch of pretty pictures up for now, hoping they can stand in here till I get back.



The city is not normally thought of as a place for experiencing natural wonders. But Nature's beauty isn't so easily hidden (no matter how hard we try). These pictures were all taken from my neighbourhood in Singapore. I've elsewhere referred to it as

over 300 masterpieces
framed in concrete each year
for your viewing pleasure



See you soon!



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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Travel Resources for Alumni

I just came across and interesting concept at iContact. The North Carolina Central University Foundation is offering a new service to alumni and friends. They've launched a travel site containing some of the best deals and travel information, available just for alumni and friends. The system pulls together the resources from several other online travel sites, and makes it all available in one spot. Users can use the FareBuzz system to search for the best prices across the whole range of sites available at nccutravel.com.

That's a pretty handy resource to offer to alumni and friends. (I wish my alma mater did that.) If you'd like to know more about it, you can read the details here.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Musical Review

The musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is full of all the fun and magic you'd expect, if you've ever seen the 1968 film version of Ian Fleming's story. After receiving excellent reviews at the London Palladium for four years, and Broadway for one, the show is now on tour. It is in Singapore now (one season only), and will be here for another week or so.

The highlight of the show is the fantastic special effects. I usually am more captured by the music and dance of a musical (to be expected, right?), but I have to say that the flying car in this one was really an amazing feat, and it really captured the magic you want to see in a performance of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. There were plenty of other spectacular effects, but the car was by far the most dazzling thing to watch. Fitting, I suppose, since the whole show is named after her.

That said, there were some excellent performances too. Richard O'Brien has been highly praised in his role as the Child Catcher, and he certainly lived up to the acclaim in last night's performance. His voice is good, but it is his physicality that most impresses me. He just looks sinister when he dances about the stage.... but sinister in a funny way. What he brings to the role is ideal for the Child Catcher, and will set the standard for how the role is to be performed.

For me, though, Truly Scrumptious stole the show with her voice. She stood out as notably the best singer, followed by the Baron and Baroness. I thought Caractacus Potts was good, but it is hard not to think of Dick Van Dyke's memorable performance in the role in the film.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is directed by Adrian Noble. I couldn't help but call to mind his production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (which I've seen on film and use in class when I teach the play) while watching this musical. It seems that his flair for the spectacular is something that never wanes. It certainly makes for a fun night at the theatre.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is showing at the Esplanade in Singapore until December 9. You can find more information about what's showing at the Esplanade at their website.


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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Travel Writing Competition

A friend recently sent me an email about a travel writing competition called The Wild Places, Wild Journeys Writing Competition 2008. I am working on my submission at the moment, and thought it was worth spreading the news about the competition here too.

The word limit is 1200 words, and the deadline is January 11, 2008. The prizes are attractive, including a place in a week-long writing course at the Arvon Foundation's Scottish centre, Moniack Mhor, near Inverness. You can download the entry form at the website.

Good luck!


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Sunday, November 25, 2007

A New Eating Spot in Woodlands (Singapore)

I wrote a few months ago about a new eating spot I'd found called Botak Jones. While I was in the US, a few friends found that Botak Jones had a new branch opening up in Woodlands. The other night, we visited the new spot, and found it just as good as the Ang Mo Kio location. In fact, the manager of the new spot remembered us (he was at Ang Mo Kio when we were there), and came over to chat for a while.

The new location is at Woodgrove Shopping Centre, in the foodcourt (the one inside the shopping centre, not the one facing the road). The food is good, the prices are reasonable, and the service is excellent. That is just what I look for in a meal when I am out with your friends.

Check out this map for directions to Woodgrove.




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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Free Music and Cheap Food

The most recent Bluegrass Night in League City, Texas, hosted by the Bay Area Bluegrass Association, was lots of fun. There were several very good performances. The guitar and banjo school that opened up the evening with performances by their students was much better than that description makes it sound. I was especially impressed to see Daniel Roy, the Texas State Banjo Champ, play. He was very, very good.

And the music just got better as the night went on. There was some gospel singing by a group from Porter, Texas, and the highlight of the evening was No Strings Attached, a top-notch bluegrass quartet. They write a good deal of their own music, and were impressive enough that I bought a CD before leaving the event.

Besides the performances in the main auditorium, there are a number of rooms booked throughout the building where musicians can go to jam. There were a lot of people with guitars, banjoes, mandolins, and all in the rooms jamming with other musicians. It was a lot of fun to walk around and watch.

And of course, the cheap food was great too. Bar-B-Q, nachos, popcorn, hot dogs, and all that sort of thing were available for reasonable prices. It created a relaxed, family feeling to the event. It was a great place to bring the whole crew, and many people did just that. There were lots of small children, as well as many grey heads. The atmosphere is one of fun and family, and it is definitely worth the price of admission. ;-)

The event is held each month, except in May and December. It is well worth your time to visit Bluegrass Night if you are in the League City area on the third Saturday of a month.



If this sort of event sounds fun to you, you might also enjoy the music reviewed at Pinhole's recent post.



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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Literary Travel

Literary tours have been popular with some travelers for a very long time. When I lecture on Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, we always spend a little time talking about how a whole tourism industry has grown up surrounding the author's work. It's much like what we see happening with the Anne of Green Gables series.

I've found a website that specializes in literary tourism for travelers who are interesting is such journeys. There are group or individual tours available. Stretching from Twain's Mississippi to Dante's Italy, there are all sorts of literary tours available at literarytraveler.com.




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Friday, November 16, 2007

Singapore Poetry Slam

I have been doing a little thinking about poetry and its place in the public arena these days, and that brought to mind for me the very popular poetry slams going on in major cities all over the world.

Singapore is one spot that is trying to increase the visibility of poetry on the cultural front. There are many activities to encourage reading and writing poetry, especially aimed at young readers and writers. Stomp Cast is one of the bodies that is really on the forefront of organizing events like poetry slams in Singapore. (And the English as it is Broken section of their site is lots of fun too!)

There is a regular poetry slam at Velvet Underground at Zouk the last Tuesday of each month.


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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Eco Travel

I came across a blog raising the question, "Would you be willing to pay more for green travel?" The stats at that blog surprised me. I would have expected a somewhat higher number to indicate a willingness to pay more for environmentally friendly travel. After all, I've been hearing all over that eco tours are big business these days. I would have thought that responsible travel would be a farily big priority for frequent travelers, especially as backpackers (a big tree-hugging group) might skew the statistics.

As I read on in the entry, though, it began to make more sense. The reasons those polled gave for an unwillingness to pay more makes some sense to me. I won't go into details (go read the blog post for that), but it began to seem to me that responsible travel isn't going to be achieved by simply waving more money its way. It is going to take more than just a monetary commitment. It is going to need thoughtful planning and consideration. And, really, for many people that just means more hassle.

And of course, if we aren't that willing to spend money, how much harder is it going to be to motivate us to put in the effort?



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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Refelections 2007

Republic Polytechnic Wind Symphony is presenting Reflections 2007: Viva La Symphonie.

The show will be on 8 December at 7:30 pm. It will be held at Republic Polytechnic in the Republic Cultural Centre (Studio). Tickets are $7 each. (You can book online through Gatecrash.) It will be a mix of "serious" and "pop" music, including songs by Teresa Teng (which should be lots of fun!)

You can find more information at their website.

If you've not yet been to the new facilities at Republic Poly, this is a great chance to see the Republic Cultural Centre. It's a beautiful facility, and there are many great shows appearing there all the time. I will try to keep you updated about what's to come!



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Monday, November 12, 2007

Bluegrass Night

This Saturday, November 17 at the Johnny Arolfo Civic Center (300 W. Walker; League City, TX), is Bluegrass Night in League City. And, it will be the last show until 2008. But don't worry, the great music will revive again after the holidays.

Each month, the Bay Area Bluegrass Association organizes this gig. You'll get a good sampling of the area's best bluegrass, and there are raffle items and bluegrass merchandise for sale too, along with good (and cheap) food. (No alcohol.) At every show, door prizes are available.

The main feature of this month's lineup is No Strings Attached. Cypress Creek will also be performing this week. The show starts at 6:30. If you are a musician and would like to play, just show up early.

Shows are the 3rd Saturday of every month of the year, except May and December. Visit the Bay Area Bluegrass Association website for more details.




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Friday, November 09, 2007

Ad Space on Travel Blogs

This blog receives offers for ads from time to time (you can see my disclosure policy for a little more insight on that.) The offers can range from a few dollars to a fair bit per post (though the ones for a few dollars are much more common).

One of the most flexible ad companies I know of is Pay Per Post. They have a special system where advertisers can contact me directly to arrange for advertisements, and they will take a much smaller commission that what is generally kept by ad companies. You can click on this tabe if you'd like to consider advertising here:

PPP Direct


If you are wonering how to get started posting ads on your own travel blog, you can click this tab:


You will be given the opportunity there to do a review of my blog. When it is approved (which will take about 30 days), you'll receive $7.50 for posting the ad, and I will receive the same for introducing you. I think you'll be very pleased once you get started too. There are lots of opportunities, and yet you don't have to flood your blog with a lot of rubbish. PPP looks for good quality blogs, and has some fairly high standards for the posts they will accept.

I'll get back to posting travel related entries in my next post. But I did want to let you know about these opportunities, whether you are looking to advertise on travel related blogs (and/or blogs on other topics), or whether you'd like to post ads on your own blogs.


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Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Concert at the High School, but not a High School Concert

I got to attend a concert at the local high school tonight (or one of the 7 local high schools within a half hour drive from my parents' house), but it wasn't a high school concert. Nope, it was professional all the way.

Joe Scruggs was onstage with his show that he likes to take on the road. If you've not heard Scruggs before, you don't know what you're missing. His kids' songs are some of the funniest I've ever heard, and the show was enjoyed not only by the kids in our crowd tonight, but by us grown-ups too (and we had the little ones outnumbered, in our family). The music Scruggs plays is fun, his voice is good, but the real draw to his work is the humor. It reminds me a lot of the work of one of my favorite bloggers, Pinhole. The lyrics of the music always keep my whole family laughing.

I was surprised to see that the Joe Scruggs concert was held in the local high school auditorium tonight, but I was pleased too. I was pleased that he's kept his show close to the crowd, staying very near to the kids who love his music. It was, for the most part, a pretty low-tech show, using puppets, music, and humor to please the crowds. I really loved that about the whole program.

This served as a really good reminder for me to stick to the habit of checking out the smaller-scale local programs when I travel. It's easy to get distracted by the glitzy programs and ads for the big-name shows, but the smaller programs are sometimes the best place to see real life when you are on the road. I sat tonight in the audience thinking, here in the town where I grew up, that this show would make a great outing for travelers (especially those with kids). It was "touristy" at all, but Scruggs would give a visitor to the area a real feel for the sorts of humor and entertainment that delight local audiences here.

And so that reminds me not to overlook similar shows in areas to which I travel.



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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Adventurous Spirit

This is a great little video clip about the adventurous spirit of today's Chinese traveler. I have found this to be very true of people I know in China. There is a real eagerness to see their home country, especially those spots off the beaten track.



Doesn't riding a camel out in the desert sound like an exotic vacation?



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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Thai Cottage

Thai Cottage, on Bay Area Blvd. just off of I-45, is one of the best Thai restaurants I've been to in the Clear Lake area. It is pretty obvious that the place is very popular when you see the long line that forms at lunch time.

The green curry shrimp is my favorite dish on the menu, but it seems that their entire spread is very wide, very authentic, and very appetizing. The peanut dressing for the salad is excellent, as is the peanut sauce chicken and steamed vegetables. The cashew chicken is likewise a mouth-watering dish. In fact, I haven't seen a single dish yet that I didn't like there. And that's saying a lot, because the lunch menu alone has at least a dozen different main courses to choose from.

You don't have to take my word for it. There are plenty of other reviews to help you decide too.

Visit the Thai Cottage website for more info, including maps to the various locations.




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Friday, November 02, 2007

The Changing of the Guard, Arlington Cemetery

Usually at the ceremony for the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D. C., it's a very quiet and solemn affair. It's been a few years since I was there, but I captured a video that day that was pretty interesting. Just as the ceremony was wrapping up, a choir began practicing for a competition that was going to take place later that afternoon. The choir's singing made for a very nice soundtrack to the changing of the guard ceremony. I've extracted the audio here and put it with some other clips of the ceremony as a whole.

If you've not seen the changing of the guard before, it is something I always enjoy having a chance to see. I love having a chance to walk through the Arlington Cemetery for half a day or so. It is a spot well worth visiting.




My apologies for the shaky quality of the video. I was a bit far away from the tomb, and had to use a higher power zoom than I normally like for video. It turned out cold and windy that day (and snowed later that night), so my hand wasn't quite as steady as I'd like for a video.


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Thursday, November 01, 2007

When Politics Prevent us From Playing

It's a sad thing when politics prevent us from enjoying our playtime. I was just reading about the sad situation in Sri Lanka caused by the unrest of the Tamil Tigers.

I have some favorite holiday spots that I've been advised to avoid from time to time because of political unrest. There are even a few spots I've not yet been able to visit, having had trips to those places canceled because of violence in the area. It's a sad thing when violence between people keep others on the outside, preventing an enjoyment of good things together. Even worse, the violence can keep us from having a chance to learn about and enjoy some places that we might really like to see.

I've not made it to Sri Lanka yet, but it is one of those spots I'd very much like to see... conditions permitting.


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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Red River BBQ, a disappointment

I went with my parents to Red River BBQ on Main Street in League City today. We've enjoyed their food for several years now, often bringing it home when we didn't have time to cook (or just didn't feel like it). Their BBQ sauce is especially good. Today, I tried their burgers for the first time (I always go for the BBQ), and the burger was really outstanding.

But the trip was a disappointment. We had a coupon for a free sandwich, and one of the owners of the place refused to honor it, stating that we didn't meet the terms of the fine print. My dad tried 2-3 times to alter the order to fit in, but somehow it all got rather confusing. I thought it was settled when the owner walked over to our table with a free sandwich, but his attitude was pretty bad. He actually stood there trying to argue with my dad about the fine print on the coupon, instead of just serving with a smile, which is generally the standard I expect at our little local spots like this one. (Competition for good service is pretty stiff around here. Most places do a fair job of it.)

I told my parents that I was surprised at the guys' attitude. My mom related a story, telling my why her office won't cater from Red River anymore. Some time back, the last time they catered from Red River, one of the owners was carrying food in, and he dropped a tray. Everyone saw him stop and pick the food up, put it back on the tray, and bring it in. Having seen it, they were a little sympathetic at first, but that changed when he started serving the food that had dropped. He would not even talk to the person in charge about a discount or replacing the dropped items. She called the restaurant in order to complain, only to be told, "He's one of the owners. No one can override him."

I normally prefer to recommend good spots to eat on my blog. And, before today, I probably would have recommended Red River as one of those spots that my family has always enjoyed, and that I have when I come back to visit. With the guy's attitude today, and the story from my mom's office, I thought it might be worth a short entry to say that Red River is a place I can recommend, but only recommend that you avoid it. (Don't let the smell of the good food deceive you!)




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Monday, October 29, 2007

A Matter of Perspective

It's funny how much our perspectives about things changes by the location in which we find ourselves when speaking.

For instance:

A couple of years ago, some friends were spending Chinese New Year with us at my godparents' home. One of the friends was from the UK, and another from Japan. They were asking my about my hometown near Houston, and whether it is far from Austin, Texas. My reply was, "No, it's very near. It's only about a 4-5 hour drive." We got a bit of a laugh out of that after I realized what I had said. In Singapore, there are many times I'd prefer not to go downtown because of the "long drive" involved. That "long drive" takes about a half hour. But, it is true that I consider the 4-5 hour drive from my hometown to Austin to be "very near."

Perspective.


Or again:

When I was in Hunan, China, we stopped in a city called Zhangjiajie before making our way to the national park of the same name for a climb in the mountains there. We were chatting with our driver who shuttled us from the airport to our hotel, and I asked if Zhanghjiajie is a big city. He said, "No, it's a very small town." And when I asked him about the population, he said, "Oh, there are just over a million or so here." I thought to myself, "Oh, that is small."

I am at home visiting my family now, and I feel that my hometown is growing too fast, becoming too "cityfied." The population is around 60,000. Even when put together with the several small towns that sort of run together in this area, we're still probably talking less than a quarter of a million.

Perspective.





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Friday, October 26, 2007

Incoming Casino

Sentosa is a little island resort off the southern coast of Singapore. It's a pretty place, well developed into a site that tourist and local families all love for a pleasant day's outing. There are beaches, chalets, and so forth that really draw the locals, while tourists seem to be attracted to the wax museum, the big Merlion there, and other similarly touristy sorts of things. The recently opened Street Luge ride has been a big hit with both locals and tourists.

There's a casino coming into Sentosa in the very near future. It is going to be interesting to see how this changes the face of that resort island. I am going to be watching to see how things shape up. For now, I remain curious to see how things will ocme together.


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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cuisine of India

On Nasa Road 1 in Webster, you can find a great little spot of Indian food. Cuisine of India offers a very nice lunch buffet. It's a little crowded most weekdays, but that's just because the food is so good.

On the buffet, there's an endless supply of naan, with many types of curry and dishes available to go with it. There is also plenty of that wonderfully spiced long grain rice too. I love the spinach dishes, whether the fried one of the creamy spinach dip. There's plenty more available for vegetarians too, including the perfectly spiced chickpeas in curry, an eggplant curry, and several other mixed vegetable dishes.

For the carnivores, you'll find some great tandoori chicken, and the cilantro chicken is pretty good too. There's not much that misses for me at Cuisine of India. It's a great spot to stop for some really good Indian food, and you can even make it your lunch spot when you are on your way to NASA from the freeway.

Check here for a map to Cuisine of India



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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Texas Renaissance Festival




At the Texas Renaissance Festival, you can seemingly take a step back in time. In October and November each year, there's a small patch of land between Magnolia and Plantersville, about a 45 minute drive north of Houston, that goes back in time, and brings guests back too. There's jousting, theater experiences, sword fighting, all manner of ruffians, courtiers, lords, ladies, and perhaps some faces you might recognize.

It's been going on for more than 30 years, each weekend during those two months. In recent years, they've also opened on 1-2 weekdays during that season just for school kids. A visit there during the week for kids is really a great idea for schools and other educational groups. The crew who puts on the Renaissance Festival is very professional. They do a great job with the kids, as well as entertaining a slightly more raucous crowd on the weekends. It's a tradition for many in the area, as well as guests who travel from all over the country to participate in the grand event.

If you've never attended a festival like this, you really don't know what you're missing. It's a great opportunity to step back in time and not just witness life in another era, but to actually be a part of it.

If you'd like more info, just visit the website. You'll find a blog there for your browsing as well.


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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Japan Airlines

On my way to the US from Singapore, I took Japan Airlines for one leg of the journey. It was the first time I had taken this airline, and I was impressed by the service.

Of course, that should not have been a surprise. The Japanese have such a reputation for attention to detail and for pleasing the customer. When sitting on Japan Airlines, it sure highlights these attributes. The snacks and drinks, the meals, the little towels brought between meals for cleaning up and all — it was all done very nicely. The attention to detail sure pays off in that it makes the journey a little more comfortable for passengers.

The most important thing to note, though, was the polite service of the crew. They were all very helpful and courteous. It was probably the best crew I've ever encountered... and I've spent an awful lot of time on planes!



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