Friday, August 31, 2007

It's Blog Day!

I just learned from silken that today is Blog Day. We bloggers are supposed to highlight 5 of our favorite bloggers. (Thanks silken!) Here's my list:

1. I met Pinhole while I was blogging with him at another site. I have really enjoyed reading everything he posts. He's a very funny guy. At his place, you can find lots of cartoons, and humorous posts. Pinhole's blog has to be one of the funnest places on the internet.

2. A Singaporean blogger who I always like to read is sien. I enjoy her writing, and really like to stop in and see what she's up to. She writes about things I can often relate to, like her post on traveling woes.

3. Another Singaporean blogging friend of mine keeps several blogs, and I often like to visit his book blog. He has recently been writing a lot about prayer, and I have enjoyed those short posts. He also keeps a work related travel blog and a leisure travel blog too.

4. For luxury travel, Five Star Allianc keeps one of the blogs I really like. Whether updating on airlines or hotels, you can find everything you want to know about luxury travel here.

5. Another travel blog I like to read is Travelin Shoes. This blogger recently spent National Day in Singapore on the island for the first time, and I always love hearing impressions from people after such an event. He's traveled far and wide, from Belarus to Dominica, and loads of places in between.


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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Public Transportation

When I travel to a new destination, I often find it can be fun to take public transportation rather than renting a car or taking taxis. It definitely saves money, and it can be a fun way to see the city. In fact, figuring out how the local public transportation system works is often an adventure in itself. The use of a good travel guide (the Lonely Planet guides are my favorites) can make it a lot easier to figure out the public transportation system.

When my nephews were visiting me recently, they always asked to take public transportation, especially the double decker buses. We made an adventure of it one afternoon. We traveled down to Orchard and took Bus 111, a double decker bus. You can catch the bus along Tanglin Road, or on Orchard Road. It passes the Orchard MRT Station, which can be a good spot to catch it (we started at the Tanglin / Napier Road intersection). The bus travels all the way down Orchard Road and on down to Suntec City, where it circles back around Marina Square and up past the river. From there, it makes the journey back up the direction, making a nice loop around downtown. Tour buses that make that route cost a fair bit of money (though the tours are not bad), but Bus 111 makes it for the costs of normal bus fares. If you are bringing guests around, it is a nice little route to travel, and you can play tour guide for them yourself.




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Recommended Website: Goin2Travel

Are you Going to Travel any time soon? If so, I've got a site with a great listing of vacation homes to introduce to you. Goin2Travel not only has an extensive network of accommodations available, but they also offer good information on each place, so that you can take a good look at what you're getting, before you commit to anything.

Take a look at these shots of San Diego vacation rentals on the site. There are good photos that show a bright, sunny, home-style setting. When you watch the slideshow there, you get a very good idea of what you are getting into.

Of if you are heading a little further north than that, then these Newport beach vacation rentals or vacation homes at Whidbey Island might be something you'd like to take a look at. Either way, you will find good information with lots of images to help you make an informed decision when you are going to travel.

Goin2Travel is a worldwide vacation rentals websites where owners and managers can list their vacation rentals, and travelers can inquire directly and book the rental with the owner or manager. Whether you are an owner or, like me, a traveler, you'll find the site very useful. I like the sort of information you can get from the website, and am impressed with their layout. Take a look if you are going to travel any time soon.



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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Ferry in Galveston, Texas

Ever since I was a kid, I've loved taking the ferry from Galveston to Bolivar. The ride is a pleasant one, and it's free. There have been times when we were aboard the ferry, and had dolphins swim along beside us. It's not that there are a ton of dolphins in those waters, but it does seem there are at least a few of them that have made their home on the ferry route for some years, and they swim alongside the ferry putting on a show, from time to time.

When in Galveston, the ferry ride offers a chance for a cheap and pleasant way to spend an afternoon or evening. You can find the ferry schedule at the Texas Department of Transportation site.



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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What's that? Can we eat it?

Last month, I took my two nephews, ages 6 and 7, to Shanghai. Traveling with kids can be very different from the solo travels I am used to, and it can add a new dimension to the whole travel experience. It was so much fun to see Shanghai, a city that is like a second home to me, through their young eyes.

One of the things I really loved watching was seeing their attitudes toward food really open up. A year ago, when these boys first traveled overseas (to Singapore to visit me the first time), they were quite skeptical any time a dish they didn't recognize was placed before them. They would try it, but only under some degree of external compulsion. Over time, they found that trying new things was not so bad after all. In fact, they found many things that they really liked.

So, by the time we traveled together to Shanghai, the boys had really developed an adventurous spirit towards food. It got so that their first question, upon seeing something new was "What is that?" When they heard the answer, no matter what it was, the next question was always, "Can we try it?"

One day, we saw this on the menu:




"What's that?" they asked.

"Snake," I said, reading the menu.

"Can we try it?"

And so we did. And it quickly became old hat with them.

Traveling with that sense of eager anticipation of whatever is to come is really the way to go when heading overseas.


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Dialaflight Beach Holidays

I've been to some really amazing beaches and enjoyed what some might call exotic beach holidays over the years. I've swam with a huge sea turtle, had a school of dolphins swim alongside my boat, swam in a bay full of baby sharks, and seen a whole host of other sorts of amazing underwater life. Some of the beach holidays I have taken over the years have proven to be the most memorable of all, the sorts that my friends and I still talk about many years later, remembering the amazing beauty of the world where water meets land. We often speak about trips to Krabi, Pulau Redang, Hawaii, or the Carribean, and all with just a little bit of nostalgia in our voices.

Beach resort holidays don't have to be expensive. For instance, if you book your beach holidays through dialaflight.com, you can enjoy cheap flights and great holiday offers. This puts more money in your pocket to enjoy the great activities you'll find along the coastline. Whether snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, windsurfing, parasailing, or whatever activity you want to enjoy in the midst of your tropical holidays, you'll find the perfect opportunity when you book your trip with dialaflight.com. And, to make it all the better, your travel arrangements won't cost you a fortune, which allows you to spend your hard earned money on the activities that you will enjoy.

Book today and head to the sunny beaches and bright blue sky. Grab your sunscreen and your passport, and head out today. When you're relaxing with a nice cool drink on a nice warm beach, you really will thank me for pointing you to dialaflight.com. You'll find great deals on Anguilla and Zanzibar... and everything in between too.



This is a sponsored post. If you'd like to get paid to blog too, click this tab

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Before 40

One of my best friends and I have come up with a challenge that we are going to share. We've made a list of things we want to do before the end of the year in which we both turn 40 (that's end of 2011). Naturally, several of them are travel related.

Here's what we've got planned:

1. A trip to climb Mount Kinabalu

2. A trip to Cambodia

3. Skydiving somewhere, quite likely in Australia

4. A round-island trip in Singapore, either hiking or biking

5. This one is just for me, as it is something my friend has already done, but I plan to take the O-level exam for Chinese language




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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bako National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia

When you visit Bako National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia, you might be surprised by the various forms of wildlife you can actually meet face to face there. Perhaps it will be the 4-foot-long monitor lizards you see peeping into your window in the morning when you wake up. Or perhaps it will be the bearded pig you bump into on the jungle paths as you trek. Or, maybe it is the Proboscis monkeys roaming about... maybe even one that will show you his fangs in an attempt to intimidate you enough to get your breakfast. Whichever it is, you are sure to be impressed, and perhaps even startled, by one form of wildlife in the park or another. One thing is for sure -- you can't walk around the place for very long without coming across some amazing creature or another.

The land formations at the park are also quite impressive, including the seastacks for which the park is known. The trip up the river from Kuching is one not soon forgotten. And the mangrove swamps and cliff vegetation are truly amazing. Bako is Sarawak's oldest national park.


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Staying Fit in the City

I didn't grow up in the city, but in a small town. In my younger days, I spent all day during any school holidays in the out of doors, and that was more or less a natural way of staying fit. It doesn't quite work that way in the city, though.

A lot of my friends stay fit by making a visit to the gym each week, or several times a week. I don't really like that, and find it takes me a lot of extra time to make the journey there and back. It ends up being a rather major outing, just to stay a bit fit.

For me, I prefer to try to incorporate my exercise into what I do on a regular basis. Of course, trips to the swimming pool and things like that are great for recreation, but I find it hard, sometimes, to fit that into my regular schedule.

For me, what I like best is to either walk or cycle to my destination(s) during the day or part of the day rather than driving or taking public transport. While it might take a little extra time to walk somewhere, as opposed to other forms of transportation, cycling doesn't generally require a whole lot longer than, say, the bus. And, of course, it is much cheaper.

Yesterday, I went out for lunch with some friends. Two of us decided to walk there -- about 7 kilometers. We all walked home together afterward. Little decisions like that help to fit a little bit of exercise into the overall schedule, helping to stay healthy without taking up a whole lot of extra time.




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Blog Value

I've just come across this fun website, thanks to my friend silken, and I thought I'd give it a look to see how much my blogs are worth. I'll be posting the answer to that on each individual blog.

This one:


My blog is worth $14,113.50.
How much is your blog worth?






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Saturday, August 25, 2007

New Luggage

In May, I was in Shanghai for an extended period, and a friend came to visit while I was there. She was only there for a few days, and her luggage got lost. The airline gave her some money to get some things to wear while she was there, half of which we spent on lunch (naturally). Her luggage showed up the next day, and all was well.

Until she made her way home. That's when her luggage got damaged en route. Damaged to the point that it couldn't be repaired. The airline gave her some money to replace it, but this time it was sadly less than what the new luggage would have cost her.

I wish I had known then about innovation luggage and travelware. If I had, my friend could have searched through the extensive range of name brand luggage to find the one that best suited what she was looking for. You can get a lot of the items there at greatly discounted prices, which makes for a great deal.

Besides luggage, you can find lots of other traveling necessities at the website, as well as articles relating to travel tips, destinations, and suggestions.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Vienna and Berlin

When you travel to Europe, you will want to make sure and take in Vienna and Berlin. For me, when I think of these two great capitol cities, the sounds of classical music just roll through my mind, and I can't help but feel a little nostalgic for an age gone by.

When you make your journey to Germany and Austria, make sure to check cheaperthanhotels.com for great prices on Hotels in Berlin (for a German version, see Hotels in Berlin) and Hotels in Vienna (Hotels in Viennafor a German version). When you visit the site, you'll find all sorts of great information, and great bargains too.

You can get a direct flight between Berlin and Vienna on Lufthansa. The flight operates daily, and it will allow you to take in all the great sites of those two lovely cities.

Visit cheaperthanhotels.com before you pack your bags. You'll be very pleased with the savings you'll find there. You can even find good deals on last minute accommodations when you visit their website.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Florida Villa

Disney World... it calls itself "the happiest place on earth," and that may just be true. It is all the happier a place when you travel there with the whole family. That's when it is just perfect.

But where do you stay when you go to a place like that? How do you choose the best place to keep the whole family? For me, I think a Florida Villa is the perfect choice. The accommodations are comfortable and affordable, and there is something there to entertain every member of the family. You can really spread out and make yourself comfortable. It can have a real homestyle feeling, so you won't feel as worn out as you would if you were to choose some cramped little hotel room. It allows you to rest after a full day of fun and play with the family.

And don't forget, while you're there, to soak up Universal Studios, the sunny beaches, and perhaps a round of golf or two as well. A trip to Orlando is really fun for everyone.

Make your trip to Florida the best it can be. Choose accommodations that will let you be comfortable and really enjoy the surrounding fun.


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Places to Go

Continuing the spotlight on my blogging friend, silken, I'd like to turn to her blog called Places to Go. This is a unique sort of travel blog because silken doesn't just talk about places she's been, but also about places she hasn't been, but would like to go. I think that's pretty clever, really!

Just look here what she says about Vienna, or here about Avebury. You'll find out about all sorts of places when you read through this blog. Silken has a curious mind, one that would like to see and know more about this big world. In this blog, that really shines through.

If you would like to see a travel blog with a little twist, then stop in to visit silken. Tell her I said hi while you're there.



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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hotel Exercises

I just came across this video clip that is pretty interesting. If you travel as often as I do, and stay in as many odd places as I do from time to time, you might find this helpful too.



It kind of reminded me of my recent trip that I took with my young nephews, ages 6 and 7. We had a small room for the 3 of us, and were in the middle of a very big city. It wasn't a situation they are used to, but we made the best of it, doing lots of fun little exercises in the hotel room. It kept us all feeling a little more fit, and burned off some excess energy for the little guys. When I saw this video, I couldn't help but smile at how familiar it felt.



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Disney Package

I've been to Disney's theme parks on both coasts several times. I have to say that it is more fun than you could ever imagine, no matter when you go, but that it is best enjoyed when the whole family travels together.

There's one little problem, for many people (like me), which is that the whole family traveling together can mean a lot of expense. That's why finding these special affordable orlando hotels can be so important. A good find on a hotel deal can make it possible (and affordable) for you to round up the whole clan and make your way to Orlando and enjoy the great attractions at Disney World. For the best deals on hotels, make sure and check out www.orlando.com.

And Disney World isn't the only thing there is to do while you and the family are in Orlando. There are so many great theme parks, golf courses, convention centers, beaches.... it's a real entertainment paradise! Make sure and plan your next holiday for Orlando. And bring the whole family. You'll be glad you did.


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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Visa Help

When applying for a visa to a country you are visiting for the first time, the whole process can get confusing and tiring. And that's before the trip even begins.




VisaHQ.com - travel visa and passport services online
is you need help applying for a visa today. You won't be disappointed with the service offered there, and you can rest easy while they do the hard work for you!






Travel Visa And Passport Services Online










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Monday, August 20, 2007

30 Minute Languages

As a frequent traveler, I've come across a resource that I think is going to prove very valuable to me.

I find, when traveling, that knowing a little bit of the local language goes a long, long way.  Not only is it easier to get around, but attempts to understand and speak a language always win points for you as you make your way around an unfamiliar environment.   I am not talking about mastering a language or anything, but just picking up enough bits and pieces to try to function... and even to let folks laugh at the feeble attempts to put the foreign words into one's own mouth.

The resource I've found that is fun to use, as well as being helpful, is a CD-ROM produced by euroTalk.  My 2-CD set has over 20 languages, helping the learner to pick up a few basics before hitting the road.  You can choose your own language to learn from, and then choose the target language that you are trying to learn, then get started on the lessons.

It works with both Windows and Mac, and is useful for anyone wanting to pick up a bit of help in a language before setting out on whatever big adventure is taking you overseas.





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Friday, August 17, 2007

Dickens Amusement Park

In Galveston, near where I grew up, there was "Dickens on the Strand" every year at Christmas time. This really takes that to another level.

This is one I won't miss on my next trip to the UK -- and I can't wait!







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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Spanish Holiday

Travel about Spain can be an exciting adventure. There can be so much to see in romantic cities like Barecelona and Madrid, and flying from one city to the other can make for a perfect holiday. Flying instead of taking the train will save huge amounts of time. It all takes just about an hour -- the flying time itself is roughly that, and you don't have to check in beforehand. Compare that to a train journey that takes anywhere from five and a half to nine hours, and you'll see why the option of travel by air is really the way to go.

Air Europa flies from Barcelona's airport (Terminal B) and arrives in Terminal 4 (the new terminal) at Madrid Barajas. It is a daily flight, operating from 07:00 - 23.50 several times throughout the day. Ticket prices vary, but you can expect to pay anything from 94 euros to 320 euros return plus a 12 euro service charge.

You can find a great selection of Hotels in Madrid (see Hotels en Madrid for the Spanish site) and Hotels in Barcelona (see Hoteles en Barcelona for Spanish) when you visit cheaperthanhotels.co.uk.




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Martin Worldwide

Martin Worldwide offers comprehensive Mailing Lists for marketing execs all over the globe. Take, for instance, their premier product ResponseCom. What it does is give marketing executives a powerful database -- one that has been put together after a huge amount of research and demographic analysis has been done. This provides a wealth of information from which to build a database that is really useful to customers. The result is a listing of the most responsive, active customers and their addresses. So, you don't end up paying for a bunch of useless email addresses. Instead, you will wind up with leads to customers with real potential. By putting your company or product information directly into their hands (or their inbox), you get real results... real fast.

ResponseCom is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools you can find. If you'd like more information on ResponseCom, or other Martin Worldwide direct marketing products and services, please call (888)- 267-3545.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Travel Bloggers, get paid to blog!

If you aren't making money on your travel blog yet, I have a question for you.....

Why Not?

Sign up on the form below, and get started today. Don't worry... it's easy!



You will find lots of good travel-oriented opportunities there. Why not turn your passion for travel blogging into a little bit of pocket money? (It can be a big help in paying for the next trip!)



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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Seeing Your Home on Travel TV

I just saw a short video of Singapore on the travel channel. It was recorded in 2003, just about at this time of year (it ended with National Day, August 9). It was fun watching it. I should say that the travel video was well put together, highlighting real life things, and not just the typical tourist spots. They incorporated a fair amount of commentary from local celebrities, and that added a real local feel to it.

It was strange, though, seeing things that I take for granted explained so carefully. For example, one boy was explainingt to the hostess what a "void deck" is. It is the empty first floor of most HDB blocks -- I mean, the residential buildings put up by the government, where most of us live. Anyway, it was funny hearing the boys explain what the use of a void deck is. They described it as a place to have weddings and funerals, and to play soccer. (Play soccer is actually prohibited there.) They seemed to have no clue as to how it all started, thinking that the purpose of the void deck was to provide a meeting place for such activity. Actually, the construction of these buildings is based on the raised homes that have always covered the region, with old atap houses resting upon stilts. The empty lower level is for ventilation, cooling the house beneath the floors by use of the nice sea breezes that surround us here.

Funny, watching how the younger generation has so lost touch with those older structures that they probably have no idea why the buildings are constructed this way.



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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Bottle Tree Park

Over the weekend, we spent an afternoon at Bottle Tree Park in Yishun (Singapore). Bottle Tree Park is owned by the people who run Bottle Tree Village, and has a lot of the same concept -- good food, a nice big plot of land, and (of course) bottle trees. What they have that the other location doesn't is a fishing pond. (You can read a little more about my first visit to the place and what all they offer here.)

We spent our afternoon there fishing. We rented the rod and were given bait (just plain bread), and there were lots of fish. We only caught two ourselves -- one big enough to keep and one not. We ate the one that was big enough to keep (it was from pond to pan to table, all in about 20 minutes). It made for a really fun way to spend the afternoon, for both kids and adults. And of course, eating what you've caught just a short while before is always good. Nothing like fresh fish! (There's also prawn fishing, so that could be really good too.)

You can reach Bottle Tree Park easily from the Khatib MRT station. It is less than a kilometer away, and can be a very pleasant walk. There is a big park there, so even if the kids get bored fishing, there is plenty to do. If you've got an afternoon to while away, it is lots of fun.




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