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Fun In Singapore

Published on March 17, 2010 at midnight by XC

Now that I’ve had enough time to recover from our recent vacation, I may as well write about it. We took a well deserved family break this past weekend for a short holiday in Singapore. Like most vacations that we take, it was too short. My general rule for travel is, plan to spend at least one full day and night for every hour you are on the airplane one way. For the three hours we were in the air getting there, we spent only two full nights. I really could have used the extra day just to relax. On to it, for whoever may be interested.

I was a little nervous about going to Singapore. Any American citizen who was not in a coma in 1994 will remember Michael Fay who received four strokes of a cane for vandalism. I wasn’t worried about that per say, I’m not one to cause / get into any trouble. In the back of my mind, however, was a nervousness that I might inadvertently and unwittingly break some local law and end up with a hefty fine to pay (or worse). I hate to admit it, but I’m a smoker and I read in many places that Singapore is a very strict non-smoking country.

I could not have been farther from the truth. Upon arrival, we spent less than ten minutes getting out of the airport. The immigration officer that processed us was extremely friendly and gave our daughter some candies in exchange for a smile. I do a lot of traveling and I was surprised when we weren’t asked the typical “How long do you plan to stay, what is the nature of your visit” sorts of questions.

Category: Travels
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Earthquake Shakes Metro Manila

Published on Nov. 27, 2007 at midnight by XC

I’ve been to many cities that are prone to the occasional mild rumble from mother nature (low scale tremors), today I experienced something a little bigger.

I was at my desk, writing, when all of a sudden I felt everything swaying. My chair (and me as its contents) rolled backwards on a level surface. I heard the distinctive sound of concrete stretching and the swaying began to increase.

Fight or flight kicked in and all that could come to mind was “Not good, get kid, wife, stairs”, which I did.
We live in a ‘city within a city’, our complex occupies approximately 6 city blocks and is populated with many high-rise apartment buildings. As I was scurrying down the stairs, I was able to catch a glimpse of the surrounding buildings through a small window at each landing, I saw other buildings swaying somewhat like domino blocks. We live on a high floor, it took a bit of time to get down the stairs.

Fortunately, our development is relatively new and built with earthquakes in mind. While writing this, I feel some mild after shocks which are disturbing but a good indicator that the event has shown its intended fury.

This was a wild experience, but not one that I’d care to repeat. I don’t know how people can handle living near fault lines, I guess it just goes to demonstrate that humans can get used to anything.

The quake was a 4.2 (reported locally), epicenter in Pangasinan (about five hours away from me). USGS is indicating its strength as 6.0 at the epicenter.

I don’t know if there was any major damage yet, local TV is just picking it up.

Category: Travels

I Really Miss Seasons

Published on Nov. 2, 2007 at midnight by XC

Traveling around the world is one of the best ways to ensure that you don’t waste your life. I’m not at all implying that those who do not travel are wasting their lives, I’m only implying that you should endeavor to do and see as much as you possibly can while your alive. Pink Floyd said this rather simply, “All you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be.”

I’ve been out of the country (home is Baltimore, Maryland in the US) for nearly three years now. I’ve seen amazing places, amazing faces, eaten things that I could not quite identify, gained a refined global perspective and outlook on life as my adventures indoctrinated me into the meaning of being a citizen of the world. Meanwhile, I have not seen a change of seasons in almost 4 years.

I always jeered at those who talked about some kind of internal ticking biological ‘clock’ insisting that we’re advanced beings with full control over our comfort with our surroundings. Human beings can tolerate (nearly) any kind of change with very little effort (provided that they aren’t stuck in a cycle of endless complaining). I might just have to eat those words, every 4 months I find myself rather disoriented due to a lack of seasonal transition.
I was getting used to not seeing much of a spring, winter started jumping directly into a red hot humid summer several years before I left Baltimore. Fall and winter are sorely missed.

Category: Travels
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