Friday, September 28, 2007

Please Horn

In some countries, honking is a norm on the street. ‘Toot-toot’ ‘Beep-Beep’ ‘Baa-baa’ ‘Been-been’ ‘Boon-boon’!

India is one of these countries. Behind trucks and buses, there are writings that say: PLEASE HORN, or SOUND YOUR HORN, or BLOW YOUR HORN. They all mean the same thing.

I asked my Indian colleague and he laughed out loud. He told me that if one doesn’t horn and someone hit his car, he is to be blamed as others would question him why he hasn’t horn.

So, when you are changing lane, you must blow your horn. If there is a guy in the lane, he should horn to tell you that he is there. If he doesn’t and you hit into his car because you don’t look, he is to be accused wrong.

In short, people just like to horn, and no one gets offended by horns.
In some countries, mine included, you don’t hear horns everywhere, but if one does, he tends to get angry as it signals that you are being ‘scolded’ or ‘cursed’. So, don’t simply blow your horn in these countries. ;)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Smart Signboards For Buffet Tables

When I was having my breakfast in Traders Hotel, Beijing, I saw this little signboard on each table. Something they newly implemented, which I’ve never seen previously.
Image005 Image006
The signboard has a red surface on one side and a green on the other.

The red one says something like: This seat is occupied.
And the green one says something like: I’m done. This seat is available now.

Well, whenever I have my meals (buffet), I always carry my bag with me to the food bars, to prevent theft. As a result of that, the waiters can sometimes mistaken the seat as unoccupied and put another guests there, especially before you’ve started.

This signboard becomes very helpful now, especially to single business travelers like me. A good idea that I think other hotels/buffet-restaurants can adopt.
Ah! There is one thing to note though. As a courteous diner, one must remember to turn it to green, when finish dining, so the seat would not be ‘occupied’ forever. :) For once, I forgot to turn it until I’ve nearly left the restaurant!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Interesting Travel Blog

I've stumbled across an interesting travel blog. Unlike other blogs, it covers travel stories in Asia.

One recent entry was about How To Overcome Con Artists in Asia. In this entry, the blogger reveals that a lot of 'trainee' tourguides actually spend very little time bringing tourists to the interesting spots. Instead, they were brought to factories to buy things, which the 'trainee' tourguides earn fat commissions.

Well, I don't think they always pose themselves as 'trainee'. The same scam is included in big and major ground tour agencies. Most of the ground tours end up in some kind of factories. This happens the most in China, even under the so called 'government owned outlets'.

There are other con stories in the same post, which I'm not going to repeat here. One is about Bangkok's disguised 'international police'. Worth checking this site for the detail.

Another interesting entry is about a story in Bangkok as well. We all know Thailand has a lot of Ah Gua ('lady boys'). This is an article about Top 5 Ways to Spot Lady Boys in Thailand. Don't be surprised that a lady that you're interested in, turn out to be a man! So, check this out to be for sure. ;)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Stories on Accommodations

As I travel alone most of the time, I'd really appreciate if my friends don't mention any horror stories to me. :)

I try to avoid any horror stories, instead try to get some cheerfull and funny stories.

The most terrible horror stories for single travelers like me is related horror accommodation stories. Just before my trip to Delhi, my aunt told her horror stories in a local hotel, which gave me the chill. Well, not that I believe in her stories, but if the image is in the brain, one can easily be manipulated by our brain and start imagining things.

That's why, I always reject any accommodation stories, be it in a hotel, service apartment, rented bungalows, etc.

Our company has two bungalows in the Fraser's Hill and Cameron. My colleague hinted some scary accommodation stories that I dare not to listen in full. However, I've caught a few words before knowing where he was going to, and it was too late to stop planting some images in my brain (even though I didn't listen the rest of the stories)!!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Bangkok Chatuchak Weekend Market

I've been to Bangkok so many times, but I've never been to the famous Chatuchak (or Jatujak) weekend market. That's because I've only been to Bangkok on business trips and have never stayed over the weekends.

The last trip to Bangkok, since my best friend is now based there, I extended my stay to visit her, and naturally Chatuchak market is in my 'must go' list.

This world's largest weekend market can be accessed via BTS Skytrain. There are almost 9,000 individual booths, selling almost everything that you can imagine and cannot imagine.

Some of these stores are manned by factory owners who sell the over-produced goods or second grade goods. By second grade, it could be due to inconsistent colour that couldn't match the order. These goods are sold at very cheap price.

I like this market a lot more than those in Beijing or Shanghai. The main reason is the price - the offer/asking price. One can be an idiot paying for something 10 times another pays, when you shop in China. An item offered for 400 can be closed at 40 (10% of the initial price).

But in Thailand, this won't happen. Asking price is normally not too high, so even if your bargaining skill is not very good, the price you pay may not be too much more than your friend's (at least not 10 times higher like in China!).

Another interesting feature of this market is, the shops are very different from one another, even though they are selling the same item. For example, two clothes shops carry very differnt types of clothes, two shoes shops carry differnet designs and material of shoes, etc.

There are very interesting shops, e.g. handmade clocks with 3D designs and background, bathroom slippers with funny animals head, cloth paintings with typical Thailand graphics, etc.

Various things that the market contains:

  • Books & collectibles
  • Plants and Gardening
  • Home utensils & decors
  • Pets & accessories
  • Antiques
  • Chothing & accessories
  • Handicrafts
  • Furnitures
  • Miscellaneous & decors
  • Food & snacks