The 18th March Project – Post 21

Things I noticed while travelling in Scandinavia:

  1. Traffic lights – In Sweden and Denmark, the yellow/amber light comes before both the red and the green lights. So you can anticipate when to stop, and also when to go. I didn’t see this in Lisbon (nearly 5 years ago) or Dublin, Killarney, and Galway (about a year and a half ago), so I assume it’s not an EU thing.
  2. Snow – first of all, how cool is it that we got snow?! The Danes who knew of our wish gave us kindly, sometimes patronizing, looks, as if to say “Silly girls! Snow is not something to look forward to quite so much.”

One of our colleagues did tell us that a clear day after snowfall could feel warmer than an overcast day without. And he was right. That was brought home even more when we returned to the relative warmth of Dubai, and found ourselves feeling cold in 15 degrees, when literally the day before, we’d been fine in -6 in Stockholm.

  1. Lighting – alright, I didn’t pay much attention to this in Stockholm, possibly because we were outdoors a lot, and didn’t go into very many buildings meant for public use (museums, malls, offices), but I’m still quite sure that most of the lighting there was yellow.

I understand that the bright glare of a white light tube light is not very hygge, but isn’t it tiring trying to figure out where all the yellow lamps should go?

Also, are those LED lights? CFL? Because if they’re incandescent, they’re definitely heating up the atmosphere. Or does the cold cancel out the heating effect (in terms of contribution to global warming)?

  1. Language – it’s not always easy to find instructions in English. I suppose that’s why it’s imperative that people who move to Sweden or Denmark learn the country’s language. Thankfully, most people speak English in both countries. And Google Maps works fairly well.
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The 18th March Project – Post 11

I recently visited Singapore for the third time in 4 years. I love that city-state!

I wasn’t inclined to post while I was there, which is why this one is late.

People ask what I like about Singapore. Here’s part of my list:

  • The food is amazing – the options are endless, the taste is phenomenal, you are (almost 100%) sure of hygiene, and the lower-end of the budget is easily catered to
  • Public transport is great – connectivity between modes of transport is almost seamless, the price is relatively low, the modes of transport and the stops/stations are quite clean, many are air-conditioned, the bus stops have signs telling you which one you’re approaching, signs that are visible from the top-deck of the bus
  • People are happy to offer help to tourists. And they give correct directions
  • The museums are amazing
  • So are the parks
  • Entrance fees to most museums and parks do not cost the earth. In fact, if you are a citizen or Permanent Resident, I believe they’re free.
  • It’s green outside! You can see birds and trees and flowers in the city, breathe air that is washed by rain and caressed by sun.
  • It’s easy to find something to drink when you need to re-hydrate
  • The airport is big, but not too big.
  • You can go from east to west in approximately two hours, riding the east-west MRT line. Next time, I’ll go north.
  • There is no little respect for rules and laws
  • They cleaned up a river! It took them 10 years, but they did it.
  • It rains regularly there. It’s the kind of rain that cools the day down. It can be torrential, I’m sure. Luckily, all I’ve experienced so far has been the mild sort. The biggest worry after a shower is what to do with your damp umbrella. But of course, they have little baggies you can put it in so you don’t drip everywhere
  • Seniors are actively involved in public life, volunteering or in paid roles.
  • They have their own brand of English, lah
  • The people are ingenious and innovative. Buying a cup of coffee, but want your hands free for your phone and bags, etc.? No worries – please use this special sling to carry your cup in
  • The taxi drivers use GPS/Google Maps to find their way
  • At the zebra crossing, there’s a countdown and a flashing green man to let you know how quickly you need to get across. Some crossings allow those with special needs/seniors to use their concession cards to tap for additional time.
  • Restaurants don’t close their kitchens at 8 pm.
  • Daiso’s cheaper in Singapore (when compared with Dubai)!
  • There’s kaya. And laksa.

Do I really need more reasons?

The 18th March Project – Post 4

I travel by public transport. The Metro, to be more precise. In the mornings I prefer to travel in Gold class. It’s the cabin at the front or rear of the train that has better-cushioned seats, folding tables on the backs of some seats and costs double the regular fare.

I get out at Union, one of the interchange stations, and make my way with possibly hundreds of others from the Creek platform to the UAE Exchange platform. I’m usually among the first on the escalator because the Gold class disembarkation area is very close to it and the stairs to the Concourse.

I’ve been doing this regularly for at least a year. Watching people go up the stairs or the escalator from the Creek platform to the concourse is what inspired the analogy.

I began to see the similarity between this daily struggle, and Life.

If you have certain advantages – money, or position – it’s easier for you to get on the escalator and ascend faster.

There are those who through sheer will power will climb the stairs and beat those who get on the escalator before them.

There are those who get on the escalator and do not wish to add their own steam to the kinetic energy of the escalator, propelling them upwards. They couldn’t care less about the people who come after; they will even block the way, not through any malice, but just because they aren’t using their brains nor are they aware of the world around them.

At some point there are so many of these people of the escalator that taking the stairs actually becomes the quicker option.

And isn’t the world just so much like that?

Day 33 100words100days Why I would like to visit ________ (fill in the blank with the name of a place)

379 words. This was an easy one!

[Commerce people- perhaps we shall visit the places you suggested someday. But only if we plan properly and stick to the plan!

Steph, AnnMay and I owe you a road trip. I state it publicly.]

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If truth be told, I would like to visit nearly every single country, nearly every single region, nearly every single altitude and tourist attraction and locals’ haunt this world has to offer. I say ‘nearly’ because there are some places I know I would not be comfortable going to, whether on my own or with company.

I don’t currently have the resources to travel the world, but I’m working on that.

In the meantime, I would be very happy if I got a chance to visit these places:

1. Ireland

First up has to be the Emerald Isle. Anyone who has known me for the last decade and a half knows that I want to go there. I have many reasons for wanting this, including but not limited to:

– the fact that my first name is Irish Gaelic.

– Stephen Gately of Boyzone (may he rest in peace) was Irish.

– leprechauns, four-leaf clovers, the Blarney stone.

– Yeats, Wilde, Swift, and Shaw, and all the others who seem to possess a lyrical genius that Ibe found in the thin places on that island

– the green green

– the history of the island, and its people

(To any Irish person who might read this: I apologise if I sound much too dreamy-eyed about your country. I know that I see it incompletely, as would anyone who is not a native or a long-term resident. I can only hope that Ireland lives up to my expectations, because if it doesn’t I would be more than sorely disappointed)

2. Mombasa

My mother spent the better part of her childhood in East Africa. I would love to go back to the city where she went to school and began to figure out the world around her. I would love to see where my great-grandparents lived and worked, and where my grandparent set up their third home as expats (Bombay and Karachi were the other places they lived in). And I would love it if that could be a family trip. I think Mum would like that.

Oh, and Kiswahili. It is an interesting language.

Those are the two places that up topmost on my list. Also on the list are places in India and neighbouring countries which I would love to travel to with my friends and or family.

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Day 34: A synopsis of a book by a female author