Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Tech Idiot

This isn't really a travel post but I was just thinking of how I would cope technologically once I've moved out. I'm really quite a tech idiot and since I stay with my brother, he handles all the tech stuff including setting up our wireless and routers. I saw some used cisco routers on line but according to Bro, it is better to buy a brand new one instead of a second hand one. I guess I'll need to get him to set up my wireless for me, probably in return for a meal!

Luxury Bathrooms

I had the opportunity to stay in several top notch luxury hotels during my business travels with my previous company. One thing I always noticed about these hotels was how spacious and beautiful their bathrooms were. They always came with nothing but Grohe faucets at the sink and tub which were always polished to the highest shine. If I can afford it, someday I hope to have Grohe faucets and bathroom accessories in my own home too.

Traveling First Class

The boss in my previous company always used to travel on the best of everything whenever we went for business trips. He would only ever fly first class and stay in the top suites of the finest hotels wherever in the world we were. It was rumoured that one of his suites even had a home theater seating arrangement around a fantastic home theater movie set complete with a full range of DVDs! Needless to say, the cost of those rooms probably costed more than my monthly loan installments! Imagine being able to travel that way all the time!

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Easier Shopping

I've noticed that shopping seems so much easier overseas compared to our local markets. A friend who lives in Australia managed to renovate her entire kitchen and out fit it with brand new quality kitchen cabinets from directbuy for a lot cheaper. It works as a membership programme where people who join as members get to purchase cabinets at a cheaper price. It does save a lot in the long run!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Bangkok Bargaining

On our recent trip to Bangkok, my mom forgot to bring her reading glasses and was unable to read the newspapers provided by the hotel. Luckily for her, cheap glasses were available everywhere in Bangkok and since reading glasses come in one kind of power form, we could buy it from anywhere. One of the best things about Bangkok is being able to bargain for everything you buy, right down to glasses! And we actually managed to get a pair for a cheaper price than what we would pay here. I love Bangkok too!

Dubai, Shopping Paradise

Have you ever been to Dubai? I had the opportunity to spend less than a day there when I was there for a business trip. Our hosts very kindly took us to a discount shopping centre which was simply amazing. It was filled with discounted brands such as Ferragamo, Dior, all kinds of watches including Hublot and Rolex. It was like a paradise and I only wish we had more time there! I managed to pick up Ferragamo wallets for the family at a real steal! Now I wish I can go back to Dubai again! Apparently their great sale is worth going to as well, simply to shop! I wonder then why the Middle Eastern tourists are always coming here to shop!

Prolonging Your Life

I was travelling with my previous company to the Middle East recently when we had some time to run into their local shopping mall. Middle East is a terribly rich country so it was not surprising at all to see lots of fashionable stores and gold shops with all kinds of ostentatious displays and huge gemstones. What amused me, however, was a pharmacy which had lots of advertisements for their new longevity product. I couldn't quite read Arabic but it was clear to see that they were encouraging people to buy it to prolong their life span and improve their health. If I had the same kind of money they did, I would be prolonging my life too simply to enjoy my wealth! Heh...

Cheaper Shopping with Coupons

I recently heard from my friend who had come back from the US. She was complaining about how expensive things here were especially some of the branded stuff and make up. I was quite puzzled as I used to think that things in US were generally more expensive due to the exchange rate. According to her, shopping in the US was much cheaper as they had lots of incentive coupons such as Macys coupons and Barney's coupons which people could clip from newspapers and magazines to obtain discounts on their products. I guess it hasn't quite caught on here yet!

Royal Melbourne Show

One of the big events in the major cities of Australia is the Royal Show which features lifestock, all kinds of trade show displays, food and games. How fitting for a mainly agricultural country! My friends and I used to go to the Royal Melbourne Show. It was great fun as you could peer at baby pigs, ogle at award winning cows and taste some fantastic produce, some of which came right from the farm that morning itself! They also had lots of goody bags which were filled with all kinds of goodies and usually sold for a slight discount. If I ever go back to Melbourne again, I should time my visit for that period!

Missing Melbourne

I was coming to work today when I realised I almost wish I had joined the Australian migration team at work. This involved being based in Melbourne for about 2 to 3 months workshadowing the financial controllers there to bring the job back here.

I miss Melbourne. I lived there for 3 years while I was studying and although I used to look forward to coming back in the summer, I loved every minute of my time there. I think that was where I learnt to be independent, to pay bills, do my own banking, manage my own money, tell the difference between a bulk cable and a wire and learnt how friends and midnight sessions could really make a difference in my life. Someday I hope to return, even if it was just a for a holiday and walk down those familiar streets again.

Independent Travel

Recently I heard about some people who lost huge sums of money when the travel agent they signed with just closed down overnight. The owner ran away with the money which led to a huge uproar as some of them had saved their entire lives for a trip to Europe. It is sad to see but unfortunately, hearing of travel agencies shutting down seems to be all too common now. So should you or shouldn't you go with a travel agency?

Personally, I always prefer independent travel where I only enlist the help of the agency to book my tickets or hotels. However, with the advent of the internet and technology today, there isn't a need to even contact a travel agent as you can do everything on your own. Companies such as Nexgentravel provides travel technology to customers who are keen on doing their own travel. They have a hotel booking engine to bring together both supplier and customer who are keen to do business without additional costs from the middle man. Through the borderless internet, they provide global distribution systems to customers and suppliers all over the world who can log in at any time of the day to plan their next travel itinerary. So, why go through a travel agent and suffer the risk of losing your hard earned money and screwing up your holiday plans? Simply log on and plan your next holiday yourself. You'll enjoy the whole process a lot more!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Memorable Australia Trip

One thing I really love about travelling on my own itinerary is having the freedom to explore interesting things without the constraints of a tour group or time. Quite a number of years ago, my family came down to Australia for my graduation and we spent some time driving around. I remember how much fun we had just stopping at random at little wineries, sipping wine out of pretty Riedel wine glasses while tucking into wholesome fare prepared by the winery. Or stopping by quaint little orchards to indulge ourselves in plums fresh off the tree which burst with juice the moment we bit into them. We really had lots of fun on that trip and till today, we all still speak very fondly of it.

In Flight Shopping

When I was travelling a lot for business in my previous job, the in flight shopping magazine used to be my constant companion. This was because my luggage space was always so limited that I could barely fit a book in for my reading pleasure during the flight. Hence, I would always resort to flipping through the shopping magazine. I once saw a really beautiful pair of gold cufflinks in one of the rich Middle Eastern airlines which would have made a perfect gift. Unfortunately they were already sold out on all those cufflinks and I was told that it was one of their most popular items. Now that I've stopped travelling, I actually do miss that frenzied lifestyle.

Different Approach to Alcoholism

Travel is something really quite amazing. It really broadens the mind simply through experiencing and observing the different sort of lifestyles around you. One thing I've noticed about Western countries is how open they are about alcohol. There alcohol is sold openly and freely and people are encouraged to think wisely before they buy. They even have free alcohol rehab courses for those who might have fallen off the straight and narrow path into alcoholism. I think the support people receive from Western countries are much better but that is usually the case with a welfare type of society.