Thank You, Singapore Tourist Information Center

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When traveling around to many places, you rarely have time to do all of the reading and investigation that you would really like to do, so it often results in a feeling of “Ok, I’m here….now what?” when you arrive at a new location.  This is why Information Centers have become our very good friends.  However, while most tourist destinations will have some sort of information, not all information centers are created equal.

It was our pleasure, then, to go to the Singapore Tourist Information Center.  The center itself is decent, with the standard displays of brochures, free tourist maps, etc.  They are also able to set you up with an account for free wifi from one of the main providers in town, which is an added bonus and one of the reasons we decided to stop in.  However, what really made our experience stand out was the staff member who helped us.

Sultans mosque Aside from the wifi, our other questions were about some of the attractions in Singapore: Universal Studios, Sentosa World, Night Safari, etc.  She politely and informedly answered all of our questions, but when we were done with our questions, she stopped us for a second and said, “The attractions are great, but if you’re in Singapore, there are some other things you really shouldn’t miss…”  She went on to explain about the different ethnic areas around town (Little India, the Arab Quarter, and Chinatown), as well as some of the more historic buildings and the museums.  She suggested food to try in the Arab Quarter (mutabak – it was awesome), as well as the place to get an original Singapore Sling.

It was clear that she really cared about her city, and did not want tourists to leave without experiencing the cultural soul of the country.  She could easily have answered our questions and let us go, but she took the personal time to show us her picture of Singapore, and it really made our trip.  Most of the staff at information centers will be polite, some of them knowledgeable, but very few take the time to really make the trip personal.  That’s why we’d like to say a big public thank you to the staff at the Singapore Tourist Information Center for making our day and our trip.

Review of Osprey Porter 46

Posted on by Aaron in Aaron's Blog | 2 Comments

One Bag to Rule Them All

When you are on a long term trip, your bag is your life.  It’s your house, your closet, your emergency kit, and your refrigerator.  Hey, they don’t call it backpacking for nothing.  So when we were planning the trip, I did a lot of reading and research on what bag to get, finally decided on the Osprey Porter 46 in the delightful red color.  One of the main reasons is that I wanted a bag that I could carry on an airplane and the Porter is the maximum allowable carryon size.  It also comes well recommended as a travel pack.  Now that we have been on the road for 6 months, dragging the bag through 13 countries, I wanted to write a review of the Osprey Porter 46 so that people considering this as their bag have an idea of what to expect.

 

Looks

Hey, you want a bag that’s not going to cry out dirty backpacker, right?  Well, the Porter looks good!  Even after 6 months of carrying it through all sorts of different conditions, it’s still shiny and sexy.  That’s not to say it looks perfectly new, but most marks come off easily, and the red means that scuff marks somewhat blend away into the color.  The lines of the side walls as well as the handles make the bag look like the hybrid between hiking backpack and carry-on that it is.

Osprey Porter closed on the floor_1280_for_WebOsprey Porter Open_1280_for_WebOsprey Porter Back Side_1280_for_Web

Another aspect of looks is how big the bag looks.  Of course, this will be a function of how much you put in the bag, but the straght jacket compression on the bag is fantastic.  It really lets you cinch the bag down once you’ve packed it so that the bag looks (and is) as small as possible given what you have in it.  This is especially important if you plan to carry it on an airplane as having an overly large looking bag is a sure way to get stopped by one of the airline staff.  Having been on 22 planes in the past 6 months, I have only been stopped once because of the size of the bag, and in that case, I had packed and cinched it poorly.  Luckily I was saved by an immigration officer who said I should just keep going as he’d already processed my passport so I couldn’t wait around and talk to the airline rep.  This is not to say the bag is small, it still takes up a fair amount of room on my back, but the lines and ability to cinch it down makes a big difference with appearances. Read more

Tour A

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80日目:

朝からボートに乗り込み、昨日のホテルのおばさんが言ってた通り、エリアに入るお金を払わず、出発!他のボートは全然いなく、私達だけだった。まずは、Small Lagoon(スモールラグーン)へ。ボートを止めて、岩の後ろへ。そこでシュノーケリングを少し楽しみました。誰もいなく、とっても綺麗な海が広がっています。

IMG_7061IMG_7062IMG_7063IMG_7064 Read more

To El Nido by small shuttle bus with…

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79日目:

パラワン島といえば、El Nido(エルニド)かもしれません。私達は、時間がなかったので、エルニドへ行くのを躊躇していました。しかし、プエルトプリンセサでする事がそんなにないと思い、丸2日しかないけどエルニドへ行く事にしました!前日にホテルでシャトルの予約を入れ、料金を支払い(一人700ペソ)、この日の朝はなんと5時頃出発!!

まだ暗い中、ホテルを出発し、バスターミナルの様な場所へ。そこでワゴンに乗り換えると、中はほぼ満員!少しすると、また違う場所で人を乗せた。完全に中は満員に。その時は暗くてあんまり気付かなかったけど、最後に乗った人は、どうやら青いボックスを持って乗ってきた。これがまさかの始まり。。。

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だんだん明るくなってきた6時頃、異変は始まった! Read more

Aniceto’s Pension – Good, Cheap place in Puerto Princesa

Posted on by Aaron in Aaron's Blog | Leave a comment

After returning to Puerto Princesa from El Nido, we needed to find a place to stay and while the hotel we had stayed at before was pleasant, it was on the expensive side.  We followed one of our fellow El Nido travelers to their guest house, but that happened to be full.  However, the owner’s cousin happened to have another guest house just down the road.  Now this sort of thing often happens and you can end up at an expensive place or a death trap.  Still, we liked the cut of this guy’s jib so we went to check it out and were delightfully surprised.

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Aniceto’s Pension, located just a little off the main road, provided clean, spacious rooms complete with a private bathroom.  Our room did not have A/C, but they do have rooms with that.  We paid around 600 pesos, which was significantly less than the 1200 we had paid previously.  Plus Aniceto’s has a great rooftop balcony which looks out over the water.  It’s a fantastic place to enjoy some morning grub or an evening beer, whatever your pleasure may be.  It also has wifi, which worked decently in the rooms, but perfectly in the common areas.

We would highly recommend the place if you need somewhere to crash in Puerto Princesa.  It’s not a luxury hotel, but it gets the job done well for the right price.  Thanks Aniceto’s!

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