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Archive for the Category "Plug"

All cheap, but price makes a difference Nov 10

Take sleeping, for instance. You can’t get cheaper than free. Even in the US, I have often slept for free next to my motorcycle. I have yet to find anywhere that will pay me to sleep.

But let’s consider actual sleeping accommodations. In Bali, part of Indonesia. For one night. What do you pay, and what do you get?

$1–$4 gets you a basic room with a shared bath (down the hall) out in the country, not in town. This type of place is called a guesthouse. (ahem) Your Serenity agent will fix you up with something higher class, but if you’re out vagabonding, this is where it’s at. These are not part of any chain as far as I know, and you pretty much have to ask around to find one.

$5–$10 gets you a shower of your own, and in the right areas gets you a big room with a private bath, veranda, surrounded by tropical gardens. The upper end of this range includes a king-size bed, maid service and breakfast.

This look worth $10 a night to you?

$15 in some areas gets you air conditioning and a pool.

$20 or less on Samosir Island gets you a two-room suite

Off season, $50–75 in most of the country gets you a place that would rate four stars.

Let’s head into Jakarta. You can spend $250 at a lavish resort. And they go way up from there in the right areas. If you’re determined to spend a grand per night, you can do it.

Now let’s talk about food. Typical Indonesian food is one of a million variations on noodle or rice soup. Spiciness varies a lot, too. You won’t get bored. Indonesia, by the way, is where chickens came from, and you can see them running around, and you can get them in your soup. They’re leaner than the relaxed, plump ladies I keep in my back yard, but they’re better off than the poor creatures in a chicken factory. But I digress.

$0.40 gets you a cheap meal from a street vendor. Eat where you can see the food being prepared, and from places that look clean. Spend a buck in a restaurant. Some places serve family style. The tab will come to a few bucks. Tourist traps cost you maybe $15 unless you go to some world-famous place. Seafood is the best meat to eat, and don’t drink the water! The coffee is okay, though. Actually, the coffee is outstanding.

This guy found an uncrowded spot to pose for his picture

You get the idea. The cheaper the more adventuresome. The more expensive, the more like home. And why would you go to Indonesia to experience what you can get at home?

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The philosophy of vacationing Sep 14

The time has come to remind everyone wherein lies the core, the basis, the heart, the true gist of a vacation.

A vacation is a change in routine activities.

Most people find it easier to change their schedule if they go someplace, and that’s certainly a good idea. You can, however, change your schedule without going anyplace and that would refresh you just like a “real” vacation, though it’s a little harder to do—too many temptations to retain the old habits.

But I want to warn you about a danger in vacations where you relocate for a while—bringing your schedule with you. Don’t!

Small electronic devices are easy to pack. Don’t. Want to check your Facebook? Don’t! Twitter? Don’t! The human race did just fine for centuries with nothing better than conversation and the occasional letter. When you vacation, disconnect yourself.

Vacation no-no

I’m not just pontificating, either. New research shows that being connected all the time tires your brain out, and having idle time refreshes your brain. So if you’re going to spend all that money on a vacation (even if you get a really good deal through your (ahem) Serenity agent) don’t waste it by hindering the refreshment. It takes a day or two to get used to not being connected all the time, so give yourself at least a three-day weekend.

Email us when you get back.

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In which I accept a spam message Sep 01

When you run a blog, you can get a lot of “junk mail.” Mostly it’s people (or software) cruising for links. Their site of choice is part of the form you fill out when you post a comment, and if you accept their comment, the search engines find a link to their site on your site, and it makes them look good. The comments tend to be bland and complimentary, such as “I found your post really helpful for my homework. You must put a lot of work into it.” or, “Your posts are very insightful and clearly represent a lot of deep thought. I really appreciate reading what you have to say.”

Bleah. This site doesn’t have too much deep thought, though I do think it’s a fairly interesting read, and I do put some time into it, both from research and my own experiences.

Normally I toss this stuff immediately into the trash folder. I’m not interested in supporting forex traders or their scams.

But my last post, below, garnered one of these from someone who runs their own travel blog, about Bantayan Island in the Philippines, and the site looks pretty interesting, especially if you’re considering a visit to the Philippines. (Ahem, your Serenity agent can fix you up with a vacation there.) So here’s a photo of the beach:

Sugar Beach in Santa Fe. Click to enlarge.

Looks like a pretty nice place, and the blog seems to be pretty active. Go take a look. http://www.bantayan-island.net/

There. I’ve done someone a good deed. Maybe I’ll go plug this site on that site!

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Yet another place you might or might not want to visit Aug 25

This country has some of the most beautiful, wild places on the planet, and it has a horrible history, and it hosts the location of an extremely dangerous event that hasn’t happened yet. Rwanda, central Africa. Pronounced roo-wanda.

The country experienced some horrible genocide back in the mid 90′s, but that’s over now, and the tourist industry is justifiably growing by leaps and bounds. For the adventuresome.

Normal adventurers

This is the place to go to see gorillas, hippos (the largest hippo-oriented national park in the world), volcanoes (see a couple posts back about a trip to a volcano in nearby Congo), jungle, elephants, and more. Not to mention local culture and art.

Typical art, typical smile.

Almost ready to call your Serenity agent, right? Maybe not a bad idea, but there’s this one lake you might want to stay away from. Lake Kivu.

Looks innocent, doesn't it?

This lake is dangerous. Here’s a quote from a limnologist (lake scientist)

Lake Kivu is a meromictic lake with a relatively shallow euphotic layer (~18m) usually smaller than its oxic mixolimnion (20-60 m), and with a weak thermal gradient in the mixolimnion.

There’s more where that came from, but what’s going on is that this lake has a lot of dissolved carbon dioxide and methane in it, and tons and tons of these gasses are trapped down at the bottom of the lake. Something might make all that gas escape, all at once. The valley would fill with unbreathable gas, and everybody would suffocate. Maybe in their sleep. You might have heard of another lake that experienced a limnic eruption, killing a couple thousand people. This lake is 2,000 times larger and the area is more densely populated. ‘Nuff said.

On the optimistic side, scientists are working at extracting the methane peacefully and converting it into electricity. It could supply power to the region for a century. I’d rather have that happen.

Have you ever been to Rwanda? We’d like to hear about it.

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another comic-related vacation Aug 21

Hey, some people watch TV, I read the funnies. (Takes less time to read the funnies, so I have more time to do useful things, like write this blog.)

So anyway, one strip I read is called Rip Haywire (google it). It’s a lighthearted parody of an adventure comic, like Steve Canyon and Buzz Sawyer back when I was a kid. The art is not nearly as good, but then, Rip is not serious, either. A new story arc started on Aug 16, set “somewhere off the coast of Kaua’i Island.”

Kaua’i happens to be a real place, so let’s take a look at it.

Kaua’i is a little more than 500 miles square; it’s pretty much a big, dormant volcano, the northernmost island in Hawaii.  Still tropical, but everybody speaks English and you don’t need a passport. And they do dumb American things, like pie-eating contests. Coconut cream pie, of course. They call it the garden island, and it’s certainly green. Maybe the island is most famous for being the location of another dumb thing, Gilligan’s island—the pilot, anyway.

The cast

More than 70 other movies were shot there, too. Okay, maybe it’s more famous for Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jurassic Park movies. It really is a gorgeous place. And since we raise chickens, I have to mention that the island has lots of wild chickens.

This is about how many adult chicken we have at our place. Ours are pets that give us eggs; these are wild.

It’s easy to get your Serenity agent to fix you up with a nice vacation there. Maybe you’ll see Rip’s flame-throwing squid.

PS. Wouldn’t you know it—a day or so after I wrote this, National Geographic revealed their photo of the month. It’s a wave on the shore of Kawai’i.

click to enlarge

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