Tag Archives: travel

why do people travel?

24 Sep

london 9.28am 16.7C sunny sunday 2017

i was reading a post by someone , an american male who has gone to france to live with his partner, and he mentioned that he can get travel on  the train for only 1 euro. that sounds great, i thought. and i imagined myself living there and taking the train to the seaside on a day trip and making it part of the living there. sounds wonderful. than i began to look at what we got here in uk, and checked megabus, as they have a £1 fare to bournemouth by train. it is the only £1 train fare in the whole of uk i think. or was, because i see when i checked it now that it has gone. they still have £1 fares on their buses, on very selected routes and times.

so that era is gone, £1 train fares; where it was so cheap to go travelling. to bournemouth…but in that part of france where the two american guys live, (the south centred around beziers) it is still in operation. they use it to go visit restaurants and take the wine of the various places they visit as well as do a bit of sightseeing. they are not into the beach life, as they have not been doing that at all. or they dont mention it, so it cannot loom very large in their interests. they are very much into the drinking though, which makes me wonder if there is the danger of being alcoholics without realising…

i was thinking what i would do if i were to go live in france and use that £1 fare and go to those places, and i find i dont really do much, except go to the beach. and even then, i have a feeling i wont like doing it too often as i dont really like baking in the sun. 

i dont like eating in restaurants nowadays, nor do i take wine, so those two pastimes are not for me. it is a pity that, because france is a great place to be if u like gourmet food, and drinking wine.

what else, sightseeing? maybe for the first time, but i have realised that can soon get boring if repeated.  so really, eating, and drinking wine are the two real good reasons to live in france, and neither of which are my interests. there are other reasons of course but you have to admit those two trumps them all.

so just as here, where even though i get that £1 fare to bournemouth, i seldom make use of it and dont go there, (i have a friend who lives there and so it is free to stay with him, so i could not even give as an excuse the cost of hotel accommodation).

i can see that just making it cheap to travel is not really going to tempt me to travel. you have to find something to do there that appeals to you, otherwise you wont bother to go.

but i think that applies only to us old guys… who have travelled and seen most of it. to the young, (or even to the old ones who have not travelled before) as i know from my younger days, curiosity and wanting to try something new will always be a draw and it will make young people want to travel. 

added 11.35am paddington library. i was reading yesterday’s times, because yesterday victoria library where i go usually to read the saturday papers did not have any delivered. and i read in the travel section that norwegian.com in conjunction with easyjet , where u can book it with a easyjet connecting flight , costs only £180 one way to singapore, but it does not include food, luggage or seat allocation, £50 extra for each. so the basic price of £390 will be increased by £100 if u want food and luggage. so i remember malaysia airlines was giving away £450 return flights in their sale earlier this year  and it is a direct flight to kl. added. 6.07pm, i went to their website out of curiosity and found there is a £149 flight on 25nov2017, going there, and £149 flight coming back on 26jan2018. so for the really determined, you could get a trip there for £350 rtn, if u just have food, and forget about stored luggage. free hand luggage 10kg should be enough really .you can buy everything else there. i suppose not many can go there for so long except for the retired like me. but even then, it does not tempt me at all.

added 3.10.17. i saw this article account in the independent of someone who was given a complimentary trip on the first flight by norwegian to singapore. she was put in their premium class seats, so it is not a account of what economy is like. so not a typical flight for someone paying the £150 one way fare. 

added 4.16pm 21.7C sunny i was at the japanese matsuri (which means festival ) in trafalgar square just now, and saw this cute boy eating frm a huge noodle pot. he was oblivious to everything around him. 

Digital StillCamera

 

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bus and train fares

28 Jul

london 3.16pm 19.3C rain friday 2017

i happened to click onto the megabus website, and was surprised to find that there are no more £1 fares to bournemouth by train. and their bookings are only up to 4aug. in the past they would allow u to book 6wks ahead and u can get £1 one way fares on the train to there if u catch it quick enough. but now the cheapest fare is £9 and even then, there are only about 4 trains to chose from per day.  it could be they are so busy because of the school holidays they have stopped the £1 fares for now.

for comparison i googled trainline for their normal price, and found it is £53 one way to go there, and £49 for the one way fare back. almost £100 return and this by train to bournemouth , a 2hr journey. it brings forcefully to me how expensive train fares are.

national express bus company are doing the one way fares for about £10. (£15 now it seems,)so i suppose u could say the train megabus fares are good value. train journeys are quicker than buses. but they are either very early or very late in the day. 

i am glad i am not interested in going to bournemouth… i was reminded of all this when i saw this article about increasing cost of train fares next month. those are commuter fares increases paid yearly though. and i think those £53 fares are commuter fares too. (season ticket bournemouth=london is £6320 a year. will rise another £152 from jan 2018 £24.30 a day if u take it 5days a week. ) 

added 17.8.17 thursday . found a article about the train fares increase by simon calder, who gave a rather intersting perspective on it. he suggests fares should be subjected to demand pricing… like the airline fares. it might work. he says the fact that even with the fare going up to £5000 , £10,000 a year, the trains are still crowded with standing room only. the high fares are not deterring people from travelling at those times. he says those times should have even higher increases, whilst reducing the off peak times. that is in the morning, but in the evening when they go home, the peak trains are empty, whilst everyone crowds into the off peak ones at 7pm. 

 if there are £10 fares by bus, (£15 now, it seems) how come the trains can charge £50? who are so desperate as to buy them?  it would seem business people will pay them. and when we hear of big crowds at the railway stations in the morning and after work in the evening, standing room only on the trains coming in to london and going out …there are no shortage of such people.

 suppose now we have the school holidays even the coaches are increasing their fare…  usually the buses/coaches cost £5, or £8 one way. all those families with children on holiday must have to find something to amuse their little darlings i suppose. so travelling and sight seeing and seaside holidays might be  they might be wanting.

actually, now i think of it, it is still quite reasonable fare even though it is higher than the usual fare. and when u consider the hotel accommodation will be much higher, as a percentage of the total cost of the holiday the transport fare is not really very much. lets face it, if u are going there for a holiday, you must resign yourself to spending money. 

added 12.8.17. found out today when i tried to get into megabus that there is no more £1 fares to bournemouth. in fact bournemouth has completely disappeared as a destination for the megabuses. weird or what… the company has contracted a lot. national express fortunately still continue to have £5 one way fares to many destinations , bournemouth included. though any journeys in august are still very expensive even on national express. you can pay as much as £28 one way, the cheapest is £17.50 one way. 

eu and our leaving

8 Oct

london 8.51pm 14.2C saturday 2016

trouble with nowadays when news is so easily available and news feeds throw news our way continuously, it makes u feel as if there is so much turmoil in the world.

if not from man made killings, it is huricanes, like the one hitting america’s florida coast. it has devastated haiti, but it seems its force has gone down once it hit the coast. islands by the very nature get the worst blast from them. nothing to block them and deplete their force. these islands are considered paradise , or what paradise is like, but it  is not so paradisical as far as i am concerned. these devastating huricanes are not an isolated incident. it happens almost every year.

not many places in the world are trouble free from nature. that is why i consider uk as paradisical, in that the weather here is friendly and never extreme. if it does go extreme it is not horribly extreme. if that is not paradise, what is?

i had a very pleasant day today. nothing dramatic happened, but got a little bit of everything.

freebies to collect… free coffee from john lewis, and lego bricks from daily mail which i collected from the whsmith store in victoria station. so far i had not felt the urge to break open the pack and build it up.

and i avoided the traffic jam on that part of the west end that borders hydepark. there were marchers who had marched from the north to london to enact king harolds march to hastings to fight the normans, and where he got an arrow in his eye that ended it all. they had amassed at hyde park, and i supposed would have been quite nice to see, as they are wearing costumes, and i daresay the papers tomorrow will show them. but in terms of getting around london, i am glad i avoided them.

its quite a normal day in london, people going about their business, whether shopping or eating out, which is all i see, from the top of the bus. you would think that is all they do, but then they all look like tourists. and they are enjoying themselves what with the £ costing so much less now. its parity now. £1= 1 euro.

i can see the businesses in central london may well depand on the tourists spending their money. how else are they going to get customers, certainly it would not be possible to have so many businesses like there are here making a profit if they only rely on locals patronising them. every  business seem to be full of customers inside. it might be to uk ‘s advantage that the £ is low… tourism will boom.

the papers are also full of articles about the fears of eu punishing uk for voting to leave. they have threatened it, so it is not a fear that is unfounded. we shall see if they really can do it and not make themselves lose money. and obviously they will try their best to steal business from the city of london and other uk businesses. but they are especially eager to bring back financial business back to a european capital, and centre it in frankfurt or paris. though plenty of observers say they dont have the expertise , and the business will go to new york, if they try to cut out london. or the whole thing fails and they do not get london or new york and their own businesses find it hard to raise finances or do any business. we shall see.

in the meantime i think we here in uk will have to keep to our shores, and forego foreign holidays for a time. at least for those of us who like a bargain. because it really rankles when the £ does not buy as much as it did before in europe. at least i get rankled haha. that is why i stopped going to europe when it dropped from £1=1.50euros to £1=1.20euros. now that it is £1=1euro, there is even less reason to go there. for me anyway.

i have yet to hear from my friends who have recently gone to europe. perhaps they did not notice much difference.  perhaps their liking for europe overides the low £, and they will still like going there. i wonder if the low £ will entice even those in europe who dont like to travel to come to england. or will they get so angry with uk voting to leave that they refuse on principle to come here. haha.

i have someone in the gay website telling me he is coming to uk, he is from bulgaria,and recently i got a message from him saying he is here, in london and staying at a hostel in bloomsbury. he wants to find work as a kitchen porter. his written english is good but he says his spoken english is poor. and from the news the govt has conceded that most of those eu citizens who are here will remain, as they cannot be forced to leave legally. so i think anyone who comes in now and work here will be allowed to remain. they will be given automatic leave to remain when uk finally leaves after giving the two year notice. uk is very gay friendly, and is ideal for a gay guy to come and live. 

i ahve a feeling eu citizens will still be allowed to come to work, uk needs them to fill up the vacancies. people should make a distinction between those who come specifically to bring their families and claim benefits from those who come to work and take up the job opportunities for work here. though if the £ remain low, i wonder if they might not find it not worth the effort as the money they earn will get less when they send it back to their home countries. 

added.7am sunday 9.10.16. i had word from him that it is difficult to open a bank account now. he said it was easier in the past. without a bank account it will be difficult to get that job. i suspect it is a catch 22, he cant get a bank account unless he gets a proper address, instead of a hostel; or a proper job.

 i have a feeling lots of new comers will get this drip drip obstacles put in their path. not only in uk with newcomers, but in europe, with uk citizens maybe not being able to get free medical treatment in europe. it is not a problem for uk tourists visiting europe, most will have travel insurance, but the long term stayers, the expats, they will feel it if they dont get their usual free access to medical care. 

added. 8.06pm 12.8 light rain,monday 17.10.16. i got a message just now from the bulgarian guy who came to london to work. he started work on 11.10.16. and lack of a bank account was not needed to get the job, he just needs one so that his salary can be put in it. so he used his friend’s account. it seems very easy to get jobs here. it looks like london need these eu workers to fill the vacancies.

 added. 7pm 13C wednesday 19.10.16 he got a job as a kitchen porter in a 5star hotel,

he says ‘ Yes they give us free meal and soft drinks.
Im working 9-10 hours per day from 7 pm to 5 or 6 am
with 1 hour break and in this hour we eating and drinking in zale for staff.’

its long hours, but hey, if i were him, i wont mind. after all the idea is to make money here. and long hours means the daily wage will be higher. even at minimum wage of about £7 an hour, that means about £70 , less tax and national insurance  so maybe £50 a day. it is possible he might get higher wage scale for the unsocial hours and weekend work. so he is looking at least £1000 a month take home pay. maybe more. hmm, i shall have to see if i can get him to tell me how much he gets. haha. but i can see why this kind of work will not appeal to the british person. such long hours… not to mention if i am on income support that is £65 a week,given to me free money…  plus if i get free housing, (£500 a month, if not more even if it is a room, and if a long term benefit person i  might have a one bedroom flat allocated to him by now, rent free or paid for by social security. ) he would have to earn hell of a lot more than £1000 a month to afford the rent. so no wonder none of them want this kind of work. 

 

what will it take to tempt me?

21 Jan

london 5.56pm 7.9C thursday 2016

looking at a property tv program, a couple wanting to buy in orlando, and near a golf course. such large houses and quite cheap too relatively speaking , compared to what we can get in london.

people are so varied. i would find it boring to have a golf course next to my house. but it seems golfers are mad and will pay lots of money to join a golf club and pay again for every time they play. so that annual membership of thousands of dollars only gives u entry into that club. what is it about golf that can make someone so addicted to it? what is it about life sometimes, that seem to attract huge amounts of money and have a long waiting list of people wanting to join. and then there are other things which are quite worthy but no waiting list and no one wanting to pay a lot . 

it is the same when i see a restaurant full to the gills with diners, and even a long waiting line outside , and another next door with no one.

i see a advert from malaysian berhad, the former Malaysian airlines, with £499 rtn to kuala lumpur from london this morning . all in price. valid for travel from now till dec 2016. quite a good price. last time they offered £450 rtn but only for travel between oct and 9th dec last year. this one extends for the whole of 2016. and the ringgit -£ exchange rate is still very favourable for the £. =RM6.17, drop from Rm6.50. i keep seeing these bargain fares to malaysia and they dont tempt me. and yet my friend who wants to go there he tells me he cannot find such bargains. he wanted to go for the chinese new year , which is 8feb this year. but he has allready bought his ticket.

if he had waited, he could have got this offer, but he cannot be certain they will give this offer so in the end he had to buy the ticket at higher price.  its a fact of life that when it is something u really want to do, u dont get any cheap offers , but when u are not interested u see people offering u incentives to go by dropping their prices. that is life, isn’t it? it pays to not mind if u go or not, so that when the price drops enough u can take it up.

chinese new year is early this year. it would be cold if you are in hongkong or north china. though malaysia and singapore wont notice any temperature difference. and i guess no one follows it for planting crops nowadays. i wonder how your  wheat seedlings will survive if u are in northern country say if u are a farmer near beijing; it will be frost bitten and all your crops will die, if u have followed tradition and planted when this new year day comes. 

 

 

no white christmas this year haha.

18 Dec

london 10.31pm 13.4C friday 2015

simon just came back from his mum’s . he works shifts , working 3-4days and taking the same amount of days off. so he goes back to his mum’s house. she wants him to do that, to look after the house, and make it appear someone is living there , this is because she herself do not live there. she lives with her boyfriend. haha. i know modern families have all kinds of connections that are miles away from the traditional mother ,father, children, grandparents all living under the same roof.

he came back craving roast beef, so he is now in the kitchen roasting it. luckily i still got some of the potatoes and carrots that i bought cheap from tesco. so he can use that for the beef he brought back with him. i know it is late time to be roasting beef, haha. by the time it is ready it will be midnite. and he would be having a big meal just before going to bed. or maybe not, if he intends to stay up late which he might do. we both dont keep to normal hours of eating and sleeping. he does it because of his shift work, i do it because i dont work and so i can haha.

(added. 11pm. it is cooked and we are eating it. amazing it was so quick, but then beef is medium rare and so takes less time to cook and the potatoes and carrots are parboiled before hand. so in one hour u can finish the cooking. very delicious too. beef should be eaten medium rare, as it is tender. simon was saying his mother likes it fully cooked and he said it was real difficult to eat that as it was so tough. i think the gravy out of a tin is very nice too. this is one time when it is really nicer than making it from the dripping. and so easy to do too. just add hot water. haha. )

though i dont normally eat late at night. i did tonight but that was because his roast beef was too delicious to resist. haha.

normally  i can resist all the food ads i see in the tv which can make anyone hungry just looking at them. that is something i have noticed, so many food ads on tv. i am sure plenty of people must be influenced to open the crisps, or biscuits or snack on food just by seeing all those food ads on tv.

i see a tesco advert in today’s times newspaper (they are going for a higher class of readers) for the 39p veg.  so they have extended the cheap veg to another week. i guess because all the other supermarkets are doing the same. with lidl even doing one better , 29p.

what i noticed is that the meat section do not have a lot of reductions. for that i think we have to wait till after christmas, or new year.

here in uk, people go back for christmas to spend time with the parents. (it is like chinese new year for the chinese, or hari raya for the malays )so the bus and trains are now expensive. no cheap bargain fares. megabus is now about £9 -£15 per trip.

and christmas day is £28 on national express. who travels on christmas day? i am surprised they have any bus driver wanting to do that shift. haha. and they are saying there will be traffic jams on the motorways.

hope there wont be any road deaths. that is why among many other reasons why i dont like travelling around this time. so many others rushing home, the chances of accidents are much higher. so you are paying a lot of money to die. seems silly to me.

i shall enjoy staying apart from it all and just watch them stressing themselves out. 

misinterpretation of what we see.

30 Sep

london 12.27pm sunny 17.9C wednesday 2015

it’s a sunny bright day, blue sky hardly a cloud in the sky, and we are allready a step away from october. the trees are still keeping their leaves, hardly any brown ones and not many littering the ground. a lovely time to be here in uk.

i have been reading excepts in the papers of the latest bill bryson book, where he mentioned seeing a well dressed fashionable lady putting in money in the tip box next to the till, after she had paid a bill of £20 or so. he went to look inside the tip box and saw 10p. and he concluded she is a stingy one when she thinks no one is looking. i think bryson is mistaken and jumped to the wrong conclusion. he had been living in america all this time, and so is used to their tipping culture. where people who dont tip the proper amount are ridiculed…but here in uk, the lady had allready paid the service charge and so had paid the tip. that tip box next to the till is really for loose change that people put their change in if they are too lazy to put it in their purse. bill has interpreted it as stingy and what is more, stingy when no one is looking, but he is definitely mistaken. that is what happens when u come from a different culture and not realise that u are now in another country with other customs. i have enjoyed bill’s books, and his observations in his travels around britain in his previous book , notes from a small island,  but i think in his new book, he should simply state what he sees, and let the interpretation of it be left to the readers.  

 i think he had fallen into the mistake that all old people make, they see things through their onesided lens. hence u have these old people writing into the papers complaining of the young having no manners, or constantly looking at their smartphones, etc etc. or people talking either too loudly or mumbling, when it is really they, the old git, going deaf.  or wanting to keep everything unchanged, preserved in aspic. 

i am getting old myself and i can sometimes catch myself saying the same thing. haha. so i know what i am talking about. old people can be a pain sometimes. and i am not excluding myself.

this time round, when bill bryson revisits britain in his new book, he is too much lamenting what has changed. he sees litter, and people doing things and changing the landscape and is more critical of it all. so the tone of the book is not so pleasant as the last one. this one is too carping in tone. 

added. 1.10.15 janet street porter article in dailymail on bill bryson’s remarks.

travel, is it all that great?

20 Apr

london 9.17pm monday 2015

i just saw richard ayoade and stephen mangan in marrakech, morocco. they spent 2days there and tried all the usual tourist things. and they showed all the things that are mundane about it, so that u would think it is not an interesting city why go there? haha. i think it very funny, showing how it can be very boring to do a rushed 48hrs visit to any city without giving u a chance to just sit and enjoy its atmosphere , its people, and the local life that unfolds unhurriedly if only u would sit still and see.

i have been to marrakech and do enjoy just wandering around and looking. that to me is the best thing about it. as in any city actually… my tip is just wander around keep your eyes open and just watch the city and its people go about its business and you watch the real life play unfolding all around you. it is one thing that is not applicable to london i have noticed. here in london u cannot just wander around and watch people because people here live their lives indoors out of prying eyes. if u wander the streets of london u wont really see the essence of the city. yes of course u see the tourists sights, the well known landmarks, but the people and what makes them unique u wont be able to experience. perhaps because most of the people here are also visitors, some very short stays, others who come to work here stay longer, but they are visitors for all that. we are all visitors, there are no born and bred londoners in enough numbers and keeping their local customs to make a difference anymore.

i myself can remember a distinctive east end culture, a barrow boy shout -out- to buy-spiel in the street markets; and eel and mash cuisine , that was still apparent in the 80s, no more now.

the tv show featured them walking aimlessly getting lost in the medina and worried about getting to the destination, when the fun of that medina, the old town, is getting lost and just walk around and see the strange things that happen all around, and stumbling across strange sights, like whole streets devoted to just one item to sell, or artisans working in the open air, outside their shops, or in the case of the tannery, looking at them from high up and seeing the colorful pits and the toiling workers but far enough away not to get the smell;  and just the hustle and bustle and people going about their business. but if u have not been, you too would come away thinking why bother going there. haha.

what mangan said, at the end, that you see all these things in films and documentaries but it is only when u actually are there that u get the feel of it.  that is a good observation about why we travel and sight see.

but i have noticed that once is enough. so many places i have travelled to , i am glad i saw it, but once is enough. i dont think seeing those sights again or experiencing those emotions again will be as meaningful if done again.

they all say buying such experiences are so much better than buying things and goods. but by their very nature, those experiences are only powerful when done once. repetition dulls the experience of it. at least that is my take on it.

perhaps there are plenty of others who can retain the thrill of the first sight of something even when they see it many times.