Tag Archives: taxis

Like Jane Austen But Not: The Single Gal’s Guide to Travelling Asia

19 Oct Z and me in Georgian silhouette, Penang, Malaysia,

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1: Avoid Spaghetti Straps
Shoulders are an erogenous zone in many cultures. Particularly shy ones. In South-East Asia, nothing, and I do mean nothing, says “hooker” more than spaghetti straps. OK. Maybe fishnets, Perspex platforms and a basque. And if you packed those, lady, make like the real fetishists and change before you leave the disco. Mm?

2: Hold the Back Bars of a Motorbike, not the Driver
In most cultures, pressing your breasts against a chap you’ve never met is a recipe for mutual discomfort. Continue reading

Tuesday Travel Tips: Avoiding Transport “Scams”

28 Sep

[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]It’s probably the commonest travel complaint on the planet from folk travelling the developing world. Transport “scams”. Overcharging…

And it does relations between locals and visitors no good at all. Here’s how to make your life easier when travelling.

1: Agree a Price Before You Start the Journey.
Would you take a minicab or unmetered vehicle in your home town without agreeing the fare first? Continue reading

If Bangkok was a Colour…

3 Jul

Siam, Siam, wherefore art thou Siam?

Pink and yellow leopard's head with tuk-tuk, Bangkok[/caption[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]]If Bangkok had a colour, it would most definitely be pink. Hot pink.

Like a bar girl’s brassiere, or those gorgeous metallic fuchsia and violet taxis which ply the streets below the Skyrail and the concrete walkways.

A slightly shopsoiled pink. Sort of Bladerunner pink. But definitely bright. The swooshy, showy muted colourwash that floods the Siam Center shopping mall is just a little too, well tasteful. Continue reading

The Red Queen

30 May

The Red Queen from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

Shot in Vietnam, most likely.

It’s the weekend on Cat Ba island, not to mention the Vietnamese summer, which means there’s a vibe on the beach I can best characterize as Spring Break meets Butlins meets the coach tour from hell.

I am watching a stream of cheerleaders doing their schtick to Avril Lavigne on our tranquil beach as hogs roast in the background and thinking, of all things, how much we English and the Vietnamese have in common.

There’s the tendency to invade neighbouring nations and pretend they were part of us in the first place. There’s the general talent-show lack of irony (think child rappers in sequined suits that up the viewing ante from disturbing to frankly traumatic), coupled with a fervent belief in the national sense of humour.

There’s the utter bloody rudeness, surreally combined with an eye-gouging sensitivity to courtesy (or respec’) from others. And getting on a bus in Hanoi involves the kind of vigorous elbow action that would put the London rush hour to shame.

But, my god, when it comes to tourist scams, these guys sooooo totally kick our flaccid Western arse. Continue reading

Cab Journey from Hell #1

27 May

Z riding a xe om, or motorbike taxi, Vietnam

Cooler, in every sense, than a metered taxi...

I really thought, by now, after over four months in Asia and experience with virtually every taxi scam permutation known to man, my naïve London belief that anyone in a metered taxi with a light-up sign will know where they are going, own a map, and not take the piss too badly would have disappeared.

Apparently, however, this is still not the case.

We arrived in Hanoi on the Reunification Express and fended off the first wave of touts, who boarded the train brandishing offers of motorbikes and taxis.

Z, who, like any small boy, likes nothing better than hopping on the back of a motorbike and whizzing through city traffic, wanted to take a xe om (motorbike taxi). I said I couldn’t be arsed to haggle, and as we were only going a kilometre or so we might as well take a metered taxi. This was not my best idea… Continue reading

The Inflatable Waterpark

16 May

Ek biki inflatable waterpark, Santa Rosa, Philippines

The magic of childhood. Or something.


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This technicolour dream palace is indisputably special. Possibly a little “special needs” too.

What is it?

You may well ask. For this, my friend, is an inflatable waterpark.

Occupying 5000 square metres of apple-green Astroturf in the middle of nowheresville, Luzon, EK Biki comes complete with dangling sharks, inflatable dragon slides, slightly forlorn clownfish and, weirdly, an Olympic-sized paddling pool.

All, like the giant hamster’s wheel and spinning top on which Z spent many happy minutes scrambling, entirely blow-up.

To add a further note of the bizarre, it caters entirely for non-swimmers. Continue reading