Category Archives: Uncategorized

Airplane etiquettes

You would normally think that problems with airplane “etiquette” occur mostly in the cramped secrion of economy… Wrong. It happens everywhere.

Sometimes, business class are the worst offender: they either get too stressed out from work, too drunk, to dykwim too important… They think that because they have more space, paid more, they deserve more attention and better treatment from eveybody, including fellow passengers.

There are many differents ways to view etiquettes on a small space like inside an airplane: like not to kick the seat, share the arm rests for the middle seats, put up the seat at meal services, no perfumes, share space on overhead bins etc…

Simplest way is just ask yourself if the same irritating situation happens to you, would you like it? In a small space, Even normally considerate persons can forget the simplest etiquette: think about other people’s feelings first.

Seat kickers: we have seen lots of parents that do not care if their kids kick other people seats. But one time, a mom simply ask his son if they kick his seat, would he like it? He replied No. Then they ask him why he do it to others?

Seat recliners: even in biz class, non lie flat, please do not recline at meals times, and recline very slowly and even ask if it is ok if you see the other passenger have their laptop out. When getting up, do not lean or touch on their chair.

Overhead bins: if the flight attendant announce the plane is full and ask for consideration, some people still stuff their winter jackets in the bins, instead of putting them on the seats or on top of the luggage.

Even in international business class lie flats, Some people still think that the overhead bins right above them is theirs, and no one else can leave anything in that space! If they want private bins, then Fly private then! Even in first class, on some planes, you still need to share bins!

Be considerate, put your carry on in a way that take the least space as possible. It is not because you are in biz class that you can spread your whole wardrobe and belongings in the bins, taking all the space.

I have seen some great flight attendants going around telling people how to put the luggage to make space for everybody else. If they know how to stack it, then suddenly there is a lot more space for eveybody.

Even in international first class, in suites class, there are passengers that treat the common bathroom as if they are at home, even worse: they leave toothbrush, towels etc on the counter, instead of simply putting them in the garbage. if you want FA staff to clean after you after each passenger, then fly first class asiana ana then (no matter how busy they are, asiana first FAs always clean the toilet after each passenger).

What’s up with walking around the plane barefoot? I have seen first class passengers, well dressed businessman walking around barefoot, no socks, even in the toilets. They must be very immune to germs, and immune to other’s people glances.

Singapore airline arrival from bangkok, airport worker abuse

As part of our trip, we flew sq from bangkok.

The flight was uneventful. Business Seat non lie flat, recliners.

At arrival in singapore, the local authority imposed an arrival security screening for all passengers, screening and xray their carry on as if you are departing on another flight. Except that it is just simply arrival screening.

There were only one way out of the plane. It is to follow the pathway.

So there was a gentleman from our flight, in business class seating. He requested a wheelchair at arrival. He can obviously walk, but maybe have problems with long distances.

The young airport worker lady was helping him, and was pushing him through the only pathway.

He then repeatedly YELL at her to slow down, as he was not sure if his other relative from economy class can see him. He said they may take the automatic walkway and may not see him.

He did not realized that it is impossible to take the automatic walkway, as it was blocked by security. Everybody have to walk, everybody have to take the same path.

Abuse situation?

Does he have the legal or moral rights to yell at an unrelated airport worker, just because he was in business class seat?

Is it justifiable for him to yell at the worker, based on a wrong assumption about the automatic walkway?

Golfing in bangkok thailand, female caddies: cheap or expensive?!!

I always want to try to golf at all countries that i visited. usually it is hard to find the time, even on vacations or trips to play golf, especially when you are in asia.

In bangkok, There are just too many things to do, shop, eat, visits, massages that it is hard to find 5-6 hours for golf.

We managed to book a golf course, recommended by our friendly and excellent st regis bangkok concierge. Cost is around $100, caddy fee are cash only, for $10. All thailand caddies are mostly female, with varying degree of youth and experience.

Usually the younger caddies are more interested about their faces and make up then their games, while the older ones are more serious and knowledgeable about golf. They can tell you where to put, as they have seen that put break hundreds of times.

So i ended up with 2 caddies, one young, one old. The younger one is with my walking partner non player. I had the older one.

She was really good, clean your golf balls, clean your clubs, give you advices and distances without any gps or high tech intruments. Her english is of course limited, so the advices could have been better.

At hole 12, i ended up in the woods, on the side. Mis hit, hit some trees. The approach shot was a five iron, it was too strong and it it ended up near the other players in front ahead. No injury happened.

They were not happy, and they were local thai members.

We apolozized profusely, but the local members said to me: the fault is your caddy, she should have told you not to hit and wait. I will report her and she will not caddy for minimum 2 weeks. He then ordered her to turn around as punishment, facing away from him in order for him to hit his shot. All while swearing in thai.

I of course pleaded it was my fault, my decision, my shot that was mis hit and ended too far, and pleaded him not to report her.

He quit the game right after that hole, and supposedly went and reported her to the clubhouse.

The caddy cries discretely and tries to hide her emotions for the next few holes, all while still pretending to caddy and clean clubs, balls.

In thailand, caddies wait the whole day for clients in the sun. They are responsible to clean and care for their uniform. They have to bring their own food and drinks. They get paid around 200 bath, $7 usd per round from the golf course. Most players will then tip another $10-$30 (usually $10). It is not much, but it is important for them.

If they are not caddying, they have to help out on the golf course maintenance, if and only if they are selected.

It is relatively hard work for western standard, easier work for thai standard, so there are many people wanting to caddy.

2 weeks without pay, without money to provide for her family, it is just simply inhumane. Especially when the fault is not really her.

I understand that the expectation of a thai caddy is to know the distance, the golf course, and advise the client accordingly. But it is hard for them to know a new client, how far and how variable the client’s shot are and act accordingly.

Any golfer that is mad enough to quit a golf game, yell at people, mistreat other humans beings, just make the golf game looks bad. Especially when the golfers are much more financial fortunate than the caddies.

Anyway, she received a tip from us, big enough for her not to worry, stay at home and still have much more money then even working working as a caddy for the whole 1-2 month.

The big tip was not asked, pressured or expected. It is just a sign of our displeasure of treatment of other human beings.

When you travel to lower income countries, please tip well accordingly. Please avoid making small unimportant complaints toward the workers. Just because they are late in serving you your foods or drinks, or did not smile as big and sincere as you would like, please avoid the temptation of reporting them.

It is not worth it and can cost them a lot more than your temporary happiness…. Unless you purposedly went there to make you feel a higher status than your relative socialist homonegeous western country. If you do, then think what if someone, make a stupid complaint that can easily cost you your job? Is it nice? Is it fair?

Are points useless or it is an “international currency” ?

I just heard a comment from a well known business analyst on a tv show : “lots of people go crazy collecting points, i don’t. I do not see the need or value in it”

Humm.. What is the definition of a currency?

Is bitcoin a currency? Yet many compared the similarity of points to currency: it allow you to buy things, services, and trade for even cold hard cash.

And if you use a flexible points like hotels points, or transferable credit card points, you can “buy”, trade goods and services all over the world: you can get hotels rooms anywhere, transfer and redeem for mechandise reward at almost any country.. Etc

http://skift.com/2014/10/27/loyalty-program-fraud-can-cost-travelers-and-providers-a-fortune/

http://www.oliverwyman.de/pdf_files/MMJ22_New_Economics_Loyalty.pdf

http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/07/the-coming-branded-currency-re/

That tv business analyst seems to forget that the “market” for points is huge! Billions and billions.

He is right that because of the variable nature of the redeemed value of each points, it is hard to put an exact value on it. Most people will not be able to get good value from the reward points.

But he forgot that The exact lack of transparency of the points value system can actually favor few savvy “collectors” and “redeemers”. The tax free nature, and “international” transferable nature of the points can be sometimes worth more than his cold hard cash.

It is ironic that he would spend lots of energy and effort to chase a slight higher return of 1-2 percent on his stocks, all while he could have easily get MINIMUM guarantee return of 2 percent (and up to 20%) value back TAX free for just carefully and easily funnel credit card spending

Supposed he have a 1 millions porfolio, 2 percent return : $20000, then minus the TAX on it : (supposed fixed interest income, at max maginal income tax) : $10000. (How hard it is to get net 2 % return after expenses!!)

supposed he go out and buy or trade things with that cash (example hotel rooms) : he does have to pay 5-15% sale or hotel tax !

If the hotels cost $500 per night, he would have 20 nights if he paid cash ,(with the $10000 return) plus he have to pay sales and hotel tax.

What if he has a business where he spends $1 millions, charged on credit cards = min $20000, 2% min value as cash equivalent back tax free. ( but Usually 5-15%).

If he spent 1 millions dollars, he woud have get min 1 millions spg points. And if he used those points to book hotels rooms, NO tax, no sales tax (usually no hotels tax too) = min 50 nights free at top hotel (IF cost 20000 spg points per night).

Then Why are the points not as valued as hard currency, for example as “retirement” or “investments” currency? It is because points issuers can easily change the equation anytime and devalue the value of the points, by asking more points for the same goods, room, flight, or service.

MDs doctors make more or ups drivers? Process of Thinking outside the box

I like to have debates about this subject with different people: MDs make more or ups driver?

Or, who do you think is “richer”? The doctors, or the rcmp police agent? At 30 years old, 45, 50, 60… Etc…

That er usa doctor would have flipped in his chair if he learned:
1. Most doctors in canada make more money now than usa doctors

2. The canadian doctors graduate with much less debt, or very minimal debt, as MD education is subsidized. While usa doctors have massive student debt, sometimes totalling -$200 000 or even half a million for dentists.

3. If he compares usa MDs lifetime earnings and a canadian federal rcmp police agent, because of the pensions guarantees and cost of living adjustments guarantee, the rcmp agent would already retire after 25 years of service, average at 50 years old, with a pension worth around 2 millions dollars at 45 years old.

How hard it is to save 2 millions dollars for retirement ONLY at 45 years old? That is 2 Mil outside the value of the home, cars, etc.. Only for retirement!

So at 45 – 50 years old, the rcmp agent is a lot “richer” than an usa MD, considering that :

A. The MD dr usually only start practising after 7-10 university years, at around 28-33 years old

B. So the DR would need to save lots of money, and he only have 15 years to save (especially even more so if the usa MD start with massive student loans debt.)

C. What is the likelihood that that MD dr CAN actually save 2 millions dollars , ONLY for retirement at the age of 45? (Do not forget that since he spent soo much time in school, got in soo much debt, work soo much hours, that he will usually feel the need to reward himself with expensive cars, big trips, and big home, all while worrying about saving for retirement or bad days)

D. while the rcmp agent can actually spend 100 % of his take home after tax expenses, without really worrying about the need to save for retirement.

4. MDs : stock market crash? Or massive inflation? The MD lose a lot of his retirement account value.
Rcmp or federal workers: stock market crash? No problem, no change, same amount indexed for inflation for life.

MDs: no pension, so if he live until 90 or longer, he need more money saved.
RCMP: if he live much longer, no worries, same pension same amount indexed for life.

5. “Job guarantee”:
MDs can get fired, lose insurance or hospital access.
Canadian police rcmp ? Usually, once you’re in, you’re IN. May be moved around…

Which jobs “pays” more at 46-50 years old? Which jobs is more secure?

It is intereresting to see through those “debates” that most people is too focused on the short term, the IN: how much money the MD make, how much they can potentially save with that big income; instead of focusing on the OUT value: what is the final value? What is the retirement value? What is the opportunity costs?

It is interesting to see the way people think and argue depending on their preconceptions, past experiences, or on society labels.

It is the same about spending money, time. People usually spends resources according to certain preconceptions, or outside influence without consciously aware of those influences.

People like to reject ideas, say no to new things especially if those ideas challenge their comfort zone, their preconceptions, or their decisions.

They are usually quick to Label certain advanced travel thinking as : too complicated, or i do not not want to spend time connecting, or i prefer cash back, i do not use features on that cards, too time consumming, etc..

Instead of asking the question: HOW to make it work? they usually will say it will not work for them, focusing only on the problems. Instead of enjoying the journey, the learning process, they usually only want to “arrive” at the destination asap. People usually like to get the fish, instead of learning how to fish.

It takes a lot of energy to view things from a different angle, to question the status quo.

It is always harder to try to think outside the box, but the learning process to think outside the box is more valuable. It brings value and sometimes….First class tickets :-)

Get another $15 off when spend min $60 at participating merchants = almost free groceries for us! Or 25% off gas stations

Amex just send a mass marketing email to us :

Enroll at amexnetwork.ca/swipeenjoy

Get $15 off when spending $60 at some gas stations, some restaurants, and … Safeway! (Limit of max $45 rebate per card enrolled)

Combined with the 200 airmiles (airmiles.ca) that my local safeway give for spending $100, it is just like early xmas, almost free groceries!

Only the first 20000 people registering for the promo can enter. So enroll asap! You do not lose anything.

Btw, one card : one enrollment. So if you have 3 amex, you can enroll 3 times and get more than $45!

3x $45 !

For just buying things that you normally would buy anyway, gas, groceries, food.

Sample video of montreal, viewed from dji phantom vision 2 plus quadropter

I love the dji phantom quadropter. Flying it is super addictive, super stable, it is like a tripod in the sky. If photography is viewing from different angles and perpectives, then this drone aerial photography is fun.

images and pictures taken with the dji stock camera produce pretty good pictures and video. I will upload some pictures and video later.

in the mean time, enjoy Some sample video found the web (not done by me)

 

Sample dji video showcase of different video aerial across the world: www.dji.com/showcase

 

precautions:

  • Always start the drone with the proper sequence, to make sure the gps lock is at least 8 or more gps.
  • the more gps lock sat the better, the stable the drone is.
  • do not fly over 400 feet, as per regulations.
  • always keep in line of sight, as per regulations in NA.
  • Install mod a gps shield, with simple aluminium paper to minimize interference from wifi and go pro
  • take precautions and care with the gimbal and the stock camera. They are the most likely to fail in a crash, and the most expensive and annoying repair.
  • make sure the compass and home point is set and properly calibrated. If not the drone will fly away!
  • do not fly over people’s yard, invading their aerial space. If you use it to invade people privacy, it can be used in police prosecutions. If you do, you just contribute to the misconceptions below:

misconceptions about drone camera:

1. The drone camera cannot see inside windows, due to reflections during the day. Even you cannot see inside your window properly during the day, unless you stand 1-3 feet away.

2. The drone camera is wide angle, with limited resolution. So they cannot zoom in or make anything clearer inside other people’s home

3. It is hobby grade drone and camera, not military.  Fear of spying are overblown.

4. Night time spying: not possible with the stock camera. It vibrates too much, and the iso and stock lense is not as good as an dslr. It is not infrared night time camera. If you choose to leave your blinds open at night, with lights on, other people can spy more easily on you with a proper camera or a binocular. It is not possible to spy with a drone stock camera at night, even flying only at a few meters away.

 

DIVING with alizee dive @ new caledonia

2nd day and 3rd day: we went with the hotel recommendation: alizee diving

  • they pick you up at the hotel
  • their boat is modern, big and very stable
  • lifevests available and maximum occupancy on boats respected strictly (we were not able to go diving with alizee one day as they said they are fully booked, unlike amedee where it is “always free and available”)
  • they are extremely clean on the boat : spotless
  • clients are all japanese, very quiet
  • guides are divemaster, professional
  • max of 6 persons per divemaster
  • prices are cheaper, as it is only for half day trips, 2 dives
  • wreck diving was great, guide was very aware of the group

 

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alizee second deck on boat: perfect for relaxing or taking in sunshine:

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lot of space:

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brave new divers: first ever intro dives in middle of the ocean, hang on by a cord.  They do the intro breathing at the surface interval time, between the 2 dives

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after the trip: they have 2 separate area for rinsing: one with BLEACH for wet suits, one just water for cameras : first time that i have seen this. Everybody was religiously cleaning rinsing

 

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my cameras: nikon1 and my 3d camera photo set up in the background:

 

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DIVING @ new caledonia: amedee diving club

Fist day: we booked with dive trip with amedee diving: cost around 14k francs pp, expensive.

amedee is located 20 minutes away from the center of the city noumea. New caledonia is neat in a way that you can go to nice dive sites in less than 20 minutes away from downtown!

amedee is located on an island where they have the amedee light house. Supposedly, because of its location, it have been said “it is always sunny at amedee island”

the boat going there is on a zodiac: very bouncy. your behind REALLY hurts after the trip.

when we went, we were “only” 14 people on the boat. apparently the owner sometimes carries as much as 40-50 people on it small zodiac on weekends ! it is legit ? it is safe? We did not see any life vest on boards…

i am not sure how many divemasters they really have on board, but i am sure our guide was not qualified to sign our dive logs…

no nitrox available. they do introductory dives in the open ocea, (FIRST dive ever with scuba breathing right on the small zodiac)

  • it is quite convenient for a whole day dive, 2 dives trip and combine it with sight seeing trip to amedee island.
  • nice and convenient to have your surface interval on the island, for 2-3 hours! lots of time eating, and relaxing
  • they are the ONLY dive operation on the amedee island, monopoly
  • they have lot of hammocks, very comfortable to take a nap between dives
  • the food provided was good
  • equipments are in working order
  • staff were friendly,
  • mostly french speaking clients
  • you have to carry all your own equipments  to and from the boat (not used to this after diving in fancy places like maldives, wakatobi, fiji etc )
  • lots of beginners divers here.
  • 2nd dive: guide was slightly careless to dive and guide the whole group, including beginners, until air have only 20 bar left, trying to swim underwater to the boat, no safety stop done as he said we were “only” at 10 meters for the last 20 minutes

second day: we went with a japanse owned operation. Completely different atmosphere and operations

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