50 Things To Blow Some Cash On

October 11, 2007

I have a confession to make: I am not a millionaire.

Phew, I’m glad that’s out there!

If I was actually a millionaire, however, the Daily Mail have kindly provided me with a shopping list of all the ‘must have’ toys for today’s modern cashed-up poser. Err, I mean man or woman about town.

I’m not really sure how many of these I’d go for if I did have limitless money (the DB5? Cigars? Titanium coffee machine – I like that one!). Still, it’s always nice to dream every once in a while.

What would you choose if money were no object?

The Rudest Travel Book Ever?

October 2, 2007

Not quite, but there’s a great article in the Irish Independent about Mrs Favell Mortimer’s definitive travel guide to the world. Written in the mid 19th century Mrs Mortimer had a view on pretty much everywhere and everybody. She was truly the Peter Biddlecombe of her day.

The only problem is, she’d never once left her native Shropshire!

I’ll leave you to read the full article in-situ, but here are some of Mrs Mortimer’s thoughts:

On Wales: “Though the Welsh are not very clean, they make their cottages look clean by white-washing them every year, and sometimes they white-wash the pig-sties too.”

On Norway: “The greatest fault of the Norwegians is drunkenness. They are too fond of a spirit called finkel – something like gin, only it is made from potatoes.”

On China: “It is a common thing to stumble over the bodies of dead babies in the streets. In England it is counted murder to kill a babe, but it is thought no harm at all in China.”

On Americans: “Idle and ungodly”

Note these are Mrs Mortimer’s views not mine!

I have to say, for someone who had never set foot in any of the places she wrote about, Mrs M sure seems to have either done a lot of research, or had a very active imagination (probably both).

Not entirely accurate, but pretty creative and a good read nonetheless 🙂

Notes From Indonesia

September 7, 2007

(having just returned from Jakarta I thought I’d write these down. Oh, and I’m not complaining, it’s generally a very friendly place with great people. Plus I did marry an Indonesian – although I’m not sure she shares all my views 😉 ):

1. Not only is the volume of traffic mental, so are the drivers of the buses, cars, vans, motorbikes, bicycles, horse-drawn carriages and every weird and wacky vehicle on Indonesian roads.

2. Much like Beijing, I have no idea how there aren’t car or bike crashes every five minutes (see 1)

3. It’s traditional for every menu in Indonesia to have at least one item unavailable. This is almost guaranteed to be the item you’d like to order.

4. No matter how many times you’ve been, getting woken up at 4:00am when the call to prayer starts will still scare the crap out of you (especially when staying right next to a mosque who found a cunning way to stick the megaphones in my window every morning).

5. Security is tight at most western hotels and shopping malls. It is, however, completely pointless so long as you stick your guns on the passengers side of the car (but don’t tell the ‘evil-doers’ that!). You probably have to experience that one to see what I mean.

6. One in three people in Jakarta seem to be employed, or appoint themselves, as some form of parking attendant…

7. .. which is actually good, as it means that despite the traffic you can normally stop right outside where you needed to be, even if you are in quadruply stacked parking and have to reverse out into four lanes of traffic madness.

8. Shopping is cheap, but be prepared to not only haggle but: have a drink, take a seat, deal with thirty different shop assistants and look at (or more likely be shown) half the stock and all the crap things they can’t shift.

9. You are more or less guaranteed to find that at least one of your cheap fake CDs/DVDs is mangled at some point on the disk. For DVDs, get them to play it in the shop first – there are two distinct types of quality (with option 1 being really bad, mostly unwatchable handheld handycam recordings from the cinema. Option 2 is normally pretty decent).

10. Shopping in the big supermarkets in Jakarta like Carrefour will surprise you (in a nice way). Puts Australian supermarkets to shame and almost made me miss living in Europe again.

11. Forget nice parks and lakes for your family outing, just stop on the side of the road for your picnic or spend your lunchtime sitting by a hole filled with trash with five hundred of your closest friends

12. There is nowhere in Jakarta where there isn’t at least one person (see 11). Doesn’t matter where you go, or what time of the
day or night. If you’re after solitude, you probably want to head elsewhere.

Luckily Indonesia has 17,508 islands for you to explore instead 🙂

I’m sure I’ll think of more, but off to bed now.