The high wire hammock, relaxing or not?

Wednesday, 22 July, 2015

We’ve probably all heard about the transparent capsule hotel rooms that are bolted to the side of a cliff, some one hundred and twenty metres above the ground, not far from Cusco, in Peru. If that isn’t holiday accommodation that’s not for the faint hearted, what is?

So how about a hammock, a rather large hammock, that is suspended about one hundred and fifty metres above a canyon near Moab, in Utah? The hammock itself is probably a relaxing enough place to while away an hour or two, but I doubt the same could be said of reaching it.

In this regard there are – or were, the hammock in question was only there for a week last year – three options. Cable car sling, slackline walk, or sky diving, some very precise sky diving I would think. Easy choice, right?

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Who is the best bus driver in the world?

Wednesday, 8 July, 2015

The International Bus Roadeo, which is held in Texas, gives bus drivers across North America the chance to test their mettle in an annual bus driving competition. Contestants have seven minutes to complete an obstacle course, to be in with a chance to take out the top prize…

They need to get close to curbs, tennis balls, and cones, but can’t touch them. They need to go fast, but not over the speed limit. They can’t brake where they shouldn’t, or too hard – there are judges and special tracking equipment on board to make sure the ride is nice and smooth. They need to complete the course as designed (and every course is different). They’re docked points for infractions – for bumping, scraping or knocking over a cone, for passing on the wrong side, for backing up, or for stopping, even just for a moment.

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Expatriate life, the way for travellers to really broaden their minds?

Tuesday, 7 July, 2015

Travel broadens the mind, or so they say, but when it comes to expanding one’s perspective, living long term in another country is the way to go. Or so they say.

Set apart from familiar external influences, some expats stop worrying about pressures to mold and keep the people around them happy. The challenge of living in a new place lets them see themselves as individuals rather than citizens of a specific country or members of a culture. This gives them a whole new internal perspective.

To that end, I keep thinking I’d like to go live the expatriate life in a place like Chandrapore, but then it struck me that many, though not all, of the expats living there weren’t all that tolerant of, or open to integrating with, the locals.

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Aircraft cabin air, definitely the sum of its many parts

Monday, 6 July, 2015

Frequent flyers especially may be interested in the air they breathe while cruising at thirty-thousand feet… put it this way, there are all sorts of surprising ingredients, as it were, in the mix. And then this, an explanation of the low humidity environment of many aircraft cabins:

Most airplanes use about 50% recirculated air and about 50% bleed air that comes from the engines. Bleed air isn’t supposed to be dangerous. Outside air is first pulled into the first compartment of the engine, where it’s compressed and then pumped into the aircraft, sometimes through a filter. Then, it’s decompressed and mixed with the recirculated air before being blown out those little eyeball vents above your seat. The air is stagnant, and at about 12-percent humidity, it’s also drier than a desert. However, the air mixture is supposed to be safe.

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Now you see it, now you don’t, Borgloon’s transparent church

Tuesday, 30 June, 2015

Transparent church, Borgloon, Belgium

Here’s an intriguing structure… a church in the Belgium town of Borgloon, that almost becomes transparent, depending on the angle from which it is being viewed.

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Route 50, get your kicks instead on the loneliest road in America

Tuesday, 30 June, 2015

I think if I ever road-trip across the United States, I’d forego driving along the better known Route 66, and instead opt for the not so often mentioned Route 50:

And then there is Route 50, a black ribbon that stretches from Ocean City, Maryland, to Sacramento. “For the unhurried, this little-known highway is the best national road across the middle of the United States,” wrote William Least Heat-Moon in Blue Highways, his classic 1982 account of driving the nation’s back roads in search of the nation’s heart. Fifteen years later, Time magazine called this same strip of pavement “The Backbone of America” in a cover story that was part travelogue, part sociopolitical pulse-taking. It is a long backbone, 3,007 miles in length, its vertebrae etched with names like Loogootee, Pruntytown, Poncha Springs and Majors Place.

There’s a 460 kilometre section of the highway, approximately between the borders of Utah and California, that has been dubbed the “Loneliest Road in America”… would that not be a journey to remember or what?

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A bigger picture would help when it comes to overtaking big trucks

Tuesday, 30 June, 2015

It happens to me all the time, especially on the freeway, I find myself stuck behind a large lumbering truck. Usually there’s the option of eventually overtaking it by moving into another lane going in the same direction.

But what about situations where there is only one lane available in your direction of travel, and an overtaking manoeuvre requires moving into the on-coming traffic lane?

A clear view of the road ahead, before attempting to move into the other lane, would be useful, to say the least, but sometimes such chances are far and few between. How about then attaching a widescreen monitor to the back of large vehicles, that projects an image of what lies ahead? Sounds like an idea worth looking into.

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Travelbox, take home with you when you’re away from home

Friday, 19 June, 2015

Travellers, or I’m thinking more like minimalists, will appreciate Travelbox, a trunk that includes a fold-out table, chair, and bed, plus a bicycle, to furnish their home, as designed by Stefan Juust, an Austrian architect.

At a little over two metres in length, by a bit more than one metre high, and weighing in at some sixty kilograms, it just might be a little too hefty to hit the road with though. The truck’s frame can also be used as a small wardrobe unit, and a bookcase.

As I say, ideal for the minimalists among us.

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Flat out on the slopes of San Francisco’s streets

Friday, 19 June, 2015

The steeply inclined streets of San Francisco have doubtless been the subject of many a photo series that levels, or flattens them, by appropriately adjusting the angle of the final image, but applying the concept to video might be something we’ve not seen too much of before.

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More photos from another stay in North Korea

Thursday, 18 June, 2015

Because we can’t get enough of what has become regarded as the hermit kingdom, here’s a new series of photos taken by US photographer David Guttenfelder.

I know I’ve said it before, but it strikes me that an omnipresent stillness, quiet even, shrouds much of North Korea, each time I look at photos of the country. Having never been, I obviously have no idea what it’s really like though.

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