BANGKOK – It was dark and stormy when I arrived Saturday afternoon in this Thai capital, and traffic was slow as my limo taxi entered the city. But the slog though traffic was made more bearable by the high-speed wi-fi in the vehicle, with the apt connection name “welcome.” The driver was also quick to offer me three wire connections that could be plugged into portable devices, which he said I could use “for chat.” As I don’t engage in chats on whatever device, I didn’t know what that was about. But the menthol candies he offered when I began coughing, that helped. When it comes to tourism, the Thais aim to please. Tourism is the lifeblood of this country. At the end of June, the head of the Tourism Authority of Thailand was despairing over a slowdown in tourist arrivals in the first half of the year. The official blamed the strong baht, the US-China trade wars, uncertainties over Brexit and a global economic slowdown for the … [Read more...] about Tourist magnet
Place where taxis wait for passengers
MULTIMEDIA Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News Posted at Aug 16 2019 01:46 PM | Updated as of Aug 16 2019 02:40 PM “When the plane starts moving, someone’s gonna shout ‘Here we go, here we go.’ You gotta watch out for that because then you’ll get maybe 10 seconds before it happens, clear?” No, not clear, sir. Not clear at all. We were at a holding room at the Villamor Air Base in Manila – six journalists and a few Philippine generals – getting ready to fly to the location of the aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan. The person speaking was the pilot of the C-2 Greyhound plane that would fly us to the carrier. He was trying his best to describe how unique the flight would be, and how it would feel on the human body. The group listened intently. But I have been on this flight before, and I know no amount of explaining will ever fully prepare you for what’s about to happen. Philippine journalists board the C-2 Greyhound, an … [Read more...] about Shock and awe aboard the USS Ronald Reagan
Ride-hailing is a very lucrative business in Singapore. And although there've been many players who've tried to join the fray, few of them ever had a chance against Grab and ComfortDelGro. Could GoJek - the newest contender - be the one to break up the duopoly? The Indonesia-based operator has been in Singapore for about half a year, and now has a sizeable fleet of drivers and users. Personally I'm thrilled - after all, the stiffer the competition, the better the discounts, right? Let's compare the 3 ride-hailing services and take a closer look at their pricing models and other features. Many factors can influence your ride prices - what time it is, how far away your destination is, how many drivers/riders are nearby, and even whether or not it's raining. For this price comparison, I'm using an example journey from the MoneySmart office in Commonwealth to Orchard ION at around 4pm (off-peak) on a Friday. Ride-hailing service Price for a ride from Commonwealth to Orchard ION (7.1km) … [Read more...] about GoJek vs Grab vs Comfort Taxis in Singapore
Bangkok has become one of our favorite destinations for obvious reasons: its interesting, preserved heritage sites that speak well of their glorious past, the rich flora and fauna, food and fruits (check out the pungent and buttery kanyao variety of durian; duku langsat or lanzones; atis or sugar apple, pomegranate, guava, dragon fruit) and a personal favorite, crispy banana chips with tamarind paste. There are good buys in weekend markets, while modern retail shops offer a wide variety of products and services. We can’t seem to have enough of it. To sum up our Bangkok experience, I’ll rate from bad (in a good way) to baad (a rip off). Bad: I booked our airport pickup online (Viator for P2,262.39 or US$43.14). The six-passenger van was new, clean and spacious. The driver was polite and experienced. Baad: It took us over 40 minutes to find the van. My name was spelled wrong, making it difficult for me to spot the welcome sign displayed among hundreds of signs. In exhaustion, … [Read more...] about Bad, baad Bangkok!
GUIRIA, Venezuela: A taxi dropped Maroly Bastardo and her two small children by a cemetery not far from the shore in northeast Venezuela. She still had time to change her mind.Eight months pregnant, Bastardo faced forbidding choices in a nation whose economy has collapsed. Give birth in Venezuela, where newborns are dying at alarming rates in shortage-plagued maternity wards. Or board a crowded smuggler's boat bound for Trinidad, the largest of two islands that make up the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Her husband, Kennier Berra, had landed there in February, found work and beckoned her to join him.Bastardo's mother, Carolina, begged her to stay.Neither Bastardo or her children could swim. Barely three weeks earlier, 27 people had gone missing after a migrant boat went down in the narrow stretch of water separating Venezuela from Trinidad. The 20-kilometer strait, known for its treacherous currents, is nicknamed the Dragon's Mouths.But the 19-year old hairdresser was … [Read more...] about They fled Venezuela’s crisis by boat