Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Win a Seat on the A380 Biggest Airplane in the World

singapore airlines

Singapore Airlines is our favorite airline in the whole world and we’re big fans of eBay and PayPal too. (Not hard to guess why but in the interest of preserving some fragment of my family’s anonymity, I won’t go into too much detail. ;) )

Singapore Airlines, the first carrier in the world to fly the new superjumbo Airbus A380, will auction all seats on its inaugural flight on eBay and donate the proceeds to charities.

ExxonMobil Aviation will donate the fuel for the flights while EBay will subsidize the fees and charges from the auction of the seats. PayPal, a global leader in online payment solutions, will rebate a portion of its fees and charges, the statement said.

The proceeds of the auction will be split among three charities: one-third to the Singapore Community Chest; one-third shared equally by the Sydney Children’s Hospital and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney; one-third to Doctors Without Borders, an international group.

The first flight is expected to take place in October 2007 and the auction will begin a few weeks before then. If you’re on the first flight, you’ll receive a personalized ceremonial certificate. Good luck!

Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps.


Photo Project 365: Week 15

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One of the ugliest good luck charms ever. A gift from our time in Taiwan. It hangs in our dining room. (January 28, 2007)

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Star Wars droids group picture. (January 27, 2007)

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Stephen created these robots out of cardboard. Background story at Play Library. (January 26, 2007)

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A gift from our time in Japan (yes, I’m feeling rather uncreative this week when it comes to photo taking). It sits on a shelf in the kitchen. Stephen’s scared of it. (January 25, 2007)

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Woke up to snow! It was all melted by late afternoon. (January 24, 2007)

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Treasure chest filled with Zoob pieces. (January 23, 2007)

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My favorite pair of socks. Navy blue with pink toes and heel and a silver trim at the toe seam and ankle.

Participating in Project 365? Let me know so I can add you to my list.


My Interview at Fly Away Cafe

Yes, it’s another interview of me. You never knew I was so fascinating, did you?

Mary Jo Manzanares at Fly Away Cafe interviewed me about my traveling habits. It’s a MUST READ. Just kidding…sort of. ;)

Talking Travel at The Fly Away Cafe:
An Interview with Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei


Sofitel Vinpearl Resort, Nha Trang, Vietnam

Last Friday, we took our first and last trip out of
Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang, a seaside resort town.
We went via a Vietnam Airlines ATR-72 plane pictured at
Cam Ranh Airport, Nha Trang.

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Jet Lag Going Eastward and Westward

Jet lag going from Vietnam to California is usually worse than the return trip. In California, Stephen would fall asleep in the early evening, wake up at around 2 a.m. to eat and play for a couple of hours, fall back to sleep and wake up for the day around 6:30 a.m. It took him about a week to get over jet lag there. In contrast, he is almost completely over jet lag after only two days back in Asia.

I’d heard before that jet leg is worse when traveling eastward, but I never knew why. Here’s some info I found about jet lag:

  • Traveling eastward, which shortens your day and causes you to “lose time”, is more difficult than flying westward, which lengthens it and allows you to “gain time”. (Still doesn’t really explain why one direction causes more trouble than the other.)
  • West-to-east trips require one day of recovery for each time zone crossed; east-to-west journeys require one day for each one and a half time zones crossed. (That would be 9 time zones crossed to California = 9 days recovery going eastward, 6 days recovery westward.)
  • Symptoms include insomnia, irritability, and altered bowel habits (I experience this and didn’t know it was part of jet lag!).
  • Medical treatment involves the use of sleeping tablets, melatonin and stimulants. (Never tried any of these before.) New recommendations indicate jet lag can be treated with short spells of bright light.

And some advice for adjusting that don’t really work that well with small children:

  • Take a short nap on arrival and then go to bed at night. (Depends on what time you arrive, I suppose.)
  • Try to keep the day on arrival free to rest if you are crossing more than six time zones. (Ha! Fat chance. Wasting so much time in transit means less time to get stuff done upon arrival.)
  • For the first three days do most of your activities in the morning if you have travelled from east to west, and in the afternoons if you have flown from west to east. (With Stephen, morning is always best.)
  • Try not to use sleeping pills, but if you need to, use them only on the first two or three nights and them stop taking them so you do not get addicted. (Jet lag hasn’t been serious enough for me to take sleeping pills. Perhaps an antihistamine like Benadryl would work as well and be less addictive?)
  • Taking a long-acting sleeping pill may be better for travellers following west-bound flights because of problems with early-morning waking after those flights. (We’ve been waking at 5 a.m.!)

I’ve also read that men experience more severe jet lag than women. That seems to be true with Marv and me. The poor guy also had fewer days to spend in California which made it all the harder for him to get adjusted.

Another theory suggests that jet lag is not as bad when returning to the “habitual” time zone. This could be true but I can’t remember if I used to be more fatigued when travelling to Asia from the U.S. on holidays to visit Marv. What I do remember is the depression of having to be separated from him again which probably exacerbated my symptoms of jet lag.

What has been your experience with jet lag?

Refs: University of Michigan Health System and Medic8 Family Health Guide

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We’re Back

After three weeks in California, I am…

…disoriented from jet lag.
…suffering from sinus congestion.
…unpacking toy after toy after toy (and hiding half of them for Christmas and other special occasions).
…organizing existing toys to make room for new toys.
…picking up toys I just put away because Stephen keeps pulling everything back out.
…procrastinating by writing this instead of unpacking three more overstuffed suitcases.
…feeling fat from overeating.
…wondering if I can skip dinner for a month to lose some weight quickly.
…thinking about all the blogging work I have to catch up on at the Genetics and Public Health Blog and elsewhere.
…not sure if Stephen has forgotten how to use the potty.
…missing my family and friends.
…trying not to feel lonely.

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Posting will be sporadic for the next few weeks
while we visit family and friends in California!


Air Travel With Toddlers

We travel with Stephen at least five times a year. Four of those times are on short-haul flights to Singapore, each flight lasting about 2 hours. At least once a year, we make the journey back to California and that trip usually takes around 20 hours. Luckily, we fly Singapore Airlines, which has a great inflight entertainment system with dedicated kids’ TV and radio channels that Stephen loves. And, the flight attendants are more than helpful and attentive.

As much as we love traveling on Singapore Airlines, though, they don’t have a Sky Nanny like Gulf Air. Each Sky Nanny is apparently trained in childcare and childhood education at Norland College. Check out what they do for you:

  • When you arrive at the airport, your Sky Nanny will be at the boarding gate to meet and escort your family onto the aircraft and take you to a dedicated seating area in the aircraft.
  • They?ll also organise drinks for children and do their meal service during the main bar service so you?re free to assist your children if necessary – without interrupting your own meal.
  • They?ll also find lots of things to keep your children occupied throughout the journey. We even have our own games we can loan them.
  • …a Sky Nanny will be keeping a watchful eye on your child should you doze off or just want to get engrossed in a book or a movie.

Maybe David Brooks of the New York Times should have considered hiring his own Sky Nanny. His family had trouble keeping it together on flights that were only four hours long.

…the pilots emerge to complain that because of the kids’ crying they can’t hear the air traffic controllers (this actually happened to my family).

Pointer to Sky Nanny from Asia Travel Blog, pointer to NY Times article from Blogging Baby.

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The Sights of Taiwan

Taipei 101
The tallest building in the world.

Flickr sucks and won’t allow me to upload more than 10 Mbs a month.
So, the sights of Taiwan photo album can be found in my Ofoto photo album instead.
You do NOT need to sign in to view it.

NB: I took some of the pictures while others were taken by my mom or dad.

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Taiwan Food Feb 2005

Sweet Tofu with Taro Balls, originally uploaded by cottontimer.

Photos of the food my parents and I enjoyed on our trip are now up in my Flickr Taiwan Food Feb 2005 album. Come take a look and leave some comments there or here if you have any questions!

NB: I took some of the pictures while others were taken by my mom or dad.

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