The Opposite Of Loneliness

This 22-year-old Yale graduate, Marina Keegan, who penned her last column for the Yale Daily News entitled “The Opposite Of Loneliness“, passed away a few days later in a car accident. Little did she know that those would be her final words for her testimony on life.

The article was picked up by the mainstream news after Yale placed it online and within days it has become viral. Here are a few of her quotes from the article itself.

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.

 

We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time.

 

What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over.

 

We’re in this together, 2012. Let’s make something happen to this world.

Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs

For those budding chefs, fresh ingredients can be found almost daily at your local grocer. But how would you know which ones are really fresh and which are really from a storage facility? Chasing Delicious came up with 3 charts showing when each of these fruits, vegetables or even herbs can be found in season. So that you are guaranteed of the freshness and taste of each particular ingredient.

Fruits:

Fruits In Season

Vegetables:

Your Leafy Greens

Herbs:

Herbology

If you like what you see, you can get them as posters! Great for any kitchen wall.

 

My Experience With AirBnb

Once you have your destination mapped out and you have the flight tickets ready, the next step would be to get yourself a place to stay. The in-thing nowadays is couchsurfing; travelling and staying in someone else’s apartment or sharing a room (couch). There are a number of websites that allow you to choose where and whom you want to stay with, among those Roomorama and my favourite — AirBnb.

AirBnb

I am not a fussy traveller and basically what I look for are: convenience, cost and cleanliness (in that particular order of importance). So for the trip to Europe, I chose to stay with AirBnb in Paris and also in Rome. The rest were hotels in Amsterdam and Munich, while I splurged for a stay in Venice since it was with my parents.

Convenience, cost and cleanliness

First of all, you need to sign up in order to proceed with any bookings and to interact with the owner. By signing up, you could also rent out your own apartment or rooms, so it is a two-way process once you have registered. Pop in the place you want to go, the dates and the number of people in your group, the website will do the rest. Then you can rearrange the suggestions given according to your taste, either by AirBnb’s recommendation, the cost or even according to the neighbourhood that you prefer.

In my case, I decided to rent a whole apartment, all to myself. I still prefer the privacy of having a place to stay without barging into someone else’s life. Although you can still choose to do otherwise. Having a local around to help you out is an advantage, he/she is probably a phone call away, they could always point you to certain places that they like and you could also hang out with them. Please remember that most of the house or room owners have their own lives, they probably have a 9-to-5 job, so they might take some time to reply you. If you have certain requests, either with the check in and check out times, or anything at all, try to have it settled via e-mail or through AirBnb’s own messaging system before making the plunge.

They probably have a 9-to-5 job, so it might take some time to get a reply

Be sure to check the amenities offered (free wi-fi, washing machine, towels), the size of the apartment and also the pictures provided by the homeowner. If you are pleased with what you see and what you will get, confirm the reservations with the homeowner. Once he/she has confirmed your booking, the amount is deducted from your credit card but will only be paid in full upon your actual rental date (I think). If you are still worried, let me assure you that AirBnb have safeguards in place to help you out with any errant homeowner, as long as you follow AirBnb’s instructions, which include, NO payment outside of the AirBnb system.

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Spotted By Locals

Before I proceed with details of my recent trip to Europe, allow me to share with you a website that I found useful while planning for my trip.

Spotted By Locals

http://www.spottedbylocals.com

This website is packed with up-to-date details of 41 cities (and counting) across Europe. They rely on locals and, in this era of globalization, 20% of non-locals to supply information on the latest insider tips for the listed cities. If you find it interesting enough, you can download their iPhone app for easier use when you are travelling to these areas.

The one category that I found useful was the ‘eats’. No tourist traps but honest-to-goodness feedback on the places to eat around the 41 European cities. Be prepared to rub shoulders with the locals while having your meal, who knows, you might even meet the ‘Spotter’ (as the locals/non-locals who contribute are called) who suggested the restaurant.

Even if you do not find eating as important as I do, there are other categories that might appeal to you. What about places to shop? Or you prefer bars that the locals hang out? If you are interested in the arts, the Spotters do have a suggestion or two about where you can immerse yourself. To top it up, they even have the place marked on the map for you!

As we go along with the trip reports that I will be posting in the near future, you will get a glimpse of what I found useful with this website.

If you are interested and that you are staying in one of the 41 cities listed at the website, or even plan on adding your own European town to the growing list, please go ahead and do so! They need all the help they could get. Their Spotters Network also organize get-togethers once in awhile to keep the interest up.

They are also active on Facebook and Twitter!

Paris Header

Paris Day 1 (Part 5)

Five minutes into our walk in the drizzling rain just outside the Rodin Museum, the sky suddenly became clear and the sun came out. What I like most about the streets in Paris — the trees lining the side of the road.  It makes walking that much more easier in the shade.

“What? You want us to walk from Les Invalides to the Champ de Mars?”, exclaimed the wife. I think the walking has taken a toll on everyone, and this is just the first day. But Paris is too good not to explore on our own two feet. So with grit and determination (sort of), we plodded along the Parisian streets. Inching closer and closer to our next target — Tour Eiffel.

What? You want us to walk from Les Invalides to the Champ de Mars?

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Video Links

Was browsing through the web and a few videos caught my eye.

Here is a Japanese TV show featuring the late Aryton Senna and his heel-and-toe technique of driving a car. It is a technique used, to decelerate when turning into corners, and also to separate the F1 drivers from the rest of us. (from kottke.org)

Staged or not, you’d have to watch Pepsi Max’s latest commercial, in which the crew brought along ‘Uncle Drew’ to a neighbourhood basketball court to watch his nephew play. When they were a man short, he was asked to join. Will ‘Uncle Drew’ get bullied or will he stand up and show them how it’s done.

If you’re still up for it, this amazing time-lapse video at the Staples Center show how it is done to prepare the place for an amazing run of 4 days, in which 3 different teams had 2 games each, ALL held at the same center. (from kottke.org)

Check out this amazing wall installation of about 1200 Lego mini-figs to represent taxpayers. Makes you wonder why they didn’t think of that earlier.