Passports

Being a sort-of travel blog, although my last travel to a destination of significant interest was almost a year ago, this post highlights the one thing that we need during travel — the passport. Ho-hum you say? Boring? Nothing much to shout about? Well, that’s because you’re neither a Canadian nor a Norwegian. Why? I’ll show you why.

Canadian

Ooooh architecture.

Ooooh architecture.

Under black light to show off its security features:

Bamf!!!

Bamf!!!

Norway

Norway during daytime

Norway during daytime

Add a little magic and the minimalistic design becomes:

It's the Northern Lights!

It’s the Northern Lights!

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Medieval LEGO Houses

I am a geek and somewhat interested in the fantasy setting of LOTR (Lord of the Rings), Dungeons & Dragons and maybe nowadays, Game of Thrones. The recently released final episode of The Hobbit trilogy added fuel to the fire. And another love of mine — LEGO.

Combined both and you will get this amazingly detailed and defined collection of fantasy realms-inspired LEGO houses by Daniel Hensel (or Legonardo Davidsy, get it? Leonardo Da Vinci.)

Now this is much better than the LEGO City default set.

Now this is much better than the LEGO City default set.

Swiss Bliss Day 11 (Part 3)

Switzerland is also well known for its beautiful lakes. And we had been taking advantage of that coupled with the Swiss Pass that allows us free access onto the boats. So we are here now in Zurich and yes, you’ve guessed it, we’re going on a trip around the lake. There are a couple of ways you could do this, either follow in our footsteps and just enjoy a roundtrip on the lake (around an hour or so), or you could drop off at any stops and make your way back via trams or foot.

Be sure to check out the timetables, as they are not available at all hours.

The boat

The boat

“Let’s queue up and make sure we get the seats at the back.”

“Why?”

“Those are the ones with the good views and you can avoid the water spray, if there’s any.”

Continue reading →

5 Things I Learnt From The Flood

Sorry for the long delay in posting.

My home state suffered one of the worst floods in recent memory, in my case, 34 years. To some of the older generation, it could be up to 50 years without ever seeing anything so devastating. We were almost at the brink of disaster.

It all started when the river burst its banks, inundating the low lying areas around it with flood waters ranging from ankle height right up to two metres depending on where you were. Almost all the towns located around the river were affected. Some up to a week, while others, the fortunate ones had to endure 48 hours of flood waters. Electricity and water supplies were cut, aid relief was hampered by the swift river currents.

The state capital.

The state capital.

Here are some of the lessons I learnt from the flood.

1) Sanitation

One of the earliest problem we faced was sanitation. The sewers were flooded and that resulted in an unimaginable scenario in which we were not under the threat of flood waters but the toilets could not be used. It was the same issue at the various flood relief centres except that the problem was multiplied by the number of evacuees.

All existing houses must have a sewer drainage system that is at least higher than the water level. Or an alternative when the shit hits the fan. Literally.

2) Alternative Power Source

We used to take electricity for granted and that came and bit us in our butt real hard. TVs, smartphones, computers, internet, lights, refrigerators, pumps and ventilation all required it to run. Once the power was cut, we were left in the dark with no generators and only a couple of candles and battery operated handlights.

This would call for installation of solar powered panels for the generation of some semblance of electricity to power up some basic necessities. At the moment, they are limited to the heating of water. But without water pumps, we didn’t bathe at all.

On my way to help out at the hospital. Water level: Knee deep.

On my way to help out at the hospital. Water level: Knee deep.

3) Alternative Water Source

The next thing that went out the window was the water supply, most likely due to the amount of mud that was brought along with the flood waters. Keeping an extra tank or two of water would have been enough to last us through a few days without having to save water. Probably a rainwater catchment system would have eased it a little considering that we have plenty of rain during the monsoon season.

4) Double Storey or Elevated House

My house was only affected up till ankle level. Even so, the clean up has been nothing short of labourious. It would have helped if we were on higher ground. Not by much, maybe an inch or two and we would have been fine. A better option would be to have a second level to escape to if the water level rises, or to place our expensive furniture and appliances when the need arises.

5) No Politicking

Neither politicking nor slogan campaigning was needed when disaster struck my home state. Everyone helped each other out, without any labeling of race or colour. People from all walks of life were affected and the help that came was doled out equally. That was the spirit and it didn’t require any amount of shouting to get the message across. This is something that need to be highlighted to the powers that be.

Despite the flood, everyone was out and about!

Despite the flood, everyone was out and about!

I would hereby like to express my gratitude at the various medical teams that came and help us out during the entire duration and more help are coming in every day. Our hospitals were basically surrounded by water and were without electricity and clean water. And yet, they stuck by their work with only a little amount of rest.

My heartfelt thanks to the medical volunteers! You know who you are. God knows too.