Thursday, February 17, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

A WAKE-UP CALL: Our Straits Times was at our door by 6:20 a.m. and it brought with it quite a shock. Page Two included a news package (above) about the sinking of a tourism boat in Ha Long Bay. A terrible tragedy, leaving 12 dead. This caught our eye for many reasons. Aside from the unspeakable tragedy, this resonates because just yesterday we received a travel itinerary for an April trip to Myanmar (Bagan, specifically), Vietnam (Hanoi and Ha Long Bay) and China (Beijing and Great Wall). We're not reconsidering, but this is a sobering news item. Our plans are, of course, the least of the problems. The survivors and families of the deceased are paramount.

THREADING THE NEEDLE: Granted, my perspective is skewed (and the photos are a bit washed out). But from my vantage point, 44 stories up and probably nearly a mile away, it looked like these three container ships (and lonely tugboat) really cut things close on Wednesday. Of course the captains surely knew what they were doing, but the slow-motion five-minute sequence (which might be easier to appreciate with more photos) was quite mesmerizing. (The chronology is as follows: LEFT, TOP, RIGHT, BOTTOM.) That's the 302-meter-long MOL Marvel (the largest ship) motoring out of port, heading toward the left. The one passing on the Marvel's port side is coming toward the shipping-container area. The one that's athwart (is that the right word?) pretty much sat there until both ships had crossed its stern. Then it wheeled around and got outta there. This is, indeed, a shipping crossroads.

I WANT ONE: The bottom of the front page of the Feb. 17 issue of the Straits Times had this advertisement slathered across the bottom. I will get a double samurai beef burger at some point. I know where a McDonald's lurks, hidden among the shophouses at Boat Quay. No, it's not authentic to Singapore (or, as some people call it, Sinkieland or The Little Red Dot) fare, but that's OK. I want one.

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