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Friday, March 28, 2014

Changing Shift!

I think taxi drivers in Singapore are the most freaking idiotic unreasonable workers in the whole of Singapore. They claimed they are underpaid, has to drive long hours and pay big bucks to the taxi companies and cannot make a living. Yet all of us who have ever taken taxis will know that getting a taxi is like striking 4-D. Where is the taxi when you need one? There are plenty of taxis all right but all of them are forever either on calls or changing shift and 9 times out of 10, they are not going in the direction that you want to go.
Photo from http://fuchsia.com.sg/
Just today I was trying to catch a cab from the taxi stand at Cecil Street. It was 5.20 pm. There were a lot of cabs calling at the taxi stand. In fact I could describe it as continuous. I was like about fifth in the queue. Yet I only managed to get onto a cab after more than 20 minutes of waiting. Why? Because every freaking cab that came had either a changing shift sign displayed with a destination that was not anywhere near where I was going. Those that don't have a changing shift displayed was no better. The driver rolled down the window ask where and pick and choose. It was like a bladdy mad auction with al the passengers at the queue shouting out their destination. And they don't even bother to pick up those going near their way. One cabby had a sign displaying Bugis. Other passengers in the queue wanted to go to Garden by the Bay. A small detour but no he didn't want to ferry them. Another had a sign for Tampines. A passenger wanted to go Bugis. No dealt! I wanted to go Thomson. This guy was going Yishun. Also no!

When I finally managed to get on board, I spoke to the driver. He told me he there are more than 100,000 taxi vocational licence issued and more than 20000 taxis. On that count, there should be more than enough taxis to meet the need of Singapore? Right? Wrong!

My analysis of taxi drivers are that they (and here I dare say the majority) drive not for the money but to pass times and do not need the income from the driving. If not, why are they changing shift when it is peak hour. Isn't that the best time to earn more money, what with all the various surcharge. Changing shift will involves topping up the car, washing it, handing it over to the relief driver - easily a duration of at least 1 hour or more. In any other retail line, the staff will get their breaks during the off peak hours and not during the peak because very simply that is the busiest and by implication the most profitable time zone. And just look at how many taxi drivers prefer to queue up at the airport for the hope of a long haul rather than drive to nearby malls to pick up fares. And don't get me going on the disappearing drivers during the bewitching hours of 10 pm to midnight and rainy days! 

If driving a taxi is really that difficult to make money, can some bladdy drivers out there enlighten me why it is so difficult to get one and why are taxi drivers so bladdy picky?


Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Five Rabbits Bistro & Bar

There are bistro springing out all over the places. There is this place at Pasir Ris Park that I passed by so often during my runs but never went in. Finally, one evening we decided to go there for dinner.

The place got 2 names. Its either the Five Rabbits or the Five Drunken Rabbits. 



 Like all bistro, it serves a mixture of western food such as steak, pizza, sandwiches and pasta. Of course it is also a watering hole for those who craves a drink.  And like all bistro, the food is so so with not so so price. 

We were there in the night. The place was rather dim and therefore no photos of the food.

Worth a go for the ambience and to impress the date with a night out but definitely not worth if good food is what one is looking for.



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Who Hijack MH370?

Now after 7 days the Malaysian Government has finally came out to say that MH370 has been hijacked. But the identity of the hijacker is still unknown. Likewise, the plane and its passengers. Everybody has their theory on what happened to it. Uncle me, however knows the truth.

Generally, in current time, the terrorists are mainly from the African and Middle East area but Malaysia is a friend to the Arabs and so should not be a target of the religious fanatics there. So we can discount the terrorist. Lets go back to the week before the plane disappeared. What major thing happened in Malaysia. Who did the Malaysian's offended? Can't remember?

Maybe this will refresh the memory: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/asia/south_east_asia/AJ201403080041. Yes Ultraman! And what happened after that? Yes the plane disappeared without a trace. How can a plane with so much modern communication technology disappeared totally without a trace. If some terrorist has hijacked the plane, I am sure some passengers will be able to sneak through a phone call or the pilot could have been able to send some secret signal. But the whole damm plane just disappeared off radar.

Me think the only way this can happen is if some supernatural force took it. Like some alien. But we all know ET already went home. And Lt Ripley and the Avengers killed the other aliens. So no more aliens. . And since the Malaysian offended Ultraman King, he took his revenge and carried the plane away. He with his superior skill will be able to jam all the communication equipment on board and carry the plane away. Logical right? 


So the next step is to go to Ultraman land and demand the return of the plane. Problem solved!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Street Food of Tokyo

Tokyo was not some place where we expected to find street food but we did came across some gems.

Like while stumbling around in Shunjuku one night, we found this back alley where there were a whole lot of small little outlet selling Yakitori and noodles. These are really small outlet like this one here which can only seat at most 6 persons in front of the counter.

There were a few variety of skewered meat wrapped over different sort of vegetables and mushroom.
 


Nothing really spectacular about the food except for the below bowl of curry like food filled with what I believes are the left over from the making of the Yakitori. This was really good. 

Just a short walk away from the above was a soba stall which had a perpetual queue. One reason for the queue was that the place can only sit 8 persons so everybody wait their turn for some one to finish, sit down, order and gulp down the gigantic bowl of noodle and then goes off. 
  

Of course, we being food loving Singaporean, we got to join the queue and wolf down the bowl of noodle despite us just finishing the Yakitori. By the way, the bowl of noodle only cost Y300!

Just before our hotel, there was this little mobile truck selling Sweet Potato. M bought 2 to try. She said they are very soft. I think they have been cooked to death!

At Asakusa, there were stalls after stalls of snack food. Most time we don't know what they are but that did not stop us from buying everything that looks good which practically mean every stall.

Some sort of pastry which comes in different flavours like green tea and strawberry.

This store had the longest queue

 And the Princess with their produce - a huge polo bun

 Master chef making some sort of hot dog.

And M enjoying it

Another Chef doing something else

And that me with the result.

Not really a lot of street food but what was available was good although I think they are not too healthy. But heck, I will have regretted it forever if I didn't try any of them!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ueno Zoo

Most country we visit, a trip to the local zoo is a must. And in Japan there are plenty of zoos but we only managed to find time to go to the nearest the Ueno Zoo. This is the oldest zoo in Japan I think. We were pretty excited because they have animals that we don't have in Singapore and the regional zoos - like gorillas, bison, okapi, dholes and some other interesting rare animals.

Unfortunately, the Eastern section of the zoo was closed for maintenance so no gorillas. We also couldn't see the bison. What a disappointment! But we did get to see some beautiful owls and took their pictures, something that is extremely difficult to do in Singapore since the owls are housed in the House of Darkness. Here, they are in the outdoor enclosures and once we overcame the problem of shooting through the bars and glass, we got some nice photos.
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl
Wood owl?
Eagle Owl
Barn Owl
Some other birds






These are a pair of dholes. I think.

And guess what is this animal? The outcome of a horse and a zebra?
Too bad couldn't get a clear shot of it
All photos by Alicia

Friday, March 7, 2014

Mt Fuji

Went to Japan. Wanted to go up Mt Fuji but this is not the season. Couldn't even get to go to the Fifth level as it was closed due to the snowstorm the previous week. So we ended up just having to do the tourisy thing: we went to this place called Owakudani where we get view Mt Fuji.

And tada! here are the many views of Mt Fuji from different spots in the area










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