Public Outdoor Aerobics Classes

If the US wants to get serious about public health, perhaps we should take a page out of Bangkok’s book and start offering free outdoor aerobics classes.

Must be a Southeast Asian thing — I’ve seen it done in Vientiane, Laos:

A public aerobics session in Vientiane

aerobics, Thailand, Bangkok, Laos


Manila’s Hobbit House Bar

I’ve talked to people who’ve been to The Hobbit House Bar in Manila — the joint is owned and run by little people. Supposedly the atmosphere is not exploitative at all; they’ve apparently got good live music and tasty vittles. Next time I’m in the Philippines, it’s at the top of my to-do list.

Hobbit+House, Manila, Philippines

“From Portland to Phnom Penh”

Michele McLellan: “How I learned to relax and build a house on the Mekong River.”


Amazing Photos from Burma

Some truly stunning pics. Click on thumbnails for related galleries and narration.

(Via Gridskipper.)

Myanmar, Burma

My Metro Card Collection: Caught on Film

As I’ve mentioned before, I collect metro cards from around the world. And I received a nice item in the mail yesterday from Miles B. and Susie: a Boston T card. (I’ve ridden on the T a few times but have always forgotten to snag a card for my collection.) Many thanks, you two.

I decided, for your viewing pleasure and for archival purposes related to the future Newley Purnell presidential library’s ephemera exhibit, to document my cards.

Here’s the full gallery with pics of each card, notes on their design and material, and dates of acquisition. (I always thought my collection was huge, but I’ve actually only got seven cards. I really need to beef it up…)

metro, cards, collection, ephemera

Haze in KL


Malaysia has announced a state of emergency in two towns after air pollution reached dangerous levels.

The pollution is blamed on fires lit to clear land in neighbouring Indonesia, seriously affecting air quality and visibility across the Malacca Strait.

Air quality readings taken in the two towns showed pollution markers to be above the emergency level of 500.

The haze has prompted hundreds of schools to shut, as well as disrupting airports and busy shipping lanes.

Malaysia, haze

Vietnam War Reenactors

WaPo: “Vietnam Buffs Bring Jungle to Va.: Reenactors Evoke a War Many Would Rather Forget”

I consider myself to be way ahead of the curve, so I shall be staging an Iraq war re-enactment this weekend in the Arizona desert. (I’ve got Syria, Iran, and North Korea re-enactments tentatively planned for next summer contingent upon current events.)


The Largest WiFi Hotspot in the World is in…

Tokyo? Nope. Seoul? Uh-uh. London? No. New York? Try again.

As the New York Times’s Nicholas Kristof says in his column today*, it’s in Hermiston, Oregon, a town of less than 25,000. Amazing stuff — the hotspot stretches for some 600 square miles. (My Dad lives in Pendleton, not far away.)

WiFi, Oregon, Kristof, Cambodia

Cambodian Gubment Sez: Stop Sending Nudie Pics Via Mobile Phones!


“PHNOM PENH – A teenage craze for sending doctored naked images of female celebrities to each other by mobile phones sparked a demand by a Cambodian minister for government action against pornography.

Cambodia, phonecam

Nap Cap Pricing and Indigenous Indonesian Clog Wearing Customs

In an ongoing email thread, my Dad and I have been pondering an interesting question he raised: since Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch, did the native population ever take to wearing clogs?

He writes:


Did you notice that the NC [Ed — he’s referring, of course, to the previously-mentioned Nap Cap] is $99.95! Your brain would already need to be asleep to order one!

By the way, I’ve been reading the history of foreign occupation in Indonesia, and it seems very unlikely that anyone other than aristocrats who profited from the Dutch presence ever chose to wear wooden shoes…

Anyone out there got an answer for him? My googling reveals nada.

I’m lookin’ at you, Frans V

: My buddy Frans V., who in fact grew up in Singapore and is of Dutch heritage, writes:

The Dutch never wore wooden shoes. In fact, it was a dutchman named Johanas van der Vooran van Wuden who came up with the idea after the decline of the Moluccan spice trade to invent the wooden shoe and market them for tourists. The dutch had hoped that tourists would buy their famously large wheels of cheese, but they kept rolling off the sides of the ships as tourists returned home. The wooden shoe however proved quite popular and before long you could see tourists clogging clumsily down the cobble stone streets. Pickpockets soon picked up on this correlation of cash carrying tourist and poor mobility and the great Clog Crime wave took place in Amsterdam in 1872. Soon after the wooden shoe fell out of favor and the dutch tourism board lobbied to have Holland’s nuclear power plants replaced with windmills. So in fact, the dutch never really wore wooden shoes and people in Indonesia during colonial times for that matter wore Tevas, which have since been replaced by the locally produced Nike Aquasock.

Who knew?