Thursday, 26 January 2012

Plane Spotting - what is it?

'Plane Spotting' is an activity that has attracted an enormous amount of interest over the last few years.  The hobby is not something entirely new, but has seen exponential growth, greatly supporting the digital SLR Camera industry - especially two big brands: Canon and Nikon.  For those who may not be entirely aware of what goes on outside airport terminals, let me reassure you that people visit airports for more than just the two general reasons which are either travelling yourself or greeting off family or friends.  Basically, the deal is that many enthusiasts gather together (sometimes in communities or clubs) and spend time photographing planes or creating their own log books.  For me, photographing planes is understandable, but creating log books (writing down the registration of each aircraft - or special aircraft - that arrives) is beyond me, but this exercise has gained great interest throughout the world also.  If a plane is landing early, just watch the speed at which an aviation photographer or spotter rushes to the airport in the morning, even if the sun has not yet risen.  Determination.  Pure determination coupled with unwavering passion.

At this point, you may be wondering why anyone would want to photograph aircraft at an airport.  If I hadn't grown up visiting the airport with my father, I would most probably ask the same question.  Furthermore, I would not have this wonderful hobby. Simply put, it's exactly like attending the Grand Prix, a  swimming competition or horse racing.  The only difference is...  Planes are more exciting :)  They are enormous, and I doubt there is a single person in the world that has not once questioned how a large piece of metal (Airbus A380) that weighs up to 560 tonnes on take off can travel up to 15, 400 km across the World.  If a fact like that has not caught your attention by now, don't worry.  On a day off, take a trip down near the airport and, even if only for a few minutes, experience this event first-hand!

The photo below demonstrates the above mentioned aircraft.  Look in closely and try to comprehend just how big it is...  It's length is 72.72 metres, has a wingspan of almost 80 metres and a height of just under 25 metres. The photo below shows the A380 turning onto the runway at Hong Kong airport, a brilliant airport that is spotter/photographer friendly.  If you look in close, take the taxiway lights as a size comparison.  If you want the rest of the technical information about the Airbus A380, follow the link here to the official website.

The two photos above were taken during the AFL Grand Final in Melbourne, Australia in 2010.  The A380 came down fairly low and entertained crowds before the Grand Final match started.  A very wise move by Qantas.

Here is a photo of the Qantas Airbus A380 performing a similar flyover in 2008 for the AFL.

Another BRILLIANT size comparison.  Just look at that person standing right underneath it!!!

The photo above was taken just after departure from Melbourne Airport, heading for Singapore then London.

Watching it take off is exciting.

A good photo showing the sheer size of the aircraft - note the little helicopter in the distance!

My favourite photo of the A380 that I've taken.  The photo also shows that bad weather does not always mean bad photos...

What the interior of the First Class looks like in a Singapore Airlines A380.  If you need something to spend you money on during a holiday, I highly recommend this little treat...

Face-to-face with the Airbus A380.  Do you see the Captain?  Check out what he was wearing that day...

Economy class cabin in the Singapore Airlines A380

Another stunning take off! 

The A380 seemed to get everyone's attention on the beach - Sydney Airport.

A close up of the front section - Look at the Captain!

How popular the A380 is...

To end this post, here is a photo taken back in 2005.  Melbourne airport was PACKED with thousands of people coming to greet the Airbus A380 for the first time!  A historic day indeed, one which shows that you don't have to officially call yourself a 'plane-spotter' to appreciate the marvellous creations of some brilliant minds!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Happy New Year 2012

Well, it's been an adventurous year in 2011.  It involved completing my second year in University, travelling for a month long University program to the United States and an exchange program to Hong Kong, in which I have one semester to complete.  That means I get much more of an opportunity to explore Hong Kong in 2012!

One of my projects - - was launched in July 2011, successfully grew throughout the last few months and I hope it will continue to take on exponential growth in 2012.  This can only happen if you continue spreading the words and sharing links (even if it is with one friend).  Thousands of people have viewed the site and I've received much feedback, especially via emails which I am thankful for.

I would like to take the time to thank everyone that has supported me and my work - friends, family and visitors to the blog and I hope to bring you many more adventures and great advice in the upcoming posts.

Here is a photo from New Year's eve, where Hong Kong put on a marvellous display to welcome the New Year.  It was great celebrating the New year with family :)

Wishing everyone a safe, happy and prosperous New Year!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

10 Ways to Travel Green

*The following article is a guest post.  Author:  Shelly Mirriam

This site strives to bring you the best in travel.  But what about when you want to maximize your traveling fun while minimizing your impact on the environment?  Don’t despair, there are many ways to travel green, and we have listed just ten below.

  1. Fly commercial - Unless you are a millionaire or a Hollywood celebrity, this shouldn't be a problem.  Flying on a commercial plane has much less impact on the planet than chartering a jet just for one person.  If you truly must travel in style, business and first class seats are just as green as coach. 
  2. Use public transportation – Once you arrive at your destination, it can be tempting to rent a car, but the use of public transportation – especially buses and taxis – are better for the environment.  Like the above, it can also be a good option for those lighter on their travel budget.
  3. Don’t fly – If you can get to your destination by bus, train, or even carpool, go for it.  It may take a little longer but will be better for the environment.  There is also the added bonus of no security hassles or other occurrences that happen at the airport.
  4. Rent a hybrid – If you must rent a car, try a hybrid.  Many agencies offer them, and they can make up for the upgrade charge in saved gas.  If no hybrids are available, stick to cars that are lighter instead of trucks, jeeps, or SUVs.
  5. Reuse – Did you know that many hotels offer a Reuse Program where guests can reuse the sheets, towels, linens, etc. for a preset number of days?  It can both lessen the impact on the environment and your hotel bill.
  6. Pack light – With higher fuel prices, airlines are making up for it by charging bag fees.  Packing light cannot only save you the extra baggage fees, it can also be better for the planet.
  7. Bike trip – Many destinations offer bike tours as part of their offerings to vacationers.  Take part in them to not only minimize your impact but in seeing the countryside as it was meant to be seen and felt.
  8. Stay smart – If you know where in your destination you will be doing most of your sight-seeing, try and get lodging as near as possible.  It cannot only cut down on your transportation costs during your stay, it can also reduce the impact that all those cab rides and such would have had.
  9. Book green – The practice of traveling green is not a new one.  In fact, there are many sites that can help you do it.  There is an extensive list <a href=>here</a> that has loads of sites to help you lodge, tour, and more.
  10. Volunteer vacation – If you really want to do the most good during your vacation, why not volunteer vacation?  This is where you join a group of volunteers to perform tasks from building houses to providing medical care or education for a population in need.  These types of vacations are often green and can be very rewarding.

Shelly Mirriam is a science student and also writes
Masters in Environmental Science helps students find the right environmental science degree.

** is always on the lookout for guest writers.  If you would like to contribute, please send an email to:

Monday, 2 January 2012

Nexus Resort (hotel review) - Kota Kinabalu

The Nexus Resort in Kota Kinabalu is a well placed hotel.  If you're looking for a busy holiday where you'll be spending time in town and socialising then you should have never read past the word 'resort'.  This is because it really provides what it promises, a chance to escape reality and begin to appreciate the 'World' you don't often see when at work or study.  The interior was quite pleasant and even had incense sticks burning away.  The colours were well suited to the environment and act to soothe the tensions of everyday life.  Ideal for all, couples through to families.  

If you want to book it at a reasonable rate, I highly recommend booking via AGODA who are efficient and reliable in securing hotels for you in Asia.  Malaysia remains one of my favourite travel destinations and these days it has become so affordable if you choose to travel with airlines such as Air Asia. 

The room colour choice was perfect!

Yes, paradise beyond these windows!

Spacious bathroom

Open spaced walkway to the beach

Here is a glimpse of the design

Sunset begins

I loved this hut, I think you'll see why

Remains my desktop background photo to this day

People don't always ruin photos, they can make them much more interesting...

If you ever want to see a dramatic sunset, head to Malaysia.  

Wishing I was sitting on that right now!

Visited: August 2011
Cleanliness - 9/10
Service - 8.3/10
Breakfast - 8/10
Location (accessibility) - 3.5/10
Location (ambiance) - 10/10
Amenities - 8/10
Technology - TV, Internet connectivity, radios - 8/10
Overall Impression - 9/10

How likely I will be revisiting:  Highly Likely

In a sentence:  The Nexus resort is situated in an ideal location for a true getaway, and will leave you with a lasting impression of Malaysia!
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