Topic: Asia

A Camel in the Emirates: Camel Polo has become a favorite pastime in the Gulf. Copyright: Christina Feyerke

Dubai: Ever heard of Camel Polo?

28.08.2017

No extra skills needed!

Have you ever tried to play Camel Polo? If not, perhaps the time has arrived for you to muster all your courage, clamber onto the chosen Camel’s furry back and see what happens. Organisers of this entertaining pastime declare that no prior equestrian or camel riding experience is required and that this activity is nothing but great fun for virtually everyone.

Those who have made the acquaintance of camels before may find them cute or even cuddly, despite their size and their sometimes intimidating grunt issued from the base of their huge lungs. They are tender giants, really. Depending on the outcome of an encounter – and with all due respect – some rate camels (who can close their nostrils) smelly and stubborn – and they slobber. In general, the camel, a mammal, is pleasant to have – but one never knows what it’s up to next. They can be such clowns, camels! Even the classy racing variety – costing as much as a fleet of Rolls’s and trained to keep their aristocratic countenance at all times – could not care less about conventions if caught in a foul mood. Crowds cheering on grandstands have watched priceless camels stop dead in their speedy strides and abruptly turn on all four heels, only to continue their lonely run in the opposite direction, protruding lips flapping. Much to the chagrin of the helpless jockey…

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Reading time: about 4 minutes
The-warehouse-hotel-evening-river-facade

A Singaporean Heritage: From „Godown“ to Boutique Hotel

27.02.2017

Back in Lim Ho Puah’s time, the banks along Singapore River quivered with sinister activities of underground Chinese and Fujianese secret syndicates. Gambling and prostitution prevailed and the flourishing opium trade reliably accounted for half of the revenue thriving businesses along the Strait of Malacca route generated. Since most smokers were hopelessly addicted and the trade was supported by the colonial government, profits stayed at a long-time high. In the very midst of this illustrious district right by the river lay Lim Ho Puah’s „godown“, the warehouse he had built in 1895.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes
Longevity in Blue Zones

Longevity: The Blue Zones Methusalem Enigma

30.12.2016

The „quality“ of longevity is being discussed in controversial ways. Whereas the set goal for the ones optimistic of their (ever-)lasting physical and mental stamina is reaching an age of biblical extent, others would rather see themselves passing away at the height of their beauty, wit and grit – just in time, so to say. For them, the outlook on being left wilting helplessly in a forlorn nursery home or as an undead vegetable plugged to the wonders of life-prolonging contraptions, is utterly unbearable. Not to hope for heavenly conditions on earth seems the more realistic approach as well as being aware that, commonly, just-in-time rarely happens.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes
Robots working at a hotel reception in Nagasaki.

Robotic hospitality prevails at Nagasaki hotel

10.03.2016

Strange ways indeed
From a distance, front-desk receptionist Yumeko could be mistaken for a good-looking young lady of genuine flesh and blood, whereas colleagues positioned at the counter to either of her sides won’t fool anyone. They are instantly recognisable as what they are: a not-so-handsome-yet-still-quite-cute greenish descendent of the Jurassic age with a serious overbite and a manikin-like mechanical device held in colours white and blue: little Nao. It is obvious, that dinosaur Mirai cannot be real – but neither is Yumeko nor are most of the staff weasling about the Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki: Instead, they are intelligent robots able to converse with their customers in a sensible and friendly manner while checking them in and out. The diligent machines are always ready to please, never in a filthy mood and obedient servants programmed to satisfy their guests’ special needs.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes
A monk on a rooftop in the Himalayans. Copyright: Marco Roth

Bhutan and Nepal: Mountains, Monks and Tigers

15.02.2016

A guest post by Marko Roth

We succumbed to the fascination of Buddhism and Hinduism and eavesdropped on monks praying in Bhutan temples. We admired indigenous people performing spiritual dances in colourful fortresses, traversed the valley of Paro on horseback and cooled down while rafting in Chitwan.

 We lived with the indigenous tribes of Taro, were allured by rhinos and tigers on a safari through Chitwan National Park and took a bath with elephants in Barauli Rivers. We crossed mountain chains at 3,000 meters above sea level, fought with bumpy winding roads, watched the cloudless skies of the Himalayans and Mount Everest and marvelled at crazy Kathmandu streets.
And now, we are back!

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Reading time: about 1 minute