Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ridiculously fine dining

So there is this “exclusive” restaurant in a small shop house near my workplace. There is a perennial crowd of people waiting outside it to always get in. If it rains there is a bunch of umbrellas with people shivering under it and if it’s sunny there is a big crowd of sweaty people braving the heat.

After passing by that place umpteen times my curiosity was obviously aroused. I did some research and figured out this – the Japanese restaurant allows walk-ins for lunch. But for dinner you need to have an advance booking even to stand out there in the crowd.

That explains the crowd during lunch times. People start queuing like 10:00 AM in the morning (while I am still digesting my coffee!) and they keep queuing till the owner slams the door on them in the afternoon at 3:00 PM. Yeah the restaurant opens for lunch between 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM.

So after months of navigating that crowd to go to my office and back, I have also been thinking of joining the frenzy. Now queuing at 10:00 AM is madness, but I felt I might book for dinner one evening and pop-in to see what the hullaballoo is all about.

And here is the sign in plain English that I found outside the door (early morning 08:00 AM in January). I sneakily took a picture before a man dressed like a samurai shooed me away (lucky he was not brandishing a sword!).


A restaurant booked for 6 months in advance? That’s insane. I can’t imagine of one creative reason why I would want to wait for 6 months to eat at a place. Even if the food is like super freaking awesome.

Always booked

It’s just a few seconds of taste on your tongue before it is a bunch of crap (literally) in your intestines. Why on earth would I wait so long for those few seconds of carnal pleasure? When I bounced this thought off my food connoisseur friend (who indeed is waitlisted and “lucky” to be in the list in the next 6 months) he gave me a condescending look which said “You village bumpkin, you have no understanding of the finer things in life!”

Anyway, the only reason I would probably wait 6 months is if I were a die hard fan of some celebrity and that person was ready to dine with me in this restaurant! And then, I can’t think of anyone that I would desperately wish to dine with. I think I will give this place a miss. If you happen to go there, do sneak out a tiny morsel for me to munch on.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Train Surfing

So the lazy bum (yeah me!) has invented another sport for other people like me. It’s called train surfing and it involves riding in the first compartment of a driverless train. For the uninformed, Singapore now has 3 driverless MRT train lines and 3 driverless LRT lines.

Driverless trains are a technology marvel in itself. These trains steer, start, stop and accelerate all by themselves without having anyone physically in the train to drive them. Though NEL was the first driverless train in Singapore, the designers did not really put a big front glass window for people to gaze out at the track in the front while the train is travelling. However, the subsequent lines – Circle and now the Downtown line both have a huge window from which you can peek out at the track in front.

So what exactly is train surfing? My definition is – you get into a driverless train and stand in the front compartment near the window and then enjoy the ride. These trains can reach speeds up to 80 kmph. So in a way you are out there standing in a pseudo-roller coaster that can go that fast. And the cool part? You can do it while you are commuting to your boring day job, day-after-day every day!

And what do silly train surfing fanatics like me do? Well, they plan their route to the destination in such a way that they have to take these driverless train (even though it’s not the shortest distance!).

The newest addition to the driverless train family in Singapore (Downtown Line) actually has bright lights on the front of the train lighting up the entire track ahead. In the Circle line, the visibility always has been a bit of an issue for train surfers, but with the new lights, we can now actually look into the future. How cool is that?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

No Plastic

So we diligently said no to plastics. All the time every time. Anywhere and everywhere. I always carry with me a foldable reusable bag that I use anywhere I go. For bigger groceries, I have a trolley that accompanies me from my home to the mall and back.

All this saying “no” ultimately resulted in we running out of plastic bags absolutely completely at home. Now, for the only reason I used plastic bags (to throw garbage!) I have none. The situation got so bad, that I ended up buying garbage bags.

I am proud of myself and at the same time amazed. Amazed because, despite being so diligent, it took me more than a year to run out of plastic bags. Which means a rare shopper like me (who was anyways very frugal with plastic bags before) had stacked up on more than 300 plastic bags at home. If we try to extrapolate, it’s a scary number to consider worldwide.

I am happy that the Indian Government woke up to this fact and started imposing charges for plastic bags given away by retailers. Though it inconvenienced quite a few people, it is one externality that had to be taxed.