Tag Archives: transport

Getting around and Getting Drunk in London

In my little London adventure, there are two things that come to my thoughts: the experience of excellent public transportation and, to my surprise, pubs and beers that turn to be a big let down.

In the Tube
Getting to Waterloo

First of all, as a first-time visitor I commute in London without any confusion. These days, my main tool for travelling is Google Maps. With its accurate information, I can get around without having to ask anyone for directions. Moreover, the clear signs on the ground reflect exactly in the app. I have had this problem in Detroit where I couldn’t find the bus stop, which appeared in the Maps.

However, when you plan the trip with the app and start to get into the Tube system, it could be difficult to change the route because there is no mobile signal down there and will have to find out from that complex Underground map. My friend and I have to do that while in the pub crawl session.

I just can’t help comparing it with other cities I’ve lived. Sydney improved when I visited last year. DC is adequate but Metro network is not widespread. Bangkok train systems are reliable but they are not totally integrated with each other or with other systems—i.e., bus and ferry services.

More evidently, getting from/to the airport shows how to move people painlessly. Even though Sydney, DC, and Bangkok are not bad, Heathrow Express is the best. Many cities frustrated me in terms of getting out of the airport. To name a few: I queued up for a taxi for hours in Kuala Lumpur, I got confused with Uber pick-up point in Detroit, I was rudely dropped off a wrong destination in Chiang Mai because Songthaew driver misheard me.

I’ve got prior perception of the city’s public transport system from a couple of works I was involved. London was one of the success case stories in a report about urban transport in Malaysia. And we once interviewed CTO and Director of Customer Experience, Transport for London on how they could assist other cities with their experiences. To finally experience it first hands with this background is great.

On the other side, my expectation with pubs and beer is high but it just lets me down. Two nights out of three in the city, I get last call bell before midnight. I’m not sure if this is a norm but I don’t remember the last time I had to rush out of a pub.

Mushrooms at the World's End
A urinal at World’s End, Camden

And a quest for good local ale also fails. London Pale Ale I have in Oxford is fine. But others than that don’t jump at me at all. The tap selections are quite the same along the pubs I’ve been too. Unlike DC or Sydney, where they’ve got different beers in different pubs. My regular, Songbyrd, always changes beers on their taps.

Late Night Underground
Getting back to Notting Hill, tipsy…

To end this note, I’ve got one of the most embarrassing moments in my life in the last night in London. I can’t hold it to the hotel and have to release it on pathway by a park. Just a few second later, a police car pulls over behind me. The cops get out of the car and ask me questions. This could be the first time ever I got caught red handed with no excuses. I know I could be in a trouble with it but they let me go anyway. Oops! Lesson learned.

Christmas on the Go

While I was studying at COFA, my relationship with the only bus route from King Street, Newtown to Oxford Street, Paddington352was not so great because of its unreliability and punctuality. It frustrated me when you never knew whether the next bus was going to be late which they usually are. Sometimes, I wanted to strangle the driver for being so laid back on the schedule.

It is hard to believe that there is not that easy to commute to and from these two Sydneys major cultural precincts with public transportation. The bus comes only every 30 minutes and does not run on weekend. By train, you have to get off at Museum or Kings Cross Station and walk there.

pong_091204_1255

pong_091204_1256

However, my attitude toward the 352 route has completed changed when I got on this bus from Bondi Junction. It astonished me with the simply tacky Christmas decoration. But not just that, the driver was also in a Santa suit. Most of all, there were laminated kids drawings all over the bus. The notice said:

The artwork on the Waverley Christmas Bus is provided for your enjoyment by the children from Ronald McDonald House at the Prince of Wales Hospital at Randwick.

pong_091205_1260

The following day, I encountered another over-the-top Christmas taxi.

I was just filled. And it actually made me miss Thailand. Supposedly, it was the first time that this Christmas season got to me and I could feel the joy like I had with Thai celebrations in the home country i.e. Songkran or Loy Krathong.

That reminds me I should start making this year greeting card real soon.

Story of Sticky

I always wanted to play with this idea of long exposure photography along the a tuk tuk ride but did not get a chance to do it in until the Thailand trip last year.

On the way to dinner in Khao Sarn Road area, I decided to get a tuk tuk from Pratunam. It was not the best decision to commute around Bangkok at the time when everyone was stuck on the road but it was quite perfect for the shooting, I found. To get a tuk tuk in that scenario was a tricky task. Some drivers simply said no to the destination or called incredibly high fair price

When I hopped on the first tuk tuk in at least six year, my camera was ready to shoot. Few test shots were taken as we slowly crawled in the traffic. I found the best shutter speed setting was 6 second at f14. The variation of 192 images were shot throughout the ride until the last shot when I was getting off the vehicle.

The idea was to stay with the sequence of the shots so there was no hard work of editing these image. Digging the right sound was more important at this phase. Initially, a world techno track from Rama IV was laid as the background and quickly arrange the images as Sticky Tuk Tuk. I left that work for a while until I decided to create the original track for it to avoid copyright issue and enter the local art exhibition. In Mac-ready audio editing software, GarageBand, I found some good royalty free samples to loop and put them together.


Sticky from ApostrophePong on Vimeo.

This work is awarded as Commended in Marrickville Contemparary Art Prize (MCAP’08) for CALD category (artists from Indigenous of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse background). And I will be at the Artist Talks on Sunday 21 September (last day) at At The Vanishing Point Contemporary Art, 3-5 pm and the following Sunday at Chrissy Cotter Gallery, 2-3.30 pm.

Go with the Flow

Go with the Flow

To me, the most enjoyable transport in Bangkok must be Chao Phraya Express Boat Service. Chao Phraya River is the bloodline of Bangkok. All sort of activities happens along the waterway, creating a vibrant livelihood unlike the enclosed views you get from the road. You can capture people and their relationship with water as well as amazing abstract urban landscape while feeling the fresh air.


Go with the Flow from ApostrophePong on Vimeo.

Go with the Flow music slideshow starts from the trip from Central (Sathorn) Pier, which is conjunct with the end of skytrain line at Taksin Station, to Wang Lang (SiriRaj) Pier.

Go with the Flow

Go with the Flow

Go with the Flow

Go with the Flow

Mochit 2 Revisit

Back to Thailand trip months ago, I and Stilgherrian had a day trip to Rayong for lunch with my parents. It was Stil’s only day outside the Greater Bangkok. We decided not to commission a taxi and take a much cheaper bus. Therefore I got a chance to be back at Mochit 2, the largest bus terminal in the city.

Bus Patrol

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