Thursday, July 26, 2018

On inlfight meals on Thai Airways

I always opt for Thai Airways for flights between Manila and Bangkok, if I had that opportunity. No, its not an unpatriotic thing that I don't fly Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific. I do when I'm on a tight budget. But given the sponsorship (I was invited as a resource speaker at an international workshop.) and seeing that Thai was (surprisingly) less expensive than PAL, the decision was easy. Service, for one, is better and then there is the food. Inflight meals are notoriously lesser quality on-board PAL and CebPac. PAL experienced a resurgence of sorts the months it was managed by San Miguel but reverted when the beer conglomerate quit the business.

Snack in the form of salted and roasted almonds and a glass of orange juice
Lunch on board Thai Airways economy class
I've written about inflight meals before and I guess the better ones were on-board Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines and Emirates. I can only say that from the point of view of an economy class passenger. The wife tells me food on business class is definitely much better. :)
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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Chocolate review: Alter Eco Deep Dark Sea Salt Organic Chocolate

It's been raining cats and dogs for several days now and always a comfort food in times like this is chocolate. And so we checked our cache to also see if there were chocolates due for eating (more because of expiration dates). A chocolate that I had forgotten about is one that I bought in Australia last year. This Deep Dark Sea Salt Organic Chocolate by Alter Eco is probably among the best that we've had.

Deep Dark Sea Salt claims to have "rich bold salty sweet" taste
Details on the chocolate at the back
Alter Eco's briefer on the sources of cacao and the process of making this chocolate
Nutrition information
There's a pleasant surprise in the box that provides a lot of details about the cacao used for the production of this chocolate.
Here are some interesting statistics and science related to cacao farming and chocolate-making
Image of a cacao famer
My only regret about this chocolate is not being more of it at the IGA store near the entrance to the hotel I was staying at in Melbourne. I hope to see this in another store as it is excellent chocolate at a lower price than the Valrhonas.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

On watch luminosity again

I recently posted about the luminosity of my watches. I checked others in my collection to see which ones might have good lumes (in good condition and likely to glow in the dark). Here are a new set of photos on the luminosity of those watches.

Luminox
Seiko Kinetic
Rodania manual
Helbros alarm
Olma manual wind
Vostok Amfibia

There will surely be a Part 3 for this feature on lumes. It's actually still amusing for me to see many of my old watches retaining these features though most old watches don't have this as designed.
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Sunday, July 15, 2018

In room dining at Shang Bangkok

I got quite tired after walking between the hotel and Asiatique. And so I decided to reward myself for taking more than 10,000 steps with one of our ideas for a comfort meal. I ordered some Indian food for in-room dining. Shangri-La makes a good chicken tikka and this came with basmati rice and roti. The servings were quite generous so I ended up working while eating just so I can also sustain my writing.

In-room dining for the night
The Shang's kitchens are quite consistent with this item on their menus as we've enjoyed this in several of the Shangri-la's we've stayed at so far. We'll probably order this again the next time the occasion calls for in-room dining.
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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Zodiac manual wind vintage watch

I'm not really into gold watches but I found this one intriguing as Zodiac is well-known brand that survived the quartz crisis of the 1970s. This one came with a brown leather strap that made it look old and that also carried over to the wearer so I had to find a replacement for this to be more contemporary and not "pang-matanda" (for old people).

Simple watch face - the reflection from the light doesn't do justice to this watch.
Side view showing scratches from years of usage - typical for vintage watches
Side view showing the crown, which came as a surprise to me as the logo on the crown is Omega. The previous owner probably had the watch repaired/maintained and replaced the crown with that of an Omega watch.
Watch back shown after I removed the leather strap to be replaced by a nato. The spring bars are in good condition.
Close-up of the back showing the watch to be anti-magnetic, water resistant, shock resistant and Swiss made. The Zodiac brand and emblem is also visible in the photo. If you look closely, there's an engraving of a fish at the top. I haven't researched about it but I assumed it means something.
What came as a surprise when I was changing the strap was the engraving between the lugs. It is similar to the etch on my IWC stating the watch was electroplated with gold. This one states 20 microns gold-plated.
Wrist shot
This is another reliable vintage watch, which I observed to function over 43 hours on a full wind. I changed the strap on this one as the leather strap it came with made it look old ("pang-matanda"). The nato strap is appropriate and immediately made the watch "younger" and "fun". It is now "wearable" as a casual watch. This one may be powered by either a Zodiac 61A (AS 1687) or 68 (AS 1688) movement, which dates the watch to ca. 1960s. I have another Zodiac watch and its an automatic. It will be featured in a future post.
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Monday, July 9, 2018

Omikron manual wind vintage watch

Another watch brand I have learned about and had been watching out for is Omikron. It seems to make sense to name a watch after another Greek letter. Omega, after all, is one of the premium brands around. And so it also seemed logical to get one of these discontinued brands. The original Omikron company closed shop in the 1990s and those that now carry the "brand" are bogus. So the vintage ones are the real deal in terms of being Swiss made and good quality watches.

There's something about sub-dials that attracts my attention. The watch has sword hands and no day or date complications.
Here's a side view with the crown.
Signed crown
Another side view
Close up of the crown showing the Omikron logo
It's the second time I got a watch that had something etched at the back. Using Google translate or any other online translation tool, you can decipher the Russian into a name and that this watch was an award for 10 years of service.
Here's a close for those wanting to read it or try out a translation tool.
Observing this watch for a few days gave me an average of 44 hours for a full wind. This was again at par with many if not most manual wind watches. And given its age, it is in great condition functionally and aesthetically.

The watch on my wrist as I was lounging at my parents' home
I plan to let go of this and other watches soon as I would like them to be enjoyed by others. I have my regular rotation among my collection and would probably use the proceeds for future acquisitions.
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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Seiko automatic 7005-6020

My father-in-law gave me this watch upon learning I was collecting old watches. He had not used this watch for quite some time and he had a few, too. Nowadays, he wore the Seiko 5 we gave him on Christmas the year of his 70th birthday.

I took this photo when I got the watch earlier this year. It has an odd shape and a design that screamed 1970s. The watch also has a date feature.
Watch model and water resistance
I replaced the old bracelet (the original one) with this nato strap.
Side view
Side view showing the crown, which appears to be partially hidden

I don't have a photo of the movement but it is a Seiko 7005A, which runs at 21,600 bph and had a power reserve of 43 hours. I replace the bracelet as it was tight on my wrist. It's also now more wearable as a casual watch.

[Note: The online Seiko Production Date Calculator estimates this watch to have been manufactured in June 1973. That means it is a 45-year old watch. 7/19/2018]
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Saturday, July 7, 2018

A lively and living river - the Chao Phraya

The Chao Phraya is a national symbol for Thailand and I couldn't help but be mesmerized about how alive this river is. The river is wide enough and deep enough to be navigable to a lot of vessels including those for commuting and those for freight. Here are a few photos I took from the hotel where I was staying at during my brief travel to Bangkok.

These boats are more commonly found zipping along the many canals that form a network for water transport in the city. I took this opportunistic shot of two including one that was speeding so that water was splashing spectacularly behind it.
The middle part of the river is reserved for the barge trains that travel up and down the river.
Water taxi along the river - there are many of these in the traditional design and most of them seem to be owned and operated by the better hotels in the area including the Peninsula.
If you have watched episodes of the series "Monster Fish", you would also know that the river is literally alive because there are many fishes and other aquatic life here. Sitting just beside the river as I ate my breakfast, I could see some of the big fishes almost jumping out of the river.
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Friday, July 6, 2018

Tatak ng pagbabago?

[Warning: This is another opinion piece. Proceed to my other posts if this makes you uncomfy to read.]

I find it amusing that the slogan for what's supposed to be a "seal of change" or "tatak ng pagbabago" is a clenched fist seemingly aimed at another person or persons. Are we picking a fight with someone? And is this how we choose to represent change - with a clenched fist? To many, the reaction of a clenched fist aimed at you can be either to dodge it or reply in kind (i.e., retaliate).

I'm sure that many people will rally behind this new slogan as it represents the current administration starting from the time the current leader campaigned for the presidency. And, of course, there is the wisecrack response about what clenched fists are all about. I am aware of the latter and its variations in the present context or whatever context one may choose to justify this. I guess it is the current (I refuse to call it new.) norm and most well-meaning people I know embrace it because it is their connection to power. It is just sad that people who you would think would probably abhor violence and injustice now condone it because they are currently in power and part of establishment. Or because their agenda is along the lines of the policies being executed (pun intended) by the government. I am sadder for those who fought the establishments of the past for the same reasons and issues we now have and have turned out to be exactly what they fought then. If you are hurt by these statements then probably you're one of them.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Back in Bangkok

I'm currently in Bangkok to participate in a workshop on road safety as applies to children. I was upgraded upon checking-in at the hotel; affording me this splendid view of the Chao Phraya and the pool area.

View from my room
Bangkok will always be among my favorite places as I have been a frequent visitor to this city that offers a lot in terms of food, culture and people. It helps, too, that we had our honeymoon in this city about 16 years ago. The last time I was here was 2013 so I want to get reacquainted with the city and friends. But I have to defer explorations until after my workshop is done.
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Monday, July 2, 2018

Chocolate review: Cailler Chocolat Noir 46%

A chocolate that I thought I had already written about is this bar from Nestle. We have bought this before but perhaps that was a long time ago when I wasn't writing about chocolates yet. Make no mistake. I am not an expert here but just writing casually about a favorite subject, which is chocolate.

Cailler dark chocolate
Details about the chocolate at the back of the packaging
Nutrition information and ingredients including their claim to have at least 46% cacao for this dark chocolate
Information in French and German

I forget exactly how much I paid for this bar. I think its about 150 pesos the time I got it. However, I do remember that I bought this from Santis. It is what I think I will term as "good enough" dark chocolate. It wasn't as notable as other dark chocolates I have written about here and for a 46%, I would prefer the less expensive Japanese chocolates like Meiji Black.
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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Glashütte Spezimatic Cal. 75, World Timer

Among my favorites is this Glashütte World Timer. The brand is German and is now classified as a luxury watch under the brand Glashütte Original and part of the Swatch Group. This came about from the privatization of what was VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB) of East Germany as I have written previously.

The first thing I noticed about the watch, and which makes it rare, is the inclusion of Manila on the rotating bezel. Most world timers will only have Hong Kong, which is in the same time zone as Manila.
The watch's bezel is pretty beaten up but that adds to the allure and value of the watch. It was probably a daily beater for the previous owner and not something worn on special occasions only.
Another side view showing the crown and the date feature
The watch back showing it to be waterproof (wasserdicht), shockproof (stossgesichert) and of stainless steel (edelstahl). It also shows the watch was made in the GDR or East Germany.
Close-up of the watch face showing the very interesting (to me) color combination and the 'Made in GDR'.
The watch on my wrist as I worked on a presentation.
As I picked up a couple of watches I had cleaned, I asked my watch guy to open the back to check if the watch needed maintenance. I took advantage and got this photo of the movement. The watch is in better condition than my UFO, which I had serviced recently.
Here is a clearer photo of the movement, which is a GUB Caliber 75, the same as my UFO, which runs on 18,000 A/h.
The watch is supposed to have a power reserve of 37h but I have recorded this to last about 39 to 40 hours. The watch keeps good time and I use it regularly in my rotation. The current rotation is comprised of this watch, my Kokutetsu Citizen Homer, and my Mido Ocean Star Cal. 80. :)
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