Current Affairs

On lent

Are you happy? Yes, you – right now. Are you perusing these pages while smiling ear to ear and chuckling with good cheer? Much as I would like to think that my journals could induce you to ecstasy, I’m prepared to go out on a limb and reckon that your emotions are actually more prosaic. At-ease, perhaps? Maybe not even that… Rather, a kind of neutral, run-of-the-mill – not sad or worrisome but not particularly hopeful either. Perhaps a lot of conflicting emotions, confused…Maybe after all the life’s changes in the past two years, it is only human and isContinue reading “On lent”

Wonders of non-alcoholic cocktails (and 4 of my best recipes)

Each year in October, an estimated 60,000 people give up drinking for Sober October, Macmillan Cancer Support’s fundraiser. In the UK, about a fifth of adults say they’re teetotal, and among 16-to-24-year-olds it’s almost 30% (yikes!). Although stats presented here are those of the UK, this isn’t a local trend but rather a global and cross-generational phenomena. In developed countries, alcohol consumption is in long-term decline. And people’s reasons for abstaining are various: generational, cultural, religious. Non or low-alcoholic drinks (No-Lo) market has exploded in the past few years: it’s now possible to find non-alcoholic beers (shout out to ErdingerContinue reading “Wonders of non-alcoholic cocktails (and 4 of my best recipes)”

Descent into baloney we must fix

Boisterous bullfrogs wake me up earlier than usual. They’ve been going literally since three in the morning, went on for 30 minutes, stopped and started again at six, they haven’t stopped since. I am not in favor of killing them but I’d love to figure out a way to get them outta here. Yesterday, a chicken guy (he called himself that) came and took three of them away but they were immediately replaced by four others. As I said, they’re ‘bull’-proportioned and I tried to physically wrangle one of them away and he mauled me. That wasn’t so smart. I’mContinue reading “Descent into baloney we must fix”

On travelling while Covid

Familiar hubbub greets me, although today it feels a little awkward as it has been months since my last routine. Flight crew performs their usual and soothing benedictions while the plane taxis on the runway in snail speed, flanked by permanently idling planes on either side. The wings lift and comes alive, the wheels fold away and the pilot turns left for Singapore. Incheon sky and the West Sea down below look beautiful and peaceful. Obstacles that fate throws their way – as if in retribution for the sins for hope of earthly happiness – is perhaps omen for thingsContinue reading “On travelling while Covid”

Watching In the mood for love on New Year’s eve

It is level 3 in Seoul which means restaurants are only open for take-out and entertainment is all but nil. So when I found out that movie theaters were open (with capacity limits) on New Year’s eve, that’s how I was going to spend the evening in this oddest of the odd years. I was afforded two choices – Wonder woman 1984 or (to my surprise) digitally-remastered, Wong Kar Wai’s In the mood for love. It made for trouble-free decision making. If you’re a reader of these pages but haven’t seen In the mood for love, you have definitely sufferedContinue reading “Watching In the mood for love on New Year’s eve”

Year of the Covid holiday gift ideas 

Holiday season 2020 It’s that time of the year when everyone including editors and contributors of magazines and newspapers dispense their seasonal wish-lists.  Normal’s proprietor is shamelessly no exception so I’m having a go at my own rendition but hopefully of a conscious kind appropriate in this time of anguish.  Frankly I wasn’t expecting to see this annual ritual in the pages of my go-to (enlightened?) newspapers and magazines this year, at least not so early in the season.  I just saw daily flashes of the US four week average infection exponentially upward at some 70%.  Are we doing elaborateContinue reading “Year of the Covid holiday gift ideas “

Cities, profit from this

As I write this story I glance down from my perch in Seoul. On this particularly crisp October morning I was enjoying a cup of Fall Blend on the terrace of a coworking café. Groups of young men dressed in the sharp, telltale style of consultants in their first year on the job (navy suit, white shirt, no tie, monk-strap shoes) pacing through rotating doors of the building; boisterous women in pairs in fashionable getups with just-so-right hemlines (below the knee but not quite calf-length) flashing their Galaxy phones toward contact tracing QR code reader; around me clusters of twoContinue reading “Cities, profit from this”

This time is different

This blog is called the Minimalist Travels for a reason.  It’s supposed to be an observation of the world that surrounds me and be a witness to the beautiful and express it with minimalist prose.  Yet, this morning it is the brutalist ugly that compels me to be a witness to. As the tv, print and online media re-peddle night after day how they are rattled by the Brexit result few expected, I can’t shake off the feeling that we should have seen this one coming. Forces of economic nationalism and working class anger have been brewing ever since the last financial crisis andContinue reading “This time is different”

%d bloggers like this: