Thursday, 8 June 2017

Unboxing the duplex

I've been thinking about getting a really high end tent for a while now since i heard about Cuben fiber as a material for ultralight backpacking! Currently I'm carrying a tent which someone left behind but figured it would be great to have something that was of a higher quality. Two of the issues I had with looking at Cuben fiber made gear were the cost and also the lack of freestanding options. After browsing through a couple of brands such as Hyperlite Mountain Gear, Zpacks and many others , I decided to plunk down a wad of cash on a Duplex from Zpacks as it had an optional freestanding kit. All in The whole set up including pegs is less than a Kilogram! As I already had a flight to catch, I made sure to check with them to ensure that I could get it all before I left. Would be really shitty to have to get my family to ship it from US to South America. And with the reliability of mail( I have already lost an entire box shipping Canada to US which had a lot of outdoor gear) I really didn't want to risk it with shipping to South America where I had heard worse horror stories!

Anyway Less than 5 working days later, this arrived!
Totally stoked that it finally came as it is a kind of huge investment if you check up on the price of the whole item!

As expected, all the items were really small and light! I think that the box it was shipped in was almost half the weight of everything put together! The only issue I have is that they only sent me 2 rings in the freestanding kit instead of 4 so I wasn't able to set it up! The customer service was exemplary though as I received the 2 rings 2 days after I had emailed them to let them know about the error!

Sunday, 14 May 2017 membership and dividend tip.

So I've been a member of REI, an outdoor store started in Seattle and based in the United States, since my first trip to the US in 2011. Imagine Singapore before Decathlon opened it's 2 mega stores and you have an idea of the amazement I had the first time I stepped into a REI store. Any REI store was easily 20-30x the size of an outdoor retailer store in Singapore and most of the gear was sold at a price much lower than the exact same model in Singapore.

I still recall all of the items i purchased from that very first store. Vibram footwear, climbing helmets, shoes, a rack of quickdraws and multiple slings/ATCs. I probably spent close to a thousand Singapore dollars that day.

As a Co-op, they do give you back dividends based on the amount you spend. Typically you get about 10% of what you previously spent for that year and this can be used to purchase items from REI. The only problem is that this dividend can only be kept for 2 years. If unused after this time, it will simply be taken back. Anyway to cut the long story short, I'm going to tell you 2 ways of not losing out on that dividend. Firstly, you can request for a gift card on that dividend. Gift cards, unlike dividends have no expiry date and so you could keep that amount of money for your next REI purchase even 10 years down the road. Assuming of course that REI is still operating then. Not too sure what thei company policy is on honouring giftcards should the company decide to close shop.

Secondly, and also my preferred method, you can request for a cheque on that dividend amount. This means when they close the yearly expenditure accounts in July ( I believe that is the correct month) you'll get a cheque in the mail to your registered address! Cash is even better than credit!!

You can find contact information for REI here.

Let me know if this helps you out!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Singapore Day in San Francisco 2016

When I flew into San Francisco and went to the consulate to replace my passport due to the lack of validity remaining, I spied a poster on the counter wall about the upcoming Singapore day. In all of the year that I have been on the road, I have not really had anything close to what's available at home. Having travelled in South East Asia fairly extensively, pretty much any of the asian fare available in the Americas were either overpriced or just plain disappointing. Thus, seeing that poster advertising that there would be some hawkers brought over had me really stoked. I could almost taste the rich flavours of Char Kway Teow on my tongue from the pictures alone. The rich delightfully sinful pork lard caressing the insides of my mouth and the soft noodles slithering down my throat! The only problem was the place I was volunteering at wasn't really all that close to San Francisco. I wasn't really sure if I would be able to use the spare car on that Saturday.

Lo and behold, I could only get the car after 12noon. :'( But the pull of being able to savour all the delicious food was too great and I still hopped into the car, gassed up and started the supposed hour drive down. Barely 10 minutes into the journey, I ran into the first of what would turn out to be 5 separate traffic snarls, turning what was to be a hour long 70 mile drive into a 3 hour long crawl. I guess coming from Singapore where you could drive across the whole country in under an hour really has spoilt me! By the time I reached the site of Singapore Day, I could already see whole families leaving the premises. Nonetheless I still proceeded on. You never know after all plus I sure could kill for a bite of some "char kway teow'!

Anyway, I'm tired of writing! The following photos showcase what I managed to eat!