Where to Tipple in Asia

Fulls disclosure: I am no one who travels frequently in Asia. On the other hand, I am always looking for places that would make a trip anywhere more exciting. That would include bars.

Not just places to sit on a stool and sip a brew. Though there is nothing wrong with that. Places that you would want to be part of your routine. Places that serve up ambiance and great cocktails.

So with no further intro, here is a list of the top 50 bars in Asia.

You might notice that a number of these establishments are to be found in the top 50 bars of the world.

Go for it!


The Shakespeare of Shit?

That is my line for today. Brilliant! It is in a rather long rant from a Brit trying to explain why Brits are not Trump fans. You can imagine who he “Shakespeare of Shit” is. I will re-post the comments here

Someone asked “Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?”

Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England, wrote this magnificent response:

“A few things spring to mind.

Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.

For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.

So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.

Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever.

I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility – for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.

But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.

Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.

And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.

There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.

Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront.

Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.

And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.

Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that.

He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat.He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.

And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully.

That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead.

There are unspoken rules to this stuff – the Queensberry rules of basic decency – and he breaks them all. He punches downwards – which a gentleman should, would, could never do – and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless – and he kicks them when they are down.

So the fact that a significant minority – perhaps a third – of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think ‘Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:

* Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.

* You don’t need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.

This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.

After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.

God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.

He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.

In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump.

And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish:

‘My God… what… have… I… created?

If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set.”


Uber Meets Airbnb above the clouds!

I was wondering when we would see this type  of service and now it is here!

Some background: Uber and Airbnb have opened up new markets using tech platforms to enable people to “share” their cars and apartments. In fact, sharing is the wrong word, as it is not a gift by a service that is paid for. Whatever. The point is that this is a new business model based on new tech. So why not apply it to … air travel?

Why not indeed. That is exactly what is happening in California. A new company enables people to hop onto privately operated small planes. My guess — this will spread across the US and to Europe and Asia. Why? Faster and cheaper intercity travel, dude. We all want that.

Consider — it takes over 2 hours to drive to Tallinn from Tartu. The train is a bit faster, but not much. You could make this trip in around 20 minutes in a plane. And if the price were around ,€50, I would do it. Not every time. But sometimes. Even more attractive – Tartu to Riga. 4 hours by bus. Or how about Tartu to Helsinki?

Count me in!

London: The Landmark Flies Under the Radar Screen

The grand dame hotels of London are well known, right? Claridges, Browns, Savoy, Connaught, Langham, Ritz, Dorchester, and … drum roll please … The Landmark.

The Landmark? Yes, the Landmark on Marleybone Road. Marleybone Road? Yes. Get over it. This is a seriously cool place. Want more evidence? Check out their winter garden

Image result for London Landmark winter garden

Here is a peek at the experience you can  have there.

And the hotel? Here is a review.

Bottom line. This is worth checking out.



Restaurant of the Day: Il Baretto al Baglioni, Milan

What is so special?  It has a wonderful look

Image result for Il Baretto al Baglioni

And what is the scene? From the Financial Times

It remains a place where a visitor can tap into Milan’s often hard-to-find nexus of luxury goods industrialists and top bankers. The menu is “Milanese light”. Regulars rave over its raw fish and prosecco aperitivo. But you are mostly coming not to eat but to see and be seen. Casual dress is not an option.

Here is the link! It goes onto my Milan page as a “must try out” when my investment bankers give me the green light.

The World Celebrates St. Paddy’s Day. Trump Goes Bonkers

America is getting used to the idea that the president of the United States is nuts. How can I say that? Consider if Barrack Obama suddenly unleashed 3 dozen tweets where he ranted and raved about the media.

Trump did that on Sunday and no one blinked an eye.

(They included) missives that demand the return of suspended Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, lashing out at three other Fox News anchors deemed insufficiently loyal, repeatedly insulting the political and military skill of the deceased Sen. John McCain, railing against the Deep State and Democratic lawmaker Ilhan Omar, thanking GOP senators who didn’t defect from his declared national emergency to build his border wall, and asking if the “Federal Election Commission and/or FCC” should investigate NBC’s “not funny” Saturday Night Live for being too mean to him, among many other posts.

Pirro was recently fire for making Islamaphobic statements on the air.

Whether you are a conservative, progressive, or something in between, you have to wonder. When is enough enough?

Gene Therapy Cures Leukaemia!

This is pretty amazing.

Leukaemia is one of those cancers that doctors are unable to do anything about. It is a killer. Until now, that is. A new treatment has worked, albeit in a small sample. 

The key to the new therapy is identifying a molecule unique to the surface of cancer cells, then genetically engineering a patient’s immune cells to attack it.

They attack it and wipe out the tumors. Researchers are trying to identify molecules that are unique to other types of cancer cells. And they seem to be having success

In January, he demonstrated this approach by wiping out human prostate tumours implanted in mice, using T-cells engineered to target two surface molecules (Nature Biotechnology, doi.org/kw2).

Very cool!