Monday, 1 February 2010

Updates for January 2010

Despite my intention to stem the flow of self typed updates, there were quite a few worthwhile articles on internet to warrant yet again another monthly update.

The Soaking Blogs
During the past months I have been updating the links list. Some links have gone dead, mostly those of government sites and/or geocities sites which have ceased to exist. I've tried to replace some links, though others remain (dead) as the alternatives were non-English sites or links to PDF files which I feel reluctant to link to. Other links have altogether disappeared, but I'll maintain these in the listing, I've seen that with the growth in internet they can reappear again.

In all there are / were 376 links, one third of which come from Indonesia. Others with many links are Thailand (94) and the Philippines (69).

First hand visits now account for 28 of these links, over half of which are from Thailand. Maps have been added to give a (rough) idea of where they are located as Google Maps coverage of Southeast Asia is not yet up to standard whereby one can directly pinpoint the correct location.

On the Himalaya site more (descriptive) links have been added on soaks in Nepal, India and Tibet.

Southeastasian Soaking News
Vietnam's Binh Chau hot spring, already one of the country's better developed hot springs, is set to be turned into a massive development site:
'The Kim To Trading and Service Co., Ltd late last week started work on its Binh Chau Hot Spring Villa project in southern Ba Ria –Vung Tau Province with a total investment capital of VND470 billion (US$254.5 million)'.
That last amount has the decimal in the wrong place, it's only US$ 25.5 million! Included are shopping facilities ...

Phuket, Thailand is adding attractions which it's visitors are supposed to love. Despite Phuket already being Southeast Asia's premier tourist destination, nothing is complete without a water park. So Phuket see's two water parks opening up for bizniz in the coming months (source). Surprisingly Splash Jungle includes a hot spring pool (natural or not?) which serves as an 'escape for parents'. And a wave pool, located just a few hundred meters from the beach!

In Malaysia, Sabah is all set to add another tourist trap in the form of a hot spring park in Tawau. Already possessing one of Southeast Asia's most sought out soaks (Poring; beware though, most visitors are quite disappointed), government and bizniz seem to think that more of the same is required. Apparently because not so many folk visited the natural springs development more development was needed so as to make the general public aware of the benefits of hot spring soaking. Tough luck for those nature lovers ....
The 16+ ha park-like setting contrasts with the previous
natural setting. Luckily the developers will also concentrate on ensuring that visitors enjoy fresh air.

Soaking Gone Crazy
Yes, so it seems. From a (slightly delayed) report from 10,000 students gone soaking in Xianning, Hubei, China:
'A total of 10,012 students bathed simultaneously in the city's seven hot springs, setting a new Guinness World Record'.
Last month I highlighted the weird ways of soaking in Japan, unaware that all all this can be experienced in just one onsen in Hakone, Yunessun. Coffee and wine for instance. And:
'From there it got even crazier: Green Tea bath, Sake bath, Black Tea bath, and then a Japanese Traditional Bath. That one was super cool because it had literally 50 floating half-grapefruits in it, along with a ton of other fruit and lemons and citrus... just floating in it?! This is apparently a very traditional bath style and it rocked'.
Asian Soaking Etiquette
Onsensoaker has a revealing post on wani's (Japanese crocodiles) who are making bathing uncomfortable for female soakers in Japan's (hot spring) baths. Trouble is that the more uncomfortable one is, the less females participate. This in turn means that the wani's have less to focus on, leaving the remaining victims who do soak, even more uncomfortable.
Time for societies to change? At least the government should start opening the 'hunting season' for the wani's without giving too much coverage to the subject. As soon as the media pick up on this they have to picture it in black / white terms because they believe their public will otherwise not understand the issue at hand. To be continued.

Malaysian soaker in Korea experiences some awkwardness despite the absence of wani's:
'I kept looking at the floor so that I didn't have to see things'.
In Hin Dat, Thailand a blogger believes it's all Russia's fault for the poor pool spring water quality:
'bus hordes of Russians were unloaded and headed straight for the pools. But … not a single specimen of the pallid northerners headed for the toilets.
Well, a few minutes after dozens of Russians took over the pools a strange subtle odor seemed to emerge from beneath. Not the kind of sulphur smell. But an acrid, distinct urine-like smell.
In an instant we were out of the water heading straight for the showers. Must have missed a similar busload the other day … Russians arrive there every day by the busloads, we were afterwards told'.
Cross cultural mis-communication of sorts?

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