Pam

Alternative Transportation in Asia

From a recent study abroad trip to Asia, I would like to give my take on their transportation and how it compares to our beloved city of Lansing. I focused most of my attention on bikability, walkability, public transportation, and a few other modes I didn’t expect to be options! We traveled to 3 countries, including Seoul (the capital of South Korea), Malaysia and Singapore.

Seoul

25 million people live in the city and surrounding area, and 10 million within the city limits. This as you can imagine creates incredible challenges when it comes to pedestrian and bicycle accommodations. Combining all users of their roadway and creating ‘complete streets’ (a concept that is catching on in the States) is a work in progress.

A small fact which helps explain and inform their built environment would be the country’s geography. Not to bash the enormous beauty found in the country side, but it sucks for building houses or livability! The mountains are bedrock, and a plethora of tree covered  rolling hills make it extremely difficult to build roads, deliver material and even farm. Any flat area of land in these mountains is covered with rice fields or growing  vegetables/fruit. Hence the city of Seoul (the largest and possibly only flat area in all of Korea) is almost 2 times as dense as New York City.

Continue reading

Pam

Banff Mountain Film Festival

This past Thursday, April 12th, 2012 was the evening chosen for, hands down, my favorite event of the year. Started in Banff, Canada, one of the most pristine (and most visited) landscapes in the world, home of Canada’s oldest national park, is a film festival. However, this is not your ordinary film festival. Combine Banff National Park, National Geographic, and the North Face along with film makers and the most extreme non-traditional athletes of the world, and you have the most stunning visuals and unpredictable action you have ever seen or experienced. It is truly an experience.

Located in Alberta, Canada, the Banff Centre receives approximately 300 film applicants per year. Top films are chosen, and shown to approximately 75,000 audience members at the Centre. Then the film festival goes on a World Tour, in 30 + countries, reaching 280,000 people. Michigan State University Outdoors Club sponsored a viewing on campus, for a 3 hour showing. MSU chose the films, with each film length varying, some up to 45 minutes long, but most approximately 15. Last year one clip was only a few minutes.

The films are breathtaking, and the action has you at the edge of your seat. The trailer (which I watched about 4 times prior to the show) is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHDGv1RR2v4 It includes a few ads, but I feel they do an excellent job of incorporating the incredible natural footage we want to see and then the ad or the plug to the company and gear.

Continue reading

Pam

The Car Insurance Experiment

 

Photo by Eat Pomegranate Photography

 

Car Free for a Month

Deciding to go carless usually is not a very common thing to do in Michigan. That whole unpredictable weather situation was also something to consider. Still, I decided to live car-free for four whole weeks, which then turned into nine weeks of adventure and realization.

As it was, I had a trip scheduled for a few weeks during Christmas break, so the decision to halt my car insurance was a little easier to make. I learned that my insurance company would put a hold on my car insurance for a period of time, and then restore it when I decided to reinstate it. All it took was a simple, “Hi Janet, could you take the insurance off my car starting in December?” She happily responded with, “Sure thing, but we will keep the ‘storage’ coverage active (i.e. if a tree falls on it, or that tornado rips through town). Call us when you want it back on.” Simple. But then, the realization that now it was illegal to drive my car hit me.

Continue reading