Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Koblenz - where the Rhine meets the Mosel

Koblenz is a quaint little city located on the junction where the Rhine River meets the Mosel River. We were travelling up the Rhine by a combination of train and river boat, Koblenz is a logical short stop before heading down the Mosel river to Trier.

For me, just a day was needed to look around, there was the Festung Ehrenbreitstein Fortress to look around after taking the cable car across the Rhine, you can really see the different colours of the Rhine River and Mosel River - amazing.

I was reliably informed it is worth waiting around for cable car #17 as it has a glass floor. That is not entirely correct, it has a glass viewing box to look out the bottom, not bad and worth the wait although there is enough glass in the cable car to view the fantastic scenes.

After we got off the cable car we wandered around to the Memorial of German Unity where a band was set up, there were bars and food stalls with decent views of the fortress, Rhine River and the Mosel River. A number of river cruise boats were moored alongside the waterfront, it's a decent place to spend for an overnight trip.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Tradies - the new class of entrepreneur

Tradies are the new class of entrepreneurs in Australia and this is a positive step forward. For the uninitiated, what is a tradie? A trade is defined as a vocational occupation with skills and knowledge developed through a formal apprenticeship.

Trades can be divided into market sectors from the engineering sectors employing machinists, fitters, boilermakers and welders, technicians and plant mechanics. There is the building sector requiring bricklayers, tillers, plumbers, carpenters, cabinet makers, plasters and painters.

The automotive industry requires light vehicle (car) mechanics, heavy vehicle (truck and bus) mechanics, motorbike mechanics, spray painters, automotive electricians, panel beaters and auto body finishers.

Then there is the hospitality sector with chefs, baristas and wait staff all dedicated to the consumer experience. There is hairdressing and beauticians, sports and recreation, manufacturing, warehousing and logistics, mining and retailing.

What we are seeing is entrepreneurial tradies opening plumbing businesses, carpentry shops, contract tilers offering their services business to business (B2B), electrical repairers advertising directly to the public and opening retail premises.

Why sit through years of university for a worthless degree with little to no job prospects when you could complete a trade in the same timeframe earning money as you progress and completing your qualification with no student debt.

With the exception of the STEM areas where there is a definite requirement and demand, many tertiary areas do not have sufficient vacancies. I feel that if an individual then wants to progress to university as a mature age entrant then all good - that's what I did.

Tradies are completing apprenticeships, gaining further experience and then engaging in entrepreneurship to ply their trade - fantastic. Their skills and knowledge are in demand and they are employing people adding value to the economy.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Missing a Hong Kong stopover

I have been to Hong Kong before but I still really like to walk around and see the city, the last time I was in Hong Kong was just as I was completing my university studies, I recall working on my final unit in the hotel room.

There are riots and civil unrest going on, I have been in riots before by accident, this is not something I wasn't to willingly engage in. For me, the most important issue was making my flight so I didn't want to get caught up in any disturbances.

Besides, the flight left at 3:05 pm so I needed to be back at 1 pm to be safe. With travel time to and from, it is a lot of effort for a couple of hours in the city. Not this time I guess, today just wasn't worth the effort or the risk.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

The information age - full of misinformation

Apparently we are living in the Information Age, we are now exposed to an unlimited supply of data that even the most astute and educated individuals in the history of the world have never been exposed to before.

In not only previous generations but previous cultures, knowledge was power. Only the elite were educated, the masses were dominated by the ruling class left to fend for themselves. Hence, only royalty and nobility were educated; an argument may be put forward that this was to keep the elite in power - it's hard to deny.

Unfortunately this almost unlimited supply of information has somehow been corrupted with misinformation, conspiracy theories and interference by hostile governments and groups. The internet is the tool to spread misinformation, ironically, this should be the method to share true and correct information.

Yet, what I see on forums and online discussions is anything but informed and rational discussion. The lack of knowledge presented when an individual clearly has the ability to research topics and information from reputable sources is reasonably straightforward.

However, this is rarely the case as next to nobody owns encyclopedias anymore, people don’t have reference books or cite published and peer reviewed research, they prefer to reference Youtube, alternative news sites instead of mainstream news.

Now, whilst some better known sites have gone tabloid, the genuine news sites are definitely easy to spot. It isn’t difficult to work out what is a genuine news site, yet, many seem incapable to do so from the flat earth society, faked moon landings, the US government staging the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Area 51 other alien stories.

Saturday, 14 November 2020

Resto Surfie Bar - Lapu Lapu

Mecky and I were out on a pretty dull Saturday night on Mactan Island when she spotted a bar from the back of the public utility vehicle we were travelling in.

We jumped out and decided to wander in for a look and it was surprising that for a well stocked bar, this place was empty. The bar staff were nice and friendly so I have to wonder, how a bar can be so empty on a Saturday night.

This is not a big place, the decor and facilities were more than adequate and I guess cost a fair whack to set up. This would be a challenge I would like to take on as a marketing project as a retiree.

Mactan is a holiday island so there are holidaymakers interested in an exciting night out. The question I would ask myself is, how could I fill this place? How would a marketer put this place on the map for a good night out?

I would target the young crowd, sure this bar is not in the centre of town but if it is seen as the place to be, people will come. Firstly, I would target the tourist markets of South Koreans and Chinese without neglecting the local Filipinos.

Their wine selection wasn't great, we purchased ourselves a bottle of Medoc, a 2017 vintage that wasn't great. For 1500 PHP ($29.41 USD) you should be expecting a little more but any frequent traveler to the Philippines would know French wine is a little hit and miss.

As a wine drinker, clearly I rate French wine and I especially like the Bordeaux region. I tend to think the French aren't exporting their premium wines to the Philippines. A couple of options Ina couple of price points would be interesting.

So wine options need to be improved, they had the option of an Argentine Malbec but this didn't interest me without a tasting. Without crowds and frequent turnover of wine by the glass, a tasting is out of the question.

A wine stock costs money, we all know that so turnover is important and that generally doesn't attract the young crowd but supplements existing customers. If you are a bar owner, you need to invest in your business and a well stocked bar is paramount.

This is the Philippines so labour is cheap, organizing a pick-up service for discerning clients is possible. This should initially target local customers and then expand to the hotels for foreign tourists. Certainly a business case needs to be explored to decide if such a strategy is viable, if not - drop it.

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Mosswood Amy's 2014

Every trip down to Margaret River in the South West coast of Australia has seen me miss every opportunity to visit Moss Wood's Wilyabrup winery. Just three hours drive south of Perth, this winery remains elusive for me to visit.

I found the soft oak influences not overbearing, this Bordeaux style wine is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Merlot. I have drunk pure Petit Verdot and found it a little too strong in tannin although it has fantastic blackcherry and violet flavours.

Likewise, I have found Malbec to be too one dimensional as a stand alone wine but perfect for blending with generous blueberry flavours. The Mosswood Cabernet is a very expensive bottle of wine, what I like about the Amy's collection is I am able to drink Mosswood on a budget.  

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

A day in Ghent

I was looking forward to a day in Ghent, I know of this city from the wife of a good friend and really wanted to explore this interesting city in Belgium. Fantastically, Ghent is just a 40 minute train trip from Brussels, the ticket cost was a reasonable €11 - so here we come.

I hadn't done too much research into this city, this is a normal practice for me as I want to be surprised instead of expecting to see certain sights. I did know they had some wonderful canals throughout the city, that much I did know.

It is fair to say Ghent exceeded my expectations, the areas around the canals were very picturesque as expected. There were some interesting churches to explore and just walking the streets was worthwhile.

I especially enjoyed the views from the numerous bridges, I would certainly recommend a day in Ghent to any of my friends sightseeing in Europe. This was the best city in Belgium to visit in my opinion.