On a plane to Singapore: the kino – very poor.

Hi all!

Continuing a fave theme of mine here. No, not volcanoes; no, not cliffs; and no, not banya. Instead: planes, aeroplanes and airplanes…

Recently we flew on an Internetted Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 to Changi. And the experience was… mixed.

Moscow-Singapore

Moscow-SingaporeMoscow suburbs

Not the quickest of flights, but I’ve nothing against that – good downtime potential… Oh no! I forgot: There’s Internet now spoiling things!… More on that later…

First thing’s first – time to read and answer a ton of email. A colossal task. Best get on with it…

Here we were flying over the (dying) Aral Sea. Alas, it was shrouded in fog so no pics were snap-able. Tant pis. Back to the emails…

Flying over Aral sea

Another snapping hindrance lay ahead: turbulence. It was causing quite a lot of rattling of the plane, and quite a lot of rattling of my nerves – particularly those in my spine. I mean, I know that turbulence (even of the really heavy sort) doesn’t pose any threat to a modern aircraft, but… well, these darn seats. They simply no comfy. No likey. Back hurty. No nicey. No sleep maybe? On long-haul? Aaarrrghh!

Here comes Kabul. And still the situation with the rattling was all bull: alas, no decent pix…

Kabul detected

Kabul detected

So, no sleep doing, I just concentrated on the email. Final result: perfect: empty inbox.

My inbox emails had been downloaded on the ground. To send all the replies that had piled up in my outbox, I needed to connect to the inflight Internet. Ok, here goes. Hope it’s better than my recent first go – on Aeroflot…

Alas (or is it phew?:), there was no working Internet! I mean totally, absolutely nothing – not even a snail-slow connection. It seems the onboard server was down due to the turbulence (or maybe not). How to get the server back up again – where’s its magic button, the friendly flight attendants didn’t know.

Hooray Alas (this is getting confusing, good and bad all gone awry), they eventually found the button or something, and Wi-Fi suddenly appeared. OK, let’s give it a go. Register, fill in they form, credit card number, ‘Yes’, click, and off we go…

Airplane onboard WiFi

Airplane onboard WiFi

Before browsing the Internet I need to get a VPN connection…

Connection made.

Online news – all ok. Next – that outbox…

Outlook? Nope!

Just like on Aeroflot – websites are accessible, but VPN-protected email – no. So looks like I’ll be waiting to land anyway for that outbox emptying.

And anyway, surely Internet could have been free in First Class? Ok, ok – enough spleen venting. So the service isn’t perfect, but when is it ever?…

So, let’s see… Another six hours to go! I’ll have to settle for a movie. I wonder what films are on offer… Woh!

You can spend lifetime on board Singapore Airlines watching movies

There’s even a Russian film in among that lot. Can you guess which? Clue: it got plenty of awards and caused quite a bit of controversy. Yep: Leviathan. Haven’t seen. Don’t want to see. I’m just not into grimness overloads in a film. I prefer positive, curious stuff, or just plain action – if done well (tricky). I’ve heard that this film has gloom and unfairness and injustice and other awfulness in spades. Sure, awfulness exists – like in any country. But watching a film based on it for pleasure – er, no thanks. I don’t care if it’s Russia, Romania or Rwanda. And that, dear readers, is as far as my two pence goes in the Leviathan good-or-bad debate.

// Btw, I’ve been told that the characters in the movie are always drinking vodka. Hmmm, I wonder where they get the money for vodka if life’s so hard for them? Why aren’t they on moonshine?

So, my choosing finger levitating past Leviathan, I opt for something a bit more modern-philosophical, pseudo-scientific-cosmic – a blockbuster with a much more appealing title: ‘Interstellar‘! Please do not disturb, I’m immersing myself in the mastery of Hollywood screenwriters, directors and Oscar-nominee-level actors.

At least, that was the plan…

… Turns out: WHAT UTTER [censored]! So much for the much ballyhooed Hollywood. Same old, same old – nothing more. Normally I steer well clear of Hollywood blockbusters anyway as none of them in recent years have been any good! At least not the ones I’ve seen. (Movie buffs – could you kindly give me any viewing tips? > the comments, below). Ones that stick in my memory – like Fifth Element or Die Hard 2 – are from too long ago and can’t be called modern. Blade Runner’s even older. Of course there’s the filmography of Tarantino, and his recent one – Django Unchained – though sometimes brutal and unpleasant, was still totally enjoyable. But even that has the inevitable Hollywood happy ending!!

Another example:

Last year the ubiquitous hype finally got to me, like I’m sure it got to a lot of you, and I went and watched ‘Gravity‘. Even this – which got 97% (!!) on Rotten Tomatoes – was fully same-old-same-old. Nothing new, the same old regurgitations and sentimentality, and some silliness to boot – like the relaxed banter between George and Sandra’s characters while spacewalking! And let’s not forget the flagrant ignoring of elementary laws of physics as per Isaac and Alfred and Co. Would it have been so difficult having a chat with an astronaut or astro-physicist (or, better – both) to get at least some grasp of the realities of what goes on out there in space? It must have been difficult – because clearly this wasn’t done. I think I was meant to have been drawn in to the tense space drama, to have empathized and sympathized with the intrepid space travelers, to have perhaps sobbed a bit and have been moved overall by the movie. All I could do was occasionally burst out laughing. Sorry Hollywood, but, Gravity… zero gravitas.

I’m not knocking Hollywood in general – that would be mental. All the great movies it’s given us over the years. It’s just that of late – what on earth (and in space) is going on over there in Southern California?

So, back to Interstellar. It’s so bad I gave up on it and didn’t see the end. I was, like, why bother? I don’t really care what happens to the fictional characters as – that special chemistry magic alchemy dealt be the director over his/her viewers… it was just absent.

I wonder if the folks involved in the production of the movie feel ashamed? Maybe not. They all got paid, it’s just a job, can’t please everyone, and hey, haven’t you heard of the ‘b-movie’ genre anyway? :). Thing that gets me is the 78% on Rotten Tomatoes it got. Admittedly it’s not 97%, but still. Hello?

Solaris or 2001 – now you’re talking! Remember when films were made that pushed boundaries, and that had ‘classic’ written all over them before they were released? Maybe it’s my age? The typical ‘music and movies these days are nothing on my generation’s music and movies’? Not so sure. If today’s younger generations watched either mentioned classic… actually, wait – no! They’d have their noses in their devices when things were a little ‘dull’ – they’d not ‘get’ them! AAaaaaaarrrrrggggh :).

I think I’ll be staying away from Hollywood blockbusters a bit longer this time than the Gravity-Interstellar interval. But anyway, why should I care? Singapore’s just appeared on the horizon. Phew…

We flew in and checked into our hotel just at the right time – sunset time! Very OMG.

Hello Singapore! (again)

Hello Singapore! (again)

At last I was able to take some half-decent pics.

Welcome to garden city!

Hello Singapore! (again)

Singapore. Super at any time of day or night or year, and at any height:

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

So why are we here? All that – in the next post folks…

Until then, good night! Over and out…

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    John van den Berg

    Dear Mr. Kaspersky,

    I always admire your beautiful photos! Even the night time ones are amazing.
    I am also in awe of all your travels. I guess the airlines must be very happy with you.
    Keep up your interesting travels and work.

    Kind regards, John van den Berg

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