I have to make a transit stop in Dubai and after reading the recent article (No kissing, no sex, no photos — how to avoid arrest in Dubai), published on November 14, I was wondering if these same rules apply in the airport? I won't actually be going into Dubai proper but do these guidelines and rules still apply? Can I relax a bit, or should I be just as cautious?
- L. Callanan, Drummoyne
It's alarming stuff and yes, Dubai, like most of the Islamic world, frowns on inter-gender displays of affection in public, although it strikes me as curious that a man might grasp the hand of his male friend without fear.
But I have to say that although I have spent a fair amount of time in airports, I have never yet witnessed an amorous escapade that might lead to an awkward encounter with officialdom, in Dubai or anywhere else.
In fact, it seems to me that airconditioning set to "frost", whiffs of fast food, upright seating and frequent announcements to remind Mr Smith that he is the last remaining passenger yet to board his flight are anything but an inducement to hanky-panky.
If you're wanting to draw a line in the sand, I would think that longing glances, furtive hand squeezes and even a peck on the cheek would not incur the displeasure of the passion police. However if you're thinking of a practice run in preparation for a shot at membership of the Mile High Club, Dubai is definitely not the place.
Across Canada by planes, trains and automobiles
In September next year I intend going on a trip to Canada. I want to visit my family in Sudbury, pictured, then a friend in Ottawa and on to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Would it be cheaper to fly to Vancouver and do the rest of my journey by train and fly home from Vancouver, or fly part of the way in Canada? I am happy to sit up on the train, I don't need a sleeper. I also get a senior's discount with Via Rail. I am a Star Alliance member and would prefer to get some frequent flyer points up. I intend being away about seven to eight weeks.
- N. Gove, Bondi
The senior fare from Vancouver to Sudbury Junction with Via Rail on September 14, 2012 is $CA416.64 ($400). The cost of an Air Canada flight between the two starts from $CA435, however the train takes three days and two hours so considering the additional cost of meals and the length of the journey, the plane looks to be the better option.
The Via Rail seniors' fare from Sudbury Junction to Ottawa is $CA111.87, while the airfare starts from $CA199. Greyhound (greyhound.ca) operates coach services in the Maritime Provinces, and a Greyhound Discovery Pass might be the way to go. According to the Canada Travel website, Creative Holidays at 35 Grafton Street, Bondi Junction, are the Canada travel specialists closest to you. Air Canada is a Star Alliance member.
Two cars can be better than one
My wife and I are travelling to Scotland and Ireland next May. We plan on hiring a car for about 22 days but some of the hire companies don't allow you to take the car off mainland Britain. Could you advise us of any of the companies that do allow you to take cars to Ireland and what are the added costs associated with doing this?
- P. Lee, Berkeley
Enterprise rent-a-car (www.enterprise.co.uk) can help you out but you will have to return the vehicle to the original rental location. You can book online but you will need to call Enterprise to add this option to your reservation. You will pay an additional fee, depending on how long you plan to drive in Ireland, pictured, and the class of vehicle selected. Since this fee could be substantial, it might well work out less expensive in the long run if you hire another vehicle for the Irish chapter of your travels. Most of the major hire-car operators have offices at ferry terminals in Scotland and Ireland.
French port a happy choice
We are travelling to northern France in August next year with another couple. We would like to stay for six nights in a nice villa or home with at least two bathrooms.
Could you please suggest a contact for some options? We thought of staying in Bayeux or Honfleur. Could you suggest a town in that area?
We are going to hire a car and travel to Saint-Malo and Mont Saint-Michel. We would also like to do a day tour of the Normandy beaches. Have you any suggestions as to who might do day tours in the area? Would it be possible to do a day tour of the Loire Valley from, say, Honfleur?
- B. Pike, Clontarf
There are plenty of holiday homes for rent in this area that would suit you. Villa Renters (villarenters.com), European Home Rentals (europeanhomerentals.com) and Rent Villas France (rent-villas
-france.com) have a wide choice but Google can help you find plenty more. Most villas and houses rent by the week so you may have to adjust your itinerary slightly.
The port of Honfleur, a favourite subject of the French Impressionists, would be a happy choice as a base. If you want something smaller, Beuvron-en-Auge is one of the prettiest villages in all of Normandy, notable for its half-timbered buildings in the distinctive style of the region. Beuvron is located about 15 kilometres east of Caen in the Calvados department, the origin of the famous apple brandy. HomeAway (holiday-rentals.co.uk) has a selection of properties for rent close to the town. Paul Woodadge (ddayhistorian.com) has earned many accolades for his one- and two-day tours of the battlefields of Normandy.
From Honfleur, the closest point on the Loire is Tours, 280 kilometres and a 3½-hour drive away. Unless you feel like punishing yourselves, a Loire Valley day tour is out of the question. Why not take an extra day or two and drive between Tours and Orleans? This would allow you to take in some of the most famous chateaux along the Loire, such as Chenonceau, pictured, Chaumont, Blois, Chambord and Cheverny.
From Orleans, it's just 133 kilometres to Paris and an easy drive if you are catching a plane from there.