My heart sang to read of the excellence of Japan Airlines in your Flight Test section of Traveller (September 7-8). We have been booking with JAL for the past 14 years. Their recent addition of a premium economy class has been welcome. Having flown economy, premium economy and business with this airline I fully endorse the review. The service is unsurpassed by any airline we have experienced and not only the in-flight crew. We enjoy watching the ground crew line up as every JAL flight departs and make a deep bow as the pilot moves the aircraft away from the terminal.
LETTER OF THE WEEK
Taxis are one of the unpredictable travel adventures (Traveller, September 7-8). The public bus over the 4000m Rohtang Pass in the Himalayas did not leave much confidence in a return journey. Chatting to the local mayor, I accepted his offer to share the cost of a taxi early the next morning. The decrepit Ambassador was not unusual and my trepidation of the rapid Himalayan descent was eased by the driver's banter, Bollywood music and a splendid panorama. It was the cabby's skill that made the trip memorable: his dexterity in adjusting the throttle "wire" (a coat hanger) meant the historic engine gave optimal fuel economy but avoiding the precipice by centimetres when we blew a tyre impressed more. As we piled out I noted three spares in the boot. I inquired, with rising admiration, how he made his selection among equally bald and tattered options. His gaping smile reassured and he pointed to the obvious steel cording where once was tread. His logic was sound: "Steel-belted radial," he proudly responded.
HAM IT UP
Klaus Jahn touched a chord with his ham and cheese sandwich story (Traveller letters, September 7-8). My wife and I have done a few self- guided trips through the bottom half of South America. However, the food choices are rather ordinary. After seven weeks of exposure to many towns and cheap hotels in Patagonia, we had decided no more hot chips or ham and cheese sandwiches, seemingly the universal food there. That evening in the remote town of Puerto Deseado we went into a nice-looking cafe, took a table (tablecloth and nice cutlery) and received menus, which offered three items: 1. Ham and cheese sandwich. 2. Triple ham and cheese sandwich. 3. Americano sandwich. Clearly we could only have the Americano, however, it turned out to be ham, cheese and tomato but this far south there was no tomato. Seriously!
-Rosie and Rex Thomas
Spain's running of the bulls (Traveller, August 31-September 1) is widely known for its cruelty and injuries to people, though it is hard to have sympathy for the people who get injured when terrified bulls are running in the streets with a frantic and cheering crowd. It is 2013, not the middle ages.
The running of the bulls is an appalling waste of animals' lives. It promotes terror and murder. Spain is a backward country for continuing this tradition. The bulls are killed at the end. Where's the tradition in that? It's only an excuse to exploit the defenceless.