Letters: Duty-free alcohol confiscated

Grog (not) on

Coming back from Spain, I bought two bottles of whisky (one litre each), at the duty-free shop in Barcelona. I was assured by the assistant that if the bottles were kept in a sealed bag, they were fine. They were confiscated at Doha airport, as they were not bought at Doha airport duty free - which would have been fine, apparently. Australian customs demands were quoted and I pointed out that the two litres of alcohol comes well within the Australian regulations. But is was all in vain and the bottles were confiscated. My travel agent has heard similar stories. It would have been nice to be warned about this beforehand; however, I am still confused about the regulations.

- Anna Eller

The art of giving

Julia Colvin is right, saying we should "help the locals" (Traveller Letters, December 8). However her comments on the Orion expedition cruises are misplaced. Orion chooses remote places where visitors bring an economic benefit. The locals are well paid to guide, entertain and introduce the travellers to their culture; local goods are bought; schools are built, supplied and maintained. I have made two Orion expeditions to Papua New Guinea, knowing that a considerable part of the cost is used in this way. In one village, Anna, a mother of nine, was clothed and paid along with 12 other "police" to "supervise" our visit. Travellers are encouraged to bring supplies for the schools and the captain sets an example, by buying many artefacts to give away, always paying the original high price named and never trying to bargain.

- Pat Ritter

When push comes to love

Regarding Heather Richter's experience with the wheelchair service (Traveller Letters, December 15), I am an 88-year-old veteran and every year since 2007 I have had a wheelchair at every airport when travelling to and from London, Bangkok and Singapore. The facility has worked perfectly with both male and female chair "pushers". I am taken on board first and disembarked last. One Christmas my flight was diverted to Frankfurt and, even though the flight's arrival was unscheduled, the wheelchair facility was immediately made available. I have nothing but gratitude for the service.

- John Shannon

I would like to thank the Virgin staff member who stopped what she was doing to look after my seriously ill friend. I had organised a wheelchair to take my friend from my car to board her flight from Brisbane to Sydney, but on arrival no wheelchair was available. The staff member, Stephanie, went out of her way to find a wheelchair, and also helped me assist my friend out of the car (parked in full sun) to a more suitable seat in the shade. She brought the wheelchair over to the parking area to convey my friend to the terminal, and made sure we had no problems going through security. For me it was an extremely stressful time and I cannot thank Stephanie enough for being so caring.

- Margaret McCann

Culture of cruelty

Simon Tredinnick (Traveller Letters, December 15) asks, somewhat disingenuously, in relation to cock-fighting in Bali, who are we to criticise the cultural practices of other regions? I fear Simon has a short memory. If the scandal over cruelty inflicted on live cattle by Indonesian abattoir workers has taught us anything, it's that so-called "cultural practices" can be used to mask a raft of sadistic, abhorrent behaviours inflicted on animals. And let's not forget that same hoary old chestnut has been used for centuries to justify other so-called "cultural practices", such as female genital mutilation. To equate the killing and maiming of animals for sport dressed up as "cultural practices" with a bunch of boozed-up teenagers who freely choose to behave like a bunch of ratbags (and who hurt only themselves in doing so) is so misconceived as to defy belief.

- Fiona Kerr

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