Letters: In China, road 'rules' more like 'suggestions

Road worriers

Maybe Wayne Stinson's experience concerning the drivers in China (Traveller Letters, February 16) should have included the wisdom of our taxi driver in Beijing who complained that although there were strict road rules, most other drivers only consider them as suggestions rather than rules to be obeyed.

- Doug Lewin

I have driven about 1 million kilometres in Australia but would never drive in China: the roads are chaotic and then there is nowhere to park when you reach your destination. Besides, public transport is efficient and cheap.

- David Jones

Regarding Vietnamese traffic: my wife and I were on a tour bus behind a car overtaking a bus, while being overtaken by another car. Three vehicles abreast. On a blind corner. Amazing but terrifying. This was not an isolated incident, either. But it all seems to work. Somehow.

- Ben French

Regarding Italian drivers: near Naples, we were overtaken by a hearse doing probably close to 150km/h. Perhaps someone was concerned about being late for their own funeral.

- Sue Martin

One to mull over

John McLean (Traveller Letters, February 16) comments on the Mull of Kintyre and states it is miles south of Liverpool in England. The last time I visited Scotland it was to the north of England. Has there been a shift in the past couple of years?

- Mary MacPherson

Pilgrim's progress

Regarding Maxine Hardinge (Traveller Letters, February 9-10), I have walked the Camino twice, once carrying my pack and staying in hostels (refugios) and once using a pack transporter and staying in hotels. I consider neither experience more humbling, deserving nor a more truer pilgrimage than the other. The Camino, and indeed most foot travelling experiences, provide an opportunity for a personal journey of enrichment and reflection. The individual does not have to suffer sleep deprivation, bed bugs and damaged feet and joints to gain a greater emotional fulfilment. In fact, sometimes the mind and heart can absorb more when the physical suffering is reduced.

- Jane Westley

New world order

On a recent visit to Germany I was dismayed to learn that in some places it is no longer possible to pay with your credit card using your signature. It is either PIN or perish. Fortunately, I had prepaid my accommodation at the Steigenberger Airport Hotel in Frankfurt, but had I wanted to access the minibar in my room I would have had to leave a cash deposit, since the hotel's new credit-card system required a PIN for my card. I was told that since June 2012 it is illegal to "trick" the system by manually entering your card number, which in the past had sometimes worked. This is obviously bad news for people who cannot or do not want to remember the dozens of PINs they might have to have to survive in this high-tech, online world. If you are one of them you had better equip yourself with cash, travellers' cheques or other means of payment before embarking on your next overseas trip.

- Kirsten Walla

Traveller for all seasons

I would like to share a traveller packing tip I've developed. It's difficult packing for different climates in the one trip, and having burdensome items to transport well after their usefulness. I now buy disposable clothes at op shops before I leave. This year we're going to London and Berlin in April-May when top temperatures are predicted to be 10 to 30 degrees, Paris which will prove unpredictable, and ending six weeks later in Rome where it could reach 30 degrees-plus. Therefore I have bought a wool/cashmere coat (a good buy at $6!) and a Goretex rain coat for $10, both of which I will discard before Italy.

- Sue Parrington

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