Traveller letters: Australian travellers are a bunch of singlet-clad, embarrassing whingers

WHO DARES WHINGES

John Carroll (Traveller letters, July 21) seems to have failed the SAS selection process and felt a need to travel as roughly and dangerously as possible to compensate.

Good luck to him, but why he can't see that the rest of us pay quite a lot of money so we don't have to put up with the sort of unpleasantness he revels in is a mystery.

Surely it's only reasonable for people to provide feedback, which looks close to universal judging by readers' responses, to establishments that put cost saving before the things their customers actually want.

Daryl Cathro, Mawson, ACT

I couldn't agree more with John Carroll on whingeing Aussies. We've recently returned from a great 18-day trip to China visiting all the best-known bucket list sites.

In our group, unfortunately, was a small adult family contingent of embarrassing whingers who constantly complained that the lunch and dinner food provided throughout consisted only of Chinese cuisine. And, horror of horrors, no chips and no cold beer.

They reminded the rest of the group of the cringe-worthy singlet-clad loud Aussie bogans in Bali we've all crossed the road to avoid.

Ailene Strudwick, Mornington, VIC

LETTER OF THE WEEK: EMOTIONAL TOLL

Your cover story on the Australian Remembrance Trail in Belgium and France (Traveller, July 21) brought back a flood of memories from when my wife and I travelled the battlefields a few years ago.

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I am not usually an emotional man, but visiting the numerous war cemeteries scattered around the countryside often brought a tear to my eye.

Villers-Bretonneux and Ypres were unforgettable. I was shocked when finding out that the tens of thousands of names inscribed on the Menin Gate in Ypres were the names of the soldiers whose graves are unknown. We also visited the small north-eastern French town of Merville, where my wife's great uncle was buried. Being the first members of her family to visit the grave was also a very emotional experience for both of us.

I wish every Australian could experience the emotion of the Western Front and appreciate the sacrifice made by so many.

Lest we forget.

Peter Miniutti, Ashbury, NSW

BORDER INSECURITY

I also had a similar experience as Michael D. Hirschhorn (Traveller letters, July 21) with border security in West Palm Beach, Florida.

But this time both officers wouldn't accept my driver's licence ID asking "where is New South Wales?" Demanding another photo ID, I showed them my Australian Costco [warehouse supermarket] membership card.

They were happy to accept this and I was able to reassure my crying five-year-old grand daughter that nanna was not going to be arrested.

Freda Banner, Northbridge, NSW

I watched a recent video [from the Jimmy Kimmel Live! US tonight show] showing young Americans being asked in the street to identify any country in the world on a flat world map.

None, except one adolescent boy, could offer a correct answer so maybe the border control officer was totally unaware of what or where Australia was.

My mind boggles at both events.

Robin Humphrey, Springwood, NSW

POINTED QUESTION

I am sure I am not the only Traveller reader who would like to know how many frequent flyer points Tony Wright needed for his First Class Emirates experience (Traveller, July 14).

I would also like to know how frequent flyer points could be so used, as all I hear from people around me is that it is almost impossible to even obtain an upgrade to business class on international flights using points.

John Christiansen, St Kilda, VIC

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tony Wright advises that he used a total of 320,000 points which included a first class seat from Melbourne to Dubai, then the Dubai to Madrid leg, and business class return to Melbourne.

LOTS OF LUXE

I could not help but ponder the flight experience of Tony Wright, a journalist whose writing I enjoy enormously, travelling Emirates from Dubai to Madrid.

The sheer luxury begins before he even leaves the ground. A massage to send him on the way to an experience of which most of us could only dream. A chauffeur-driven Mercedes to take him to the airport.

The large suite that awaits, filled with all the luxuries that include the opportunity to book a shower! The TV is described as "huge". This all sounds quite amazing, but lets analyse all that.

Is this what is wrong with the world in general? The wealthy (or those like Tony with lots of FF points) have all that space, while the others in the cheap seats are squeezed more and more into smaller and smaller seats? Luxury does have a price, but who is actually paying for it?

Carol Reed, Newport, VIC

MEMBERS ONLY

Nina Karnikowski's review of what to do in Hong Kong (Traveller, July 21) was spot on. However, the occasional reader might think that gaining entree to China Club, mentioned in the article, is just a matter or rocking up and asking if anybody can sign me in.

Not so. This is a private club founded by the late Sir David Tang, and you won't get past the front door without being either a guest of a member, having a high level connection or holding one of those mysterious Centurion AMEX cards. However, the experience is certainly worth the effort.

Ross MacPherson, Seaforth, NSW

GO FOR IT

Craig Tansley's article "Safe as Houseboats" (Traveller, July 21) brought back memories of a wonderful, outstanding holiday.

Two years ago, my sister and I, (both 60-plus women) travelled independently to Kashmir. We flew from Ladakh, stayed on a houseboat, a five-star hotel and a homestay.

We took daytrips from Srinagar [the largest city and the summer capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir] using local taxis, which have fixed rates for each journey, quoted up front. We explored the old town, mosques, glorious gardens and the divine Dal Lake.

Yes, security was very tight though not restrictive. Yes, we checked our travel insurance before we went. But if you are looking for a different slice of paradise, I advise you, like DFAT, to reconsider your need to go ... and go.

Sandra Brayshaw, Goulburn, NSW

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