Traveller letters: Credit card travel insurance can be a trap

SHOOTING INCIDENT

In September last year I submitted a claim to QBE for the loss of my $1300 Sony camera in Portofino. I paid for the trip on an ANZ credit card.

I expected my claim to be a straightforward process but after submitting a detailed QBE claim form with all the supporting documentation and a statutory declaration, the only communication from QBE that I received over the next four months was to ask for more information, most of which they had. 

A week ago I asked my insurance broker for help and several days later QBE settled the claim for an insulting $3.45. As the cost of submitting my claim was more than the settlement amount, not to mention the replacement cost of my camera, travellers should be warned that credit card travel insurance can be a trap in some circumstances.

Kent Atkinson, Neutral Bay, NSW

LETTER OF THE WEEK

MANE EVENT

One of the highlights of my African safari was a lion encounter.  Our group were in four-wheel drives on a game drive in Amboseli National Park in Kenya when we came upon a male lion and two hyenas. The lion had just killed a baby buffalo and eaten what parts it wanted but it had not decided whether it had finished with the kill. So we watched the two hyenas, the lion and the carcass for a short while, taking photos, then suggested we move on. 

But our driver/guide said let's wait a while and see what happens.  Then an amazing scenario played itself out. The lion sat down a short distance from the carcass, and the hyenas came closer and closer, however the lion stood and came back again, as if to say he was not finished yet, so they grinned their hyena grins and backed away. The lion went a further distance from the kill, the hyenas, still smiling at the lion, ever so slowly went towards the carcass. But the lion again got up and came back to claim it, so they backed away with a look that said, no of course we weren't trying to take the carcass. 

The lion went further away again; one hyena stayed with the lion, the other stayed half way between it and the kill; you could almost see them pleading. Then the hyenas saw a group of four buffalo further away, and can you believe it, they went and got those buffalo, and herded them between the lion and the baby buffalo carcass. The lion did not stay around, it moved off into the distance, because a buffalo can kill a lion. 

But, just when the hyenas thought they might soon eat, they again had to wait while the buffaloes walked over to the baby carcass, and they even touched and sniffed it, mourning for it. So by the time we moved away the hyenas still had not eaten.

But what patience and cunning they displayed.  You can see that sort of thing on the wildlife shows on TV, but the privilege of seeing it unfold myself, it was once in a lifetime!

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Wendy van Leeuwen, Chirnside Park, VIC

NORTH TO ALASKA

A disservice has been done to glacier fans by leaving Alaska off your "five more great glaciers to see" list in your article about Patagonia (Traveller, January 20).

The best viewing of tidewater glaciers can be had on a boat tour from Whittier, Alaska while Juneau, Alaska, has the Mendenhall glacier and the Childs glacier out of Cordova is incredible. The calving sometimes washes migrating salmon onto the riverbank opposite the glacier.

Furthermore, Exit glacier near Seward is so approachable that visitors can walk up to the face (with sometimes bad consequences), while in winter one can see Portage glacier from the frozen surface of Portage Lake. A trip to the Matanuska valley will allow enthusiasts to see the Matanuska glacier. I lived in Alaska for about 25 years and I have personally visited these and other glaciers while I was there.

Ian Sharman, Murwillumbah, NSW

CHARITY BY THE  BOOK

When visiting countries still poverty stricken after years of conflict it is always good to devote some time and money to help the locals in some way (Traveller Letters, January 20).

Visitors to Luang Prabang in Laos can help local students with their English proficiency by visiting the shopfront offices of Big Brother Mouse from 9am to 11am and 5pm to 7pm every day,

Big Brother Mouse was started in 2006 to publish books in the Lao language for school students. There is no culture of reading in Laos so this was a revolutionary idea. To get books into the hands of Lao school children Big Brother Mouse organises book parties at local schools. Staff talk about books, read stories aloud, sing songs about books and play games. At the end of the party each child is given the chance to choose their own book. 

Book parties and book publishing need sponsors. I can recommend sponsoring a book party. We did this two years ago while visiting Luang Prabang. As a former public librarian it really was one of the best days of my life to see children so happy to own a book., 

Jennifer Farrer, Castle Hill, NSW

PODIATRY CORNER

What is distasteful about bare feet on an airplane (Traveller, January 27)?  Feet are probably going to be much cleaner than shoes, which are cleaned much less frequently.  And shoes are much more likely to have trodden in something nasty on the way to the airport.

Wayne Robinson, Kingsley, WA

The experience of your reader, Jennifer Dewar, is heart wrenching. Having to observe a passenger being barefooted from Sydney to London in business class must have been unbearable. Probably turned her off the sole entree.

Paul Dirago, Lighthouse Beach, NSW 

MEMORY LANE

Thanks for the article on the culinary delights in Jerusalem (Traveller, January 27). It brought back a special memory of our visit a year ago.

My brothers, husband and I were going around in circles trying to find the elusive Via Dolorosa. When we eventually stumbled upon it, we were hot, thirsty and hungry.

We were delighted to find a small cafe in the beautiful Austrian Hospice on the Via Dolorosa next to the third Station of the Cross. It was relaxing to sit there and rest while we enjoyed coffee and apple strudel!

Rhoda Silber, Manly, NSW

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