LETTER OF THE WEEK
We recently spent two glorious weeks with Janesco Travel enjoying the delights of Japan and its Cherry Blossom season. After leaving west coast Kanazawa we became aware that my wife had lost a coin purse containing 92 yen (less than $1) in small change plus her driver's licence.
Two days later in Tokyo, some 475 kilometres away, our guide asked if we'd lost a purse. In the interim it had been picked up and handed in to the local police, who managed to track down our small tour group, spoke to our guide and couriered the purse to our Tokyo hotel. Upon opening the purse we found all the coins neatly taped to a folded sheet of paper, the licence, and a hotel card which had allowed the police to hunt us down. This incredible undertaking says much about the honesty of the Japanese and the lengths they went to on our behalf.
TACTLESS IN COLOMBIA
It was gratifying to read about the improvements in airline standards in South America [Traveller, April 19]. A far cry from a day in late July 1972 when I was boarding an Avianca DC3 in Peru. On each seat was a copy of the local paper. I was taken aback when I realised the front page consisted of a large photo of one of their own aircraft which had gone down in Colombia the day before with the loss of 38 people!
BRUISING PLATINUM CLASS
My wife and I recently travelled from Perth to Sydney aboard the Indian Pacific in a Platinum Cabin. At a cost of $7998 for two for three nights inclusive of food, beverages, off-train excursions and supposedly private transfers at the start and conclusion of our journey, one can understand why Australians are choosing to travel overseas, as we are being ripped off in our own country.
The staff were excellent, working extremely long hours to make the journey enjoyable for clients and providing a good range of cuisine. Sadly, due to the lack of airconditioning on board, in-cabin music channels working occasionally - and having to negotiate eight carriages to reach the lounge bar and the restaurant, it became a bruising experience.
The complete lack of communication between the not so "Great" Southern Rail and off-train transfers with Hughes Limousines was another debacle.
Two Gold carriages, a total of 20 cabins, also ran out of water - no shower, toilet or vanity. The journey from Broken Hill to Sydney at the rear of 700 metres of train was rough, noisy and uncomfortable. We were going to travel on the Ghan next year but will now travel the Canadian Rockies at a cheaper price.
I recently flew on a 14-hour flight with Qantas that had its fair share of infants and children on board. In a nice show of equality, they were spread quite evenly around economy so that everyone on board was able to "enjoy" the screaming and crying all flight.
I know that some airlines like Air Asia have been criticised for introducing child-free areas on board but I see much merit in the idea.