Traveller letters: Just another thoughtless, ignorant Aussie traveller?

DRESSING DOWN

Reading "The art of dressing like a European" (Traveller, September 7) brought back embarrassing memories. Visiting relatives in New York for the first time as part of a trip to many countries in 2000, my suitcase contained beautiful linen dresses, trousers and shirts.

I spent my days in New York in shorts and T-shirts and it was exceptionally hot. On returning to my cousin's home each day, sweaty and hot, I was informed we were going out for dinner right away.

Not wishing to change into my decent clothes without time for a shower, I presented myself to restaurants and a yacht club looking like somebody who had no idea about dressing for a decent night out. 

The memory still makes me feel embarrassed. They never made any comment and obviously thought I was just a thoughtless, ignorant Aussie.

MAUREEN GOLDIE, BLACKWOOD, SA

QUEUE JUMPING

I've recently returned from Paris and the Louvre and would like to offer some tips.

Entry is now pre-purchase on-line only; you select the day and time, and pay €17. It means no more queues outside. But you can no longer come and go – once you're in that's it.

If you really need to see the Mona Lisa, skip the escalator herding, take the lift just inside the Richelieu Wing to the second floor, turn left and the queue starts there.

If your phone battery dies you can recharge it for free in the museum. You plug it in in a locker which you lock with a pin and come back to collect later (the Ryksmuseum in Amsterdam also has that facility).

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Other places to visit in Paris are the Petit Palais (free and a wonderful changing collection of sculptures and paintings in a lovely space) and the fabulous Museum of Architecture at the Trocadero. .

ELAINE HOYLE, AVALON BEACH, NSW

LETTER OF THE WEEK: GUIDING LIGHT

Of all the tour leaders of all the tours in all the countries of the world we were blessed to have Mr Long. In Cambodia local guide Mr Long brought to life a country rich in ancient history, struggling to maintain pride in its splendid past while modernising and attempting to shed its dark reputation.

He guided us through ancient temples choked and strangled by encroaching jungle, shared the magnificence of Angkor Wat and explained the beauty of apsara dancers, living and preserved forever in stone.

Trips through local markets saw vendors and children held in his thrall, while we, his devoted followers, were captivated by his charming manner and generous spirit.

Stories of survival from the Khmer Rouge included that of his mother who prepared and buried tubes of sticky rice far from the family encampment to ensure the survival of Mr Long and his little brother.

He taught us simple phrases to ensure respect among locals, how to greet others with just the right degree of supplication and importantly, how to engage and successfully negotiate a tuk tuk ride without being ripped off.

We left a small piece of our hearts with Mr Long as we tearfully departed Cambodia.

LEE HEDBERG, ORANGE NSW

AIR CARE

After taking ill at Phuket airport this month, my husband was treated at the airport clinic by the kind and caring medical staff. I was accompanied by a Jetstar representative during that time, and she kept the plane informed of what was happening. Once he was given permission to travel, he was taken by wheelchair to the plane.

But the wonderful care he received did not stop there, as the cabin crew took over. We have nothing but praise for the flight attendants who looked after him during the flight. Their expert care and attention was very much appreciated, especially as we discovered he was not the only passenger who was not well on that flight. Further assistance was given to us by a local airline representative when we landed, which made getting home safely so much easier after the flight.

Too often we take these people for granted. They deserve praise more often for the job they do, especially under difficult circumstances. The kindness shown to us during our flight was very much appreciated.

BETH POWELL, SANS SOUCI, NSW

REPOSITION YOURSELF

Regarding Sally Holt's frustration of being a single traveller (Traveller letters, August 17).

I am 63 and have been travelling solo for nearly seven years. Through trial and error I have found "repositioning" cruises are the best value for solo travellers.

Cunard, MSC and Cruise and Maritime Voyages are just some of the cruise lines that offer single rates. Early booking is a must as they only have limited number of cabins available.

Some cruise wholesale companies such as vacationstogo.com also have dedicated single cruise listings.

It is possible but it just takes a lot of planning. Which is half the fun.

DAVE CLIFF, BEGA, NSW

DON'T MISS ALMATY

I know Kazakhstan is a huge country (Traveller, August 31), but Almaty, the old capital in the south, is not to be missed. It has elegant, tree-lined streets, things to see, friendly locals and Russians, plus a fine music conservatorium for Kazhak and Western music. And the food market sells the best dried fruit I've ever eaten.

DIANA BLOM, TURRAMURRA, NSW

AGE-OLD ISSUE

We were wondering if we are just old and picky,or are there other travellers that feel as we do? We are over 70 and enjoy regular overseas trips, however, every time we see a holiday advertised, no matter how appealing it looks, if we note in the fine print "kids under the age of 12 stay and eat for free", we move on to another selection.

DAVID HILLIARD, EAST GRESFORD, NSW

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