LETTER OF THE WEEK
Although most travellers will be well-versed in Thai Immigration arrival and departure procedures, many forget to take note of the departure stub. It is part of the Thai arrival and departure card, and must be kept and then surrendered when you leave the country. The problem is that, at least at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, immigration officers will simply hand it to you loose and you may think it's just a receipt. My advice is to take care not to lose the stub as doing so may cause issues when you depart Thailand.
When I used the Padang Besar immigration crossing on the Thai-Malaysia border recently, at least two tourists in front of me couldn't produce their departure stubs, which made the Thai immigration officer very cross, and they took a long time to clear immigration. Thai immigration officials also now insist that the name, address and phone number of your accommodation is written on your arrival card. Failure to do so may meanbeing sent to the back of the line to complete the card, a nightmare if you arrive during a busy period.
Jason Azucena, Carlingford, NSW
Brian Johnston, thank you for your wonderful essay, "Found in translation" (Traveller, November 9). The "voorpret" is overflowing for our forthcoming Christmas trip to Bavaria. We look forward to much "gemutlichkeit" and may even experience "waldeinsamkeit" in the forests. Hopefully there will be no "weltschmerz" and, upon our return, I know I will feel "saudade" (a feeling of nostalgic longing for something that is lost).
Rhoda Silber, Manly, NSW
MIND YOUR LANGUAGE
It's all well and good for Valmai Maher of Lane Cove, NSW (Traveller letters, November 9) to disparage the English and grammar of the crew (presumably Italian) of an Italian cruise ship but I wonder how good her Italian is?
Peter Price, Southbank, VIC
I'm with you, Patricia Slidziunas (Traveller letters, November 9), memories are the best souvenirs, especially interactions with the locals. For me, these include meeting an English-speaking teenager on a train to Kuopio in Finland, only to find she had learnt English in Saudi Arabia, where her father set up the building products factory in Dammam. She couldn't believe we were expats in Riyadh. Or the chap in Réunion Island who declared that my wife (a high-school French teacher) could not possibly be from Australia because she spoke excellent French. Forget selfies. Seize what really matters.
David Gordon, Cranebrook, NSW
PATCH ME IF YOU CAN
My travel souvenir is the cloth patch. It needs to have an image and the name of the location that I have been to, and I sew them onto a polar fleece blanket. Each patch gives me memories. I have badges of the Rialto Bridge, Cutty Sark, Mt Etna, Mt Kinabalu, the Noosaville pelican, a Bunya pine, a Burano lace cat and a Melbourne tram, though no green-and-gold Sydney ferry. Many designs are beautiful and a lot of thought goes into them, and the hunt takes me to touristy shops as well as to family run places. I have interesting chats with assistants and fellow travellers. Now the patches seem to be unfashionable and lovely ones are getting harder to find.
Jo Taylor, Wynnum West, QLD
CHINWAGGIN' IN THE RAIN
As a not-very-frequent flier, I treasure many joyful memories of the places I've been lucky to visit. It is the people who stay in my mind. Sheltering from a sudden storm in a doorway in San Francisco, I got chatting with an old man. When the rain stopped, we were about to part when he grinned and exclaimed, "Well, that's what ya get when ya talk to a lady!"
Robyn Cashman, Fernhill, NSW
Why should the airline put in the fine print on tickets their lounge opening times? (Traveller letters, November 9)? Is it that hard for you to simply search their website? We expect a little too much from the airlines. Besides, with a five-hour layover in Hong Kong, there's so much time to leave the airport and explore with great local restaurants in Tsing Yi, just a 12-minute train ride away.
Nick Inatey, Singapore
Well, if this is the attitude of users of the Silver Kris Lounge (Traveller letters, November 9), at Singapore's Changi Airport, I would much prefer to sit in the waiting room lounge in hard plastic seats than be scrutinised and looked down upon by users such as your reader, J. Lorkin. Such snobbery. Do these users expect travellers to produce a pedigree before entering such hallowed space and how about some compassion for those gate crashers who cannot use a closed lounge? I am sure the users of the closed Star Alliance Gold lounge do wash, can speak properly and are well behaved.
Errol Grace, Fountaindale, NSW
RANTS AND PAVES
Here's a callout to all town planners working on restorations of historical sites around the world. Please don't use cobblestones to create an image of "authenticity". They're a safety hazard, discriminate against the disabled, are a pain to walk on, are hard to drag a suitcase across and turn cities into Disneylands with their lack of historical integrity. Follow the lead of heritage architects by preserving and faithfully restoring the original and ensuring that any additions are physically and visually separate. We now build flat, safe roads and paths for a good reason - they're better.
Sam Bando, St Kilda East, VIC
Susan Lenne (Traveller letters, November 16) says she was astounded by the cost of public transport in the UK, and that she spent $500 on "tickets from London (St Euston) to the Lakes District return, plus a one-way trip from St Pancras to Gatwick airport". Euston to Windermere return can be bought for $128, and St Pancras to Gatwick for $18.50 (I just checked both) – under $150 where poor Susan spent $500. I used a date six weeks hence, standard class, unreserved, off peak. A UK over-60s Railcard costs a little over $50 and saves a further 34 per cent on all train fares. I recommend the website seat61.com to anyone wishing to travel by train in Europe or the UK. It features thorough, up-to-date information and tips on how and when to book for the cheaper fares.
Anna Campbell, Albury, NSW
DON'T GIVE ME A BREAK
Michael Nicholls of Ascot Vale, Victoria (Traveller letters, November 16), there is a fast-forward function in the in-flight entertainment controls aboard Singapore Airlines flights (and I assume other airlines) which means I have not watched a commercial, before a program, for years.
Neil Silver, Wahroonga, NSW
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