As a frequent traveller between Melbourne and Sydney I am becoming increasingly concerned that our great southern state is in the grip of a horrific and tragic identity crisis. The last few times I have travelled through Melbourne I have noticed the fondness for European names such as the Rive Gauche on the bank of the Yarra.
Then there's the number of peeps I have heard refer to Melbourne as being just like an identical twin of some 1000-year-old European city - just this week while I was surfing TV channels to avoid the NSW election news someone on the tele made a comment about Melbourne being the Paris of the South. All this nonsense clearly indicates that there is some delusion of grandeur going on amongst its inner-city, arty-farty, café latte scoffing inhabitants.
Having lived in France for a number of years I have some basis on which to point out that Melbourne is NOT Paris or any other European city just because you give all your restaurants a European name, you have a river going through the city, grow wine, and have a few cobbled precincts sections of the city with cafes that evoke memories of Boulevard Saint-Michel.
Ooh la la, get a grip my southern comrades, the reality is that Melbourne has some fab attributes – embrace them and stop the pretence.
LETTER OF THE WEEK
Our family of six adults, including our 84-year-old mother, recently went on a three week tour of Egypt with a company called Real Egypt, and real it was. We experienced all the normal sights of Egypt as well as everything unavailable to the large tour groups.
The experience was magical. Our guides in Cairo and Luxor were qualified Egyptologists and very knowledgeable not only of the extensive past of Egypt, but also recent events.
We travelled on the Nile in a small boat and the crew were magnificent; our mother was well looked after. To an extent, everything was planned to ensure she also had the best experience. Egypt really needs our travel support.
Joseph Ting (Traveller letters, March 28) seems to imply that cabin air in jetliners is continuously recycled and refiltered during long haul flights. Some travel writers have recently made similar comments. However, while recycling and filtering does occur, fresh air is continually brought into the cabin via the compressor stage in the engines. It is then cooled and mixed with about 50 per cent of the filtered cabin air. The other 50 per cent is exhausted back to the atmosphere via pressure relief valves usually on the lower side of the fuselage. In this manner there is a total change-over of air every two to three minutes, more than most sealed, air-conditioned office buildings. Boeing estimates that some 94 to 99.9 per cent of airborne microbes are captured by the filters.
Melbourne Airport management seem to have cornered the market in ways to annoy passengers. I flew in late one Saturday afternoon and proceeded to the baggage carousels. Four carousels were available, one designated for a flight from Launceston, one from Newcastle, one left vacant and mine had four flights allocated to it from Adelaide, Hobart, Brisbane and Sydney.
A hundred or so people all crowding around the one carousel waiting 20 minutes for our bags? Either Melbourne airport are trying to save power or they have deliberately herded us to the nearby coffee franchise hoping we will buy coffee as we cool our heels. It really isn't rocket science to properly manage passengers.
HAVANA A GO
What a sad illustration of the behaviour of Australian bogans who were proud of the fact that they were "hooning" around Havana with their rum and cigars (Traveller, March 21-22). Shame on Traveller for publishing the image and commentary.
Most visitors to Havana enjoy the delights of a city full of friendly people and rich in cultural, artistic and historic sights and experiences.
Were they from Sydney?
PUTIN OUR PLACE
I must object to a propaganda letter in Traveller (Traveller letters, March 28) from Sonya Szech. Traveller is not the proper arena for ranting or raving about politics.
Sonya states: "Russians were committing mass murder in Ukraine and rendering well over a million Ukrainians refugees, 12 of them my relatives." and suggests to Australians that "your tourism dollars were bolstering the Russian economy" and that "you may not have been there to visit the dictator or the military, but your money sure helped them out."
We all know that it is a US-backed puppet government in Kiev that has slaughtered thousands of innocent Ukrainians in the Eastern regions. The question is; how does this type of drivel get past the editor?
Having received news of a family member's death on a Saturday, my brother and I found ourselves flying to northern Europe and back in just over a week. The travel agent's choice of Qatar Airways turned out to be inspired.
Check-in staff did everything possible to change our allocated seats to those with extra leg-room: particularly important for my tall brother. All done with little fuss and a friendly smile.