It must be a consequence of living in an affluent country that people who have the privilege (and it is a privilege) of travelling overseas should complain about the most insignificant things. Last weekend, the gripes traversed hotel porters, turbulence announcements disturbing sleep, inadequate frequent flyer points compensation and, most bizarrely, hand grips! Come on people. More raves and less rants!
Chapel Hill Queensland
I recently visited Cyprus. At Melbourne Airport I remember seeing lots of people with their takeaway coffees and almost all watching their phones. This included two young couples sitting together with their takeaway coffees and looking at mobile phones.
In Cyprus the slower pace of life is about sitting in taverns and cafes, being with family and friends eating, drinking and talking. When we were in the square in the village of Kakopetria there were more than a hundred people there eating, drinking and chatting. And not a mobile or take away coffee cup was in sight. It was a delightful surprise.
Six of the best (NZ lodges, Traveller February 22) and the white-apronned waiters brought back memories of a holiday with our three children in the 1970s staying at the Chateau Tongariro. We relaxed with drinks and our children were served creamy milk (their choice) in crystal goblets. The waiter asked if they would like ice in the drinks? Still a fun memory and best of all was when our daughter put her hand down the side of the luxurious lounge and found some coins, her brothers following suit. They had their pocket money for the next day.
MISSING THE CATSKILLS
When I read Andrea Black's article on the Catskills I nearly choked on my Shabbes breakfast of bagels ,cream cheese and lox .The Catskills are synonymous with Jews in show biz.They were the favourite summer holiday destination for New York's big Jewish community. The place where famous Jewish comedians,singers and actors learnt their trade.
So why did she forget about the Jewish link to the Catskills?
Mount Waverley 3149
21ST CENTURY SULTAN
I thoroughly enjoyed Keith Austin's piece on Oman (Traveller, February 16), particularly with regard to the friendliness of the people.
I was an expatriate working in Oman just after Sultan Qaboos took over from his father, when the country had only about 25 kilometres in total of sealed roads and had only achieved reasonable electricity coverage around five years earlier. The only hotel was a prefabricated building called the "Al Falaj", affectionately known by the expats as the "Cardboard Hilton".
At the time, Sultan Qaboos said he was "going to lead his people into the 20th century" – a tough call given the century was already two thirds over, but the amount of development going on was a clear indication of his determination to do just that.
I was there on secondment from BOAC to help Muscat's (then) new airport at Seeb to open in September 1972, replacing the old airport at Bait al Falaj which could handle nothing bigger that a BAC 111 small jet.
There were so many international companies developing infrastructure, apart from the new airport, that one never doubted the resolve of the leadership and people of Oman to improve their lifestyle but, at the same time, preserve much of their traditional heritage on the way.
I have never been back to Oman since I left in late 1972, but from Keith Austin's piece it seems they have managed to achieve this in abundance and I echo Keith's sentiments that Oman's greatest asset is, and always was, it's people.
Sultan Qaboos is still in charge and long may he reign.
Hawthorn East Vic
We recently enjoyed a Travelmarvel European Tour. Unfortunately, a connecting flight in Europe was cancelled. In a bit of a panic we phoned APT's emergency number where we were reassured by an Australian agent that alternative arrangements would be promptly made. We subsequently made it home without further issue. However, we did lose our premium economy seats on one leg. Our own attempts to be compensated by the airline were denied. Unsolicited, APT persisted for a couple of months and was finally successful in securing compensation. Once an APT customer. Always an APT customer.
FLYING THE FLAG
Qantas really looked after my elderly (85-year-old) parents on its new flagship route from Heathrow to Sydney (via Perth) – it was clear that they went above and beyond every single step of the way. My father cannot walk, and we were all nervous about the trip taken on their own – however, not only did Qantas staff manage every connection, transfer and interaction on board and on the ground perfectly, they also did it with such grace, skill and joy, that the trip was hugely enjoyable for them. Hard to imagine being able to look elsewhere than the flagship carrier in future.
Killarney Heights NSW