I recently flew back to Sydney from Hoi Chi Minh in premium economy on an overnight flight with Vietnam Airlines. One of the passengers in Premium Economy was asleep shortly after take off. Unfortunately, they were the loudest snorer I have ever heard.
I had noise cancelling headphones on, was watching a movie and was still able to clearly hear them snore. I was seated six rows in front of the snorer. The snorer kept most of the premium economy cabin awake most of the flight. The cabin crew were reluctant to interfere or awaken the snorer, leaving the rest of us to spend the best part of eight hours listening to the roar.
Steve Herzberg, South Coogee, NSW
TATT'S ALL FOLKS
I've just returned from a four month beach holiday in southern Europe. What a pleasure it was to see healthy, uninked bodies on the beach.
Returning to Sydney, I was immediately struck by the amount of graffiti on the bodies of both sexes, both young and old. I am now studying to be a tattoo removalist for the future. It should keep me very busy.
Sam Meyers, Greenwich, NSW
LETTER OF THE WEEK: BARACKING FOR AMERICA
I've just finished a 12-day, 2173-kilometre solo road-trip in New England in the US. I struck gold with the autumn foliage but also with the locals who were kind, good humoured and always interested in Australia. A group of five women drove me across Martha's Vineyard to the ferry so I didn't have to wait an hour for the bus. We giggled as we plotted how the driver should ask her new neighbours, the Obamas, to dinner. After a great meal at "the lost soul's table" at Elizabeth's in Pittsfield, the restaurant's owners insisted I ring them should I need any help at all.
Carolyn Pascoe, Dubbo, NSW
TOPS OF THE HOPS
Thanks to Jill Dupleix for her article "The Art or Drinking Beer" (Traveller, November 9). I have long enjoyed sampling the beers of the world while travelling and have just done so enthusiastically on a very recent trip. Being an ale lover, I enjoyed hunting out the different ales of the UK and drinking them in lovely old pubs.
In Cyprus, the Keo beer left my taste buds underwhelmed and in Turkey the ubiquitous Efes was always dependable and refreshing but upstaged by the superior Bomonti. The biggest surprise was the vibrant boutique beer industry in Israel. There seemed to be different beers available wherever we went and the best of these (and the biggest surprise) was the Palestinian Shepherds, a most delicious drop. Cheers.
Roger Thompson, Bowral, NSW
Your reader Jerry Bell bemoans the use of the humble bain-marie in hotel breakfast lounges (Traveller letters, November 2). I am someone who - as Mr Bell suggests - regards breakfast as an important meal, specially when travelling. I would suggest that Mr Bell take a different tack; seek out a suitable cafe or eatery in close proximity to your hotel that offers quality breakfast options, and live like the locals do.
Stephen Cross, Campbells Creek, VIC
BREATH OF FRESH AIRBNB
Sometimes you will read an Airbnb review where a traveller says "the host cancelled at the last minute". Well, it happened for us as we were just about to travel 300 kilometres to a nine-day stay in Lisbon. We were very stressed, naturally, as to what we would do. Our host-to-be said Airbnb would contact us within an hour and provide assistance. They did, too, and suggested four alternative places to stay. I had not realised there was such a strong support group in Airbnb and we were contacted many times before and after we re-booked to check on our welfare. We were also provided with $200 as compensation. Vitor from Airbnb was truly such a support.
John Smeaton, Bellerive, TAS
LEST WE FORGET
The Punta Arenas Graveyard listed as worth visiting in the cover story on Patagonia, (Traveller, November 9) contains a poignant link with Australia. Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer, founding Professor of Biology at the University of Melbourne and one of the pioneers of anthropology in Australia, is buried there.
He was undertaking field work in Tierra del Fuego when he died of a heart attack in July 1929 at the age of 69. His companion, Jean Hamilton, took his body to Punta Arenas for burial before returning alone to Melbourne. The story is told in great detail by D.J. Mulvaney and J.H. Calaby in So Much That Is New: Baldwin Spencer 1860-1929, a biography published by Melbourne University Press in 1985.
Beverley Kingston, Pearl Beach, NSW
An announcement has just been made as to the imminent boarding of our JetStar flight from Sydney to Phuket. My companion and I make our way to the gate and proceed to the point where the flight staff tear off that part of your boarding pass that says, in effect, you are now on board. There are no staff in attendance and so we wait. Standing next to us are two portly, casually dressed, post-middle age gentlemen who appear to be businessmen.
They are discussing the various business-class lounges they have frequented around the world, the comforts therein and the amenities available. They drone on, verifying to each other and those around them how well travelled they are, each endeavouring to trump the other with descriptions of delights most of us are unlikely to experience. I glance down and realise my agnosticism is being severely tested. I lean forward and whisper to one "Your fly is undone." As he flushes and fumbles with a quick repair it occurs to me that perhaps there is indeed a God.
Denis Gray, Toukley, NSW
I recently lost my wallet while travelling on a train between Hsinchu and Taipei in Taiwan. It contained a substantial amount of local currency as well as credit and debit cards. By the time I realised my loss the train had travelled on to Changhua, 95 kilometres away. Back in Taipei, I went straight to the station-master's office to report it and the staff immediately telephoned Changhua. Phew. A lost wallet had indeed been turned in and the staff in Changhua arranged to have it returned to Taipei Station. A most anxious and frugal day later I was reunited with my wallet, contents intact. It certainly restored my faith in human decency.
Kim Woo, Mascot, NSW
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