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Istanbul back streets – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you.   Listen so that others love to  speak to you”.

” Forever may be only tomorrow”.

Off to Turkey today for the photo, and to the back streets of Istanbul.   Istanbul is the only city built on two continents (Europe & Asia), and is divided by the Bosphorus River.    It is said that Turks introduced the Dutch to tulips and that they also introduced Europe to coffee.   Despite being the biggest city in Turkey population-wise, it is not the capital (Ankara is).    It was previously called Constantinople but changed to Istanbul in 1930.  With a population of around 14 million, it is said to have 3113 mosques, and is also home to the famous Grand Bazaar, housing around 5000 shops and stalls and around 250 000 visitors a day.

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And a photo from the archives….. Lake Wanaka in New Zealand.

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Coffee time in Finland

Thought for the day…”Value is more expensive than price”

“You may not know what is going to happen when you try, but if you do not try, nothing will happen”.

Two photos from opposite sides of the globe next, one from the Finnish capital of Helsinki and the second from the Central Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand.   Interestingly, the building in the first photo is now the City Hall for Helsinki, but was originally a hotel where the first moving pictures were shown in Finland by the Lumiere brothers in 1896.   Even in winter (when temperatures are frequently below -20 degrees centigrade) people will sit outside in the area around the harbour to drink excellent, strong Finnish coffee (kahvi in Finnish language).   Finland is number one in the world for coffee consumption per capita, something to do with the long, dark Artic nights.  But the coffee is excellent !!!   It works out to about 12kg of coffee for each person in Finland.   A survey in 2014 reported that 14% of men and 6% of women in Finland drank MORE than 10 cups of coffee a day.  They like their coffee !!

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And another photo from the archives….Lake Hawea, Otago, New Zealand

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A Good News story

Thought for the day….”The telephone book is full of facts but it does not contain a single idea”

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for”

With all the bad news stories around at the moment, it is heartwarming to read a happy story.  The New Zealand newspapers recently featured a story about a cat in Auckland (which, incidentally,  is not the capital of New Zealand, merely the largest city).    The government electoral commission had sent a letter to this cat inviting it to enrol ready for the forthcoming elections.   Somehow it had not been noticed by the government department that this person was actually a cat.   But even better, the name of cat was ‘Chairman Meow’.   Wonderful name for a cat!!.

A photo from capital of Slovenia, Ljublana for the photo today….

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and another photo from the archives…a crowded ferry on Lake Malawi, Africa…..

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http://www.qualitysparesort.com                           http://www.qualityresortnorefjell.com

Pride of the Pacific – No Way

Thought for the day….”If you wish to reach the highest, begin with the lowest”

“If you want something that you have never had, then you have got to do something that you have never done”.

Air New Zealand used to have a slogan “Pride of the Pacific’, and at one time, were a very good airline to fly with.  I had many happy flights on the stopping service from New Zealand via the Pacific Islands to/from the USA on NZ 47 and NZ 48, a service which followed the route of the early flying boats.   Great for island hopping, as the aircraft stopped so many times at places like Fiji, Tahiti and Hawaii.   And it connected nicely with NZ 1 to London as well.   Service was good onboard, it was comfortable and also good value.    Fast forward to the Air New Zealand of today, who are still trying to pretend that they are a quality airline.   Now you find that you must pay for almost everything onboard…the basic fare gives you a seat only to which you must pay extra for checking in a bag, having a ‘meal’ onboard, choosing a seat (NZ10) and even watching a movie (another NZ10 extra).      So the cash registers are ringing all the time…..basic plus $$ plus $$$  plus even more $$$.  And if that was not bad enough, Air New Zealand have also gone for the high density 10 across seating in their 777s.    So not only are you restricted for legroom, but now you are also finding less shoulder room.     So what was once a quality airline has now turned into a budget airline.     The last flight that I had on AirNZ, it took the staff OVER 1 hour 20 minutes to get me a cup of coffee, and then after that I had to ask for a refill as no refill of the small cup was offered.   Pride of the Pacific it might have been, but Pride of the Pacific it is certainly not now.   If AirNZ think that I am going to pay $10 extra to choose my seat and then another $10 to watch a movie on a small screen then they are very mistaken.     Neither do I wish to sit in a 10 abreast seat configuration where I am pushed up against the shoulders of fellow passengers on both sides, especially on an international flight of many hours.     The bottom line is that AirNZ have become a budget airline, with all the negatives that a budget airline comes with.    I hope that next time that they run into financial difficulties, that the New Zealand government does not bail them out as it usually does.    The quality has gone.

Two more photos from the Fuji X-E1 camera…….showing just how good the Fuji glass is….

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and another photo from the archives…city centre in Ascuncion, Paraguay…

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Addiction

Thought for the day….” Shadows cannot see themselves in the mirror of the sun”

“There are many ways of going forward but only one way of standing still”.

Addiction is the ‘persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance’.   I recently observed a group of foreign tourists come into a popular local cafe.   The father sat at a table and immediately whipped out his mobile phone, and asked his wife to find out the password for the internet.   Then once they had got the password (and some coffee), they spent the entire time heads down engrossed in their mobile phones.   No awareness of where there were or what was going on, apart from their mobile phones, which were the centre of their attention.    No conversation between them or their children, just the mobile phones.     There is even a medical term now for this, internet addiction disorder, also known as problematic internet use (PIU).  One of the factors not helping this is the fact that we are rarely out of contact now, with internet access almost everywhere.     Even when we go on holiday and sit on a beach or climb a mountain, we often still have internet coverage.  We are never really out of touch.  Traditionally, holidays were times when you DID leave the everyday behind.   Holidays were times when you were AWAY and where you were uncontactable.    But for many people now, just a few minutes out of contact can cause panic symptons.     And it is sad to see people sitting in cafes and restaurants concentrating on their mobile phones, not on those who are with them.    Technological advance or a backward step  ???

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And another photo from the archives…the Stockholm marathon….

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Frequent Flyer schemes – waste of time ?

Thought for the day..” Life is like photography.  You use the negatives to develop”

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time”

Are airline frequent flyer schemes a waste of time now?   Perhaps.   I have just flown from Frankfurt, Germany to Auckland, New Zealand, a distance of some 18 162 km.   Most companies see the value in recognizing regular customers and in looking after them, as they are an important source of profit.    But now it seems that frequent flyers are losing their attraction.    Rather annoying that for the flight from Germany to New Zealand, that I will not get a single air point.    I then go on to read that for my domestic flights in New Zealand, I will also not get ANY air points.   Two additional trips to the Pacific Islands, again not a single air mile for the return trips.    So for 12 or more of my flights, I will not get a single air point.   Not one.   And to make matters worse, when I do actually get some air points, the airline is now often only giving me 25% of the air miles, because I am flying on cheap tickets.     And when I come to try and use my air miles, they are asking for even higher amounts of miles than previously, and then are asking me to pay the taxes and charges on top.     So it begs the question, are the airline frequent flyer schemes now a waste of time.??

Fishing nets in New Zealand for the photo today……

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and another photo from the archives…..about to arrive in Funchal, Madeira.

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http://www.qualitysparesort.com                               http://www.qualityresortnorefjell.com

Changing names in New Zealand

Thought for the day….”For every dark night, there is a brighter day”

“Arriving at one goal is the starting point for another”.

Next time you look at a map of New Zealand, you might notice some changes.   And not changes for the better either.   The politicians in New Zealand are giving in to the Maori people and are changing more and more names from their English names to alternative Maori names.  There are even new names for the country itself (I refuse to mention the new name for NZ) and for the two main islands, which up to now have been known as North Island and South Island.   But the politicians either do not have the guts to resist or the will to resist the increasing demands of the Maori people.     Changing the names of places is just another sign of how this group of people are gradually taking over New Zealand.    What the politicians are ignoring is the fact that New Zealand does not belong to maori people, as they were not the original people of the country.     Not only that, but under the treaty of Waitangi, they even signed agreements over land ownership.   So now, after all these years, they cannot claim that it is ‘their’ land and there can be little legal right for them to insist that names of places in New Zealand are changed to their names.

But the politicians have just given in.

So tourists when the visit New Zealand will start seeing more and more Maori names, and will probably believe that NZ actually belongs to the maori people.  Quite how a MINORITY group of people has got this to happen is strange.   English, not maori, is the language of the majority of people in New Zealand.    Places such as Mount Cook (the highest mountain in New Zealand) should keep its English name.    But the politicians have other ideas.

A peaceful summer scene for the photo today…another triumph for the Fuji X-E1 camera.    Taken as a jpeg photo and cropped to produce this pleasing image.

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and another photo from the archives….a backpacker talks to a local boy in Nepal…..

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If you are feeling hungry…fast food….

Thought for the day….”You cannot live a positive life with a negative mind”

“Success is a ladder that you cannot climb with your hands in your pockets”

If you are feeling overfed after the Christmas indulgence, then spare a thought for Nela Zisser (New Zealand).  This woman has undertaken the challenge of eating to excess and is posting on YouTube.  Her latest attempt failed.   She was attempting to eat 100 MacDonald burgers in a row.  Not surprisingly, the attempt fails, and she ‘only’ managed to eat 45 burgers.  Apparently, after eating 45 of them, she said that the taste got to her.     The record is held by a Japanese, Yuka Kinoshita, who managed to eat 62 burgers at one sitting.   Also in the news this week is that the world’s heaviest man, Andres Sepulveda (Mexico) had died at the age of 38.  His weight had been as high as 450kg.  What will your New Year’s Resolution be????

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and another photo from the archives…fireworks over the Norwegian city of Bergen…..

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Political correctness – something is wrong here.

Thought for the day…”Why does a round pizza come in a square box?”

“If electricity comes from electrons, then does morality come from morons”

If you have visited Sweden recently then you will have seen the large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers in the cities and in the train and bus stations.    Whilst normal tourists need to apply for a Schengen visa to enter, it appears now that the borders to Europe are open to all, and without limit.     Swedish Television has now issued instructions to it’s staff that they are not to use the words ‘immigrant’, ‘black skinned’, ‘dark’ or ‘African origin’  for fear of  insulting people.   The use of words such as ‘white skinned’ is still allowed though.   Is that fair?  Is it not discrimination??  Even  worse is that anyone accused of racism by an immigrant is not going to be allowed time on TV or radio to defend themselves.  And whilst people in Sweden have had to put their names on waiting lists for sometimes several years in order to get public housing, asylum seekers are being put into housing quickly.  Across the border in Norway, asylum seekers are housed in hotels (at public expense) and are given a daily living allowance, whilst Norwegian people have to pay to stay in hotels and are taxed on the priviledge.    Is that fair?

The photo today comes from the lakeside town of Pembroke Wanaka, on the South Island of New Zealand.  A typical morning view of the lake from near the town centre.

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and another photo from the archives….window cleaning in Ljublana, Slovenia

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Making the same mistake again (and again)

Thought for the day…” We cannot control the wind  but we can direct the sail”.

” If you want a happy ending, that depends of course, on where you stop the story”  (Orson Welles)

I should have learned my lesson before.   Having suffered the fiasco of Windows Vista, I ‘upgraded’ to Windows 8, only to be caught again by all the bugs and problems of that system.   So you would think that an intelligent person would learn.  Once bitten, twice shy, as the saying goes.   But no, along comes an offer from Microsoft to ‘upgrade’ free to Windows 10, and I again fall into the same trap.  Not only are there serious privacy concerns about the new operating system, but Microsoft seems to want to take control of YOUR computer and decide for you how things will run and which programs will run.   Perhaps worst of all is that there is a clause in the user agreement which allows Microsoft to monitor in real time your activity and also which keys you are using (a keylogger).   Even if you want to you YOUR choice of music player, the Microsoft own music player (called Groove) tries to take over instead.    And Microsoft even made deleting its Groove player difficult, needing a user to go to a command line prompt just to delete a program.   The more that you read about the loss of privacy with Windows 10, then the worse it becomes.  Somehow I just cannot accept that they would be watching every key that I press on MY computer, every webpage that I look at, and every program/game/application that I use, all in real time.

So Windows 10 had to go, and gone it has.    I regretted installing W10, hopefully this time I will learn my lesson.   Experiments with the LINUX operating system have been far happier.  It is a much simpler system, it works as it should, and its privacy policy is far better.    Windows 10 be gone !

Lakefront in the South Island, New Zealand town of Pembroke Wanaka for the photo today…..

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and another photo from the archives…the Challenge Wanaka triathlon competition, held each year in Pembroke Wanaka, New Zealand.

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http://www.qualitysparesort.com                       http://www.qualityresortnorefjell.com

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