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Archive for November, 2013

Party Time – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the Day….” Do coffins have lifetime guarantees?”

” Isn’t Disney world just a people trap operated by a mouse?”

Another happy scene today, this time from the Cook Islands in the Pacific.  Every year the local churches arrange a ‘Gospel Day’ in which the churches compete against each other to put on the best show.    The islanders dance, put on small shows, sing and also drink a lot of alcohol.  One play that the churches have performed was based on the attacks against the twin towers in New York.   Gospel days start early, sometimes around 0300 and go on long into the night.  Lots of flowers, dancing, singing and fun.  The next gospel day will be in October 2014.

WORDPRESS-Cook

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Modern apartments – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.”

” Life is not measure by the number of breaths we take, but by the moment that take our breath away”

Recently I was in a supermarket at the checkout, paying for my shopping.  It was part of a large chain, and the assistant (who had obviously been instructed to tell all customers) advised me that the shop now had automatic self-service checkouts that I could use.  No problem for me of course, as I had my credit card with me, but there was a very good reason NOT to use the self-service checkouts.   There were already a row of unmanned, empty checkouts, as staff had been replaced by the self-service checkouts.   I politely told the assistant that if everybody used the self-service checkouts, that so many jobs would disappear.   They have already disappeared from airports (self-service check-ins), hotels are now going to self-service check-ins (fewer receptionists) and most bank counter staff have been replaced by ATMs.  If this trend continues, then huge numbers of people are going to be out of work.   So I am continuing to use manned checkouts.  It may cause me to wait longer, but it will help to keep people in work.  Something to think about.

Off to the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik for the photo today, and some modern apartments outside the city centre.  Reykjavik, which means ‘smoky bay’ lies at 64 degrees north and has a population of around 200 000 people.   Despite being so far north, more than 100 different nationalities live there.

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Face with a story – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…”Life is not measure by the number of breaths we take, but by the moment that take our breath away”

“Don’ t tell me sky is the limit when there are foot-prints on the Moon”

Did you see the story from Switzerland that Starbucks are going to open an outlet on a Swiss train?     Starbucks is growing very fast (over 3000 new outlets planned in the US alone), and already has over 18000 shops.   There are even 255 in New York alone.   The coffee served onboard Swiss trains from the mobile trolleys is good already, so I wonder how well Starbucks will go down.

Another China photo today, but this time from Yunnan province and a shot from the weekly market in Shaping.   Very easy to get photos like these at these markets, as there are so many people in different tribal costumes, and it does not take long to get a shot like this.   The background was deliberately made out of focus to concentrate interest on the face.   A cloudy day produced bright, even light, and a bit of cropping has removed distractions from the edge of the photo.   How long will it be before it becomes impossible to get photos like this?

LOW-RES-YUNNAN

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Happy moment near Tibet – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Fear is the father of courage and the mother of safety”.

”  Do not waste time looking back.  Your eyes are in the front of your head”.

Did you see that alarming story on the internet about the British retail chain, Tesco is planning to use computers to scan the faces of customers filling up with petrol (gas) at its petrol stations, then target them with appropriate advertisements, based on their age, sex and demographic profile?   If successful, it plans to introduce the scanning of faces into supermarkets as well.  Is this not Big Brother in real life?   With the supermarket shopper cards, it already has a massive amount of information about personal buying habits, but the thought that it plans to now scan faces is taking things too far.

On a happier note, here is a photo of a happy trader in China, not far from the border with Tibet.  Something was obviously amusing here, but it captures the moment well.   Good lighting and a long lens helped to catch the shot, which was taken during the weekly market.  A simple, uncluttered background finishes off the photo well.

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Wineglass Bay, Tasmania – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” A dream is only a dream until you make it reality”.

“Excellence in customer service is the most searched for, but the most difficult to achieve.  Failure in customer service is the least searched for, but the least difficult to achieve”.

Staying in Australia for the photo today, and the beautiful Wineglass Bay in Tasmania.  Tasmania has a population of around 510 000 people, and is promoted as the land of inspiration.   It was named after the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman who discovered the island in 1642.   Around 45% of the island is national park or reserve land.   Tasmania is situated at around 42 degrees South, so has 4 seasons and a much cooler climate than the rest of Australia.   It is about the same size as Ireland or Sri Lanka.  It also has the world’s largest lavender farm, although it is better know for apple production.

LOW-RES-AUS-Wineglass

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New, looking old – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Better to be a star rather than a spark.  Sparks are for the moment, stars are for the future”.

“Talent is the key to success, but you have to find the door”.

Update on the story about the refund from Air France.    I cancelled an air ticket with AF, and understood that the actual ticket was not refundable, as the conditions stated, but asked Air France to refund the taxes.  Things like departure taxes had not been incurred, as I had not travelled, so I expected a refund of these.  After many many emails to Air France, and to some very unhelpful customer ‘service’ departments, then finally I got a refund, minus a 20 euro ‘administration fee’.  Still very unhappy with Air France because I had to write so many emails to them, but at least I have got most of the taxes back.   So the moral of this story is that even if the airline says no in the beginning, then keep on at them as they ARE supposed to refund the taxes.

A new photo made to look old for today’s picture.  The shot comes from the museum at Ballarat in Australia, and started off as a colour photo, then was converted to black & white and finally was given the sepia touch to make it look old.    It was just a matter of waiting for the tourists to disappear out of the scene then an easy job to capture this scene, which could be from the 1800s but is actually quite recent.

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More colour, new apartments Oslo – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell

Thought for the day….”  A fool and his money are soon elected”                     ”  Money often costs too much”

21st century.  Some companies have still not accepted this fact.  Far too many companies are not making it clear how to contact them using email.  There are so many websites where email addresses are either hidden or else are just not there.  Try contacting a customer service department directly at an airline.   Air France/KLM for example, seem to make it near impossible to get hold of their customer service department, and even when you do, they do not want to help.   Other companies hide their email addresses, making contact difficult.   Very easy when you want to pay or buy something, but when you have a query or want to get a refund, then it is a very different story.    Just been trying to contact AVIS to cancel a car reservation, but have spent a lot of time trying to find their email address.    Lesson learnt for next time !

Proving how bright colours can improve a modern building, here is a photo of some new apartments in Oslo.   The effect of the bright colours in breaking up standard concrete and glass apartments is wonderful, and the warm shades catch the attention of passers-by.  This was one of a series of shots, just waiting to get a passer by in the right position to finish off the photo, as here.

low-res-oslo-Aker-Bryga-colour

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Oslo Autumn – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell

Thought for the day….” Excuses are nails used to build the house of failure”.

” What we must decide is not how valuable we are, but how we are valuable”.

Curious story in the news about an ice-cream maker in Bristol, England who has developed jellyfish ice-cream that glows in the dark.  Due to the chemicals in the ice-cream reacting, it glows when you eat it.   It must be a very strange flavour!.   The same creator (Charlie Francis) has previously made a gin & tonic ice-cream flavoured with quinine, which is normally used to treat malaria.   And then there was the Croatian shop who made ‘Facebook’ ice-cream, a blue mixture that tasted of sweets and gum.

An autumn day in Oslo in today’s photo, and the new (and no doubt, expensive) apartments and museum at Aker Brygge.   This was the site of a shipyard until 1998.   The city of Oslo is growing at a very high rate, and currently has over 950 000 people.  It is often rated as one of the most expensive cities in the world (along with Geneva and Tokyo), and was originally known as Christiana.   Interestingly, in the Norwegian language (and also in Swedish) that there is no word for ‘please’.

LOW-RES-OSLO-Aker-Bryga

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Market Colour – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Vision is the art of seeing the invisible”

“If communication is they key, then why not open the door? ”

Some unusual news on the internet at the moment, like the story that the music of Britney Spears (such as ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time) is being used onboard ships to scare off Somali pirates.   Apparently, hearing the songs remind the pirates of western culture, and the sound of her singing is enough to deter an attack !!   Also in the news on the internet are the reports of an AirNewZealand aircraft skidding off the runway at Auckland airport on a short flight to Taupo.   The only ‘injuries’ reported were to a passengers strawberries!!!   And did you know that the characters in the ‘Simpsons’ shows only have 4 digits on their hands instead of five?

Some colour from the market for the photo today, and a close up.   Sometimes it pays to fill the viewfinder with colour, and to also get in close.  As always, good light makes a difference, as do the unusual shapes in this picture.  And getting in close has helped to cut out a lot of the distractions around the outside.

LOW-RES-market-cloth

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Street life in Mozambique – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” In the race for quality, there is no finish line”.

” If you look back when going forward, then you will trip up sometimes”.

Georgina Galloway was the winner of the 2013 Perfect Woman Competition, which as usual, was held in Wanaka, New Zealand.  In this competition, contestants (all women!!) have to perform a number of tasks, which this year included knife throwing, skinning a rabbit, jetboat driving,  reversing with a trailer and taking off bottle tops with a chainsaw.   Unlike many competitions, this annual perfect woman competition relies on skills rather than beauty.   The winner can choose either a pallet of beer or NZD 1000 cash instead.  Another wonderful tradition from New Zealand.

Some street life from Mozambique in the photo here.  Until 1975 it was a Portuguese colony, hence Porgutuese is still the official language.  The famous Zambesi river runs through Mozambique before entering the Indian Ocean.  Interestingly, the flag of Mozambique shows an AK-47 rifle!!  It has borders with 6 countries, and a population of about 24 million, with about 1.2 million living in the capital, Maputo.

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