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Worse service on the airlines, and more to come

Thought for the day…”The envious man grows lean at the success of his neighbour.”

“Hope is such a bait, it covers any hook.”

It is amazing that so many people are still choosing to fly with airlines, as a new round of cuts in services are leaked in the press.  The Hong Kong based  Cathay Pacific Airlines has announced that it too will follow the trend and squeeze in 10 across seating on its Boeing 777 services (the aircraft was designed for 9 across, so the change to 10 across will mean even less shoulder room).  There is also talk about going to 11 across onboard the A380, with the same result, less shoulder room for passengers.  And following on from that announcement, it seems that the Lufthansa group will move towards a ‘buy on board’ system for food.   It is being trialed at the moment, and apparently SWISS airlines (part of the Lufthansa group) are also going to trial a buy on board system.    Here is an example of one of the ‘meals’ that was served on a Lufthansa flight not long ago…about 100g of cheese and bread.   No plate, no meat and no other food.

So even before they start charging for food onboard, then they had almost cut out the included ‘meals’.  Earlier there was the news that British Airways were going to reduce the seating pitch onboard, meaning that their passengers would have LESS leg room than those on Ryanair.    And Lufthansa have also followed the trend by squeezing in more passengers on their new Airbus A320 NEO aircraft.   They have also removed one of the toilets (to fit in more seats) and made the remaining toilet even smaller.   Less leg room, less shoulder room and now even less food onboard.     The airlines mileage/frequent flyer programmes have been devalued so much that they are now virtually worthless, so the question is, is there any point now to choose one of the original airlines over the budget alternatives? Seems not.   You often have to pay for checked-in baggage, advance seat selection and a higher basic ticket price on thee traditional airlines anyway.    So why choose them?????

In most other businesses, giving a poorer service would usually drive people away, but it seems that the airlines are an exception.   Poorer service now, but still increasing numbers of people wanting to fly.  One thing is sure, the airlines that have increased the seating to 10 across on their 777s will not be seeing me onboard.   The limit has been passed.  Economy class has become a test of endurance, and is far from a pleasure now.

Staying with the theme of aviation, a photo that is now history, an AirNewZealand 747, seen here at Brisbane airport in Australia in 2004

and another photo from the archives….a local man in Southern Oman….

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Money well spent, or not ???

Thought for the day…” Hope but never expect, Look forward but never wait”

“Obstacles are those frightful things that you see when you take your mind off your goal”  (Henry Ford)

The waterfront of the Norwegian capital, Oslo is changing fast.   Currently it is a mass of cranes and building sites.   A photo from yesterday taken in perfect weather and warm temperatures, showing just how much building is going on.  The white building on the right is the Opera House, which was completed in 2007, supposedly based on an iceberg shape.    The exterior is covered with Italian marble, Carrara marble.   This is an odd choice to use, as the architects had perhaps not read about the problems that this same type of marble had when it was used for the Finlandia concert hall in Helsinki.    Whilst Italian marble may be very suitable for use in the Mediterranean, it does not handle the extreme cold temperatures of Scandinavia well.    Much of the marble used in Helsinki on the Finlandia Hall had to be replaced, so it is interesting to see it used in Oslo, which has a similar climate.  Time will tell !   The cost of the Opera House in Oslo was over 4 BILLION Norwegian kronor, or over USD 700 million.   Would this money have been better spent on a new medical centre??

and another photo showing the whole building….

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New Zealand Sea lions – the Fuji XF 100-400mm lens again

Thought for the day….” Do not watch the clock, do what it does, keep going”

” Success is when preparation meets opportunity”.

The Fuji XF 100-400mm lens.    Interesting how things have reversed.   Initially I returned the lens after one day, having decided that it was far too heavy (almost 1.4kg) and too big to carry around.    But after seeing so many brilliant pictures on the internet, and also needing a longer zoom, I purchased it again.    Once you have adjusted to the size of it (it is big !!) and have adapted your way of carrying it, then it starts to get better.    Initially I thought that I would only use it occasionally, but as it is such a great lens then I am finding that I use it much more often.   FAST at focusing and also fast at taking photos, but it is the photo quality which is outstanding.    I used to think that the Fuji 18-55mm  kit lens was fantastic, but now the XF 100-400mm lens has taken top place.   Not a cheap lens to buy but quality costs, and this lens certainly IS quality.   The 3 photos below of sea lions in New Zealand will show what this lens can do, although the images here are only low resolution copies for the internet.   The photos below were taken with the Fuji X-T20 and the XF 100-400mm lens, all taken as jpegs.

and another photo…..

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New Zealand Oystercatcher bird – the Fuji XF 100-400mm lens

Thought for the day…” Turn your face to the sun and the shadow falls behind you”

“You cannot live a positive life with a negative mind”

When was the last time that you printed a photo???   Nowadays it seems to be the trend to take a photo with a mobile phone, then only share it via Facebook or Instagram.   The photo is only a temporary thing, shared then forgotten.    Previously photos were printed out, then passed around at meetings of friends.    Far easier to look at a printed photo instead of an image on a mobile phone or tablet.    Photos printed out mean more.    Much nice to look at a printed photo then a mobile phone screen.     And photos will be treasured more than an image on a mobile phone screen for only a few seconds.  Many of those images on a mobile phone will only last as long as the phone lasts, whereas photos that are printed out will last a long longer.   And printing photos is fun too !!

Today’s photo was taken with the Fuji X-T20 camera and the Fuji XF 100-400mm lens.  The quality of the lens is amazing, and with 5 stops of stabilisation, photos like this can be taken hand held.   The lens is big and heavy (almost 1.4kg)   but the quality of the photos speaks for itself.

and another photo….Lake Hawea on the South Island of New Zealand.   An early morning photo….

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Always connected – the digital overload

Thought for the day….”It is not the years in your life that count.  It is the life in your years”

“Knowledge comes from learning.  Wisdom comes from living”

One of the big challenges now is that we are never disconnected.   People are now suffering an onslaught of information at all hours of the day, and with tables and mobile phones, this continues even when they are not at work.    Internet is available almost everywhere, and the mobile phone means that people are still connected even when they are on the beach or walking in the park.    Not only are people able to be online continuously, but there is also an overload of information now.     Some scientists are now saying that this constant stream of data is making it hard to concentrate, and is also causing increasing levels of stress.  There is also the problem of trying to juggle all the different forms of technology, and to cope with all that information that is now bombarding us.     So rather than making life easier for us, this technology is actually making life MORE difficult and stressful.     People now believe that they have to answer a mobile phone call immediately, and that the email that has just arrived must be read instantly, whilst at the same time they are still bombarded by information from the internet.  Some hotels are now advertising that they do NOT have internet, and also are advertising digital detox breaks.   Always connected, and not a good thing.

Today’s photo comes from the lakefront in Pembroke, New Zealand, where there is also internet.  Who needs it though with a view like this?

and another photo, the waterfront at Picton, South Island, New Zealand.    From here ferries depart for the 3.5 hour trip to the North Island.

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Norway duo – the Fuji X-T10 camera at work

Thought for the day….”If we were meant to stay in one place then we would have roots instead of feet’

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die’  (Buddha)

The photo today comes from Svolvaer, the ‘capital’ of the Lofoten Islands in Norway.   About 4500 people live in this town which was built on cod fishing.  Nowadays, summer tourism is very important with about 200 000 tourists visiting each year.   It is served by ferries from Bodo on the mainland and also by a regional airport.  Day trips operate from here to the nearby Trollfjord and also Rafsundet.  Being Norway, everything is VERY VERY expensive, making a holiday here a costly trip.   When a Norwegian is asked to name something that is cheap in Norway, they usually struggle to think of ANYTHING that is cheap.   The words ‘cheap’  and ‘Norway’  do not go together.

and another photo…..the very small village of Urke in the Norwegian fjords.  Both of the photos today were taken as jpegs using the Fuji X-T10 camera.

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Spectacular start to the day – dawn in New Zealand.

Thought for the day….”Dreams do not work unless you do”

“Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise me”

Couple of sunrise photos from Pembroke, New Zealand.  Strong upper winds and lots of clouds, but the golden colours only lasted for about 5 minutes.  The term ‘sunrise’ is actually incorrect, as the sun does not rise at all.  It is the motion of the earth which makes it appear that the sun is rising.   In the days when Concorde was flying, it was possible to see 2 sunrises or 2 sunsets in the same day, as the aircraft flew ‘faster than the sun’.     Both the photos today were taken as jpegs using the Fuji X-T20.

and another photo of the same sunrise….

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National parks. What do they mean to you?

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

“Experience is what you get when you do not stop trying”

What does a national park mean to you?  Probably an area set up by the government to conserve or encourage nature for future generations, and an area where developments are not allowed.  The ‘conservation of wild nature for posterity’.     To quote from the New Zealand Department of Conservation (who administer the parks in NZ) “New Zealand’s national parks contain some of our most treasured wilderness areas.”   Note those last words most treasured wilderness areas.
Here is a photo of Mt. Aspiring, 3033m.

News is now spreading in New Zealand (NZ) that two companies have ALREADY been given permission to extract and bottle water from the Mt. Aspiring National Park.  One of these is going to be in the extremely beautiful Dart Valley, and the other towards the west coast, including an export facility next to a beach.  To make matters even worse, the permits were given without public consultation (why??).    A petition was started earlier this month to protest, but as permission has already been granted then probably it is far too late.     Of course, the Maoris are claiming that the water belongs to them under the Treaty of Waitangi, but they are trying to claim (wrongly) that the Treaty of Waitangi gave them rights to many things which the treaty never even mentioned.

Even under NZ law, the national parks should have been protected…..

“It is hereby declared that the provisions of this Act shall have

effect for the purpose of preserving in perpetuity as national parks, for their intrinsic worth and for the benefit, use, and enjoyment of the public, areas of New Zealand that contain scenery of such distinctive quality, ecological systems, or natural features so beautiful, unique, or scientifically important that their preservation is in the national interest.

— National Parks Act 1980, Part 1, section 4, subsection 1[5]”

Yet the consents were given by the government without public consultation.   HOW COULD THEY DO THIS IN A NATIONAL PARK   ?????   Just another sign of the way that things are going downhill in NZ.

To finish off the post, another photo….the lighthouse at Nugget Point, South Island, New Zealand

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jeritilley@hotmail.com

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Two from the opposite ends of Norway

Thought for the day…..”If you cannot do great things then do small things in a great way”

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”.

So the crazy ‘security’ people in the good old USA have now decided that the humble Kindle e-book reader cannot be taken onboard flights from certain countries, nor a laptop, digital camera or tablet.   Yet people flying from some other countries CAN take the exact same items.    Just another sign of how stupid the USA has become.    And I am even more surprised that the travelling public in the USA is putting up with more and more of this nonsense.  Nothing to do with security, just a way for the Department of Homeland ‘Security’  to exercise even more control over people, without making flying any safer.    Even Australia is now making the use of the naked body scanners compulsory, with no opt-out option,  yet another intrusion into personal privacy and personal rights.     Based on these stupid, groundless ‘security’ procedures ( security scam would be another way to describe it)  then I will continue to avoid the USA, UK and Australia.    Airport procedures now are beyond reasonable.

A photo of the west Norwegian city of Bergen, taken from Mt. Floyen in perfect light.  Again great colours from the Fuji camera, taken as a jpeg.

and another photo….the fishing town of Vardo, Norway.    This is the easternmost town in Norway, and actually lies further East then Istanbul or Kiev !!  One of the town’s slogans is ‘Eternal light, Eternal Night’,  which is a reference to the 24 hours of constant daylight during summer, and the 24 hours of constant darkness during Winter.    The Russian border is only a few km away across the bay.

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Full power for take off- Queenstown, New Zealand

Thought for the day….”Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery.”

“You cannot start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”

Full power for this AirNewZealand departure from Queenstown (ZQN), New Zealand.  In the background are the Remarkables Mountains.   Not one of the World’s easiest airports to fly in or out of, due to the surrounding mountains, although they have recently started night flights due to the huge demand for tourist flights to the area.   One of the problems caused by the success of the airport is the severe congestion on the road from the airport to the town centre.   There is already talk about making a 4 lane highway from near the airport into the city centre, although the real problem is that there is not enough public transport.   The town planners’ answer is to build bigger and more roads, whereas the solution should be a public transport system.

and another photo from New Zealand….Nugget Point in the Catlins.   Named after the ‘nuggets’ off the actual point, there has been a lighthouse here since 1870.   The area is home to many fur seals, yellow-eyed penguins and also seabirds such as spoonbills and gannets.   The road to the Point is now being sealed, which will make access easy.

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