Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

History

South Island beauty, Southern Alps of New Zealand

Thought for the day…”Reach for the stars, even if you have to stand on a cactus”

“The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.”

The beauty of the South Island of New Zealand with some fantastic weather.   The river here, the Waimakariri, is one of three rivers which cut through the Southern Alps.   The main east-west road and also the trans-alpine railway follow this river for many kilometres.  In just a few km from where this photo was taken, the vegetation changes from dry grasslands and bushes to the rainforest of the (wet) West Coast.  This area was also the area where the extinct moa bird was said to have been seen by two locals in 1993, leading to a mini tourist boom.  The fact that these two locals were about to take over the running of the local pub near where the ‘moa’ had been seen may just have been coincidence !!   Nowadays you are more likely to see fishermen by the river and hunters in the hills after wild boar or deer.

and another photo from the archives…an intense stare from this boy in a market in Sri Lanka

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An aviation classic – the Hawker Hurricane

Thought for the day…”I haven’t failed. I just found 10 000 ways that won’t work” Thomas Edison.

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadow falls behind you”.

Wanaka, New Zealand hosts the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow every two years, and was at one time, also home to a number of Warbirds, such as this Hawker Hurricane.  This particular aircraft had an interesting history, having flown in 1940 and crashed in Preswick, Scotland, then after a rebuild was damaged several more times before being transferred to the Soviet Air Force in 1941.  It crashed again near Murmansk, Russia in 1943 and was recovered around 1990 and partly rebuilt in the UK from 1992 to 1995.  It was fully restored in Wanaka and flew again from Christchurch, NZ in January 2000.    It was later sold to a French owner based in Cannes.   The photo was taken in Wanaka about 2010 prior to the sale to the new owner.

And a photo from Oslo harbour in Norway.   The DFDS ferry travels overnight down to Copenhagen, Denmark.  Unfortunately, journey times have been increased now and prices onboard are very high, making it much less attractive than previously, especially when the highway down through Sweden is a fast alternative.  Why management wanted to slow the trip down is a mystery, as the boat is now much slower and leaves both cities too early to be much use to business travellers or people wanting a full day trip.

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Censorship by Booking.com

Thought for the day…”Chocolate is ground from the beans of happiness.”

“The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.”

Free Speech.   Something that is very important, but something that is disappearing fast in Europe.   Political correctness has already gone far to far, but now the online travel agency (OTA)  Booking.com   is also at it.

I recently stayed in some accommodation in Zurich which I booked online via Booking.com         The property was not good (badly run, dirty and with poor facilities) with poor security.   Not only was the property not clean, but it appeared to have many problems, one of which was what appeared to be asylum seekers in the accommodation.   So after my stay, I wrote a TRUTHFUL review to help other people in deciding whether or not to book.    One of the things that I wrote in the review was that the property appeared to house asylum seekers.    I did not make any statements about the rights or wrongs of this, nor did I mention nationalities, skin colour or race.    No references were made to immigration policies or criminality, just a statement that there appeared to be asylum seekers housed in the property.

But Booking.com   refused to publish my review because I had used the words ‘asylum seekers’  which they said could cause offense to some some people.   I would argue that the words described (truthfully) a situation, and were just reporting what I had seen and experienced.   Despite emails to Booking.com   the review did not get published.     So it seems that Booking.com   also want to be politically correct, even if this means distorting the truth.

The result of this….I cancelled a lot of future bookings with Booking.com     and now try to book direct with hotels etc. where this is possible.  I am not going to have Booking.com   tell me what I can and cannot say in a review.   It also makes me think that the other reviews on their website may also have been edited too.    So if you are reading reviews there then be aware that the reviews may have been edited for suitability.    George Orwell’s   1984 is here, just a bit late.   Booking.com    is in the same group as Priceline.com    and Agoda.com

Today’s photo comes from Glendhu Bay on the South Island of New Zealand.    The valley in the photo was until recently one of the homes of the Canadian country-pop singer, Shania Twain.  Nearby is Mt. Aspiring National Park and the Southern Alps.

and another photo from the archives….a SRN-4 hovercraft seen here in Boulogne in France.  These hovercraft had a top speed of 154 km/h and crossed the English Channel in as little as 22 minutes.  The record is held by the hovercraft in this photo, the Princess Anne.

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Oslo airport OSL does it again

Thought for the day…”If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.”

“There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.”

Oslo airport does it again…makes it unpleasant for passengers.   On Saturday I had the misfortune to use Oslo OSL airport again.   Even with their big, new extension, it is still the same unpleasant place as before.    Despite have a big new space, there are still almost no seats for passengers waiting to check in (WHY??) and even though they have put in a big new duty free shop (which they conveniently funnel passengers through whether or not you want to buy), they still have not got it right for passengers.  Why do their departure gates have seats for about 30 people when the aircraft using them take 170 passengers or more?   And can the managers at OSL not count?   Why on Saturday were most of the security check-points CLOSED ?, resulting in a long queue of people trying to get through security.    The managers at OSL must know how many flights are scheduled to depart, yet they seem unable or unwilling to put enough staff on the security checkpoints.  Bad management?   Of course, if you pay money then you can go ‘Fast Track’ through security, but this is merely an admission that the normal waiting times at security are too long.    And whilst the airport managers may be happy to see more and more (expensive) shops at Oslo airport, they still have not put in enough facilities for passengers.   Try finding a water fountain or a working electrical socket.   Try finding something to do whilst you are waiting at OSL.   And the worst thing……we passengers are actually paying a lot of money to use OSL airport.   Because it has a monopoly position then it can take our money without providing good services.   Flying from Oslo is not something to look forward to, especially if you have to wait there.   Perhaps the train from Oslo is the answer…….

A photo of the SR.N4 hovercraft taken in 1997 in Dover, England, from a scanned slide in my collection.   At that time, the SRN4 was the largest hovercraft in the World.  Top speed was 154 km/h and they could cross the English Channel in as little as 22 minutes.  The noise and vibration inside them was unforgettable, and if you crossed the English Channel on a rough day, then the ride inside them was ‘interesting’ !!  But they were a thrilling way to travel over the waves.

and another photo from the archives…by the sea in Cuba.

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Down the alleys of Stockholm

Thought for the day…”It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.”

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old”

Am I missing the point?    Went into a local sports shop (part of a large international chain) and could not understand why a sports shop has escalators to go up and down between the different floors.   This is the same chain of sports shops which sells running machines and keep fit equipment, yet they have escalators between floors.  Am I missing the point?

Lovely photo of the alleys in the medieval part of Stockholm, Sweden.  This part of Stockholm (actually an island) is known as ‘Gamla Stan’, or Old Town, and dates from the 13th century.  In the 19th century the area was a slum, but from the 1970s the area was restored.   Fuji X-T10 camera & 18-55mm lens.

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and another photo from the archives….pondering the moment in Ethiopia…..

WORDPRESS ETHIOPIA Bahir Dar Tis Isat girl green dress 4 Oct 2011 (7)

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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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Deep Thinking

Thought for the day…”The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary”

“It’s not that I am smart, just that I stay with problems longer”  (Albert Einstein).

It is sad and also annoying to see how  in New Zealand, that a MINORITY is now trying to take control of more and more.     Many people believe that the Maori people were the original people of New Zealand (not to be confused with Australian aborigines)  but in fact they are not.  It was the Moriori who were the original people in New Zealand, later to be followed by the Maori, who arrived from Polynesia around 1250 or 1300.   The census in NZ shows that about 600 000 people claim to be Maori, or about 15% of the total population of NZ.      So it is extra annoying to see that a MINORITY is trying to claim more and more rights for a land that was not theirs to begin with.     Currently in NZ, they are trying to get many place names changed to their names, despite the fact that they were not the original settlers.    Names such as Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain) are being replace by Maori equivalents, and even the names of the two main islands in NZ are now appearing under their Maori names.  They even are even trying to replace the words ‘New Zealand’ with their own names for the country.   But many NZ people are forgetting that the Maori are a MINORITY and that most of them do not use Maori language as their first language.   Politicians are giving in to the minority, and even government departments are being given Maori names to keep the minority happy.    Look on the internet for a telephone number for Picton Department of Conservation (DoC) and you will see that the DoC offices are now listed under their Maori names.    Gradually this MINORITY is trying to claim more and more land for themselves, despite the fact that they were not the original owners of the land.  And the NZ government is giving in to them, costing the taxpayers millions of dollars.   All wrong.

On a happier note, today’s photo comes from the Pacific Island of Niue, where a local is deep in thought…..

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and another photo from the archives…..beautiful Picton in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

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New, looking old – more classic cars

Thought for the day….”  It is better to be looked over than overlooked”   (Mae West).

“If you focus on results, you will never change.  If you focus on change, then you will get results”.

Lucky timing with the camera recently and a case of being in the right place at the right time.    There has been a rally of Ford Model A cars in the Otago region recently, and I just happened to be at the village of Cardrona when the cars were also there.   Over 4.8 million Model A cars were made between 1927 and 1932 , the car being a replacement for the famous Ford Model T.    One version of the car even featured a V8 engine.   Prices ranged from USD 385 up to USD 1400.   Interestingly, it was the first car to feature safety glass in the windshield.

Two of the cars are seen here, outside the famous Cardrona Hotel.  Originally a gold-rush village, it now sits at the base of a ski resort.  A disused (gold) mineshaft can be seen inside the hotel bar.   From here, to the left of the photo, the road climbs up the Crown Range, reaching a height of 1119m, before descending towards the tourist town of Queenstown.       Due to the bad light that day, the photo was converted to black and white, then changed to sepia, to give it a 1930s look.

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and another photo….some of the 20 000 plus runners in the Stockholm marathon…

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New looking old, historic New Zealand

Thought for the day…” It isn’t premarital sex if you have no intention of getting married.”   (George Burns)

“Dreams are not what you see in your sleep.  Dreams are the things that do not let you sleep”.

Nice photo of the historic Cardrona Hotel, Otago, New Zealand for the photo today.    Cardrona lies about 25km from the town of Wanaka, on the mountain road to Queenstown.    Cardrona was originally a gold rush town which grey up in the 1860s.   The historic hotel in the photo was used in advertisements by the Speights brewery in New Zealand.   Nowadays it is the nearby Cardrona ski area which attracts tourists, although now that the road to Queenstown is sealed all the way, then the route through Cardrona is much busier.  Occasionally you still see people panning for gold in the nearby river.   The photo was taken in colour, then selectively changed to black and white.

LOW-RES-hoteland another photo out of the archives…taken on safari in Kenya…..WORDPRESS-KENYA-Lioness

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Fast and Slow, Albania to China

Thought for the day…” Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance, you must keep moving”  (Einstein).

” If you do not know where you are going, any road will get you there”.

Around 3.2 million people live in Albania, which borders Greece in the south and Montenegro in the north.  Italy is just 72km away across the sea, yet Albania remains one of the poorest parts of Europe.   One strange difference in Albania is that shaking your head means ‘yes’ whilst nodding your head means ‘no’.  Today’s photo shows the train from the Albanian capital, Tirana arriving at the second largest city of Durres.    At the time the photo was taken, trains ran all the way from the capital, however now the main train has been demolished to make way for new roads !  Even when it was operating all the way, average speeds were extremely poor, with the 38km journey taking around 90 minutes.   Compare that to the world record for a conventional train, held by the French TGV which reached a top speed of 574.8 km/h in April 2007.    Up to July 2011 (when its top speed was limited to save energy) the Chinese CRH2 Harmony train covered the 922km from Wuhan to Guangzhou at an average of 313 km/h.

LOW-RES-Albania-Durresand another photo from the archives….boats in Essiouria, Morocco.  Spot the man on the boats….

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The meaning of life ?

Thought for the day…” Success is when preparation meets opportunity.”

With all the problems in the world (climate change, recession, unemployment, malaria, Syria etc……) it is surprising to read that scientists in the USA in Portland University have been busy working on perfecting a coffee maker that will work in zero gravity (zero G) conditions in space.    I may be missing the point here, but one, are there many people travelling in space? and two, could these same scientists have worked on something more useful??  Hopefully this ‘research’ was not paid for by taxpayers’ money.

Off to the small town of Arrowtown in New Zealand for the photo today.   The town was previously a historic gold mining town once had more than 7000 residents, who were attracted by the lure of gold in the nearby Shotover and Arrow rivers.   The Shotover river turned out to be one of the richest gold-bearing rivers in the world, and it is still possible today to pan for gold in it.  The photo was taken late evening, when the day trippers from the nearby tourist mecca of Queenstown had returned and had left Arrowtown in peace again.    A colour photo was converted to black & white, then to sepia, and the contrast was increased.

wordpress-Arrowtownand a photo from the archives…..carnival time in El Salvador.

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Ultimate Swiss army knife !!! – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement”.

”  Happiness is a road to travel, not a goal to reach”.

Did you know that the original Swiss army knife was grey, not red?  And in the beginning, when the knives were made for the Swiss army, they did not feature a corkscrew because soldiers were forbidden to drink whilst on duty.  Apparently, on modern Swiss army knives, the corkscrew is the one part that is not made in Switzerland (it is manufactured in Japan instead).  The Swiss army knife started life in 1897 after being developed by Carl Elsener.   His idea was to manufacture something to stop emigration due to unemployment.  The design has been so successful that it has even been used in the Space Shuttle.  It is now possible to buy a Swiss army knife WITHOUT the knife part, so that it can be carried on flights (a knife-less Swiss army knife!) .   Wenger, one of the two main companies producing the knives (the other is Victorinox)  produces a knife known as ‘The Giant’, with some 87 tools included on it.    And here is a photo of one…which was on offer in Switzerland for CHF 1200……

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One strange or odd fact about the Swiss army is that they accidentally invaded the neighboring country of Lichtenstein in 2007 after getting lost in a rainstorm !!

And a photo from the archives, this time from Cuba….4 modes of transport in this shot…..

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A Hot Summers Day, New Zealand – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell

Thought for the day…” A life without ambition is like a journey without a destination”.

”  A problem is just a solution waiting to happen.”

Central Otago, New Zealand,  for today’s photo, and a typical hot, dry summer day.   Central Otago is a big wine-growing region, with most of the vineyards at around 300m altitude and surrounded by mountains.  Pinot Noir is the main wine from this area, characterised by the smaller grapes that are used to make this type of wine (one reason why a good Pinot Noir costs more).  Wine making in this region took off in the 1990s, whereas in the 1800s, it was gold that was the big industry here.  In summer, temperatures here can reach 35 degrees, but in winter, parts of Central Otago fall to -15 degrees.

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And one from the archives……a steam train in Uppsala, Sweden.

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Busy doing nothing – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…..” Never let perfect be the enemy of better”     ”  It takes twenty years of hard work to become an overnight success”

A photo from a few years back, taken on the main railway station in Tallinn, Estonia.  Estonia has been independent from the Soviet Union since 1991, although there is still a lot of Russian influence there, with around 45% of the population speaking Russian.  It still shares a border with Russia, and another with Latvia.   Around 430 000 people live in the capital, Tallinn.   It has become known as the Silicon Valley of the Baltic due to the large IT industry there, with Skype being its most famous development.    More than 1.5 million tourists visit the city each year, with about 1/3 of them arriving by ship.   Plans to link Tallinn to Helsinki (Finland), some 80km away by an undersea tunnel have been put on hold, although they were part of the European Union plans to improve links to the area.

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And one from the archives, taken a few years ago, the rare Rothschild giraffe.

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Not a care in the world – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” We learn the ropes of life by untying its knots”.

“You cannot change your past, but you can begin a new future.  Restart your future”.

Around 7 million people live in the landlocked country of Laos, whose currency is called the Kip and whose capital is Ventiane.  It also has the distinction of being called the world’s most bombed country, as an estimated 2 million tons of bombs were dropped during the Vietnam war.  Between 1964 and 1973, the US dropped an average of one planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, or around 1 tonne of bombs for every person in Laos.  Estimates say that around 1/3 of Laos is still affected by unexploded bombs and landmines,  resulting in about 60 deaths each year, children included.

The photo today shows a happy boy in Lao, not a care in the world.

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And another photo from the archives….the lakefront in Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand.   As they say in Wanaka, ‘Life the way it should be’.

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

Thought for the day…’ Life was much easier when Apple and Blackberry were just fruits”.

“Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day”.

The world gets more crazy.    Apparently, the Brightwater Wastewater Treatment centre (which is called a sewage works to you and me), near Seattle, USA is now promoting itself as the perfect place for weddings.  Advertising on its Facebook page, it lists the things that it can offer for your perfect wedding….lots of parking, dance floor and  full catering.   Renting the sewage works costs USD 2000 for 8 hours.   Apparently, there is no smell.

A photo from the Finnish capital of Helsinki for the photo today.   It started as a colour photo, but was then converted to black and white and then finally to Sepia, to give it an old look.  On the skyline is the Lutheran cathedaral, and below that on the left is the Helsinki town hall.   Much of the centre of Helsinki Iincluding the Lutheran Cathedral) was designed by the German architect, Engel and has a Russian style.   Indeed, parts of Helsinki look so much like Russia that in the 1970s and 1980s it was used as a copy of Russia when making films.   With faster trains to Russia now, then there are many more Russian visitors, as well as day trippers from Sweden who arrive on the overnight ferries.

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Wonderful Copenhagen – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Happiness is not getting everything that you want.  It is enjoying what you have”.

”  The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet” (Aristotle).

Why is there a ‘fashion’ at the moment to make most running shoes in bright colours, or even white?   How long do white running shoes stay white?  Not long.    But it seems that nearly all the current offerings in the shops are just in bright, light colours, which if you are running off road (or even on road) are not going to stay looking good for very long.  Bring back darker running shoes!

Today’s photo comes from the waterfront area in central Copenhagen, Denmark.   Nyhavn, which means ‘new harbour’ in Danish.   The famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen lived in Nyhavn for many years.   Copenhagen claims to have the world’s longest shopping street (Stroget).   With a population of around 1.2 million people the area has prosepered, especially after the opening in 2000 of the bridge joining it to nearby Malmo in Sweden.   It is said that  Walt Disney, after visitng the amusement park (Tivoli) in Copenhagen, was inspired to build his own version back in the USA.   Denmark is also the home of LEGO, and it is estimated that over the last 60 years, that more than 320 billion bits of Lego have been sold.   That works out at an average of 56 LEGO bits per person worldwide.    LEGO is an abbreviation of the Danish words “leg got’, which means ‘play good’.

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747 with a history – Not the Quality Resort Spa Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Everybody is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”    (Albert Einstein).

Watching a TV program recently about the 747 Jumbo Jet, and learnt a few interesting things.   Originally, the 747 was intended as a temporary aircraft until Boeing had developed its supersonic transport aircraft, but when that project was abandoned then the 747 became the big success story for Boeing.   Many years ago I saw this aircraft in Korea, not far from the capital Seoul.   It was being used at that time as a restaurant, but it was a mystery how they had got the aircraft into that location, which was surrounded by hills and big apartments.   During the TV program, a former Pan Am stewardess was interviewed, and she talked about working on the aircraft in the photo, including what had happened on 30 July 1971.   The pilot had miscalculated take-off speeds whilst taking off from San Fransisco bound for Tokyo, and had hit the runway approach lights.  These then punctured the aircraft and entered the cabin, seriously injuring 2 passengers.  The aircraft was able to land despite losing 3 of its 4 hydraulic systems.    The landing was dramatic, including large bounces and a fire from the landing gear, with the aircraft coming to a stop resting on its tail, nose in the air.

Amazingly, despite all the damage, the aircraft was repaired and returned to service, initially with Air Zaire, but later again with Pan Am (but with a new name!).   It continued to fly for Pan Am until 1991, then went to Aerolineas Argentina and also Kabo Air Nigeria before finally ending its flying days in 1999.    It was then used as a restaurant in Korea until 2010, when it was cut up.   Interesting history behind the photo!!

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Going home at sunset – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” A nation of sheep breeds a government of wolves.”

Did you know that the first digital camera was made by Fuji in 1988 (called the Fuji DS-1P), although engineers at Kodak had earlier made a camera that used a CCD (charge coupled device) ?  Digital cameras had evolved as a natural extension of the technology that had been developed for recording television programs, such as the VHS tape system.   In 1986 Kodak engineers made the first million-pixel sensor.  Even Apple joined the race, producing the ‘Apple Quick Take Camera 100’ in 1994.  At the other extreme, Fermilab built a 500 megapixel camera for use in telescopes, and the latest professional digital cameras are coming with 70mp sensors.  Progess.

Sometimes you need to take a lot of shots of the same scene in order to get one good one.  Today’s photo is just one of those situations, as it needed a lot of shots before the fishermen were in the correct position.   Timing was so important for this shot, which comes from Mindelo in Cape Verde Islands.  End of another day.

As always, comments are welcome, just find the comments box below and write.

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Early morning lift off – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” To be blind is bad, but it is worse to have eyes and not see”

” Success is the marriage of opportunity and preparation”.

1783 was the date of the first passenger-carrying flights in a hot air balloon, although the ‘passengers’ were actually a duck,sheep and a rooster.  It was the Montgolfier brothers in France who were the first human passengers, flying over Paris for 20 minutes.    Compare this to the world record flight of the balloon, Breitling 3, which flew around the world in 1999.   And a balloon piloted by Vijaypat Singhania (India) in 2005 flew to over 68 000 feet/21 000 m.    Today’s photo comes from Cappadocia in Turkey, showing one of the many balloons that fly over some very unusual landscapes.  If you are in Turkey then the balloon flights at Goreme are a must, highly recommended.

WORDPRESS-Turkey-balloon

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An excellent idea to encourage politeness – Not the Quality Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day..” Motivation is like food for the brain.  You cannot get enough in one sitting.  It needs continual and regular top-ups”.

I saw an interesting story in the news about a cafe owner in  Nice,Cote D’Azur, France who is offering cheaper prices customers who are polite when ordering.  A cup of coffee is 7 euros, but if customers say “good morning”  and also “please” then the price is only 1.40 euros.  The idea is to make customers more polite and considerate.   An excellent idea!   Just look around the next time you are in a shop or cafe and see just how rude and unpleasant many customers can be.     And even worse is when the continue to talk to somebody else on a mobile phone whilst making a purchase.   Charge them more I say !!!   Great idea by the French cafe owner, and one which I hope catches on.

A summer’s day in Croatia and the fishing village of Cavtat (southern Croatia) for the photo today.  Croatia is also known as Hrvatska, and has a population of around 4.2 million.  Tourism accounts for about 20% of the GDP, but unemployment is over 20% as well.     It was formerly part of Yugoslavia, but became independent in 1991.  It is now a member of the European Union.  Interestingly, the money, called ‘Kuna’ was named after a small rodent!!    The town in the photo today got its name from the latin language, Cavtat, or old city (civitas vetus).   It is now a popular day trip destination for tourists.

2

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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.

LOW-RES-Ballarat


Breaking records SPEED – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….”Out on the edge, you see all sorts of things that you cannot see from the centre”.

” Losers make promises that they often break, winners make commitments that they always keep”

A photo today of the world record holder for conventional trains, the French TGV.  The train, seen here in Lausanne station (Switzerland) carries a special paint scheme, and includes details of the world record which it broke on 3rd April 2007, when it achieved a top speed of 574.8 km/h.   Although this is the world record for conventional trains (that is, those running on normal rails) the Japanese MAGLEV train set an overall train speed record of 581 km/h.   At the other end of the scale, the world’s slowest train is said to be the last running train in Cambodia, which has a top speed of only 17 km/h.   The normal top speed of the TGV (as in today’s photo) is 320 km/h, although there are plans to raise this in time.

LOW-RES-TGV

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Another beautiful morning, Picton, New Zealand – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” It takes both sunshine and rain to make a rainbow”            ” The secret of getting ahead is getting started”

New Zealand is home to the longest place name in the world…

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwenuakitanatahu

It became independent from Great Britain in 1907, and unusually, has 2 national anthems.    Wellington, which is the capital (although Auckland is the largest city), is the southernmost capital city in the world.  New Zealand also has one of the highest numbers of golf courses per capita in the world.   You will not find any nuclear power stations or snakes in NZ, as NZ is snake and nuclear free.    And in the far south, you may find the tuatara, the world’s oldest reptile, which is largely unchanged for the last 200 million years.

Too many tourists rush through the New Zealand town of Picton, which is situated at the top of the South Island.   Many tourists only see it as the ferry port when they arrive on the 3 hour ferry trip from Wellington on the North Island.   But this small town of about 4000 residents is a great holiday base, offering watersports (sailing, fishing, kayakking, diving), cycling and also the famous nearby Great Walk, the Queen Charlotte Track.  And the famous Marlborough vineyards, including such famous wines as Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, are only a short drive away.  Some fine small cafes, wonderful fish & chips (a New Zealand tradition) and excellent accommodation make this an ideal stop on a tour around New Zealand.

WORDPRESS-Picton

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