Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

hotel

Joys of travelling

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

It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.”

The joys of travelling….exciting new places and destinations.  But it is not always fun.   One of my pet hates (one of many) is that hotels often do not have a list of TV channels.   Given that some hotels can have upwards of 100 channels, why can they not put a list in the room to save endless channel surfing trying to find the 5 or 6 interesting channels??    A simple card or print out listing the channels would be so good.   And linked to this pet hate are hotel TVs that as soon as start them are at maximum volume, hardly ideal for a hotel when guests are trying to sleep.

Next pet hate……Many hotels are no longer giving the small bottles of shampoo and conditioner or individual soap, preferring to have dispensers on the walls instead.   All very well IF the hotel refills them but so often just when you are in the shower you discover that the dispensers are empty.

And staying with hotels and pet hates…..the annoying habit that more and more hotels are only putting in one rubbish bin/trash can in the whole room and bathroom.  Saves them a little money, but is hardly good for the guest experience.

Another hate….modern hotels whose managers have decided that THEY know the temperature that guests want the rooms to be at, and have removed individual temperature controls in the rooms….I am seeing this more and more and it is also not good for the guest experience.

Topping the list of pet hates for hotels…..any hotel that has slow internet or has a poor internet signal in the room deserves to go out of business….no excuse for this in the 21st century.    Excuses such as “it is the number of guests in the hotel” or “it is the rainy weather” just get me irritated.  It is not rocket science to get fast, reliable internet in a hotel, but it seems to be a major problem for some hotels.

The list goes on….to be continued………

Today’s photo is of the lakefront in Pembroke, South Island, New Zealand, on a perfect Summer’s evening.  One man and his dog admire the view….

and another photo from the archives…..driving hazards on the roads of Scandinavia….these are a much bigger problem at night when they tend to freeze in the car headlights.   A male elk can be over 300 kg, so can cause a lot of damage to a car.

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RESPECT,  CONSIDERATION  &  FAIRNESS


Last light of the day – sunset

Thought for the day….”Success is more aptitude than attitude”

“Heaven on Earth is a choice that you must make, not a place that you must find.”

As part of my job, I get to travel a lot, and you tend to notice the differences between countries.  At Singapore Changi (code SIN, and possibly the best airport in the world) recently the drinking fountains were closed for maintenance.  Being Singapore, with its fantastically well run services, the airport managers had thought to provide bottled drinking water at the water fountains so that passengers were not inconvenienced.   Travel further up to Norway, which you would expect would also be a well run country and things are the opposite.   In the Scandic hotel in Bergen, the orange juice machine was out of order, but nobody had thought to provide juice in jugs next to it.  Next hotel (again a Scandic hotel) and the coffee machine was out of order.   Just a handwritten sign on the machine saying that it was out of order.  Again, nobody had thought to provide a thermos of coffee to make up for the failure.   And as part of the ‘improvements’ to standard rooms, they do not now provide tea/coffee facilities in the standard rooms.  Gone also are tissues in the rooms, individual shampoo and conditioner and soaps.

And as if that was not enough, the Scandic hotels in Bergen (not cheap, as nothing in Norway is cheap) have decided that they will not put cutlery, cups or serviettes on the tables.   It is the same as the airlines, customer service is disappearing.   Scandic hotels may be happy to ask high prices in order to stay in their hotels.  The prices rise, but the service levels fall.   There comes a point when you say that enough is enough.   Why pay high prices for less service??     Perhaps they should let Singaporeans run the hotels in Norway??

And to end the day, a photo of the sunset near Alesund on the 18th July 2016….wonderful end to the day..

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and another photo from the archives…..happy boys in Albania

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Peaceful Swiss Alps – Gstaad

Thought for the day…”Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it”

“We learn the ropes of life by untying the knots”.

Did you know that there are 4 official languages in Switzerland (Swiss German, French, Italian and Romansh)?  Swiss German is the main language, with about 64% of the population using it.   And did you know that the abbreviation for Switzerland, CH comes from Confoederatio Helvetica, which is latin, and was chosen as a neutral alternative to using one of the 4 official languages.  It has the second highest life expectancy in the world (Japan is first), and also a high divorce rate (around 43%).  The wrist watch was invented here in 1868 (Patek Philippe).  The photo today is of the Swiss town of Gstaad, in the southwest of the country.  About 9200 people live in this expensive resort, home to the famous such as Julie Andrews, Bernie Ecclestone and previously Roger Moore, Elisabeth Taylor and Roman Polanski.  It looks very quiet in the photo though……

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and another photo from the archives….fireworks over Bergen, NorwayWordpress-Bergen

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View from above – Aruba

Thought for the day…”Action may not bring happiness but there is no happiness without action”.

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

Off to the Caribbean for the photo today and the island of Aruba, seen here from above.    Aruba is about 30km off the coast of Venezuela, and is one of the group of islands known as the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao).   About 103 000 people live on this small island, which is only 32km long and about 10km wide.   It is dry and arid (there are no rivers), and also very flat, with a year round average temperature of 27 degrees.   Tourism is the number one industry here, with oil refining and offshore banking also important.  About 1.5 million tourists a year visit, including many arrivals by cruise ships in the capital, Orangestad.   The beaches were very quiet when this early morning photo was taken…..

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and another photo from the archives…..a girl in rural Laos.

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CRAZY hotel prices in Oslo

Thought for the day..” Thinking about exercise burns a total of 0 calories”.

”  You have to be ODD to be number one”.

Anybody planning a holiday to Scandinavia is going to need a lot of money, and if they are intending on visiting Norway, then a great deal of money.    Searching on the internet yesterday for hotels in Oslo, Norway, found some very interesting prices.    Can you believe that a SINGLE room in Oslo last night could cost up to 1073 euros (=UDS $1202)?   And that is not a special room, just a standard hotel room (judging by the pictures).

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And it is not just the hotel prices in Norway that are crazy.    Everything from a bottle of water to a meal out has high prices.    If you are fond of a drink with your meal, then get ready for a big shock.   Most alcohol in Norway can only be bought from the government run alcohol shops (Vinmonopolet) and even in hotels and pubs, only up to certain times.  It is a similar position in Sweden and Finland, where the government controls the sale through the government run shops (Systembolaget in Sweden, Alko in Finland).    So if you are going to eat, drink, sleep and be merry in Norway on holiday, then the final bill could be a nasty shock.

and another photo from the archives….no worries for these Albanian boys….

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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 Zealand – Discovered

Thought for the day….” Well done is better than well said”.

” When everything feels like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top.”

It is sad to see some of the changes in New Zealand now.   Up to a few years ago, it was cheap destination and was the sort of place where you could arrive in a place and decide where to stay and for how long.   Now that has changed.   Huge numbers of tourists (many of them from China) mean that accommodation and buses are booked out, even now which was traditionally a ‘low’ season.    There were 402 518 international visitor arrivals in December 2014, a  new record, with Chinese tourists being the big growth area.     Compare that figure to the total number of people in NZ (just over 4.5 million) and you can see that over a year, that the number of tourists is huge.      Over 3/4 of the population of NZ live in the North Island.    But the problem now is that most of the tourists want to see the most popular places such as Queenstown, which is leading to overcrowding and booked out buses and accommodation.      This season it is hard to travel with advance reservations, and tourist activities are heavily booked, even this late in the season.    Prices have gone up a lot too, and NZ is no longer the bargain destination that it was.   Prices for accommodation have risen sharply, tourist activity prices have reached European levels, and eating out has also reached European price levels too    New Zealand has been discovered !    So if you are going to visit New Zealand, reserve in advance and come with a lot more money !!   And the photo today is from New Zealand, Lake Wanaka early morning…

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and another photo out of the archives….sunset at Ometepe, Nicaragua.

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More photos from a paradise holiday destination – Seychelles

Thought for the day….”It is the road that you take that decides your destiny, not your destiny which decides which road that you take”.

” You are not wealthy until you have something that money cannot buy”.

Situated just south of the Equator and in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles are made up of 155 islands which were controlled by both Britain and  France until independence in 1976.   About 92 000 people live there (lucky them!), with many of them being employed in the main industry-tourism.     Unlike the Maldvives, the Seychelles have some wonderful inland scenery too, ranging from deep valleys to tropical rain forest, which makes the Seychelles a far more interesting holiday destination.  The beaches (some of which are said to be the best in the world) are uncrowded and extremely beautiful, the sea temperature perfect for swimming and diving (especially around the many coral reefs) and when you tire of sitting on the beach under a palm tree, the tropical rain forests are quite beautiful.  Add to that some fantastic quality hotels and they are really a perfect holiday destination.

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and another from the same area…..

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On the water – Norway Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Laughter is the best medicine, but if you laugh for no reason, then you need medicine”

“Marriage is a workshop where the husband works and the wife shops”.

Norway has been enjoying some very warm temperatures recently, and also lots of summer-like weather.    Already the coastal resorts are coming alive, and people have even been seen in the water.  And it is still April and it is Norway!  Nice photo from the marina at Holmestrand, southern Norway, for the photo today.   Sometimes you get lucky…being in the right place on the right day with the right weather, then just as you are about to take the photo, something exactly the right colour in the right place comes along.   Right !

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Never again Air France/KLM – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Have you ever thought that the word ‘politics’  comes from the Latin word ‘poli’ meaning ‘many’ and tics, which are blood sucking creatures?”

“Why does round pizza come in a square box?”.

Another airline on the ‘no-fly’ list, or rather, the AirFrance/KLM group.    I cancelled some flights with them about 2 years ago, and whilst I knew that the ticket was non-refundable, the taxes were (because they had not been incurred).  Yet try getting these unused taxes back from Air France (who are collecting the taxes in advance in anticipation that they will become payable WHEN you make the flights).     Lots of useless replies from their so-called Customer Service, many unanswered emails and also wrong answers from them when they did reply.  The matter dragged on and on, and eventually, a partial refund of the taxes was received, but even then AF took out an extra administration fee.

It should not be a difficult and frustrating matter to get unused taxes refunded, but with the KLM/AF group then it is.    The poor customer ‘service’ from AF, their frequent wrong answers, and also their use of  no reply email addresses just made the whole matter so frustrating.    Life is too short to have problems like these, so based on my experience of AF/KLM ‘customer service’ then I will not be making any more bookings with them.   Better to avoid problems in future, and I do not want another exercise in frustration, which is what dealing with AF/KLM turned out to be.    And any airline that sends out emails to which you cannot reply should be avoided.   Lesson learned !!  Good customer service is important, except, apparently at AF/KLM.     So by sending out emails that you cannot reply to, and by making the whole business of getting a refund of unused taxes so frustrating then they have lost all future custom.    Why send out emails that you cannot reply to, especially when those emails come from the CUSTOMER SERVICE department?     And why mess people around when refunding unused taxes should be quick an easy??   AF/KLM will not be seeing me onboard again.

An abstract photo today for a change.    Some beachside railings on a promenade taken from an unusual angle, and then cropped to make it a little more unusual.   See what you think.

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The Open Road – New Zealand – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…..” Do not put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket”.

” Some people drink from the fountain of knowledge, others just gargle”.

Off to New Zealand for todays photo, and a picture from one of the three main routes (state highway 73)  that crosses the Southern Alps in the South Island of New Zealand.    Having left the flat plains of Canterubury behind, the road climbs up through Porters Pass (939m) then descends in the mountains before climbing again up to Arthurs Pass (925m) then descends steeply towards the west coast.    The main road is seen here at the bottom of this descent, not far from the settlement of Jackson, which now boasts a 5 star resort.  Jackson is more famous for its pub and also its gourmet pies, a New Zealand tradition.   An excellent, scenic drive or cycle if you are in New Zealand, highly recommended.   Non-stop it will take around 3 hours from Christchurch to the West Coast, but with scenery like this, then you are bound to stop for photos.   The view here is looking eastwards, back towards the Southern Alps.

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On the menu tonight – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…”  Life was much easier when APPLE and BLACKBERRY were just fruits”.

” Intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings”.

One of the delights of foreign travel are the unusual foods that you find, especially in the local markets.  Today’s photo comes from a trip about 10 years ago to Laos, and shows some of the foods on offer in the market.    Fried frogs and also fried rat are for sale here, together with something in the centre of the display which I can only guess what it is (any ideas????).  Squirrels on a stick and snake are also common, and wild birds also feature on the menus.    Far better is the local Lao (arabica)  coffee, which is surprisingly good.    And to finish off the meal…..Lao Lao, or the local whisky, made from rice.   Very strong of course, and the one that I tasted had been made in old oil barrels.    The oil gave the whisky an extra taste.  The Scotch may use old brandy and cognac barrels to give their whisky a special taste, but the Lao secret was oil barrels.  Definitely different.   If oil is not to your taste then you can also get Lao whisky infused with snake.  They claimed that snake-infused whisky has medicinal properties and that it can be used as an aphrodisiac.   Not tried that one, nor the fried frogs or squirrels.    There are limits, sometimes.

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Soothing sunet – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Happiness is not a destination, it is a way of life”.

Time to dig another photo out of the archives, and since it is Friday then a nice sunset to finish off the week.   Do deep from the archives comes this sunset photo.   The colours of a sunset are actually caused by dust, and also the way that light diffracts as the sun appears to move lower.   Nine major planets orbit the sun, which is around 149 600 km away from the Earth. All the planets also orbit the Sun in the same direction, which is anti-clockwise.   Solar activity is on an 11 year cycle, where every 11 years it reaches it maxium.  The sun also reverses its polarity every 11 years, with the Magnetic North becoming the magnetic South.

As the colours change so fast at this time of day, a series of photos were taken, then the one with the best colour was selected.   The photo has been cropped from the original.

If the good people at Air France Customer Service are reading this, then I would really appreciate it if they could reply to emails and sort out the 2012 refund problem.  Answering emails does not appear to be their strong point.

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Thinking in Cuba – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Dream with the belief that you may never awake from your slumber”.

”  In our search for perfection, we sometimes lose our way”.

A photo from the Cuban capital of Havana for today’s photo.  Cuba has around 4000 islands and cays, and a population of around 11.25 million people, and is probably most famous for Cuban cigars and Cuban rum.    Interestingly, it has the highest doctor to population ratio in the world.  The highest point, Pico Turquino, rises to 2005m.  It is also home to the world’s smallest bird, the Bee Hummingbird.  Although it has been isolated from the USA for a long time, it actually lies only 145km from the American coastline.  Sugar, nickel and tobacco are the main exports, although tourism is also important now with over 2.6m tourists a year.  Something to think about, as this man is doing…….

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What was he thinking? – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” You cannot have what you do not want”

”  Your present is nothing but the future of your past.  Whatever you do today will reflect in your tomorrow”.

Digging deep into the photo archives (which go back many years) for the picture today.    Today’s picture is of an Iraqi boy.  One of the advantages of compact ‘bridge’ cameras are the large zooms that many of them have.    This photo was taken at around a 24X zoom, but even with the small sensor, the results were good.   Bright light without any strong sunshine helped make this photo a great portrait shot.  We can only speculate about what he was thinking, although the eyes say a lot.     One of my favourite photos from Iraq.

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Brunei mosque – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…..”Losers let it happen, winners make it happen, and others wonder what has happened.”

I am still sorting out thousands of photos going back far too many years, but it is good to look back and remember some of the highs and lows of travelling.    Easier to forget the sometimes unpleasant parts and remember some of the fantastic experiences.   Things are changing so fast nowadays that many of those experiences are unrepeatable now, and the photos bring back the memories.

The photo today is from Brunei, which was hardly one of the most exciting stopovers that I did.    If you are playing Trivial Persuit then it is good to remember that the capital of Brunei is Bandar Seri Begawan.  Brunei has a population of around 415 000 people, with English and Malay being the main languages there.  It became fully independent from the UK in 1984.  About 90% of its GDP comes from oil and natural gas.    The photo here shows the Ali Saifuddin Mosque.

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Head to head – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….’ Maybe it is better to bend a little than to break altogether”.

” Do not stay in the past, it will hurt in the future”.

Did you see the story in the news about the jacket that the chocolate manufacturer, Cadbury, has commissioned which react when the wearer consumes certain chocolate products?   Apparent, as the chocolate carrying-hand is raised to the mouth, LED lights in the jacket light up to show the mood of the consumer.     Did you know that 16 of the top 20 chocolate-consuming countries are in Europe?  Switzerland is number one, with an average annual consumption of around 11.3 kg/person.  Austria, Germany and Ireland are also high on the list.

Walking around the streets of Morocco, and found this shop selling different parts of animals.   Certain that I would not try any of these heads!  If heads are not your thing, then the same stall had everything from feet to other less appetising parts.   Perhaps it is good to be vegetarian sometimes!

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Face in the Forest – Not the Quality Spa Resort, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise question”.

“Three Rules of Work –  Out of clutter find simplicity, from discord find harmony, in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”  Albert Einstein.

I made the mistake of purchasing a laptop which came with Windows 8 installed.  I am now regretting that decision.  Windows 7 was fine, and worked as it should, but Windows 8 has been an exercise in frustration.   There are already lots of comments on the internet about the problems with Windows 8, and from what I read, the update to Windows 8.1 has not improved matters.

Do you think that Microsoft would win back a lot of support if they admitted the problems and offered all Windows 8 users who were not happy an option to change (=upgrade) to Windows 7.   I for one would be very happy to go back to the (superior) Windows 7.    And I would also think more of Microsoft for being honest and for trying to fix the W8 problems by offering a free option to change back to W7.

But like an ostrich with its head in the sand, Microsoft tries ANOTHER temporary patch (W 8.1),  which will no doubt be followed by 8.2, 8.3…….. and between all those patches, will continue to shut down MY computer for ‘updates’.

Customers can forgive a lot, IF they can see that a company is trying, but the impression that MS is giving is of a company determined to continue in the wrong direction.

I am sure that lots of us how now had enough, and that MS is going to lose out in the long run.   I really would like to sit down with Bill Gates and ask him to show me how W8 should work.   No doubt he would be equally FRUSTRATED with W8.    But perhaps he has already ‘upgraded’ to Windows 7.

And for the photo today, a school girl in Laos.   Lovely neutral expression on her face, and despite the shaded conditions in the trees, the light was quite good for the photo.  Sometimes when the subject stares into the camera, it can work, as in this photo.

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Heading to market in Pakistan – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Those who forget where they came from tend to get lost where they are going”.

” Sometimes you have to take a leap at life and build your wings on the way down”

After all the stress and frustration of Emirates Airlines (see the last post for the details), I ended up cancelling the ticket completely.   No more bookings with Emirates Airlines, lesson has been learnt. But life goes on, just that I will never buy another ticket with an airline that has such bad customer ‘service’.

Today’s photo comes from the northern part of Pakistan, not far from the border with Afghanistan.   Another one of those lucky photos that you just have to take without thinking, yet the position of the donkey and cart and also the beggar were great for the photo.   As usual, another shot taken with a cheap Panasonic camera.

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Airline complaint – Emirates – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day..” Deposit happiness into your day, instead of withdrawing sadness”.

We are now in the 21st century (at least according to the Julian calendar) and we are surrounded by technology.   Yet, despite all the technology, life is sometimes very trying.  I made a mistake and purchased an air ticket with Emirates Airlines.  I know now that it was a mistake, as I have experienced their customer ‘service’.   Customer service are not words that I would use to describe the treatment that I received, because the people that I have dealt with clearly do not know the meaning of the words.

The conditions of my ticket stated that I was allowed to change the dates of travel.  That is one reason that I bought that ticket, as the dates were very likely to change.   First problem was that online if you tried to change your booking, you first had to cancel your current booking, not a wise thing to do until you are sure that there is another flight available.     So the next step was to contact the online chat section to ask for help.    There I was met by the most unhelpful staff ever.   The first assistant (‘Mary’) refused to discuss or do anything with the booking, and kept saying that I should telephone in.  Not only that, but she ended the conversation without warning as well.   Tried again, but the next assistant was equally unhelpful.  So what is the point of having ‘online chat’ if the people there are not actually going to do anything???

So reluctantly, I telephone in.  Not just once or twice, but many times during the day, each time trying to get someone at EMIRATES airline to change my ticket.   Usual story, nobody would do it, and I was passed from department to department.   The end result was that a large part of the morning and afternoon were wasted on long (and for that read very long) telephone calls.   Useless customer ‘service’ department.     And to make matters worse, different people gave me different excuses.   They just did not want to change the DATE of travel as I asked for.  And remember, the ticket conditions said that I could change the date of travel.

So the next stage was to try email.   21st century, so of course, emails will make matters easy.  WRONG.    Emirates do not publish their email addresses, and when you ask their staff, they will tell you that Emirates does not have email addresses for Customer Service.    And when you try and send emails to the addresses that you have already had messages from, they STUPIDLY send you a message back saying that the email address is no longer valid.   It is just their way of telling you to get lost.    If you want to pay for a ticket, then of course, no problems there, and they are delighted to make it all very easy online, but when you want to email them, then that is a different story.  Any airline that hides its email addresses is a bad airline.   An honest, open airline will not make it difficult for customers to contact it.

So having wasted a LOT of time on calls, online chats and trying to email, I am stuck with travel date that I do not want.    What is the end result of this?    Emirates have now guaranteed that I will NEVER make another booking with them.  I know that there are decent, open and honest companies out there, and Emirates has proved that their customer ‘service’ is appalling.    So Emirates have lost out in the long run.   I have asked them for a full refund so that I can go and book with a quality airline (such as Qatar) but I guess that I will never hear from Emirates again.  They have got my money already, and that is probably the end of story.  But for me, it was the end of bookings with Emirates.

On the subject of customer service, I will quote some good words written by Mike Michalowicz.  What he writes is very true, and the staff at Emirates should read these.  Thanks to  Mike Michalowicz  for these words –

“The Four Phrases of Amazing Customer Service……..Want your customers to spread the word about your hotel or Restaurant? …….Start by surprising them with the best customer service they’ve ever gotten:

1. “I don’t know, but this is what I’m going to do.” You’re not always going to have the answer to every question at your fingertips, and your customers will understand that. What they expect in exchange, though, is honesty and follow-up. The key here is to make a clear commitment like, “I’ll call you by 5 p.m. with the answer,” and then keep that commitment.

2. “I am very sorry.”  When you or your company make a mistake, the customer wants to hear you accept responsibility and apologize. Too many customer service reps have been trained not to accept responsibility, in some cases because they fear the legal record of having admitted failure.

3. “Yes.” “Yes” is what your customer wants to hear, and your goal should be to say that word whenever possible, especially if you’re working through a problem. Customers want progress.

4. “Is there anything else I can do for you?” Here’s your perfect wrap-up. Not only does this question give your customers the opportunity to bring up additional concerns, but it also lets them feel as if they’re in control. They can ask for additional information or can thank you for your spectacular service. Giving your customers the opportunity to raise additional concerns lets them know you value them enough to spend time ensuring they’re satisfied. Even if the customer called with a problem, if your customer service team can work through a resolution and end on a positive note, you can earn and keep those customers for life.
Source: Mike Michalowicz”

And today’s photo comes from the Korean capital of Seoul.   Nothing to do with airlines, but a nice photo!

LOW-RES-telephone

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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.

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Smile X Three – Not the Quality Spa Resort, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” It is a mistake to look too far ahead.  The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time” (Winston Churchill).

“The road to success is always under construction”.

Did you see the alarming story in the news about scientists who have now managed to make an artificial worm that can wriggle?   Computer modelling of cells is being used to make an artificial creature that mimics a real worm.  The beginnings of Frankenstein perhaps???   Add artificial intelligence to artificial creatures and something very bad can be made.   Already in the USA, the FDA is approving certain genetically modified animals.  Back in 2007 there was the story about the South Korean scientists who had genetically modified some cats so that they glowed in the dark.   The most famous example though was ‘Dolly the Sheep’, the first mammal to have been successfully cloned.   Dolly the Sheep got her name after the famous singer Dolly Parton, as apparently cells from mamary glands were used to clone the sheep!!

Smile times three for the photo today.  Despite all the economic problems, run-down buildings, broken infrastructure and few facilities for children, these Albanian boys certainly look very happy.  Not a care in the world !  And certainly not cloned.

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Cape Verde Islands – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…”  They talk about the speed of light, but what is the speed of darkness?

“The cure for love at first sight is often to take a sober look”.

I sometimes wonder if airlines are playing games.  I have been looking for air tickets, and also looking for the cheap offers.   Saw some good prices, but of course, when you try to book they are not available.   Then I tried one of the online websites that collects and compares airfares, found some prices that were ok, but between looking and going to the next stage, the prices had gone up by about 60 euros.    Not only that, but there were huge differences in the prices depending on what day of the week that you flew.   I cannot see the logic when the airlines are using the same aircraft on the same route why the prices should be SO different.   And I cannot understand why the price of the ticket depends on what time I look at the website and also which browser I am using.   I am tired of these games.  Clear, simple pricing would be much better.   And those airlines that are now charging for CARRY-ON baggage (as well as all the other extra charges) will not see me onboard either.

Off to the Cape Verde islands for the photo today…a group of 10 main  islands in the Atlantic Ocean about 575 km of the coast of Africa.   They were originally a Portuguese colony, and were an important stopover on the slave trade routes.   Around 500 000 people live in Cape Verde, with about a quarter of them living in the capital, Praia.   About a half million tourists visit every year outnumbering the number of locals.   The photo is of the harbour in Mindelo, on the island of Sao Vincente.

LOW-RES-CAPE-VERDE-Mindelo-harbour-views-(13)

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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.

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