Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

Lake Wanaka

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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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION & FAIRNESS

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Flying variety – old and new, north and south

Thought for the day….”Success – keeping your mind awake and your desire asleep.”

“Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can.”

Two photos from the opposite sides of the Earth….the first is a Tiger Moth aircraft seen here in Pembroke, New Zealand.   This type of aircraft was designed in the 1930s  by the De Havilland company, who went on to make over 8800 of them.   Many pilots learnt to fly in these, and they are still popular for teaching pilots their initial tail wheel training.   Typically, it had a 120hp Gypsy Moth engine, which required hand starting as there was no electrical system in the aircraft.    Top speed was 140 knots.

and another photo….the lunchtime Wideroe Dash 8 aircraft arriving at Honningsvag in Artic Norway.  The aircraft carries 50 passengers, and is often used in Norway on the ‘milk run’ service in northern Norway, stopping at many of the isolated towns along the coast.

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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION & FAIRNESS


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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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION,FAIRNESS


Triathlon in Pembroke Wanaka, New Zealand

Thought for the day….”Success with a negative attitude is called Luck.  Success with a positive attitude is called Achievement”

Next Saturday (18th February) is the day for the annual Challenge Wanaka triathlon.    This event is part of the worldwide Challenge triathlon circuit, and it has grown into a large competition.    The race comprises of a 3.8km swim  (the lake will be around 15 degrees), followed by a 180km cycle, and finally the 42.2km marathon run.   The fastest competitor will finish in around 8 hours 40 minutes.    Here are a few photos from previous years races….

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Around the Bend – Challenge Wanaka

Thought for the day…” Follow your heart but take your brain with you”

“Success is when preparation meets opportunity”

Every year in Pembroke Wanaka, New Zealand, the Challenge Wanaka triathlon competition is held.   As usual, this consists of a swim of 3.8km followed by a 180km cycle and finally a marathon run of 42.2km.  The photos today show the final turn on the cycle leg.  At this point, the competitors will have already swum the 3.8km and will almost have completed the 180km cycle leg.  It is only a few hundred metres from the final turn to the transition area.   The 2016 race was won by Dougal Allan in a time of 8 hours, 31 minutes and 53 seconds for the total race.    His cycle section (180km) took him just 4 hours and 36 seconds (and 45 km/h is an impressive average speed on a cycle).   The next Challenge Wanaka race will be on the 18th February 2017.

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More depressing news from New Zealand

Thought for the day…”If things do not go right, go left”

“Success – keeping your mind awake and your desire asleep”

More depressing news from New Zealand….even more flights and even bigger aircraft.   As well as increased numbers of flights from the USA and also from China, Emirates airline has announced that it is putting a 4th Airbus A380 on the route to Auckland.    This will mean that there will be 4 A380s at Auckland at the same time in addition to another A380 from Singapore Airlines.  Whilst the tourist board in NZ may be congratulating themselves on record numbers of visitors, the country just cannot cope with ever-increasing numbers.   The country has a population of just over 4.6 million people, but now receives over 3.3 million tourists, many of whom want to see the same few places.   The last 2 summers have seen accommodation fully booked, and tourists having to sleep in cars due to the lack of accommodation.  Buses and flights have been fully booked, and it has even become necessary to reserve some mountain huts ahead.    Queenstown (known as the adventure capital of the world), with a population of around 22 000 people, is now receiving over 2 MILLION tourists a year.  You can imagine what the town centre is like there in high summer.   But the tourist board keeps encouraging more and more flights, thinking that more and more tourists are good for the economy.  Yet the very nature and beauty that these tourists are attracted to is fast becoming destroyed (there have been attempts to build a monorail in one of the national parks already).

Some of the popular walking tracks (such as the Abel Tasman coastal track and the Tongariro Crossing) are now so crowded that they are considering giving people starting times for the walks, in an attempt to spread the crowds out.    Clean and green New Zealand it once was.  Now it is crowded and busy NZ.   So the news that the airlines are putting on even more flights to cope with this demand is hardly surprising, yet nobody in government has had the courage to stand up and say that there is a limit to how many tourists that NZ can accept.   It seems that every month that a new record for tourist arrivals is being reached (China is the big growth area for incoming tourists), with no sign of it easing up.    So when those millions of tourists do finally arrive in NZ, then the fun and games trying to find accommodation, rental cars and domestic flights begins.    Those politicians who think that unlimited numbers of tourists are good for the NZ economy should take a trip (assuming that they can get a seat on a flight or bus) to Queenstown or Milford Sound in summer and see just what sort of effect the millions of tourists are having.    Start queueing now !!!

Early morning in Geilo, Norway for the photo today….great colours from the Fuji camera together with clear air helped make this such a good photo.  The early morning mist had almost burnt off when the photo was taken.

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and another photo from the archives…two tourists admire Lake Wanaka, Pembroke Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand. Two tourists managed to creep into this photo even !!

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Up In The Air – Two classics of aviation

Thought for the day….”Don’t look back, you are not going that way”

“If you are not meant to have midnight snacks then why is there a light in the fridge?”

A couple of photos from the recent Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow, held at Easter this year in Pembroke Wanaka, New Zealand.   The first photo is the Supermarine Spitfire.    Designed by R.J. Mitchell, it came into service in 1938, and was in production throughout the second world war.   About 53 Spitfires are still in flying condition.   Over 20 300 Spifires were made, and they remained in service until 1961.    This particular aircraft carries a registration to commemorate the New Zealand pilot Alan Deere.

The second photo is the Messerschmidt Bf 109, which was used by the Luftwaffe in Germany during the second world war.   It entered service in 1937, with around 33 000 being made.   At least 10% were lost in take-off or landing accidents.

Both aircraft performed displays during the 2 days of the airshow.

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and another photo from the archives….an early test photo from the X-E1 camera………

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218 Million British Pounds gone on a new folly.

Thought for the day…”It always seems impossible until it is done”   (Nelson Mandela).

” Life is like photography.  You use negatives to develop”

One definition of a ‘folly’ is a building that is built mainly for decoration, but in a style to imitate something else (such as a castle or tower), and at such expense to have shown folly for the builder.     So when I read news about the new airport that has been built on St. Helena island in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, then the word ‘folly’ springs to mind.    The news often features stories about the much-delayed new Berlin airport, which seems to be continually delayed and plagued by one problem after another, but the new St Helena airport is equally worthy.

This new airport (soon to receive its first commercial flight) has been built at a staggering cost, reportedly 218 MILLION British Pounds.    The fancy airport comes complete with control tower, restaurant, departure lounges and full security facilities, and a fire station complete with 3 expensive fire-engines.  Not bad at all, except for the fact that St Helena only has a population of about 4255 people.   Not only that, but the island only has 2 small hotels, which will be completely unable to cope with the numbers of tourists expected on the weekly flight to the island.     So the British government has spent 218 million British Pounds on an airport which will have almost no flights, an airport which will serve a population of about 4255 people and an airport which will overload the 2 hotels on the island.  So it is not only Berlin that gets it wrong with its airport.     Folly?    I think so.

Another great photo from the Fuji X-E1 camera…taken with the 55-230mm lens at the maximum 230mm….

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and another photo from the archives….autmn colours at Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

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Warbirds Over Wanaka – the preparations

Thought for the day…”The Wright Brothers created the single greatest cultural force since the invention of writing. The airplane became the first World Wide Web, bringing people, languages, ideas, and values together.”  (Bill Gates)

It is almost time again for the Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow, held around Easter every 2nd year.    Today there were a few historic aircraft at the airport in Wanaka, so I had to stop and take a few photos.   Sadly the weather forecast is not good for the next few days, but hopefully it will improve enough to get some better pictures.    Ticket prices for the airshow have shot up over the last few shows, which might be one reason why the number of people visiting the airshow has gone down to about half of what it was previously.   A few photos from today…..starting with the Vought Corsair…..followed by the Curtis Kittyhawk…..

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Challenge Wanaka 2016 – the cycle leg

Thought for the day…..”  Well begun is half done”    (Aristotle)

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour”.

20th February was the date for the Challenge Wanaka triathlon competition this year.    The event includes the standard 3.8km swim, followed by a 180km cycle then the 42km (marathon-length) run.    Unusually, this year’s event was partly in heavy rain, which added to the challenge, as did the strong winds which hampered the cycle leg.    It was noticeable that there were far fewer spectators this year, understandably given the poor weather later in the day.

A few photos from the cycle leg of the race……

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