Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

Posts tagged “moan

Lufthansa German Airlines group and Economy class travel

Thought for the day…”Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

“A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.”

Too many companies are using coronavirus as an excuse now.   Often it is being used to cover up their own failures but the excuse of coronavirus is being overused.   Joining the bandwagon of companies blaming (conveniently) coronavirus is the Lufthans group (LH) airlines.    Now this is why I am getting angry…..according to Lufthansa, they are no longer giving ECONOMY class passengers tea, coffee or food on flights of less than 150 minutes.  This is to protect “your health and the health of our employees”

https://www.lufthansa.com/ch/en/current-onboard-services#short-haul

BUT if you are travelling Business class then you will still get food and drink.   Now would the managers at Lufthansa like to tell me why Business class passengers are not seen as any risk whereas Economy class passengers are seen as a risk?   Or is the real reason that Lufthansa just wants to save money and is conveniently using coronavirus as an excuse to make further cuts to Economy class services?   I know which answer my money is on.   And also why do Lufthansa no longer service food when other airlines ARE still serving food to economy class passengers?

Companies should stop trying to blame coronavirus for everything.  Be honest with customers, and if you are going to cut out meals and drinks for Economy class passenger then BE HONEST and tell us the real reason….to save money.   Do not try and blame it on coronavirus.  We are not stupid.

And another photo from the archives, Ometepe in Nicaragua at sunset….

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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION  &  FAIRNESS


Oslo to Copenhagen ferry

Thought for the day..”Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.”

“It is not the strongest of the species which survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” Charles Darwin

Oslo harbour and the ferry which goes between Norway and the Danish capital, Copenhagen.   Prices onboard this boat have gone up a lot, and the journey time has also been increased, making the trip now more expensive and also slower. This boat was previously owned by Viking Line, and sailed from Sweden to Finland.   Whilst the ferry was previously a good option, with the high prices onboard and also with the improved road connections to Denmark, it is no longer a good option.  Quite why the company thought that slowing the trip down was a good idea is a mystery, as is the logic of increasing the prices onboard.  Just like the airlines, DFDS have started to charge for things (eg. internet onboard and the bus connections to/from the boat)  that used to be included in the ticket price.   It appears that nearly all the public seating onboard has also been removed, presumably to try and force people into the bars and restaurants onboard to spend more money.   Sad to see the decline in standards on these ferries now, and the need to pay extra for so many things.     The kayakkers had a great view of the ferry though……

and another photo…A dramatic sunrise over the hills of Pembroke, New Zealand.  Great cloud formations are not unusual on the South Island of New Zealand due to the prevailing winds crossing the Southern Alps, which often leads to banding and wave clouds.   Add that to the first sun of the day and the result is a great photo.

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RESPECT,  CONSIDERATION  &  FAIRNESS


Thought for the day….”One fails forward toward success”

“Life Always offers you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow”.

Off to the Himalayas and to Nepal for the photo today.    As usual, the porters were carrying extremely heavy loads, this time including the kitchen table.    Unusually though, these porters had good footwear, instead of the more common flip-flops or sandals.   Climbing up with such loads is even more difficult due to the thinner air and often harsh conditions.  The photo is from a scanned 35mm negative.

and another photo from the collection….Oslo city centre, which in parts is dirty, run down and full of beggars and drug-addicts.  Far from the image of Scandinavia that many people have.

RESPECT, CONSIDERATION  &  FAIRNESS

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I got scammed – Twice !

Thought for the day…”If you count all your assets you always show a profit.”

“We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.”

Now I am old enough to know better, but sometimes I get caught.   What makes it even worse is that I got caught twice because of a lack of research on the internet.   The warning signs were there IF I had looked before I bought….

I often used websites that compare prices to find the cheapest price.    I am learning more and more that cheapest is not always best.    I used a couple of websites (kayak.de  and also skyscanner.com    to find some good deals on air tickets.  These websites present you with a list of online travel agents (OTAs) who deal with the actual selling of the air tickets (kayak and Skyscanner just list the agents and do not sell tickets themselves).     If you look online at sites such as Tripadvisor you will find pages and pages of reports of people who have had problems with the online travel agents.    I also fell into the trap, and got caught twice, which makes me feel even more foolish.     Lost a lot of money through these OTAs and now that I have had my fingers burned twice, and avoiding them like the plague.   If you have time, then have a look at Tripadvisor and see what people are writing about the OTAs.

The message is very clear…..book direct, whether it is for hotels or for flights.   Although the prices may look cheaper at first, the OTAs will find a way to make their money from you.    And as a lot of people have found, it is very easy to get scammed by the online travel agents, with the final price often being different to the first advertised price.      So now that I have lost money twice by trying to book via an OTA, now I am just booking direct for both flights and hotels.  Save yourself the problems !!

Clear skies and clean air for this photo from the Swiss town of Grindewald.

and another photo from the archives.

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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION & FAIRNESS


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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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION & FAIRNESS


Rich Norway but icy pavements

Thought for the day…”Every failure is a step to success.”

“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.” (Franklin Roosevelt)

Today’s photo is of some rare winter sunshine in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.   One thing that you will notice if you visit Oslo in winter is how bad the Norwegians are at coping with snow, even in the capital.    For some reason, the arrival of snow in WINTER seems to surprise Norwegians, leading to travel chaos.    It is also very surprising that the local council in Oslo seems to be so bad at treating the pavements.  On some days, walking around is extremely dangerous due to ice on the streets, yet the Norwegians seem very bad at treating the pavements.  Compared with cities such as Helsinki in Finland, Oslo is a long way behind.  So why is it that the arrival of snow causes so many problems in a country that should be used to it?    As most of the country lies above 60 degrees north (and some parts of it are over 70 degrees north)  then snow and ice should not be a surprise to them, but it is.   And with all the money that rich Norway has, then why are the pavements so dangerous because the local councils have not cleared or treated them??  It is another surprise in a country that many think of as modern and advanced.   As an example of how much money Norway has, the Opera House seen in the photo below cost around 4.1 BILLION Norwegian kronor, or about USD 700 million.  Just to the left of the Opera house, the large new building being built is a new library.  Estimated cost of that is 1.8 BILLION Norwegian Kronor.    So, with all this money, why are the pavements being neglected when it is icy ???

and another photo from the archives….the legs have it…

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RESPECT,CONSIDERATION & FAIRNESS


Oslo, Norway – Not the modern, organized place that you think…..

Thought for the day..”It is better to rust out than wear out.”

“We all have ability. The difference is how we use it.”  (Charlotte Wilton).

One of the great mysteries of life is why in Norway, the arrival of snow in winter causes such chaos.  Norway lies mostly above 60 degrees north (parts of it are over 70 degrees north) so is Artic or sub-Artic, yet the arrival in WINTER of snow seems to cause such chaos.   Do the Norwegians not expect snow in WINTER?   Are they not used to snow arriving in WINTER?   It appears not.    As anyone who has been in Oslo recently will have experienced, the streets have been extremely difficult to negotiate.   Pavements have alternated between sheet ice and deep snow, all of this in the CAPITAL of a country that is rich and that is supposed to be modern.     It sure shatters a lot of images when you work in Norway, those images that many people have of a modern, well-organized society soon change when you see how it really is.   And I just cannot but help wondering what the local council in Oslo is doing (or rather, not doing).     The one plus side to the chaos caused by the snow and ice is that is has forced many of the begging gypsies off the streets.   Again, the gypsy problem is something that the Norwegian government and police seem unable to deal with, same as with the heroin problem in Oslo.   Whilst drug sellers operate openly in the city centre, nothing appears to be done about the problem.   Oslo has been called the “heroin capital of Europe’, with the statistics showing the big problem with heroin addiction and deaths in the city, but the authorities do not seem to be doing enough.  Have a look at some of the videos of the problem on YouTube.    So if you have any ideas that Norway is a modern, clean and well-run society, then a short visit may change your views !!

One photo of the Norwegian capital, Oslo, taken before the snows arrived…..

and another photo from the archives Rafsundet near Svolvaer in the Lofoten Islands, Norway.

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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION & FAIRNESS


Think before you install……that app may not be so innocent

Thought for the day…”What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens.”

“If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.”

It is amazing that so many people install apps on their mobile phones without any regard for just how much information those apps may collect. I recently wanted to install an app to control the flashlight on my mobile phone, but refused to install it when I discovered that it wanted access to my camera, email contacts and microphone. Absolutely no need for a glorified light switch to need access to my emails or the microphone on my telephone. And a second flashlight program proved just as bad.

Now there is the news on the internet about Amazon, and their plans to open physical stores in the USA. Apparently, they are going to monitor shoppers mobile phones, and will block their internet access if they attempt to check prices at other stores or online. So not only will Amazon be able to see what you are interested in, they will also be able to stop you comparing prices, and presumably, will also be able to see other sites on the internet that you are interested in. No doubt many people will quickly install a new Amazon app, without thinking about the loss of privacy. 50 years ago, people would have demonstrated against the idea of carrying something that gave authorities the power to see where they were within a few metres, and also what they were reading/eating/shopping/listening to. Even installing a flashlight app may now mean that somebody is listening to your conversations. Privacy is important, yet many people are now readily giving it up.

A photo from Spitsbergen of the Artic poppy flower, braving the cold weather…

and another photo….early morning in Riverton, in the far south of New Zealand.  At one time, this port received freight boats from Australia before the estuary silted up.  Now the railway and the larger boats have long since gone, leaving just the small fishing boats and a few tourists who pass through Riverton whilst driving the Southern Scenic Route.

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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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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION, FAIRNESS.


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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Overcrowded and full, New Zealand

Thought for the day..”There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”

“Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live.”

New Zealand continues to be overrun with tourists.   Whilst the tourist board seems to think that ever increasing numbers of tourists are a wonderful thing, those people who are in New Zealand are now seeing the effects over too many tourists.   Accommodation is full in many places, cafes are packed out, roads are busier than they have ever been (=more accidents)  and the national parks and nature are suffering (and suffering is the word) from the onslaught.    And there is no end in sight.     Airlines are putting on more and more flights (particularly from China) and are upping frequencies.     Trying to get reservations for accommodation at the moment is a nightmare and the once quiet country is now far from quiet and unspoilt.

The number of tourists has now passed 3.42 million a year, (population of NZ is about 4.7 million), and is growing by over 10%.     So the overcrowding at the popular tourists sights is becoming serious.     This also means that the nature and wildlife is suffering too.    Imagine driving into Milford Sound (which is in a national park) and arriving before 0900 only to find that ALL parking was already full and that officials were telling arriving motorists to turn around and drive out again.

And the worst part…..there is no end in sight.   Quiet, peaceful and quaint it might once have been.   Not now.

Today’s photo comes from the Old Town in Bergen, Norway.    It started out as a quick snapshot in colour, and was converted to B&W.    Just lucky that there was somebody in the sunlight in the ideal position.   Another reason why it is good to always have the camera ready.

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and another photo from the archives…..sunset over Norway from an aircraft window…..

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Crazy security checks…..

Thought for the day…..”Actions and consquences are a packaged deal”

” Life is a one-time offer.   Use it well”.

Travel has just got easier for me.     The USA, as usual paranoid about security has introduced rules which stop TOURISTS like me from getting the ESTA electronic visas.    If you have visited any of the countries on the USA list, then you are now ineligible for the ESTA visa.   This also means that you cannot transit the USA.     The American government cannot get it into their heads that there are TOURISTS who visit countries like Iran, Iraq and Sudan to learn more about the culture and life there.   But paranoid American officials now consider TOURISTS like these as a security risk.   So it is an easy decision for me, no more visits to the USA.  I will take my TOURIST dollars/euros/dirhams somewhere else.

And now I see that Australia is also becoming much like the USA.   Now at international airports in Australia, they have made the body scanner machines compulsory.   Of course they are saying that there is no danger to the public, but officials also said the same thing with the original body scanner X-Ray machines, until it was discovered that there WERE health dangers with the scanners.   So when they tell me that there is no danger (officials also said the same thing after the Chernobyl nuclear accident) then I do not believe them.   So I will not be compulsorily irradiated because I am innocent.    So now I will be avoiding Australia as well, including in transit.   And apparently, Australia wants to start trials of facial recognition technology at gateway airports to avoid the need for passports.    How much more big-brother is coming???       So two countries on the off list (USA & Australia).   Makes planning the next trip easier.   Their loss, my money will go to other countries.    And is it not about time that these stupid rules about liquids are abolished???    Since when has a 200ml tube of tooth paste or shampoo been dangerous??

And why do they make the pilots go through security checks as well?   Are they afraid that the pilot might get control of the aircraft??   Has no airport official ever seen the STUPIDITY of making pilots (who have full control of the aircraft) go through a security check?   I watched one pilot at Brisbane airport recently having to remove his mobile phone from his pocket to go through security again.  Yet no official has ever questioned the logic of such a stupid procedure.

Having been attacked and robbed recently by a bandit with a bushknife (see the previous post) I was searching around for a new Fuji camera.  I was amazed to see on a website with sample images from a Fuji camera, and advertisement for stab-proof jackets (see the screenshot below).   Either my internet is being monitored, or it was an amazing coincidence….

fuji-x-t20-and-stab-proof-jacket-advert

and a photo from the now-stolen camera…..again great sharpness and colours from Fuji…..

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The airlines go even lower – more economy class cutbacks.

Thought for the day….” Never reach out your hand unless you’re willing to extend an arm”

” Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face”

Airlines again.   So often, things that originate in the USA slowly trickle their way to the rest of the world.  Already the major airlines in Europe are beginning to charge for check-in baggage, and at least one budget airline (Wizzair) is even charging for carry-on baggage.   Meals, which used to be included in airfares, are often becoming buy-on-board.    Lufthansa’s new Airbus A320neos will have LESS legroom than Ryanair.    Like Ryanair, Lufthansa is now charging for check in baggage, something that is now becoming standard amongst airlines.    Now the news is coming from the USA that United Airlines is going even further.   They are introducing a new even more economy ticket.   As well as not having the usual benefits (things like being able to pre-reserve a seat), passengers travelling on the cheapest tickets will now not be allowed to use the overhead luggage bins, and they will only be allowed to store small bags under their seats.   No doubt that this idea will spread from the USA, as airlines will see it as another way to devalue economy class even more.    And spare a thought for the cabin crews, who will now have to police who is putting baggage in the overhead luggage bins, surely a nightmare for them.    So economy passengers will be squeezed in even more (Lufthansa) then will not be able to pre-reserve seats, then will have to pay for previously free meals, will not earn air miles, and if the United Airlines move spreads, will be forbidden from putting bags in the overhead bins.

Years ago, people mocked Ryanair when it suggested making passengers pay to use the toilets onboard.  The way that things are going with the airlines, then those days might not be so far away.

Time for another portrait photo from the collection.   Originally a colour photo, the picture works so well in Black & White.   Great, neutral expression on the woman’s face, and perfect natural lighting.  The quality of the Fuji glass is clear in this photo.

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and another photo from the archives….

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Squeeze more in – more cuts in standards at the airlines.

Thought for the day…”The secret of getting ahead is getting started”

“Some people are like clouds.  When they go away, it is a brighter day”.

Back on one of my favourite topics..airlines.  I see in the news that British Airways (BA) have become the latest airline to increase the number of seats in its aircraft.  The Boeing 777 will go to 10-across seating (currently 9) and the total number of seats will go up from 280 to 332.  The Airbus A320 will have more seats, up from 168 today to 180, and the Airbus A321 will go from 205 today to a new high of 218 seats.    So BA has also chosen 10 across seating for the 777.  And to make matters even worse, they are removing 2 or 3 toilets from economy class as well.  More passengers but fewer toilets.   Since SWISS airlines also introduced 10-across seating on the 777s, then I have avoided them, as the reports online about airlines who use 10 across seating have been far from positive.    Not only are passengers being squeezed width-wise, but also leg-wise as well.   Lufthansa’s new Airbus aircraft will actually have LESS leg room than Ryanair, and again the intial reports from passengers have been negative. And more of the legacy airlines are introducing charges for food onboard (eg. BA from January) as well as charges for checked-in baggage.    All this begs the question, why pay more to fly with the legacy airlines when the service levels are less?

Today’s photo comes from northern Norway.  Honningsvag in wonderful autumn light…..

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and another photo from the archives….landing at Funchal, Madeira……

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Ebay email address – where is it?

Thought for the day…” Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement”.

“Success with negative attitude is called luck.  Success with positive attitude is called achievement”.

Have you ever tried to contact Customer ‘service’ at Ebay?   If so, then you will be as frustrated as I am.  Ebay makes it VERY difficult to contact them.    Yes, there is a ‘help & contact’ section, but this will merely lead you to suggested answers.   But try and find an email address for Ebay and you will get very annoyed.  They have made it deliberately difficult for you to contact them.    I merely wanted to contact Ebay to ask about a refund, but they do not publish an email address.  How crazy is that??   What reputable company does not want you to contact them???     Either way it has taught me a lesson.   If they are not prepared to publish and email address or put an online form for you to use, then they do not deserve trade.   It seems to be a trend with many companies now, making it very difficult or impossible for you to contact them by email.  They are happy enough to take your money, and make it very easy to pay, but when you want to contact them, that is a different matter.    Good customer service can actually be profitable for a company, whereas bad customer service actually drives customers away.     So why does Ebay make it so difficult to contact them by email???

One advantage of autumn is that it is a good time to go through the photo collection.  Here is one photo that I have converted to black & white….shadows from the railings on a bridge.

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and another photo from the archives…Afghani street traders….

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Oslo city centre – not pleasant

Thought for the day…”Postive anything is better than negative nothing”

“If your ship does not come in, then swim out to it”.

The Norwegian capital, Oslo, becomes even more unpleasant to walk around.   It seems that in the very centre of the city, that drug dealers can openly sell drugs, and drug users can wait around, apparently without the police doing anything.   As soon as you come out of the main train or bus stations then you see it.    The newspapers were reporting that the Norwegian police said that they had lost control of one area (Gronland), and the situation seems to be getting worse.    Go for a walk early morning and you may see used syringes on the ground.   Walk around after dark (not recommended) and you will see drug dealers openly selling.    It is very clear who the drug users are, but they seem to be immune to action.    Add to that the large number of begging gypsies in the city and Oslo has become an unpleasant and dirty place.  But why are the police not doing anything??  Surely the use of hard drugs must be illegal in Norway, but these people apparently get away with it, and openly too.   And all the begging gypsies apparently do not have any legal right to stay in Norway, so why are they allowed to remain?    What are the police doing about it?   I wonder.

Today’s photo comes from north Norway, and from the fishing village of Honningsvag.

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and another photo from the archives….the same photo as in the previous post, but this time converted to black & white.

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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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Oslo airport – a disgrace for Norway and for Scandinavia.

Thought for the day…” You may delay, but time will not”  (Benjamin Franklin)

“We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” (Martin Luther King).

Because of work, I have to travel a lot, and recently had the misfortune (and misfortune is the word) to travel through Oslo airport (code OSL) again.   It is an absolute disgrace for Norway and for Scandinavia.   Not only is it far too small for the numbers of passengers now using it, but the facilities there are hopeless.   The management there have seen fit to remove most of the chairs, which means that many waiting passengers must sit on the floor (and remember that this is in Norway, which is supposed to be a civilised country).   They have found space to display dumb sculptures (such as the famous bent penis sculpture) but claim to have insufficient space for seats.   And despite their claims of a lack of space for seats, they have been able to greatly enlarge the size of the tax free shop.   So whilst passengers may end up sitting on the floor, the airport does not care.     If you have come off a long flight, then do not bother to look for somewhere to get a shower.   There is nowhere.

And this is the 21st century.   Most travellers now carry mobile phones, tablets etc. all of which need charging.    But try finding sockets in Oslo airport.   And if you have a long wait for a flight, then do not count on finding much to do at the airport….things like TVs to watch or any other facilities that good airports (such as Singapore) provide for waiting passengers.  So, while you are sitting on the floor waiting for your flight with nothing to do, then remember that you are paying to use the airport.   Things are so unpleasant at Oslo OSL airport that I am now considering going across the border to Sweden in future to avoid the unpleasant experience that Oslo airport OSL is.

A photo of a couple, seen in Bergen, Norway.   Not sure which country they were from, but not Norwegian.

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and another portrait photo…from the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku

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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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How can they call this a meal?

Thought for the day….”Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on when others have let go”

“Life is not a rehersal, it is the real thing”.

I get to fly a lot, and one of the things that I am noticing more and more are the cutbacks on the airlines.    I used to be a shareholder in Lufthansa, but I am happy that I am no longer one.   Today’s photo is of the ‘meal’ served on a recent Lufthansa flight.    It did come with tea or coffee though, although the small size of this ‘meal’ is quite incredible.   I wonder how Lufthansa can advertise this as a meal?    Not even served on a tray, and only half a sandwich.  Two pieces of bread and a piece of cheese.  That was the ‘meal’.    And, as usual, the coffee came in small cups (paper) which they only half fill.  Why??   Things like this, and the fact that the Lufthansa group are now charging for choosing a seat or checking in a bag, are just going to drive me to the budget airlines.    Before, there was an advantage to choosing one of the ‘legacy’ airlines.  Not now.    The news that seating onboard the new Lufthansa A321’s will be even closer than on Ryanair, and that the extra seats in the back of the aircraft will be windowless,  will also make people choose the cheaper airlines.  No point in paying more for less.    Certainly, the ‘meal’ from Lufthansa would not encourage me to pay extra again.   Luckily, we have a choice…….

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and another photo from the archives…..time for a snooze in Tallinn, Estonia.

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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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Where are the ‘experts’????

Thought for the day…”Don’t live the same year 90 times and call it a life”

“When life gives you a rainy day, play in the puddles”.

Computers have been around for a long time now, since the last century indeed.  Some of us grew up with them, starting with the famous Sinclair ZX Spectrum and the says of loading programs with tapes.   But despite computers having been around for decades, they still do not work as they should.  Why is it that there are still so many problems with things that by now should be simple, like logging into wifi??    Why do computers seem to have endless problems and need endless updates?   And where are the ‘experts’??   Surely by now they could have sorted out all the teething problems and have produced computers that do work without needing constant attention.     I would love to sit next to Bill Gates on a long flight and pass him my laptop and ask him to make it work properly.    It seems that the so-called ‘experts’ are not so expert.  How often have you heard the advice to restart the computer (ie. pull the plug out)??    And why have these ‘experts’ not managed to sort out the problems after all these years.  I just want a computer that works as it should and does not need constant attention.   Is that too much to ask???

Off to Norway for the photo today…and to the harbour port of Kristiansund, seen here on a beautiful summer’s day.

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and another photo from the archives…..fishermen returning home in Croatia….

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Some red faces somewhere…..a big error.

Thought for the day….”What the mind can concieve, it can achieve”

“You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind”

No doubt that there were some red faces at the Nabors Demolition company in Texas, USA.   They recently demolished the WRONG house, and have blamed Google maps for the error.   The house that they demolished was one block from the house that they should have knocked down.   Needless to say, the owners of the now-demolished house were none too happy, although the Nabors Demolition company  described it as ‘no big deal’.    The demolition company’s motto is ” We Could Wreck The World” certainly had a good try.   Apparently, Google maps has now amended the map to show the correct location of the house that should have been knocked down.   Some red faces somwhere??

People photos are always fascinating, so here is another one…fisherman in the park…Fuji X-E1 camera together with the Fuji 55-230mm lens.

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and another photo from the archives…Kandersteg in Switzerland….

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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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