Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

Posts tagged “Queenstown

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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Overcrowded New Zealand – record tourist arrivals mean crowded resorts.

Thought for the day “The finest steel has to go through the hottest fire.” (Richard Nixon)

“Laughter is the sensation of feeling good all over and showing it principally in one place.”

One of the problems at the moment is that New Zealand is getting too many tourists, resulting in overcrowding and an experience that is far from the idea that many people have of NZ.  With over 3.6 million tourists a year now (versus a population of 4.7 million), the country just cannot comfortably cope with the large numbers of tourists.  Queenstown for example, often called ‘The Adventure capital of the World’   has a population of around 16 000 locals but receives over 2.5 MILLION tourists a year (try finding a local person in Queenstown !) and the airport has plans for a 2nd terminal to handle up to 5 MILLION tourists a year (remember just 16 000 locals).    Part of the problem is that airfares to NZ are incredibly cheap at the moment, less than half the price that they were a few years ago.   Flights from Europe to NZ are being offered for around 500 euros return for the 18 000 km trip, with specials sometimes below 400 GBP return.   So whilst NZ is breaking records every month for tourist arrivals, the country is suffering, with overcrowded national parks, fully booked accommodation and crowded tourist towns.   Cheap airfares are not always a good thing.

One of my older photos here, but a historic one showing the now bankrupt Air Berlin.   Seen here at full power climbing out of Innsbruck Airport in Austria on a winters Saturday.  Now Air Berlin are history.

and another photo from the archives…deep thought on the face of this man…..

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Full power for take off- Queenstown, New Zealand

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

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

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

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

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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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Colour in minature at the top of Norway

Thought for the day….”You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough”  (Mae West)

“Ladies who play with fire must remember that smoke gets in their eyes”  (Mae West)

Up to the top of Norway and the border with Russia for the photo today.   Traders from Russia come across into Norway to trade and shop (despite the prices in Norway !).   Some warm sunshine and good light helped to make a very colourful photo of a very typical Russian item, nesting dolls.

Nesting dolls (called Matryoshkas)  were originally a Japanese idea, but are now a common souvenir from Russia.  Sergei Maliutin is thought to have been the first Russian to produce the dolls, with the first sets representing a Russian peasant family of a mother and her 7 children.  The world record is for a 51 piece set, with the largest doll being over 51 cm tall.

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and another photo from the archives…Arrowtown on the South Island of New Zealand, a former gold mining town that is now a popular daytrip from nearby Queenstown.

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Crown Range road in New Zealand

Thought for the day…” A mind is like a parachute.  It does not work unless it is open”

“Teamwork – Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success”  Henry Ford.

If you are fortunate enough to be cycling in New Zealand, then the road linking Queenstown with Wanaka, the Crown Range is going to test the legs.  The road climbs up to 1119m, including a section with zig-zags and also some great downhill sections.   Easy to get up to around 80 km/h on the downhill sections, although the bends will make higher speeds difficult.  Great views down into the Gibbston Valley below, and also towards Queenstown and Arrowtown.  The road is the highest sealed main road in New Zealand, winter snow and ice make the road difficult in winter time, but summer it is a joy to cycle.   On the Pembroke-Wanaka side of the pass, there is the small settlement of Cardrona, which was once the site of a gold rush.  Nowadays Cardrona is more known for its pub (in the second photo) , which has featured in advertisements, and also for the nearby bra-fence.  The bra fence has been moved from the main road due to repeated theft of the bras and the problems caused by too many cars stopping to admire this New Zealand curiosity.

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Is air travel becoming too cheap?

Thought for the day…” A bad attitude is like a flat tyre.  You cannot go anywhere until you change it”.

” Look up to the sky.  You will never find rainbows if you are looking down”  (Charles Chaplin).

Is air travel becoming too cheap?   The Flight Centre, an Australian/New Zealand chain of travel agents, published some figures to show how the cost of a return ticket from New Zealand to Europe has fallen in real terms.  Interesting reading….

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Travel’s golden era
• Best price of a return flight from Auckland to Europe:
• 1947: $1170 (85 weeks’ pay of average worker)
• 1980: $1800 (six weeks’ pay)
• 2014: $1500 (1 weeks’ pay)
Source: Flight Centre
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Whilst the days of the 1 euro ticket in Europe have disappeared, it is still possible to get flights for under 20 euros.
The New Zealand tourism department are no doubt congratulating themselves on the record number of arrivals into New Zealand, now over 2.9 million arrivals a year.    The airlines are hopping with joy at the demand for seats to and within New Zealand.  Emirates Airline now flies 3 Airbus A380s a day to NZ, Chinese airlines are putting on extra flights and even low cost airlines like Air Asia and Jetstar (part of Qantas) are planning to increase services to cope wit the demand.   All very nice for the the airlines who now have full aircraft.   All very nice for hotel and motel operators in NZ, who are often fully booked.  BUT not so nice for the small towns and popular places in New Zealand.  Most of those 2.9 million tourists want to see the same few places (such as Rotorua on the North Island, and Queenstown on the South Island).   Some of the most popular walks (for example, the Tongariro Crossing) are so crowded that the idea of giving walkers start times has been discussed.   The media in NZ often shows the traffic problem in Queenstown, which at one time was just a small lakeside resort in the mountains.  Tourists are sometimes finding that their travel plans are now dictated by where they can get accommodation, rather than by where they want to go.  Same situation with buses, plans are now being dictated by when the bus has available seats, rather than by when and where the tourist wants to go.  As the number of tourists goes up, often the level of service goes down., cafes, shops and tourist attractions are suffering from the big increase in visitor numbers.    Queenstown, which was once a small, quiet lakeside town has become a major internnational tourist resort.    Try finding traditional New Zealand local life in Queenstown now.   Difficult.    The situation in some places (again Queenstown springs to mind) is becoming similar to the Caribbean islands, where the arrival of 2 0r 3 huge cruise ships absolutely swamps the local towns, when 7 or 8 thousand tourists descend at once.
No sign of any tourists in this photo, the hills near Tarras, Otago, New Zealand.  As usual at the end of summer, the hills here are very dry, and there is little for the sheep to eat.  This view was taken from the main road which heads down to Queenstown.
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and another photo from the archives….festival girl in El Salvador….

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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 NEW NEW     more  photos available on Picfair.com  too !!!   Have a look there as well     NEW   NEW   NEW

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Pinot Noir wine from New Zealand

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

“If a mime artist is arrested, does the policeman tell him that he has the right to remain silent? ”

Off to New Zealand for the photo today and to the very scenic Lake Hayes near Queenstown.    Apart from being very scenic, Lake Hayes is also home to some good wineries, such as the famous Amisfield (which also includes a restaurant).   This area (Central Otago) has now become famous for quality pinot noir wines, although in the 1860s it was the scene of the Central Otago Gold Rush.  Until the 1970s, there were few vineyards, but since then they have expanded rapidly, helped by the perfect climate, being protected by high mountains and having hot, dry summers and a short, cold winter.   Pinot Noir grapes originated in the Burgundy region of France, but are a difficult grape to cultivate and also to convert into wine.   Pinot noir is also used in the production of champagne.   Looking at the photo below, it is hard to believe that Queenstown Airport, which is just a few kilometres away (in the back left of the photo) handles over 1.2 million passengers a year, many of them heading for Queenstown, the Adventure Capital of New Zealand.

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and a photo out of the archives…..a new photo made to look old.    The outdoor museum in Ballarat, Australia.

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