Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

Posts tagged “Southern Lakes

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


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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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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Autumn colours at Glendu Bay, New Zealand

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

”  Opportunity does not knock.  It presents itself when you beat down the door”.

Autumn at Glendu Bay, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand for the photo today.  In the centre of the photo is the Bonar Glacier and Mount Aspiring (3033m) in the middle of the Mt. Aspiring National Park.  Glendu Bay is famous for its autumn colours, and often features on postcards and in brochures.  The nearby camping site is packed out over Christmas and New Year, a kiwi tradition to set up camp by the lakeside here.   The town of Pembroke Wanaka is a short drive away as is the small Treble Cone ski area, whilst further up the valley is the start of the national park, with fantastic nature and hiking possibilities.   The Canadian pop/country singer Shania Twain owned property near hear until recently, not hard to see why.

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and another photo from the archives…..the Sultan’s Palace in Muscat, Oman

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Beers of the world.

Thought for the day…” If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with the rain”   (Dolly Parton)

” No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.

Next time you feel like a beer, then spare a thought for beer drinkers in Iceland.    There the Stedji brewery is offering a special beer to quench your thirst, made from smoked whale’s testicles.     Apparently it is an ancient Icelandic tradition to cure, smoke and then salt these parts of whales.   Whale meat is found on the menu in Icelandic restaurants, and is claimed to be healthy due to its high protein content and low fat.  The beer, which is 5.2% alcohol, will only be sold in Iceland.

A perfect autumn day at Lake Wanaka, New Zealand for the photo today….clear air and still conditions made photos like these very easy…..

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And another photo out of the archives…snowmobile jumping in the centre of the Finnish capital, Helsinki

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New Zealand, Lake Hawea – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…..” Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”           ” Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day”

CUSTOMER SERVICE .  Two very different experiences recently.  The first company failed to deliver an item which I had ordered, but when I sent an email to them to ask what had happened, I received a very open and honest email from the person responsible, in which she said that it was Friday afternoon and that she forgot.  No excuses, no trying to avoid the problem, but she admitted that it was her mistake, and only her mistake, and that she was truly sorry for what had gone wrong.   We all make mistakes, and honesty is usually a good policy.   Compare this to Booking.com    the online hotel reservation service.    After several problems, I emailed them, but Booking.com will not admit their mistakes.   Booking.com sends out several standard emails, and even after these, will not admit their faults.   So guess which company I will use again, and guess which company I will never use again???  Not the first time that I have had problems with Booking.com      and after my experiences with them recently, then no way will I use them again.

Today’s photo shows the beautiful Lake Hawea in New Zealand, on a beautiful summers day.   The lake is up to 392m deep and is about 35m long.   It is 20m higher now than previously, as it was raised to allow for hydro electric power systems.  It lies in a long valley formed by glaciers, similar to the nearby Lake Wanaka.  At the closest point, Lake Wanaka is only 1000m away from Lake Hawea.  Fishing and boating are popular on the lake, and there are several campsites around the lakeshore.  The cafe and restaurant (Sailz) in Hawea village does excellent coffee and food as well!!

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Photo of the Day Sunday 7th April 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Change is the law of life.   Those who look only to the past or to the present are certain to miss the future”.

“Life consists not of holding good cards, but in playing those that you hold well”.

Off to the Southern Lakes of New Zealand today and to Lake Hawea, about 15km from Wanaka.   It is about 35km long and up to 390m deep, and in summer it is popular for fishing, boating and swimming.   Not busy on this summer’s day when the photo was taken from the main highway.    Wellington, capital of New Zealand, is the world’s southernmost capital city.  No part of New Zealand is more than 128km from the sea.   New Zealand also has the world’s longest place name ” Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukaka-pikimaungahoronukupokaiwenuakitanatahu”

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