How Big is that Island? The World’s Top 25 islands mapped.

I love gazing at maps. This map of the world’s 25 largest island nations and territories hooked me in. Seeing the actual sizes to scale makes you realise how big some island groupings are. Take Indonesia, for example. It is eight times bigger than New Zealand! The difference in size between the UK, home to 65 million and NZ, home to 4.5million, is not that much different. That tiny smudge on the north of most maps is Greenland, and yet it is about one-third the size of Australia! I have been to 12 of the top 25.…

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Tragic Jet Blast Death at popular St Maarten viewing spot

 We have all seen those videos of the planes flying low into St Maarten airport. They come just metres over people sunbaking on the beach.  Across the road from the beach is the airport fence which has a barrier in front of it and signs warning people not to stand there:   These signs are regularly ignored, it seems by tourists. Some are drunk and some are sober as they stand on the road clinging to the fence as the jet exhausts blow them down. Have a look at this video from 2 minutes 33 seconds on: Tragically, last…

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The Ann Coulter-Delta Twitter War: Weird Over Reaction

Let me declare, I love my emergency exit seats. So does Ann Coulter, apparently. When sitting in Economy in the USA with their stressful security procedures, awful airports and scrappy airline catering, the exit row seat seems the last luxury left! A luxury, Ann didn’t want to forgo when Delta moved her from her chosen Seat 15D on their flight 2852 from New York La Guardia Airport to West Palm Beach, Florida.  In the picture below it is the seat on the right of the aisle, on the aisle: The airline says the move was “inadvertent” while  “working…

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My awful hotel evening – felt like I was with Basil Fawlty

In the hilarious 1970s English TV series Fawlty Towers, the owner Basil Fawlty bumbles from one mistake to another. The mistakes usually result in very unhappy guests (and these days rude TripAdvisor reviews!). It’s side-splitting stuff-on TV. In real life, it is another matter. At a guesthouse I stayed at, the owners were a husband and wife couple. Check in was handled by the wife and went very smoothly. My room was in order and I was given good advice on where I could have dinner. Then I met the owner. He decided within minutes…

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Drastic fines for Plastic bags as Kenya tries to get rid of them

In 2008, plastic bags were banned in Rwanda. The ban has seen their use plummet despite a vigorous plastic bag smuggling trade, Soldiers search cars to locate plastic bags at the country’s border crossings. Now Kenya is about to do the same with a two million Kenya shilling ($us19,200) fine for distributors and manufacturers of plastic bags. Or a jail term of four years. They will also begin policing borders for plastic bags in a  year’s time. This is the third time Kenya has tried this. They attempted and failed bans in 2007 and 2011.…

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Hack that Trip – keeping fit on Business Travel

I was sitting next to a man who was travelling 13 hours by plane for a two-hour meeting and then back again- in the same week! We talked about the loneliness and hectic craziness that results from such a rough schedule. He admitted to eating most of his meals in his hotel room. We reflected on how many business people put on weight and feel unhealthy. Some thoughts on hacking our trips: Be clear on our travel goals- why are you travelling to your destination? Evaluate whether you are meeting those goals – was the trip really worth…

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Mesmerising Mont St Michel

One kilometre off the French coast lies a small rocky, cone-shaped island in Normandy called Mont Saint Michel, one of the most mesmerising and romantic places on the planet, I have visited. I stayed for two nights. Verdict: My Overall Rating: 87% Global Ranking:  The “Mount” is the third most popular tourist attraction in France, with over three million annual visitors a year. It is beaten by the Eiffel Tower, and the Palace of Versailles, neither of which should be a surprise! Mount Saint Michel was declared a historic monument way back in 1874 and was designated as…

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Mid Air Emergency Pilot asks for Prayer – Not Good Enough

This week’s weird moment has to be on Air Asia D7 237 which developed engine trouble 90 minutes out of Australia’s Perth International airport. Prayer is a feature if most human religions. In many an emergency, some non-believers have suddenly discovered a higher being and prayed for rescue, or salvation. While the plane began shaking violently,  the pilot specifically asked passengers to pray twice. I believe in the power of prayer but this seems to be the oddest way of reassuring passengers. Compare this to the calm Pilot on Qantas 32 in 2010, when his Airbus 380 shredded one of…

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Preventing a Pickpocket Ruining Your Trip

Pickpockets have been around since the dawn of money. A skilled pickpocketer can have relieved their victim of money, watch, passport, identification and credit cards and have moved on,  before that person has noticed anyone is close to them. Pickpockets have a large variety of ways of operating and are always coming up with new schemes, so it’s almost impossible to totally protect yourself. There are some things that can reduce your risk Assume you may be next. Many people travel thinking they will be exempt from losing stuff but experiments have shown that we…

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