Weird or Wonderful

Category Archives for Weird or Wonderful.

Teddy Bears Make Lockdowns Bearable

Parents across the world are relishing the moments when the family are allowed to go outside their homes for exercise.To cheer kids up in this grim and unsettling time  people across the world have been putting their teddy bears in windows for kids to spot. Bears have also appeared on porches and in trees. The concept comes from the children’s book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. The motto of the book s “We’re not scared” – which is relevant for so many right now.The reality…

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Travel just got interesting- Impacts & Info for a Pandemic.

The WHO has finally called the COVID19 virus situation a pandemic.  Before now, the UN’s health agency described it as an epidemic. Calling it a pandemic, states that it has officially spread around the world and reflects WHO’s concern at what it calls the “alarming levels of the coronavirus spread, severity and inaction”. The reaction has been swift. India invoked section 2 of its Epidemic Diseases Act to deal with #Coronavirus crisis by sealing its borders from Friday 13 March until 15 April. All visas (except for official ones) are suspended. President  Donald Trump said…

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Premier Inn less helpful than North Korea in emergency situations

A UK couple were forced to cancel their North Korea trip after that isolated nation closed its borders to the virus. One would assume that getting the money back from the North Korean tour company,  the Chinese airlines and hotels would be a nightmare. The Time of London reports that every penny of the £2,860 (approx $US3,700)  they had given to the companies in China and North Korea was refunded -within days.  They were reportedly delighted. Less delightful was their experienced with UK hotel operator Premier Inns. They had booked a non refundable night for…

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Eighty Times around the World

Jules Verne’s character Phileas Fogg traveled by steamer, train, elephant and horse around the world to demonstrate it was possible to do so. It took eighty days. Today, I completed my 80th navigation of the globe. This is a touch over two million miles (3.2 million kilometres), a feat which has taken me just over half a century of flying. This is what it looks like: I have flown to 62 of the 80 countries, I have visited. The rest I have reached by bus, train, car and in one case foot. Importantly, my travels…

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Air NZ becomes Air AllBlacks in brilliant new safety video

I have been a huge fan of Air New Zealand safety videos and have run out of superlatives for their amazing productions over the years (with one exception).  But lets face it, the Qantas safety video brings a tear to my eye and the Oman ones are cool too so I may just be a softie for a good air safety video presentation. Their newest one, launched this week and which apparently took nine months to make will be hard for Aussies, South Africans and French people to sit through as it hammers home the…

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Air Asia rapped over knuckles for “sex trade” ad

AirAsia began a new direct flight route between Brisbane, Australia and Bangkok, Thailand in February this year. To announce the route, the airline placed the full size bus advertisements pictured above on the government bus fleet in Brisbane. Melinda Liszewski of Collective Shout, a campaign movement against the objectification of women and girls says the ad was “promoting sex tourism” in Thailand noting that at least 250,000 men travel to Thailand for sexual services annually. We know that for every two female tourists that travels to Thailand, statistically, there are three men. The number of…

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Air India calls for nationalistic onboard announcements

As the current Indian-Pakistan tension heats up and with an election looming, India’s national airline has told its crew to conclude every in-flight announcement with the patriotic phrase, “Jai Hind” (Hail the motherland). This does not inspire me to fly Air India. I am sorry I don’t want to hear “God bless America”, or “Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi”, or “Rule Britannia or, “Isten, áldd meg a magyart! (“God bless the Hungarians!”) or “Vive la France”, or “Chi Chi Chi!, Le Le Le! Go Chile!” or any other nationalistic sentiment when I fly. It…

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Air NZ Worst safety ad -pulled. What went wrong?

I have not met anyone who has disliked the highly creative Air New Zealand safety briefings until now. After hree months of criticism from NZ Politicians, celebrities, and the public, the airline has pulled their latest $2.5m safety ad: The video took American hip hop ground Run DMC’s 1987 hit “It’s tricky” and replaced “tricky” with  “Kiwi”. The jingle was “It’s Kiwi to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that’s safe and fly,” It starred Kiwi actor Julian Dennison (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Deadpool2), local musicians Kings, Theia and Randa and talent from 30…

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The Phenomenon of Begpackers: Backpackers, do not beg

As I turned the corner toward Ben Thanh Market, the Central Market in Saigon, Vietnam last Friday, I was stunned to see two European backpackers sitting by the side of the road with a sign written on cardboard. One was singing a song while the other was playing a small set of drums. The sign invited people to give them money to finance their further travel. They call these people beg packers and I have now seen them in Auckland, New Zealand; Berlin, Germany; Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia; Bangkok, Thailand; Pnom Penh and Siam Reap…

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