Travel often pops up in various conversations and those who know me have suggested that I should put down some of my experiences. At first I was reluctant, because I didn’t think people would be interested in the travels of an unknown traveler. When my grandchildren started to ask questions I thought perhaps I should put a few things down before I get too old and forgetful.
Do you ever regret making a comment years ago, which proved how stupid and wrong you where when you look back over your life?
I was about thirteen at the time and ‘studying’ French. On the completion of the final examination the class results positioned yours truly second to bottom in a class of forty. I was not very good, nor was I interested in the French language. I can remember the teacher, when discussing my poor effort, asking what would I do if I ever went abroad. The thought of going abroad was so far out of my comfort zone that I remarked that ‘I’ll never go abroad’, which is why I decided on this title.
Having flown with nearly fifty different airlines I have finally found an airline that I would not wish to fly with, even if they offered free seats.
Rayani Air began services last Sunday (20th Dec). This airline is the first Malaysian Sharia compliant airline. Of course they don’t carry wine, which is not a problem, except they restrict the passengers’ choice. The lack of wine is important, but not my main consideration.
My main reluctance is that they offer prayers before take-off, which doesn’t give me the confidence that I normally have in the the guys and girls at the sharp end. If they need the help of the Almighty, and they are still on the ground, I think I’ll give them a miss.
Travel does broaden the mind, or so one would think. Two small incidents happened to me, each linked to the other, but thousands of miles apart in distance, but only a few months in time.
I was in Tokyo, on business, and the hotel in which I stayed had recordings of bird calls in the reception area to help sooth the tension of the guests arriving and leaving in such a busy city. Depending on the ambient noise in the reception area the sound of the birds would be increased or decreased, but the birds calls where always in the background.
Some months later I was in Cairns (northern Australia), and staying at a city hotel, which was popular with Japanese tourists. I was checking out and a Japanese tourist asked the hotel employee who was dealing with me, if the hotel could possibly turn down the sound of the birds. He complained that they woke him too early in the morning. The hotel employee’s face was a mask of confusion as he had no idea what the hotel guest was requesting. I was able to explain to the hotel guest that Australian hotels didn’t have electronic bird calls, and the sound of the morning bird chorus was real, and completely out of the control of the hotel. I don’t think the tourist was convinced of the truth of my comment. The hotel employee had a hard time keeping his face straight as he finalised my account.
Recently flew from Helsinki to Bangkok with Finnair, so of course they offered reindeer as a choice of meat for the evening meal. It was very lean meat with a nice texture, which went very well with the red wine.
I had to try it because I like to try ‘new’ meat having eaten kangaroo and crocodile as well as the ‘normal’ meat of cows, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, frogs (is frog meat classed as meat?).
I only hope my grandchildren don’t find out about the reindeer meat, because I am sure I will be accused of eating Rudolf, if Santa is late this year due to being a reindeer short to pull his sleigh.
Santa’s traditional reindeer Dasher, Dancer, Donner, Vixen, Comet, Prancer, Vixen and of course the new one, Rudolph, which is thanks to Robert L. May in 1939, who wrote the story of Rudolph. May’s brother in law, Johnny Marks, turned May’s story in to a song that we now know.
Who remembers Gene Autry, the singing cowboy, who made Rudolph famous in 1949?