safe travel? planes, bird ‘flu, swine ‘flu, and a bag snatcher

World Trade Centre disaster, bird flu, terrorists,  swine flu a blog on safety – hidden cash, condoms and broad-spectrum antibiotics- seem a little naive and out of place.

Nothing we plan can save us from major disasters. Nevertheless, on the plane, I will continue to count the rows forward and back to exits in case of minor disasters or accidents.

Survival, from events less than the twin towers seem to be hugely assisted by an intention to survive. Recent TV shows have shown us how to plan to survive the mountains or desert. On a smaller scale I am reminded of my daughter’s attitude to a bag-snatching in London.

Off to see London’s most popular stage show, the wonderful The Lion King, we had arranged to meet her husband in a global food store and stayed for what became an uneaten snack.

‘Your bag’s been taken’ a woman called.

We looked around to see who had been so unfortunate. It was my daughter! With a surge of adrenaline she took off -slamming the swing doors open with a dramatic flourish, chasing a male with a red cap- the only information she had. Her husband and I followed, the police joined in and finally, after a run from Charring Cross to Covent Gardens, my son-in-law had him in on the ground in a headlock, awaiting the police and handcuffs. Her bag, with the tickets and money, saved. I bought up the rear.

Why did my daughter chase him? Why did some of her friends say they would not have done the same? Talking with the police afterwards we agreed, you are either a chaser or a not-a-chaser. My daughter is a chaser. A successful chaser who ensured we were still able to see the show – albeit in a more dishevelled state than we had planned!

In emergencies we don’t have time to think about what to do, we react. I wonder if survival is similar: that some of us will wait to be rescued, others will be proactive.

So how can we look after ourselves while travelling? With major events such as hijacking and  air crashes we can’t do a lot, however perhaps we can be more helpful by being more responsible air travellers.

How often do we see greedy, self-centred people (or worse, have done it ourselves!) struggling on board with heavier or more hand-luggage than regulations allow.

Mid-air, it’s your head the heavy bag could hit, our overweight plane that uses more fuel, could be de-stabilised: a thoughtless act that could put all our lives put at risk. Their intentions would not be to endanger lives, but the results could be just the same.

Also, every one of those extra items has to be examined in the x-ray machine, resulting in longer queues, more time, more staff and consequently higher airfares. Will we willingly pay for those added services or nag the airlines to reduce the costs and time until safety is jeopardised?

Returning from that London trip, I travelled through Chicago airport where I needed to change planes. The next plane was ready to receive us, in fact some had boarded, when an announcement was made.

“There is a strong smell of fuel at the rear of the plane and we need to check where it is coming from and clear the fumes before allowing you on board.”

Waiting, I wrote postcards then settled down to read among a clamour of voices.

‘When will we be leaving? This is really inefficient. I wish they’d hurry-up. I have a meeting to get to, people picking me up. That’s the problem with this airline, they’re always late.’ 

On and on and on they went, moaning at any employee or fellow traveller who ventured too close.

I too had people meeting me at the other end – I too had an event to get to, but I, and I hope the majority of the other passengers, had a different mindset.

My thoughts were more in line with – take as long as you need – I’m glad you found out now, not when we are high above the earth – don’t allow me on until you know the plane is perfectly safe.

I value my life, and although sometimes it is a pain to have to wait for security or mechanical checks when you have been flying for hours or have an appointment to reach – when I consider the alternatives – waiting is the best option by far.

What are your tips for safe travel? 

good tips for healthy travel

check out this blog re healthy travel

How To Be A Healthy Traveler

admin on April 29th, 2009

Ensure you fully enjoy your adventure holiday by arriving in top health by following our tips for staying germ-free whilst on board your flight:

1. Always carry disinfectant hand wipes and wet wipes as they come in handy when travelling with children and are great if you have an accident at 35,000 feet!
2. Bear in mind that the blankets and pillows on your aircraft are not regularly cleaned so use your own. [this depends on the airline – long distant planes do clean them :]
3. Same goes for your aircraft seat and tray table, just think how many people could have sat there since they were last disinfected. Minimize contact with your face and use your own pillow for sleeping, especially if you sleep with your mouth open!
4. Put your shoes on for a visit to the toilets, do not go in barefoot or in just socks. Just think about it, four toilets for a couple of hundred passengers!
5. Eat plenty of fruit and veg before your trip and if necessary stock on vitamins and supplements as well. Clear your fridge before you leave and whip up a tasty smoothie or veg juice with your leftovers.
6. Don’t drink alcohol just before or during your flight (even if it is complimentary) as this will dry you out and alcohol is an immune-suppressant.
7. If you are germ-laden then be a considerate traveler and keep your germs to yourself.
8. Carry a first aid kit and include some cold remedies, painkillers etc as your destination may not sell what you need.


maori new year in New Zealand

Matariki is the Maori name for the small cluster of stars that can be seen low on New Zealand’s north-eastern horizon just before dawn in the last days of May or in early June. The first appearance of these stars, which are also known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters, heralds the beginning of Maori New Year celebrations.

Traditionally, Matariki was an opportunity to honour the past and plan for the future. Today it has become a time to celebrate the remarkable country we live in; share kai (food), stories and songs; create art and enjoy cultural

Read more here and see & hear Hinemoana Baker sing about it here

did you pay or were you upgraded to firstclass?

Interesting links from FlyerTalk 

Does your flight attendant know if you’re sitting in First because you paid for it or because you were upgraded? If you are flying on British Airways (and most any other airline for that matter), the answer is “yes”. And that’s not all they know.

Good thing the cockpit doors are closed now, or you as a passenger might get a little freaked out if you happened to see both pilots don their oxygen masks during your longhaul flight from Germany to the United States.

food and the tram – meals on the move



let's get aboard
let's get aboard

Meals on the move are fun way to see parts of the inner city of Christchurch.

If fine dinning is for you, the Tramways Restaurant is worth checking out. The old tram, built in Melbourne Australia, has been bought out of retirement  to once again travel the city streets.

It’s elegant. Wooden panels,  blue and gold curtains and crisp white linen set the tone for an evening to remember.

The staff, all from the Heritage Hotel (in the Square)  produce meals that are pleasing to both the eyes and the palate.

I enjoyed the Smoked Chicken with roast pear and sun-dried tomato salad for starters and went on to the melt in the mouth pork with macadamia nuts. My companion had  some Turkey and proclaimed it the best eaten for ages!

To finish I had a hard time deciding between the sticky-date pudding with butterscotch sauce and cinnamon cream and the minted orange and almond dartois with cream and syrup. Sticky-date won – yummy.

The trip was fun too. Our city looks very different from the tram and never  have I  been photographed so many times as I ate!. I hope the many tourists who were busy capturing the tram on film, got to ride this grand old lady also.

For a night out with a difference both locals and tourists will leave knowing it was well worth the treat for a special occasion.

Christchurch tram flys the flag of our rugby team  the wonderful CRUSADERS
Christchurch tram flys the flag of our rugby team the wonderful CRUSADERS


asian drivers – is it safe to cross the road?

Check out a post I wrote about Asian Drivers  and my school of fish theroy – developed in Chaing Mai, Thailand.

“Is it safe to be a pedestrian?  A cyclist? How do you cross the road ” I ask an expat in Chaing Mai

biking - not in Thailand which I have done but in my city
biking - not in Thailand which I have done but in my city

 See elsewhere in this blog for a ‘cycling in Bangkok’ story – or is it in my other blog?  I cant remember!

the prince and a bugus guru

Check out the new post about the bogus guru in Masheswar, India.

Anyone can stay in hotels that used to be palaces, but being the guest of a prince in his residential palace was the highlight of staying in Madhya Pradesh right in the very heart of India.

Twenty–two generations ago, Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore, the celebrated Indian Queen, built a fort at Maheshwar on the banks of the holy Narmada River: now her direct descendant, Prince Shivaji Rao Holkar, son of the last Maharaja of Indore, hosts a few guests in the restored palace. I am one of those guests.

part of the palace from the holy Namada river
part of the palace from the holy Namada river

NZs all blacks captain, and me

did you read my post about Richie Mc Caw the All Blacks captain a couple of weeks ago?

Well, guess what, without being the stalker I must have seemed to be, he was on my flight back to Christchurch: I sent him my business card across the aisle via the flight attendant asked for a repeat of trying to take his photo.

He generously posed and here it is!

Promise I wont do that again Ritchie,  I am not a stalker!

I am a rugby fan, used to coach an under 10 team and had a son play for Canterbury as a child. (see the top of this page for the link to Girls Guide to Rugby)

Richie Mc Caw - NZ's ALL BLACK captain
Richie Mc Caw - NZ's ALL BLACK captain