LETTER OF THE WEEK
ROTTEN IN THE STATE OF DENMARK
Ben Groundwater writes in “Postcards not from the edge”, (Traveller, March 24) that a visit to “Denmark is harmless”.
Our experience would indicate that visitors should not be lulled into a sense of false security.
We were initially impressed with the courteous, law-abiding citizens of Copenhagen, but within 24 hours of our arrival we were victims of a scam. This took place in King’s Gardens mid-afternoon.
We felt some substance splash on us and, before we knew it, a couple were offering to assist us clean the “bird droppings”. In the process, our “helpers” cleaned the cash out of my husband’s wallet, fortunately leaving his credit cards.
When I became aware of what was happening, our helpers made a hasty departure. The irony of the situation was that I had read of this type of scam in Traveller, but up until then the Danes had been so pleasant and helpful that we suspected nothing.
Apart from our “helpers”, the Danes continued to assist us to make our way to the police station to report our loss. The local police, however, were not surprised at our predicament and had several other cases reported in the preceding days. The moral of the story is to be informed and never let your guard down.
Sue Reid, Fig Tree Pocket, QLD
Brian Johnston was right to point to the Izu Peninsula as a beautiful spot to visit (Traveller March 24). But calling William Adams simply an “English shipbuilder” is to understate his achievements.
Shipwrecked from a Dutch vessel in 1600, he was adopted as a European adviser by local daimyo (lord) Ieyasu Tokugawa, and ennobled as a “hatamoto” (a valued adviser). This automatically made him samurai, an honour given to very few Westerners.
He was given a fiefdom, or manor, at Ito on Izu Peninsula. Apart from the shrine and site of his grave at Ito, and a statue at Nagisacho, there is a small shrine in an unremarkable laneway in Tokyo harbour, near where his townhouse once stood.
Tokugawa became sole ruler of Japan, or shogun, and it was the relationship between him and Adams that formed the core of James Clavell’s 1975 novel Shogun, in which Will Adams is called John Blackthorne and Tokugawa is Yoshi Toranaga. Blackthorne was played by Richard Chamberlain in the 1980 mini-series of the same name.
I can highly recommend Giles Milton’s Samurai William: The Englishman Who Opened Japan, an excellent biography of an otherwise little known adventurer.
Mark Walker, Kempsey, NSW
GO WITH JO
In answer to Allan Gibson’s complaint about the lack of views and different local experiences (Traveller, March 24) here is something local.
With plenty to discover in our own backyard, take a walk through a suburb you don’t know and discover Sydney differently.
Travel with Joanne (www.travelwithjoanne.com) can help you decide where to go – for history or architecture (Paddington, Windsor) a culinary (Italian, Indian even Baltic) or cultural (Vietnamese, Portuguese, Turkish even Afghani) experience Joanne has explored suburbs all over Sydney and provides maps and information to help you plan your discovery. (And yes … this is blatant self-promotion).
Joanne Karcz, Dangar Island, NSW
On a recent fight with LATAM from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, my luggage did not arrive in Santiago, Chile where I was staying overnight before travelling to La Paz, in Bolivia, the next day.
LATAM officials informed me my case had been sent directly to La Paz. No explanation was provided. Neither was any assistance offered even though I only had the clothes I was wearing.
On arrival in La Paz I found my luggage had not arrived there either. Again no explanation or assistance was offered. After four days wearing the same clothes, and not wanting to spend a great deal of money, I purchased some clothing and toiletries at a market which did not provide receipts. My luggage turned up later the same day.
On returning to Australia I lodged a claim for reimbursement of the money spent. LATAM eventually accepted responsibility for tagging my case incorrectly and agreed to the reimbursement. However, they then refused because I was unable to provide receipts.
I have subsequently learned that there is a requirement for airlines to offer emergency supplies or funds to passengers (Montreal Convention 1999) if their luggage is lost/delayed.
Would this not mean that LATAM airlines has an obligation to reimburse the money? I am out of pocket as a result of their error regardless of whether or not I can produce a receipt, particularly as the amount is less than, what I understand, should have been offered initially.
Kerry Murphy, Elwood, VIC
I can add my experience with the Indian e-visa problems, as highlighted in Traveller (March 17).
When leaving Sri Lanka to fly to India my e-visa was not acceptable and after 30 minutes of arguments I had to produce a hard copy by photocopying it and then giving it to immigration officials.
Lucky enough I made two copies as on arrival in India I had to produce another hard copy. Again in India when buying a local sim card my e-visa was rejected and a hard copy was required.
I had a wonderful trip in India but Indian Immigration officials both prior to entering India and on arrival were rude, difficult to deal with and extremely intolerant.
Chris Gilchrist, Tuross Head, NSW
GATES OF HELL
Regarding the letter “Not So Fast” in Traveller, lengthy queues with e-visa is not representative of all airports in India. Travelling in a similar period as Michele Hart, six of us arrived at Mumbai with five having am e-visa and were processed efficiently and quickly.
However, having left India from Delhi, I can say that Delhi International Airport is abysmal. Arriving three hours before our flight, after check-in, immigration, then security, we had to literally run to our gate to make the scheduled flight time.
Lengthy queues at each stage induced high levels of stress and anxiety wondering if we would make our flight. Of course, the flight was delayed as there were many more passengers later than us. It was terrible administration from the airport servicing the capital of India.
Mervyn Sequeira, Earlwood, NSW