OUR PEOPLE ON THE GROUND
Many thanks to Singapore Airlines for their care and attention on a recent trip to Vietnam. At the check-in counter at Da Nang Airport my wife cut her leg open when lifting her bag onto the belt, resulting in the loss of a lot of blood. The staff noticed that she was feeling faint while queueing at Immigration and quickly found her a wheelchair. They assisted her to the lounge where a paramedic came and cleaned and dressed the wound. She was then wheeled to the departure gate. Arriving at Singapore Airport, another wheelchair was waiting to take her past the long Immigration queues and after helping us retrieve our luggage, the staff organised a taxi from the airport.
The next day my wife was feeling much better and we enjoyed our time in Singapore.
Three days later, while checking in at Changi Airport to take us home to Sydney we were asked if we still needed a wheelchair as it was still on file. We were no longer in need of it but were very grateful for the way the airline cares for their passengers.
Brian Parker, Terrigal, NSW
BEFORE YOU GO TO MEXICO
I enjoyed reading Andrew Taylor’s article on Leon Trotsky’s museum in Mexico City and his intersection with artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo (Traveller, March 17).
The more so since I’ll never get to visit that place as I cannot get medical insurance for pre-existing medical conditions (in spite of many trips and no claims ever). However, to other interested future travellers I heartily recommend Barbara Kingsolver’s book The Lacuna. which has a fictional account of Trotsky’s time with the artists. That was the first time I was made aware of this history.
It is a compelling account and well worth reading before a trip to Mexico City. It will enrich your travel experience.
Jan Kent, Farmborough Heights, NSW
MULL IT OVER
Luke Slattery’s article “Mrs Macquarie’s lair” (Traveller, March 9) reminded me of a trip I made to Oban and Mull more than 30 years ago with my parents.
After a visit to our namesake’s Folly atop Oban (naturally) we caught the ferry to Mull and stayed at the aforementioned Mishnish Pub (a name not easily forgotten). I remember my room had a lovely view of the Tobermory harbour.
It was a beautiful interlude and it is heartening to read that Mull remains relatively unspoilt many years later.
Kate McCaig, Surrey Hills, VIC
MOUTH IN FOOT
Keep those feet covered! We were flying home from Los Angeles when during the night, a woman on her way to use the restroom, decided to clear her throat by spitting. The phlegm landed on my sister’s foot. Thank goodness she was wearing socks.
Sherril Mitchell, Woodside, VIC
KEEP IT LOCAL
Each week Rants & raves contributors seem heavily weighted towards international travel and the latest offering is no exception with all eight letters non-national (Traveller, March 3). Not everyone travels internationally and many readers supplement such with local holidays and different experiences. It would add to the diversity of views if we heard of views, complaints and, hopefully, compliments.
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
Regarding the article Cruise Ports with Spectacular Settings (Traveller, March 3) I would like to share my experience at Port Melbourne, Station Pier, on February 18-22. My husband and I boarded the Queen Mary 2 Port Melbourne, Station Pier, in February for a four-day cruise, Melbourne to Melbourne via Kangaroo Island, as part of a world cruise the ship was doing. In trying to board we encountered huge delays with cars and taxis trying to bring passengers to the pier. However, that was easy compared with when we arrived home, when no cars are allowed on to the pier to pick up passengers, with the exception taxis, and the queue was extensive. There seemed to be no facilities for the many seniors who had disabilities, like myself. We had to trudge the entire length of the pier to the gate house where we were to be picked up. This in itself is another problem with limited car spaces available.
Port Melbourne will be the home port for four very large ships in 2019, including Queen Elizabeth. These ships average 2500 passengers plus crew. There is also the issue of the Spirit of Tasmania ferry which during the summer months often does two trips a day, causing more chaos there with trucks, caravans and semi trailers adding to the chaos, and tour buses to take passengers from other ships that are often berthed too.
I would prefer to fly to any other port in Australia rather than board in Melbourne. I have circumnavigated Australia, and all the ports that we visited had easy access and facilities for these ships.
Geraldine Hare, Port Melbourne VIC
I was interested in Michael Gebicki’s comments about travel bookings (Traveller, March 10). On a quite limited retirement income I manage an annual overseas trip with careful planning. I have found Lonely Planet and Rough Guide recommended accommodation good, especially if both recommend the same place. The Singapore-based Agoda agency is also good, and promptly emails a booking confirmation form that is handed to reception on arrival. Cancellations can be made with no penalty until a few days beforehand. Agoda booked hotels nearly always also make contact, offering extra services/information. A good way of avoiding scams is to simply make an inquiry. If one gets a prompt and relevant response, without any request for payment, then it is probably safe to proceed.
Geoff Crowhurst, Thornbury, VIC