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Organised Tours - as opposed to self-planed travel

The Taiwan portion was an organised tour. In Hong Kong the accommodation was paid for, including breakfast, and we had an organised bus tour of the City but most of our time was free, to use the metro the ferry and so on. 

The advantage of these organised tours is that they are easy.  They involve a lot less work: researching the places to go and getting the best deal on accommodation and transport.  Lugging luggage about is minimised as is driving on the wrong side of the road. There is lest ‘wasted’ time.  And in this case there were also significant savings.

But independence is lost and contact with the local people is limited to the guides provided and the guides have an agenda – to give the tourists their particular, usually positive, story. 

Further, one becomes a package to be labelled, quite literally, and ‘despatched’ from one place to another for predetermined periods that seldom conform to the time that one would spent at that location if deciding independently. Some places, like an hour a jewellery factory or on a rock strewn beach would be by-passed entirely.

In addition to these uncalled for ‘sites’, inordinate periods were spent in temples and inadequate time was allowed for places of historical like the former Dutch East India Company fortifications or of economic interest. Even a simple drive-by of the nuclear power stations, steelworks or shipbuilding would have been welcome.

As part of the schedule we were taken to a marble factory, where I succumbed and bought a toy top for grandchildren's eventual amusement, and at another point to a jewelery factory where everything was a 'bargain'.  This seems to be inevitable on an organised tour where hidden commissions get involved in the scheduling.

Nevertheless, as I recall from my first visit to Spain and Portugal in the eighties and particularly if travelling alone, if one has no idea where to begin in an unfamiliar country a local idea of what is best to see and visit may be a lot better than ‘pot luck’.

 

 


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Travel

The United Kingdom

 

 

 

On the surface London seems quite like Australia.  Walking about the streets; buying meals; travelling on public transport; staying in hotels; watching TV; going to a play; visiting friends; shopping; going to the movies in London seems mundane compared to travel to most other countries.  Signs are in English; most people speak a version of our language, depending on their region of origin. Electricity is the same and we drive on the same side or the street.  

But look as you might, nowhere in Australia is really like London.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Bonfire (Cracker) Night

 

 

We children were almost overcome with excitement.  There had been months of preparation.  Tree lopping and hedge trimmings had been saved; old newspapers and magazines stacked into fruit boxes; a couple of old tyres had been kept; and the long dangerously spiky lower fronds from the palm trees were neatly stacked; all in preparation. 

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Opinions and Philosophy

The Last Carbon Taxer

- a Recent Wall Street Journal article

 

 

A recent wall street journal article 'The Last Carbon Taxer' has 'gone viral' and is now making the email rounds  click here...  to see a copy on this site.  The following comments are also interesting; reflecting both sides of the present debate in Australia.

As the subject article points out, contrary to present assertions, a domestic carbon tax in Australia will neither do much to reduce the carbon impact on world climate, if implemented, nor make a significant contribution, if not implemented. 

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