Mixed Blessings


 

This blog was written two years ago in the summer of 2018. Reading it today brings home to me just how quickly our world can change. I have to wonder if the international air travel industry will ever return to what it was. The incredible logistical and technological capabilities which I have depicted here have been brought down by invisible microbes. 

Who could have possibly ever imagined this scenario in 2018?

 

‘On a flight from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to Dubai Airport – 8 hours – with a connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur, I thought about the logistics of modern air travel.

To get my flight out of Schiphol, I had to sit around for a few hours before my flight departed. It was June, tourist season, and Schiphol, even by its own standards, was busy. It took me quite a long time to check in and get through security. The length of the cues and the number of people crowded into a confined space was daunting. And it was the same on the other side of security. To buy a sandwich and coffee meant standing in another long cue. 

Schiphol was one the busiest airports in the world. On average, 150,000 people a week came and went. There were many busy airports in the world of course. Dubai was another one.

Once in the air and mercifully away from the thronging crowds in Schiphol, I reflected on what I’d experienced.

I was just one person in a vast global operation which involved millions….

Read more

Rotterdam – The City of Howard Roark

Rand Ann

 

I have lived in Rotterdam on and off for many years, using it a base for travels in Europe and Northern Africa. I can’t say that I’ve ever found it to be an attractive city.

The point is, I don’t like modern architecture.

However lots of people do.

This is something I realized when Rotterdam began appearing in international tourism surveys as a must-see destination. 

And why?

Because of its ‘cutting-edge’ architecture.

I really couldn’t believe it.

Rotterdam?!

It seemed as if there were an awful lot of people around who had no taste.

Give me one of Europe’s old historic cities any day!

Then a time came when my attitude to Rotterdam changed…..

Read more

´Your Country´s Burning!´ – Part 1

It was on a Saturday night in January 2020, shortly after Anya and I had returned from a month of walking in La Palma. We´d arranged to go to Anya´s niece´s place, who´d invited some friends around for the night.    

It was meant to be a pleasant, convivial evening.

But thanks to me, it turned out a bit differently.  

 

It started with flamenco and ended with aboriginal fire stick agriculture.

Quite a distance to travel in a few hours: Spain to Australia.

Read more

Your Country´s Burning! Part 2

 

EXCERPTS FROM MY TRAVEL DIARY

May 2005; Adelaide, State Library of South Australia:

An account left to us from a British colonist arriving in my state South Australia early one morning in 1837:    
 
‘ …Before next day’s sunrise, a great change took place in the landscape before us. The watchers on deck beheld a fire on one of the hills which seemed to spread from hill to hill with amazing speed. All on board were now awake and on deck looking at this grand, and yet to those who knew not its cause, fearful conflagration. It seemed as if the whole land was a mass of flame. The whole range was as black as midnight, except where the trees were still burning.’

Read more

The Flood Part 2

On the following morning, when we went into the kitchen-dining room to have breakfast, I was tempted to ask Francine about Freud.

In our room, there were book shelves and they were crammed. The night before, I had checked the books carefully and noticed quality novels, travel guides, books about psychology and the mind – and a large collection of the case histories of Freud.

I didn’t get around to asking her about Freud though, because uppermost in my mind was to find out more about her father and what happened to him after surviving the flood.

But as it turned out, Freud was a part of that story……….   

Read more