Archive for the ‘Rockhampton’ Category

Patagonia and Punta Arenas

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Dr Leo Foong TMA member in Rockingham WA

Bucket lists are there to be crossed and this I have done after getting to visit Santiago for a week and the Patagonian region and then to Punta Arenas to fly to King George Island (thereby escaping the emetic Drake Passage) for an Antarctic Cruise.

Patagonia is a region encompassing the vast southernmost tip of South America and shared by Argentina and Chile. The Andes mountains divides the two countries and forms a geographic boundary. On the Chilean side there are temperate rainforests and glacial fjords.

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The Flu Vaccine

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Should I have the Flu Vaccine?

Travellers risk coming into contact with influenza in airports where thousands of people gather from around the globe, bringing their various illnesses with them. The influenza vaccine, (flu shot) is a safe, killed derivative of three influenza strains. It is cheap and very effective against the strains in the vaccine. If you catch influenza it is certainly a holiday stopper and can even be fatal. Would I risk travelling without my “ Flu “ vaccine? No, not when for such a small inconvenience I could be saved from such a potentially dangerous illness.

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Spain

  prepared by Dr Joan Chamberlain, TMA member in Rockhampton.

Generally we felt reasonably secure but all bags must be held close and be closed firmly. Pick pockets do well. Loose items disappear quickly. We let our guard down in the last 15 minutes before leaving the conference hotel (5 star) and were rewarded with one of our bag being stolen: Camera, chargers for phones, power converters, medical kit and coats. Take care with your goods.

Madrid is more metropolitan and Spain’s largest city. You can taste all of the flavours of Spain here. We found the smaller places of good value and with a very large variety of good wholesome, well priced food. We found free Flamenco bars where the passion was as strong as the alcohol in the beverages. Parks open at 10am and people are flooding in at 8-9pm while the daylight still shines.The bigger cities come alive from 9pm onwards. 

The art word reigns supreme in Madrid, followed closely by the History of Spain in both Museums and architecture. There are amazing shops that sell genuine armoury still made in the famous Toledo factory. Cross bow 25E, just don’t expect to get it through customs. Your local shopping mall has the men’s section complete with underwear, suits and leather coats, selection of fishing gear, knives for hunting as well as a full Gun collection. Everything a real man needs.

Central Spain. We had a brief one day visit to Avila and Segovia. The change in foods, wine and scenery was incredible. You first pass near the highest mountains in Spain, complete with ski resorts, then along amazing cliffs and ravines. Out from here lies the fertile central Spanish plains. Central Spainproduces some of the most amazing wines in Spain, re-noun especially for their Red wines, the whites are not to be dismissed. Their suckling pig, plethora of hams, cheeses and extensive variety of Horticultural produce is impressive.

Lessons learned on the Trip:

  1. Be prepared and know the area you are going to. You will appreciate better what you see and find.
  2. Many of the best experiences are not far away or too expensive. But be prepared to pay for inside knowledge when needed.
  3. Most people will help you and appreciate you making the effort to speak at least a few basic words in Spanish eg hello, thank you, please, good buy and their name.
  4. Never leave your possessions unattended and be vigilant.
  5. It’s a long way to fly from Australia to Spain.

 

 

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Travel Right, Travel Light

… Provided by Dr Joan Chamberlain, TMA member Rockhampton

 

Often people put a lot of time into their itinerary and flights but forget about pre travel advice and preparation. Also forgotten at times is consideration to your luggage and packing.

Consideration should be given to your destination, activities, length of flight and luggage requirements.

1. Choosing Luggage

Although each traveller will have different needs some principles remain the same. Choose a good quality bag. You will get what you pay for and you want to get your best mileage out of it. If for under the plane, light weight, two sets of handles, and preferably with wheels and pull out handle. You will not always have trolleys or assistance at your destination. If back pack for under plane, ensure you bag does not have straps or portions that can get caught or torn on automated conveyers or transport belts. Be careful not to have baggage tags that can also be caught. Find another way to ID you luggage. Also ensure that zippers do up well and are unlikely to undo with handling. You do not want to own the bag on the carousel with the under pants taped to the outside.

Put your contact details inside the bag or ensure it is well covered. You don’t need to advertise your details. E.g. If you have a bag with a name place, put your card with details towards the inside.

Watch your luggage. Never leave it. More luggage is stolen from the ground than lost from transportation.

2. On flight bag…what to carry

You and your under plane luggage can be parted. Your onboard luggage and your handbag are easier to keep tabs on. Make sure the bag complies with the airlines limits. They can refuse to carry, charge hold fees etc if not compliant. Name everything. Ensure your bag is well labelled. Enclose eye wear, tooth brush and paste, hair brush or comb, moisturiser and a change of underwear. Lost luggage and arrival clothes are not fun for 2 days waiting for lost luggage. A fresh set of under clothes is vital. Ensure medications, travel letters and a copy of documentation is also kept on board. Valuables should not be stored in the hold, take them on board. Phone, camera, jewellery, passports, money, travel checks etc should be carried in your hand bag or in a body belt. Pack a book or activity for in flight.

3. Carry what you know you need, not the spares

Most people just carry too much. You really only need a minimal number of underpants, not one for every day. Most times you can rinse or wash. The same with day clothes, evening wear, rationalize. Spare toiletries? Try buying them. What about the accessories. Do you want to carry these everywhere just in case? Get a seasoned travel friend to revise your bag and show you how to pack it, or read a book on it.

4. Travel with expectancy, good attitude and flexibility

I am yet to have a travel experience where all goes well and according to plan.

Take your attitude and flexibility pill before you go, especially with lost luggage. Handle schedule changes gracefully and ask for assistance with ongoing flights etc as needed.

Don’t harass the ones trying to assist you. You may be surprised to know that when the customer’s attitude is aggressive, accusing and harassing to the ground crew at the arrival destination, where they had nothing to do with the luggage becoming lost, some luggage will JUST never be found. A pleasant and polite attitude asking for their assistance without accusation will do more to track down your luggage than anything else. Always report lost luggage early and with good attitude.

Trauma with time becomes humour and a good story at the next party!

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