Heather Hapeta lives in Aotearoa-New Zealand: real travel, real adventures, real stories, real photos. Recent destinations Vietnam, Cambodia, Taiwan and Hong Kong – now NZ destinations due to COVID travel restrictions
Ensure you fully enjoy youradventure holidayby arriving in top health by following our tips for staying germ-free whilst on board your flight:
1. Always carry disinfectant hand wipes and wet wipes as they come in handy when travelling with children and are great if you have an accident at 35,000 feet!
2. Bear in mind that the blankets and pillows on your aircraft are not regularly cleaned so use your own. [this depends on the airline – long distant planes do clean them : kiwitravelwriter.com]
3. Same goes for your aircraft seat and tray table, just think how many people could have sat there since they were last disinfected. Minimize contact with your face and use your own pillow for sleeping, especially if you sleep with your mouth open!
4. Put your shoes on for a visit to the toilets, do not go in barefoot or in just socks. Just think about it, four toilets for a couple of hundred passengers!
5. Eat plenty of fruit and veg before your trip and if necessary stock on vitamins and supplements as well. Clear your fridge before you leave and whip up a tasty smoothie or veg juice with your leftovers.
6. Don’t drink alcohol just before or during your flight (even if it is complimentary) as this will dry you out and alcohol is an immune-suppressant.
7. If you are germ-laden then be a considerate traveler and keep your germs to yourself.
8. Carry a first aid kit and include some cold remedies, painkillers etc as your destination may not sell what you need.
Check out the new post about the bogus guru in Masheswar, India.
Anyone can stay in hotels that used to be palaces, but being the guest of aprince in his residential palace was the highlight of staying in Madhya Pradesh right in the very heart of India.
Twenty–two generations ago, Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore, the celebrated Indian Queen, built a fort at Maheshwar on the banks of the holy NarmadaRiver: now her direct descendant, Prince Shivaji Rao Holkar, son of the last Maharaja of Indore, hosts a few guests in the restored palace. I am one of those guests.
Although travel talk is often about the dangers of air travel, terrorism and using plastic knives, there are other problems associated with travel.
While security has been stepped up and a few desperate friends are hoping to be frisked by a young man in uniform, the biggest danger to air travel is getting to the airport and your excess baggage that’s squeezed into overhead lockers ready to fall on my head.
Despite the warnings, most of us have continued to travel, tolerating the security procedures over which we have no control and putting our Swiss-army knives, sewing kits or knitting needles into our checked luggage. But what other dangers and problems do we face in the sky?
Flying to Wellington recently, squeezing my voluptuous body between two men, was an interesting exercise. They too were of generous proportions and I had sat on the neatly crossed seat-belt buckles. Not dangerous, how does a gal retrieve them- and maintain some dignity?
Then there are the foil-covered fruit juices. I’m always thirsty, and heedful of the advice to remain hydrated want to drink them. But the memory of arriving in a new country with orange stains down my white shirt makes me cautious of those tin-foiled-terrors. You also have to watch the person beside you as they tug-tug-tug at the top only to have it give way suddenly. Their arm and the juice fly skywards, and as the truism explains, what goes up . . .
Other dangers from fellow fliers include the up and downer. Up to the toilet down into the seat, up to the locker, down to the seat again only to remember a moment later they also wanted something else from their carry on luggage bag and back up they go. Not so much a danger to me, but to them: verbal or physical reprisals from an irate fellow traveller. Now I haven’t been accused of air-rage yet, but worldwide it is becoming more common and I have felt the occasional urge to join the aggressive community of ragers. Window seats help me remain calm.
Other dangers, well perhaps not a danger but an unpleasant event, is the drinker, who, replete, falls asleep on my shoulder, alcohol fumes and dribble threatening my peace of mind and comfort. He, and the occasional she, are always given a quick flick off my body. I’ll bet they wonder where that bruise came from.
Although not usually dangerous, planes toilets always sound dangerous. Laugh if you like, they sound treacherous to me. That huge suction and final thuk-thunk have me in fear of being sucked around the S-bend and into the holding tanks. Putting the lid down before flushing helps me feel in control.
Other fear-inducing events include feeling guilty at borders. I have never taken a piece of fruit, drug, or elephant tusk into another country but still feel guilty. Should I be friendly or aloof? Which will ensure a quick and pain-free journey through customs?
However, guilt free or not, border crossings can still be fraught with problems.
I once spent the night in no-mans-land between Botswana and Namibia because of a passport problem for an Israeli woman. We had left Botswana, had our passports stamped but were not allowed into Namibia because of her lack of visa. Despite tears, anger, and pleading, the drunken guard was adamant that we could not proceed and, with the border behind us closed, we prepared to sleep in our tent – not realising this narrow strip of land was an elephant corridor.
A two-metre fence and gate ensured we went in neither direction. Around midnight, the guard’s colleague woke us. “This is much dangerous” he said “My boss he sleep now, you come” And come we did, finally sleeping fitfully to the sound of foraging elephants and something being eaten for supper on the other side of the fence.
And then there was the big-haired woman customs officer in Los Angeles; and the . . .; and then of course . . .
I am a frequent traveler to THAILAND. When traveling outside of Bangkok, I often stay at a local guesthouse rather than a conventional hotel. Besides saving some monies, staying in a guesthouse allows me to sample the local flavor and it is a more conducive environment for meeting fellow travelers. In addition, the informal, carefree ambiance of most guesthouses suits my personality better than the somewhat stiff and fabricated environment of many traditional hotels. Guesthouses are usually small family run affairs – ranging from no frills hostels with simple dormitory like accommodations and shared bathroom facilities (popular with the young backpacker crowd) to the luxury “boutiquish” affair with amenities comparable to a small hotel (popular with the older crowd and families). As they say different strokes for different folks!
Today’s interviewee is New Zealand travel writerHeather Hapata. Heather’s articles have been published in the Sydney Morning Herald, NZ Listener, and Morning Calm (Korean Air’s in-flight magazine), she writes a monthly travel column for Homestyle magazine, and has her first book, Naked in Budapest, due for release in June.
Hi Heather and thanks for stopping by My Year of Getting Published.
1. Did you always want to be a writer ? How did you get started writing?
I was an avid reader as a child and always dreamt of being a writer – I thought how fabulous it would be to give such joy as I had from book. However it wasn’t until I was in my fifties that I had the time and confidence to give a try – after all when you are fifty-plus surely it’s time to do what you really want to do.
Pecha Kucha Night is a presentation format for creative work originally devised by Astrid Klein and Mark
Dytham of Klein-Dytham Architecture (KDa) in Tokyo, Japan in 2003.
The name derives from a Japanese term for the sound of conversation (“chit-chat“). A Pecha Kucha Night is a non-profit orientated event that is part of an international network and consists of a format where presenters show a data slide-show of 20 images, each of which is shown for 20 seconds, giving a total presentation time of 6 minutes 40 seconds.
Each event aims to have a maximum of 14 presenters. Presenters (and much of the audience) are usually from the design, architecture, photography, art, music and creative fields. The event format has been replicated in more than 172 cities including London, San Francisco, Seattle, Rotterdam, Shanghai, and Berlin, as well as in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Nelson. Events are usually limited to one each month per city and to a minimum of four events per year.
Pecha Kucha Nights Auckland is currently organising their twelfth event, Wellington hosted their fourth event in late 2008, and Nelson, Hamilton and Dunedin have recently joined the New Zealand contingent. The next one in Christchurch New Zealand is on the 2nd April and features this blogger – the kiwitravel writer – anda presentation on how she became involved in helping create Buddhist monks from 79 ordinary men to celebrate and commemorate the King Of Thailand’s birthday.
Below are some additional links to more information about Pecha Kucha Nights in New Zealand andinternationally:
How to use a toilet – in a Thai train: from person experience
Inside a small silver-lined room, the floor wet and smelly from twelve hours of use, I finally need to use the toilet: it’s about eighteen inches above the floor.
Rolling my pants legs up to avoid the wetness, I clamp my knees together to stop the material falling back down, then drop the waist of my green, Thai fisherman pants.
Climbing up onto the shining edifice – while keeping my knees together – I place my feet either side of the hole, and, with the train rocking alarmingly, hold on. Moments later I reverse the process and leave.
I’m relieved I haven’t been cursed with the travellers disease; the trots, runs, dheli belly, or whatever common name is given to dysentery and diarrhoea, that so, I’m sure I won’t need to come back into the throne-room – well not for a while anyway.
Keen on travel – like to write? As travel editor of newspaper (now defunct so please don’t send me stories J ) here is a list of what we wanted from people who wanted to send us submissions. I hope some of these will be helpful as good tips for you travelwriting.
Here’s what we asked for: Firstly we required authentic travel articles from people with a passion for travel.
In other words, you have actually been there, done that. If you haven’t actually got the T-shirt, you at least have real experience to write about, not information gleaned (plagiarised) from the internet or travel book. They are great for research before you go – we want to hear about your adventures after the trip; good and bad.
So what makes a good travel article? The goal is to transfer the emotional experience to the reader.
Avoid long scenery bits and a day by day, sight by sight, blow by blow account of your journey.
Tempt with flavour, use weather to create atmosphere. Encourage with imaginative language, and resolve doubts with facts.
Take an unusual viewpoint and offer practical advice. Disabled travellers, parents with children and others need relevant information.
Who, what, how, why and when are always good to start with, and don’t forget smells, sounds, touch, sight and colour.
Tighten the focus of any story, don’t give too much detail, people want the feel of a place not all it’s history or each shop in a street. Aim for a free flowing narrative.
Try to keep the personal to a minimum – you, travellers and visitors are inviting words. Frequent use of the word “I” doesn’t encourage the reader to visit too.
Give a strong structure to the piece . . . beginning, middle and end. Set the scene, take the reader with you, and round off the story.
A fact file can be really helpful – airlines, flights, costs, best season, accommodation.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Even though I write frequently, it’s when I concentrate on these basics that the story is better, the scenery brighter and the food tastier. Check out some of my stories on www.kiwitravelwriter.com