Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Flying down the sharp end

Last year I decided that my advancing years meant that I should pay more attention to the adverts on the radio and upgrade to First Class. I rationalized the extra cost with the fact that I had very few accommodation costs in the UK,  had no children to support and that I bloody well deserved it.

Three chairs for Arne!

Designed for Copenhagen's Hotel Royal. which opened in 1960, Arne Jacobsen's Egg Chair cracked the nod in homes, offices, clubs and airports around the world, starring in several Hollywood movies and cradling the buttocks of the rich and famous.

Limping down memory lane

When Carol Lazar used to attend business conferences, she'd only take one pair of formal shoes. In New York, while dressing for a morning session, she discovered the heels of her shoes didn’t match. One was high, the other low ...

Ahoy Polloi!

The service left something to be desired. While clearing away my plate, the waiter spotted a speck of food on the less-than-pristine tablecloth and commented: “You eat like a peeg!”

You can’t be Sirius!

Mistaking my hesitation for shyness, he hauls me to my feet and propels me to a quiet spot away from the group, the better to bend my ear.“Know how to find Alpha and Beta Centauri?” he asks. Who cares? I'd much rather find a G&T!

Hotel hacks

Laundry is another bugbear for the corporate backpacker. Most contracts or company travel policies stipulate the “incidentals are for your own account”. My shirts cost less than what they charge to launder one in most hotels, and for prolonged stays you see the costs mounting.

Sails and Marketing

Traditionally, ruling the waves has meant waiving the rules.  Ship owners in wealthy maritime nations have registered their vessels in countries with no minimum wages, labour standards, corporate taxes, or environmental regulations; in short, every corporation’s dream.

Luxury on board

From my bed I'd watch a Bloody Mary sunrise fortifying the day, then set off for breakfast at Terrace Café, followed by a cookery class, where I learnt to make scones and  a frittata. I believe I can fry!

Watching Wimbledon

Tournament chiefs insist they want to keep up with the times. If that that was the case, they would forgo their insistence on the ban on coloured clothing (whites are mandatory) for players in matches outside of the practise courts.

Floating City

Despite the daily invasion of tourists that flood Venice, many districts retain their village sensitivities with butchers and bakers rather than the ubiquitous Venetian mask and glass shops, but even at peak visitor times, you’re never more than a bridge and an alley away from more secluded squares, 16th century Gothic palaces and wine bars

Changing face of London

Following the Dunblane Primary School massacre (where tennis star Andy Murray first attended classes) handguns in Britain were declared illegal in 1996. The knife is now the choice of weapon and these are freely available from any supermarket.

A kiss too far

Publicist Tilly Smith Dix finds herself between a rock and a hard place when a travel editor at her client's five-star hotel chooses to insult the establishment's hostess.

Dust, blood, and blisters

Every now and again my elephant would detour into the vegetation and snack on a small tree. Bits of jungle would tumble into my lap, sometimes with spiders still attached.

Kitchen World

No self-respecting salle de cuisine is complete without a 9kg mortar and pestle from Thailand, a 2kg granite bibimbap bowl and companion wooden bench from Namdaemun Market in Seoul or a stainless steel stacking tiffin box (complete with padlock!) from Mumbai’s Crawford Market.

Melking it!

The paintings appear three-dimensional and looking up feels a glimpse into heaven. The impressive Baroque library houses 12,000 books from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries that were re-bound in leather with gold leaf.

The tipping point

“Knowing where to leave a tip is as important as knowing where not to,’ says Wego chief marketing officer Joachim Holte. “In the UK, tipping for food in restaurants is okay, although unexpected as service charges are included. Yet, tipping for drinks at a bar is just not cricket!”

Celestial Spectacle

Officially, the aurora-borealis comprises electrically charged particles from the sun colliding with gas molecules but the more arcane among us know these celestial emanations mark the entrance to a twilight paradise lit by a twin sun, where assorted beings, including Germans from the Vril Society, a few pixies, giants, and Lemurian descendants, have lived in perfect health for hundreds of years

Don’t write off the old rules

Who wants to do business with people incapable of stringing a sentence together? If someone has neither the time, inclination nor self-respect to check through an email before stabbing the send button, then neither do I have the time, inclination nor interest to engage with such an individual.

Hungary for more!

Budapest wears her dark Communist past lightly, defiantly mixing fin de siècle garb with modern, stylish accessories. Like a courtesan, Pest reveals coquettish glimpses of her Austro-Hungarian grandeur in sumptuous facades and Hapsburg eagles on rooftops. Scented flower stalls and roast coffee aromas entice tourists and locals alike.

Music for the road

There is not a lot to alleviate the tedium so it is up to the music to shorten the journey and stave off narcolepsy. What songs keep you awake and alert as you press on to the great escape at the end of the road?

How to win at twitter

Yawn-inducing eulogies to the awesomeness of your venue, gets old, fast. It's fine, say, every six tweets, but at least share something interesting in between. Tell us about a hen sitting on her eggs for days. Show us the chicks when they hatch. Did something amusing happen with a guest? Tell us about it