Category Archives: South Australia

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FLYING ON DEATH ROW

I didn’t even know that Row 87 existed.

I do wish, however, that I never ‘discovered’ it, but here I am sitting in it on QF 11 heading to New York via Los Angeles. It has felt like a never ending journey, and I still have 14 hours to go.

Just getting on this plane felt like a journey in itself as I passed through Economy cabin after Economy cabin. It felt like when you drive through a city and you leave the good suburbs behind with their manicured lawns and tree-lines streets and in each new suburb, the front yard is a little more overgrown and with each passing suburb the number of rusted car carcasses increase.

The upside to being in Row 87 is that the 5 toilets for this section are only 1 row away. You get to feel the humanity up close and personal, as everyone crowds around your seat doing their little “hurry-up-I’ve-got-pee” dance, while making judgements of what you are watching. Look, I haven’t seen Kung Fu Panda, OK? Don’t judge me.

Every time I hear the toilet’s vacuum flush (which is constant) I secretly imagine another “pee dancer” being sucked out of the plane. This would really free up some space up front. Whoosh. There goes another one.

Of course it is worse around service time when the people sitting at the front of the plane (not the real front, but the Economy front) have already finished their meals. I believe that eating celebrity-chef-inspired food off a tray must trigger a message in your bladder saying “I’ve gotta go….now”. Like watching the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti, they all get up at once and head for the toilets at the rear of the plane. Like the crocodiles in the Mara river, lying in wait to impede their progress is the food trolley as the Crew try to serve the rear of the plane. Then the life and death struggle begins as the Crew play Frogger (old school arcade game reference…ask your parents) as they go backwards and forwards trying to negotiate space and hand out lukewarm “sorry we don’t have your choice” meals to those in the surrounds of Row 87.

Whoosh. There goes another one..

This A380 is so big that doing a lap, as recommended in the inflight magazine to avoid deep vein thrombosis, I was in more danger of pulling a hamstring as I recorded 5,579 steps on my Fitbit. I was certainly in more danger of causing an injury to the protruding limbs finding their way into the aisle. I was thinking I could really do some damage with one of those food trolleys….no wonder cabin crew are always smiling. They know the game.

Whoosh. There goes another one.

The seat configuration in this section is 3-4-3. The new livery still doesn’t hide the fact that you are trapped in like sardines. Another upside to Row87 is that most people want to sit as far forward a possible. No-one willingly allocates themselves seats so far down the back. It’s a bit like Daveron Park, you’ve heard of it, but you don’t know where it is or know anyone who has ever been there. This “I’m-not-going-to-the-dark-side” attitude in seat allocation has mean that I have an empty seat next to me. This little sardine feels less like the one that John West rejected.

Whoosh. Another one gone.

Of course the reclining seat in front still feels like a personal attack from the enemy. Nothing is more confronting than watching the seatback coming towards you at an alarming rate. Too late, no time to untangle your legs. Too late to lean down to get any of your comfort items from your bag under the seat. Too late to use the tray table as the angle of the seat prohibits any practical uses. Too late to watch the entertainment system in any comfort. When I was young, my mother used to warn “don’t sit close so to the tv, you’ll ruin your eyes”. She was a very wise woman. And while we didn’t end up with square eyes, she knew that watching a screen 5cms from your face is not a good thing.

Whoosh. Another one gone.

Oooooh fancy celebrity chef inspired “hot chicken panini” just arrived. I’m now eating lunch at 4.58pm Adelaide time and 11.58pm LA time. It must be celebrity chef inspired eating time.

Whoosh. Bye bye, whoever you are.

Another added benefit to sitting in Row87 is that you get to spend more time on the plane than those at the front. When the plane lands and the “quick-every-one-stand-up-ding’ can be heard, you get to stand in the aisle for what seems like hours. I’m sure those at the front of the plane had already disembarked, claimed their luggage, passed through customs, navigated the traffic and were already home in bed before Row87 has even advanced to Row 86

Whoosh. Whoosh. Uh oh a double whoosh. I wonder if that’s two gone, or something quite stubborn not going?

Row 87 is also known as Death Row. It’s a long walk to freedom.

http://www.dontforgettravel.com.au

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BEST VALUE HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS FOR AUSTRALIANS RIGHT NOW

Australian Dollar hits 7 year lows!

The start of 2016 hasn’t been good for the Australian Dollar against the US Dollar. Ok, lets be honest, 2015 wasn’t so good either. The little Aussie Battler is in for a battle as our dollar is heavily linked to the economic fluctuations of our biggest trading partner, China…And their outlook isn’t so crash hot. (Ed: Don’t use the term “crash” when talking about currencies) 

Its perfectly fine to skip this section of the newspaper (Ed: Are you sure people still read newspapers?) or glaze over when watching the news when this topic come up, but the danger is only looking at the headline or listening to the lead in comment and thinking its all of a sudden too expensive to travel anywhere.

In the majority of the cases, the headline is about the Australian Dollar’s value to the US Dollar, and yes, over the the last 12 months the $AUD has fallen in value by 17% against the $USD. (Ed: I remember the good old days when the dollar dropped below $.50).

To the traveller this means that when you arrive in the United States everything is automatically 17% more expensive than it was 12 months ago. The $4.00 coffee at Starbucks will now cost your $4.68 and that $100 pair of jeans will now cost you $117. Obviously this means that you either need more money to do all the things that you want, or cut back in some areas. But it doesn’t mean that you have to cross the US off your list completely.

currency change jpeg

Source: http://www.XE.com comparison of AUD 15 Jan 2015 vs 15 Jan 2016

There a few shining destinations to think about if you want good value for your Australian Dollar. If you are a skier, or love nature, or you just love going to a really nice place, then head north to Canada or south to New Zealand. The Australian Dollar is slightly up against these two currencies so it wont hurt your hip pocket. (Ed: what if they fall skiing and land on their hip?, I guess the burgeoning wallet full of cash will cushion the fall).

The United State’s southern neighbour, Mexico, also offers better value for money this year.

If you really want to drive your dollar further (Ed: I think Budget own this tag line) then grab that plane ticket and head to South American countries like Argentina and Brazil (Ed: you need to warn the reader that Brazil wont be cheap during the Olympic Games). Another destination to put on the list is South Africa. South Africa was relatively cheap before, but with the $AUD’s value increasing by over 20% against the Rand, it is now “a must”. (Ed: If you need me, I will be in Cape Town).

Its not all doom and gloom.

There a a lot of little gems and this may give you an opportunity to visit a place that you may not have had at the top of your list. Don’t let the headline stop you from getting out there and discovering the world.

For those that dont like to read, here’s the info in an infographic form…..

BEST VALUE DESTINATIONS FOR AUSTRALIANS RIGHT NOW.

The Dont Forget Travel Group

 

THE COLD FACE OF GALLIPOLI

THE COLD FACE OF GALLIPOLI

The Gallipoli campaign was brutal and not for the fainthearted. I went in believing I knew what I was in for and somehow came out the other side as the face of Anzac Day 2006.

Sitting at the stage area overlooking Anzac Cove

Sitting at the stage area overlooking Anzac Cove

Anzac Day is all about reflection, so let’s we reflect…

I had been prepared for the emotion of the occasion, but I wasn’t prepared for the coldness of the occasion. It was freezing with an onshore wind blowing off Anzac Cove. The day had been a sunny autumnal day, but this was just a tease. As the sun dropped below the horizon, the temperature didn’t drop, it plummeted.

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After a 5 hour bus trip from Istanbul (which they showed Mel Gibson’s “Gallipoli” on-board to get everyone into the mood) we arrived at Anzac Cove around 6pm on 24th April. Being on one of the first buses (as there isn’t public transport everyone has to belong to a tour group to gain access) to arrive we had options – lie on the grassed area behind the VIPs which would give you a limited view, but with the chance of getting some sleep, or sit in the stand where you would be guaranteed a great view, but very little chance of any sleep. I chose the latter as I thought “seeing” was whole point of being here.

Despite wearing a t-shirt, shirt, polar fleece jumper, windproof jacket, two pairs of Explorer socks, jeans, a beanie (purchased during the night from a local Turk) and all snuggled inside a sleeping bag it was not enough to ward off the cold that had now seeped its way into the core of my bones. I remember thinking I may be uncomfortably cold, but imagine also being wet and coming ashore under the cover of darkness, to a future that probably wasn’t going to end well.

To relieve boredom, every hour, on the hour throughout the night, either a Military band played, or a 15 minute documentary of the conflict, or a detailed description of where the troops were at that specific time back in 1915, or images beamed up on the big screen of the crowd from the closed circuit cameras. It was both entertaining and informative. A constant stream of buses depositing more people added to the carnival-like atmosphere. By 5.30am there was about 10,000 people squashed into Anzac Cove. I am pretty sure there was not one Australian backpacker left in London!

Amongst the crowd were AFL and NRL football jumpers, Wallaby tops, hats with

Crowd building with the Sphinx in background

Crowd building with the Sphinx in background

the Oz flag, the canary yellow of the Fanatics etc and the closest thing to nationalistic I had was an Austereo polar fleece with a capital A on the front. During the night I was feeling so unpatriotic I haggled with a local Turk selling flags – eventually getting a bargain for 4 Turkish Lira (approx. $4.00). I had got a great deal and I felt good. Back at my seat, with chest swelling with pride, I unfurled the flag to discover that it was only printed on one side. Damn you Turks, you got the better of us Aussies again. The reverse side was completely white!

It was at that moment when a camera on the end of a massive boom, swung around zooming in on me. I could see myself on the screens scattered around the amphitheatre. Luckily the wind changed direction so that the Australian flag side was visible; otherwise it would have looked as though I was surrendering by waving the white flag. I remember thinking “look solemn and pensive and resist the urge to make a face or wave maniacally”.

The service itself was quite stage-managed with many speeches by dignitaries. It

Last Post being played at Dawn Service at Anzac Cove

Last Post being played at Dawn Service at Anzac Cove

felt more like a celebration than a memorial service, so it wasn’t as emotional as I thought it was going to be – that was until the lone bugler played the Last Post and the Reveille – spine chilling stuff.

A few days later I discovered that it hadn’t been a closed circuit tv. The footage was beamed back to Australia and Channel 9 used my image as the opening and closing scenes of their national news bulletin! My cold, but solemn face had been on television every hour throughout the day all over Australia.

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I had turned up to pay my respects and walked away from Gallipoli as the face of Anzac Day.

The Don’t Forget Travel Group

CATTLE BATTLE

TITLE“Who has the best Economy Class?”

This a question we receive daily. It is also a question that is hard to answer because it is so subjective. Its time to go out on a limb and rank the Cattle Classes of Adelaide’s international airlines. The exception to this is the inclusion of Qantas, despite not flying internationally from Adelaide, because so many travellers are Qantas Frequent Flyers and desire to stay loyal to the airline and begrudgingly will fly interstate to catch an international flight.

The airlines have been ranked from highest to lowest in the following categories: price, frequency, seat width, seat pitch, seat configuration, number of passengers and convenience.

Table

The winner of the Cattle Battle is……..Singapore Airlines, Organic Cow2

earning them the status of “Organic Hand Reared Cattle”.

 

 

Singapore Airlines (50 points)sq logo

Flight: SQ279 Adelaide to Singapore

Plane: Airbus A330-300

Configuration: 2-4-2, Seat Pitch: 32, Seat Width: 19in (48.3cm)

Number of seats: 255

Departs daily at 11.55am and SQ277 departs M, Th, F, Sa, Su at 7.15pm

 

free rangeThe next category is the “Free Range Cattle”

 

 

 

Malaysia Airlines (44 points)mh logo

Flight: MH139 Adelaide to Kuala Lumpur

Plane: Airbus A330-300

Configuration: 2-4-2, Seat Pitch: 34, Seat Width: 17in (43.2cm)

Number of seats: 250

Departs Tu, W, F, Su at 10.00am and M, Th, Sa at 2.30pm

 

Cathay Pacific (42 points)cx logo

Flight: CX105 Adelaide to Hong Kong

Plane: Airbus A330-300

Configuration: 2-4-2, Seat Pitch: 32, Seat Width: 18.45in (46.9cm)

Number of seats: 175

Departs daily at 12.20pm

 

barn raisedThe third category is the “Barn Raised Cattle” status

 

 

 

Air New Zealand (39 points)nz logo

Flight: NZ791 Adelaide to Auckland

Plane: Airbus A320

Configuration: 3-3, Seat Pitch: 30, Seat Width: 17in (43.2cm)

Number of seats: 168

Departs daily at 11.40am

 

Virgin Australia (37 points)va logo

Flight: VA4194 Adelaide to Denpasar

Plane: Boeing B737

Configuration: 3-3, Seat Pitch: 30, Seat Width: 17in (43.2cm)

Number of seats: 144

Departs M, W, F, Su at 9.50am and VA4193 departs Sa 2.50pm

 

Jetstar (34 points)jq logo

Flight: JQ118 Adelaide to Denpasar

Plane: Airbus A320

Configuration: 3-3, Seat Pitch: 29, Seat Width: 17in (43.2cm)

Number of seats: 180

Departs M, W, Sa at 7.30am

Flight: JQ195 Adelaide to Auckland

Plane: Airbus A320

Configuration: 3-3, Seat Pitch: 29, Seat Width: 17in (43.2cm)

Number of seats: 180

Departs M, W, Sa at 4.25pm

 

Caged CowsThe final category is the “Caged Cattle” status and will surprise many which airlines fell into this group.

 

 

Emirates (31 points)ek logo

Flight: EK441 Adelaide to Dubai

Plane: Boeing 777-300ER

Configuration: 3-4-3,  Seat Pitch: 32, Seat Width: 17in (43.2cm)

Number of seats: 304

Departs daily at 10.35pm

 

Air Asia X (22 points)air asia logo

Flight: D7 246 Adelaide to Kuala Lumpur

Plane: Airbus A333

Configuration: 3-3-3, Seat Pitch: 32, Seat Width: 16.5in (41.9cm)

Number of seats: 365

Departs M, T, Th, Sa, Su at 11.00am

 

Qantas (out of Melbourne) (17 points)QF logo

Flight: QF93 Melbourne to LA

Plane: Airbus A380

Configuration: 3-4-3, Seat Pitch: 31, Seat Width: 17.5in (44.5cm)

Number of seats: 371

Departs daily at 11.20am

 

The argument has now been settled…..or has it?

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

“Threshold: Any place or point of entering or beginning”

At first I thought that this week’s photo challenge was too hard as no images immediately came to mind. Then it hit me that there has been to momentous occasions in the last 10 years that have been significant to me. I had truly stood on the threshold of a new beginning. I felt, immediately prior to both events, like I was standing on the edge of the precipice and about to jump into the unknown.

the front door to my Athens apartment

the front door to my Athens apartment

This photo symbolises the first threshold as I had been asked by my employer to relocate to Athens to work for our Greek operations. This is the doorbell for my apartment block in Athens. Amongst all the names ending in “–opoulous” or “–oulakis” is a lone Anglo-Saxon name. Mine. That was what I was afraid of; feeling like a fish out of water. I didn’t know the language. I didn’t know anyone in the whole continent, let alone the country and definitely didn’t know a soul in the actual city itself.

I was on the threshold of a new love.

I had nothing to worry about as I was welcomed with open arms. I was accepted and included. I made some lifelong friends. I had some incredible experiences and saw some spectacular countryside and visited many beautiful islands. I fell in love with the country, culture and cuisine- and was made an honorary Greek – Sullivanopoulos.

I have cheated on the second momentous threshold as it is a video not a photo. After 20 years of a career in advertising and media I had had enough. “Pillars of change”, “departmental silos”, “mission statements”, “touchpoints” were just jargon and lost all meaning. A world where people were not dismissed but were “offered the opportunity to seek their personal goals elsewhere” now felt shallow and callous. I felt I wanted to control my own destiny.

The Dont Forget Travel Group Opening

I made the scary decision that I was going to leave the sheltered world of corporate life and open my own business. A travel agency, no less! Despite being a crowded marketplace, both online and real bricks and mortar, I felt there was room for a boutique agency.

This is the video I made about the process of setting up the new agency. I had imported the furniture from China and 40+ boxes only had a picture of the furniture, but no instructions.

I was on the threshold of a new life.

This new beginning is still continuing.

The Don’t Forget Travel Group is taking part in the Weekly Photo Challenge with the added challenge of trying to make all photos travel related. #postaday

AUSTRALIA DAY MEDLEY

oz meme

Happy Australia Day…..here’s mash up of songs

TDU

Did you come to watch the Tour Down Under,
Thru the Vales and twice up Willunga,
Did ya watch, did ya watch them chunder?
Your lycra’s split, you better take cover.

(to the tune of Land Down Under)

sunburn

I love sunburnt back knees,
A night of screaming pain,
Of bursting mounting blisters,
Of flooding tears that rain.

(to the tune of I Love A Sunburnt Country)

Winfield_Blue_by_ArtisPrime

In the beer-garden we sit,
The Winny Blues we’d breath,
We’d watch Jacko crack onto the bar girl,
Laugh and think, Shaza will kill ya

(To the tune of Sounds of Then (This Is Australia)

pie

I’m a happy little bogan,
as bogan as bogan can be,
We all enjoy a beer and pie,
For breakfast, lunch and tea

(To the tune of Sounds of Im a Happy Little Vegemite)

 

Holden

Once I thought, Sydney seemed too far.
Drove a Holden car.
Baby that was years ago.
I left it all behind.
Had an industry, I let it die,
On cheap imports it was crucified.
Baby that was years ago.
I left it all behind, for my
Cheap goods from only three-days work
Cheap clothes, only three-day post
Come-on, retail, come-on

(To the tune of Cheap Wine)

australian_flag_capes_big_day_out_festivals_events

Tie me flag around my neck, mate
Tie me flag around my neck,
I’ll use it as a cape, mate
I’ll use the flag as a cape.
You should do it too, Roo
You should do it too.

(To the tune of Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport)

 

your shout

I’ve had one, but plan on many
All the beers on earth, plus some
We shout a round and sing with one voice:
I bought, he bought, we’re waiting on your turn

(To the tune of I Am, You Are, We Are Australian)

oi oi

Australian’s all yell loud with voice,
For we say “OI” times three.
In summer we boil; damn car leaks oil
Our home is girt by mozzies

(To the tune of Advance Australia Fair)

 

Happy Straya Day!

aUST DAY

HOW TO BECOME A WORLD AUTHORITY OVER NIGHT IN 1 EASY STEP

What the hell happened?

Why does the BBC want a comment from me?

bbc news

What started out like any other day soon turned into me becoming the world authority on Adelaide’s weather. Last Thursday 16th January marked the fourth dImageay in a row that Adelaide had sweltered through 40+ C temperatures. We were in the middle of a heatwave with no end in sight.


Adelaide always experiences spells of unbearable heat during summer, but never this high, and for this long, and Thursday’s temperature was tipped to reach a near record 46C. So hot that United Nations claimed that Adelaide would be the hottest city in the world that day. Over the preceding days Adelaidians had become obsessed with the weather. Every post on Facebook, every tweet on Twitter and every conversation having an element about the heatwave. Feeling a bit “over it” I posted a tongue-in-cheek photo on my Instagram page  http://instagram.com/sullivanandrew as well

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as shared it on The Don’t Forget Travel Group Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheDontForgetTravelGroup. There had been a few likes and comments made on Facebook, but it wasn’t generating any real interest, but it wasn’t until I checked Instagram later in the day that the fun began.

Staring me in the face was a message from BBC News!

They wanted to know if it was my sign, and if so would I allow them to use it. They also asked if I would be willing to talk about the heatwave. Feeling very chuffed, and a little bit happy with myself, of course I said yes. Ok, truth be known I was fist pumping myself and doing a little happy dance around the office.

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I am no meteorologist – my knowledge of weather comes from watching the 6 o’clock news or raising a wet forefinger up to determine which way the wind is blowing! But, if BBC News wanted a comment, who was I to disappoint?

Within 15 minutes of saying Yes, I had London calling. I couldn’t believe that I was talking to the BBC News service in London. I was asked many questions about how hot it was, were we used to the heat, was this normal, how was I coping with the heat etc.

Then some more bizarre questions like: “are people dying due to the heat?”, to which I replied that I didn’t know but there had been an increased level of ambulances over the last few days (we have an ambulance centre near the office) . This was then followed up with “are people changing their behaviour because of the heat?”. My reply, with tongue firmly planted in my cheek was “yes it was too hot to drink beer, but its perfect gin and tonic weather”. Another question was “are people out and about?”Image and I replied with “No, the streets are so deserted that you can almost see tumbleweeds rolling down the street and that the other problem is that if your car hasn’t been undercover, then the temperature inside the car will be around 50+ degrees”. “Are people cooling off at the beach?” No its too hot during the day but later on, I’m sure they will head down to the beach. I was also asked “what was the heat like?” to which I replied that we have such a dry heat that when it gets this hot you can feel the hot air in your lungs when you breath.

Throughout the afternoon I was then contacted by BBC’s radio stations in London, Belfast and Manchester all wanting to talk to me about how we coping with the heat. They had clearly read or had been briefed as they said things like: “I hear it is too hot for Australians to drink beer” and “Is it true that people’s lungs are burning frImageom the hot air?”. “How many people have been hospitalised due to the heat?” and “I believe you have noticed an increase heat related illness”. “I believe people are actually baking in their cars because they are too hot!” was one statement that I had been forced to comment on.

I was asked about the threat of bushfires; about whether people’s appetites changing; how our climate compares to London’s; is Melbourne’s heatwave worse than Adelaide’s – which was followed up by how much rain does Melbourne get! ImageI was asked if this was a normal heat wave, what was the worst ever and when. I was asked about rehydration and if I had seen any people collapsing in the street. I was told that they were also going to speak to our Lord Mayor, Stephen Yarwood, and I even asked what sort of a person he was and if we would be a good interviewee!

I soon realised that I could say anything and it would be taken as gospel.

All because of a tongue in cheek sign, I had become the world authority on Adelaide’s weather.

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