Europe to the Himalayas on a British double-decker

Double-decker

The Observer has an article about two British lads driving a pimped-out double-decker bus from Bristol along the ol’ hippy trail to Nepal. With years of experience pimping vintage cars the two adventurers have

rebuilt the bus from the bottom up – adding a new engine, bull bars and a fold-down top deck for negotiating low bridges. They make highly technical alterations sound like changing a light bulb. The bus’s regular supply of steaming hot water is simply ‘a calorific heat exchanger fed by engine coolant’. Of course it is.

More of a shock was the reaction of the European public. I hadn’t climbed aboard any old bus; I’d joined a celebrity on tour. With three bedrooms, kitchen, shower and sun deck, it attracted levels of adoration unimaginable on its old routes to Weston-super-Mare.

Thirty minutes later I witnessed its power as an aphrodisiac – albeit one that only works on middle-aged men. ‘Magnifico, I give you special price,’ cooed the randy moustache at the Italian motorway tollbooth, before charging for a 50cc moped. ‘Where are the sexy ladies?’

‘Excuse me?’

‘The ladies. You need sexy ladies. Go to the beach. In this bus, you will find sexy ladies in bikinis.’

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Portuguese now more Brazilian and less… Portuguese

Portugal’s parliament last week approved a measure to standardise the Portugese language, standarising the Brazilian spelling of numerous words. The benefits? Apparently, making the language Portuguese Flagmore uniform globally, internet searches and legal documents easier to understand and removing silent consonants in order for words to be spelt more phonetically. Oh, and ‘Portuguese officials hope the measure would advance an old ambition of getting Portuguese adopted as an official language at the UN’.

All sounds peachy, but Portuguese nationalists are furious at the prospect of this slight to national pride, with The Independent quoting distinguished poet Vasco Graça Moura as saying “There is no need for us to take a back seat to Brazil.”

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[Image by psychiccrow]

Qantas domestic sale

Qantas domestic sale.

QantasFor Travel: between 11 June and 3 July, and 23 July and 18 September 2008

Onsale until Thursday 22 May.

Sydney to:
Melbourne one way from $99
Brisbane one way from $99
Canberra one way from $99
Adelaide one way from $125
Cairns one way from $175

Canberra
to:
Sydney one way from $99
Melbourne one way from $99
Brisbane one way from $119

Melbourne to:
Adelaide one way from $85
Sydney one way from $99
Canberra one way from $99
Brisbane one way from $125

Brisbane to:

Adelaide one way from $135
Townsville one way from $135


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[Image by Skazama]

The Venice of Africa

Ganvie from the air Ganvie

A Welsh View’s post on Ganvié, a village built over Lake Nokoué, near Cotonou in Benin was eye-opening. Apparently it was built during the sixteenth or seventeenth century to save people from slavery as religious traditions forbade attacking communities on the water. I’m embarrassed to say I never even knew it existed.

Some more professional images or further information here, here and here.

72 hour VirginBlue Sale: Sydney – Gold Coast $49

Virgin BlueVirginBlue are running a seventy-two hour sale. A number of smaller domestic routes included (all for June travel) and east coast capitals to Christchurch and Nadi (somewhat more expansive dates).

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[Image by scherre]

A bag, in a pouch, in a bag

My Love Affair With Dorky Luggage

Rick StevesPBS travel writer and presenter Rick Steves is a lot of things. A good writer, an intelligent and passionate traveller and someone who successfully preaches to Americans that there’s a world out there (OK, Europe) that is worth not just travelling to, but really seeing and experiencing. But, no matter his qualities, I’m happy to consider him the friendly old uncle of travel writing, encouraging the emptynesters to get out there and explore. But my guilty secret is I lust after his bags. Particularly his convertible carry-on and his daypack – all sorts of cool features, the best of all of which is they’re durable but damn light. But they’re so lacking in badass cred that they ought to come with a pair of slippers and a bus pass. But the design! The practicality! However, they don’t appear to be available anywhere in Australia and Amazon, fortunately my own self image, won’t ship them to Australia.

Today The Geeky Traveller caught my eye with the Kiva Keychain Backpack, made by the same company as Rick Steves line.

Kiva Keychain Backpack 1

Kiva Keychain Backpack 2

The Kiva Key Chain Pakc is a 120 gram nylon backpack (around 40 cms x 30 x 7) that collapses into a keychain pouch roughly 10cms x 6 x 3. A great idea for a daypack or extra capacity for things picked up along the way, even if the few Amazon reviews seem to (predictably) warn that it won’t carry a whole hell of a lot of weight. Like the Rick Steves bags, Amazon will only ship to US addresses. Saved from my own unconcious yearning for naff baggage again.

All in all, I reckon Kiva are a company that deserve a more active, better, or just bigger, Australian distributor.

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Welcome to Qantas’ asylum (and where the bloody hell is my bar?)

In 2005 we were promised a new age of air travel. The A380 would revolutionise the flying experience, transforming it into something akin to the glorious age of great passenger liners, complete with all the amenities one could desire

A model of a bar area in an Airbus A380 shows how the plane’s “superjumbo” proportions may benefit some passengers. The plane’s main and upper levels will serve as passenger areas. The lower deck will be for freight—or additional passenger facilities such as sleeper cabins, child care, gymnasiums, casinos, or business centers, at the discretion of the airlines that purchase the planes.

Airbus - WITH BAR!

(National Geographic)

Well, readers, that bright new future is upon us! The Herald Sun has a gallery of images showcasing the fit-out of the new Qantas A380. Behold the beauty of the new economy class – unlike any travel experience before…

Qantas Airbus A380

I WANT MY BAR! Given the spike in fuel prices and competition from low cost carriers, at a pinch I’ll even settle for the gymnasium, casino and child care. But Nothing! Qantas: snot-green seats do not a great flying experience make. I can’t wait to spend twenty-four hours somewhere this dreary and soul-destroying. Steerage must have been worse…

Ah well, at least they’ve gone the extra mile for the patricians behind the curtins…

Business

First

Wow! Seventies wood-grain meets beige. Singapore Airlines must be absolutely terrified.

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