No.67 July 2015
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A personal note from Yvonne

I am writing this introduction from freezing Hobart!!! There is light sprinkling of snow in the city!!!

We are making a very quick visit with family from South Africa to visit MONA and taste the wonderful food of this state.

I had not been to Tasmania for at least ten years and have been blown away by what I have seen.

Salamanca Market must rate as one of the best markets in the world. The quality of the goods and food available is outstanding and the woollen products beautiful.

MONA - either you hate it or you love it. I loved the Kiefer and the jury is still out on Marina Abramovic .There are a few ways to get to MONA - but I have to thanks Jan and Robert for introducing me to the Posh Pitt which is a stylish way to travel to MONA by ferry.

The sky walk is closed but we spent a very pleasant afternoon sipping cider and listening to music in the Willie Smith Apple Museum. We also went to Port Arthur where we had a wonderful guide who gave us an incredible insight into the life and living conditions of the convicts. I would sincerely recommend Hobart for a weekend break!

Later this month I will be off to Cuba and the Southern States of the USA on our Pharmacy Small Group Jazz and Blues Tour and shortly after our return Mike is off to Myanmar to do the site inspection.


Until next time,

Yvonne Lazarow
Managing Director

 

 

INFORMATION ON FUTURE AMACO/SMALL GROUP TOURS 

As so many of you have requested what is in the pipeline here is a preview of what we will offer:

Jazz and Blues Tour
22 August - 15 September 2015 to Cuba, New Orleans and a Mississippi River Cruise (SOLD OUT)


Vietnam Tour with extension to Cambodia
14-26 September 2015 (
www.amacovietnam2015.com.au). Registrations will be closing shortly so contact us now to see if there are still places available.

Japan Tour
7 - 20 April 2016. Our 2016 conference year will kick off with an amazing GP and Specialist Medical Conference and Small Group Tour to Japan in April... timed perfectly for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Running from 7 - 20 April 2016, the all-inclusive itinerary spans 13 nights and includes Tokyo, Takayama, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, Kyoto and Hakone. The group is limited to no more than 60 participants. Take a look at the information below or visit
www.amacojapan2016.com.au for more information and to download a registration form. This conference is open to participants who are not necessarily doctors but like the way we do the small group tours.

Poland and Czech Republic
The second of our planned conferences will take place in Poland from 6 - 14 June 2016. The itinerary will focus on the beautiful cities of Warsaw and Krakow with the option to extend to the Czech capital of Prague from the 14 - 19 June 2016 available for those with a little extra time. Mathew recently visited Prague to put the finishing touches to our itinerary and hopes to have a full brochure to you in the coming weeks. 


Golden Pagoda Tour to Myanmar
4 - 22 October 2016 plus four nights in Bhutan (no website as yet – the site inspection is scheduled for early November). We are taking expressions of interest.

 

 

 

 

A VERY SPECIAL BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION (PART 1)  

We gave Yvonne the task of creating something very special for Kerry’s 70th birthday and boy, did Impact come up with the goods. Our original idea was to visit somewhere special for the actual day.  What eventuated was a 10 week trip visiting 5 different countries and lots of highlights!

We began our journey with a 12 day cruise down the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar (Burma). Our chosen boat was the Sanctuary Ananda which had only been commissioned late last year and was 5 star all the way, with a maximum capacity of 42 people and around 20 staff. Luckily for us, it was the end of the cruising season and beginning of the wet season, so the boat only had 17 passengers which meant that we were totally pampered.

We began our cruise in exotic Mandalay and finished in Yangon, the old capital, after travelling through Mingun and the lost city of Bagan which has around 2,000 monasteries, temples, shrines and stupas, and hosts the largest number of stupas and temples in the one area in the world. Whilst on the boat, the crew managed to organise a barbecue on a sandbank in the middle of the river, complete with fireworks and the most magnificent food (as well as a birthday cake for Kerry). It was a real highlight. I told Kerry the fireworks were for him. Not sure whether he believed me or not.

To our way of thinking the Irrawaddy was the best possible way to see Myanmar as you were able to experience the everyday life of the Burmese people on the river. They are such lovely friendly people and watching them use their river for bathing, fishing, washing and going about their daily lives, is a real delight. The villages along the banks are incredibly poor and basic, but everyone had a smile on their face when they saw these “strange looking non locals” walking around their villages. We don’t think we have ever seen a more smiley race of people. They have nothing, but are so welcoming and happy.

After a fabulous 12 days, four of us flew to Inle Lake for four days.  Yet again, what an enchanting place, with even more magnificent scenery and smiley people.  We saw the leg rowing boatmen, the floating gardens, cheroot factory and a village actually on the lake with entire streets of houses on stilts. Here again when the resort found out it was Kerry’s birthday, a cake was produced and he was serenaded by not 1 but 7 minstrels!


We flew from Yangon to Bangkok to Chang Rai then went by bus to the Laos border where we were met by our guide. There were only 2 other people on our tour of northern Laos. After crossing the border we boarded our boat for a 2 day cruise down the Mekong to take in river life and spectacular scenery, stopping to spend the night at Pakbeng then continuing to Luang Probang the following day.

Luang Probang is a UNESCO World Heritage listed town and is surrounded by mountainous forests and has more than 30 gilded Buddhist temples and well preserved French architecture. We had lots of fun playing petanque with the locals and then going to a hands-on cooking school at Tamarind Restaurant.

Another magical moment was getting up at 5.00am (that was not the magical part of it) and watching a few hundred monks walking in total silence, dressed in their saffron robes, collecting their daily food. The streets were just awash with colour.  It was quite an eerie sensation but worth the effort of getting up at that time.

(Continued next month )

 

 

COMMON TRAVEL PROBLEMS AND HOW TO SOLVE THEM

YOUR WALLET IS STOLEN
Solution: Contact the local police immediately and make sure you get a copy of the crime report with the statements you have made. Report any missing cards to your bank as soon as possible - they may be able to send you a replacement card or give you an emergency cash advance (dependent on bank). Alternatively, someone from home could always use an online money transfer operator to send you money. It's important that you file a report with your travel insurance company as soon as you can. Most travel insurance companies have strict time regulations regarding when you report the crime to local police, so make sure you don't delay this or you could miss out on your compensation. 

Top tips: Keep a decoy wallet with a few local currency notes in case you're mugged. Keep your cash and cards in different locations, rather than carrying everything together. When you buy foreign currency, keep your receipt so the travel insurance company knows how much you've lost. Before your holiday, be sure to make a note of your bank's emergency 'lost or stolen card' phone number.


JETLAG IS RUINING YOUR HOLIDAY

Solution: Set your watch on the plane to the time of the destination and avoid too much alcohol, caffeine, fat and salt. If you arrive in daylight, stay awake and don't have any naps. Do anything you can to stop yourself falling asleep - go for a walk or have a shower. Going in the sun can also help to reset our internal clocks and exercise is good as it releases endorphins.

Top tips: Prepare ahead of time by changing your sleeping and eating patterns before you go on holiday. Remember the rule: "East to West is best, West to East is a beast". Travelling east is worse for jet lag as we are trying to go to sleep when our bodies are waking up and it feels like you're waking up in the middle of the night.

YOU MISS YOUR FLIGHT  

Solution: Firstly, stay calm and don't panic! If it's your fault that you've missed the flight, whether you are charged to change a flight really depends on the airline, but a lot of staff have the power to waive payment. Make sure you're super polite and apologetic and prepare to be patient and wait until a new flight is available. If you've got a frequent flier account, this will help you. If it's a missed connection because of a previous flight delay, you may even be able to blag some freebies out of it (depending on the airline once again). Also - some airlines may be able to refund your passenger bound taxes if you have to book a different flight, so always ask about this.

Top tips: Always ask reception for a wake up call and have a backup alarm if you've got an early flight time. Don't leave right at the last minute - you never know what hold ups (weather or traffic delays) there will be on the way.
 

YOU LOSE YOUR LUGGAGE

Solution: If your baggage hasn't shown up on the conveyor belt - be patient then go to the airline's counter to file a report. They may offer you a bag of essentials (i.e. toiletries) and will take your contact details. Be aware that the longer your luggage is lost, the more compensation the airline will provide. Your travel insurance policy will probably cover lost luggage too so check the wording on your policy. Be aware that if you lose your bag after you've left the baggage claim area, you need to contact the police, not the airline. 

Top tips: Label your bag clearly and put something recognisable on it (i.e. a colourful ribbon around the handle) so nobody takes it by mistake. Also take a photo of your suitcase in case you need to show this to the airline. Keep all valuables (as well as medication and glasses/contact lenses) in your hand luggage bag and pack a change of clothes in your carry on bag too. Be sure that the person checking in your baggage attaches the correct destination tag to your luggage. 


YOU GET FOOD POISONING

Solution: If you've got an upset stomach, stay hydrated and sip lots of water. Take rehydration sachets and try to eat bland foods such as bread, bananas, crackers, scrambled egg and plain rice. Avoid spicy, sweet or fatty fried foods. Try to avoid immediately resorting to anti-diarrhea medicine as it's best to let the condition take its course. If you're vomiting, avoid solid foods until it subsides. If it carries on for more than a couple of days, contact a doctor.

Top tips: Avoid water that isn't bottled as well as ice. Also be careful about bottles where the seal has been broken as they have been refilled. Be wary of fruit and salad (they could be washed in contaminated water). Also stay away from food that has been standing around for a long time and exposed to flies, as well as reheated food, especially rice.

 

 

ANSWRS TO YOUR NEXT TRAVEL TRIVIA QUIZ

e hottest place in the world

Death Valley National Park, U.S.A. - The highest recorded temperature, was taken on July 10, 1913, and it reached 134°f (56°c).

The coldest place in the world

Antarctica – In August 2010, the lowest recorded temperature was recorded in the East Antarctic Plateau. The record temperature was -135.8°f (-93°c).

The most populated city in the world

Shanghai, China – With a population of over 24 million residents.

The least populated city in the world

Vatican City – With a population of 842 residents, Vatican City also boasts the title of smallest state in the world.

 The wealthiest city in the world

Tokyo, Japan – The city of Tokyo has the highest GDP ($1,520 billion) of any other city in the world.

The poorest city in the world

Kinshasa, D.R.C. – The Democratic Republic of Congo is the poorest state in the world, and its capital, Kinshasa, is the poorest city. It has a GDP of $55 billion, and most of its residents live on less than $1 a day.

 The highest place in the world

 Nepal – Mount Everest stands at 29,029 ft (8.84km), and is the highest mountain in the world.

 The lowest place in the world (on land)

Dead Sea, Israel / Jordan – Located at -1,401 ft (-427m) below sea-level, it is also the lowest lake in the world

The lowest place in the world (underwater)

Mariana Trench, Pacific Ocean – In a depth of 35,797 ft (10.91km) below sea level, it is known as “Challenger Deep”, and has been visited by only 3 humans so far. (More people have visited the moon)

 The wettest place in the world

Mawsynram, India – This region in the Indian subcontinent enjoys an average of 467.35 inches (1187cm) of rain per year. (In 1985, it had an amazing 1000 inches, or 25.4 meters of rain!)

The driest place in the world

 Atacama Desert, South America – It may be hard to believe, but the Atacama Desert gets about 4 inches (10cm) of rain every 1000 years. (Yes, 1000 years!)

The Oldest city in the world (still exists)

 Damascus, Syria - While there are many older cities that no longer stand, the city of Damascus has evidence of civilization going back 11,000 years, and is the oldest city that still stands.

The newest country in the world

 South Sudan – Following a bloody genocide, the southern part of Sudan, which consists mainly of Christians, split from the northern part (Muslim majority) in 2011, making it the youngest country in the world

 

A TIME TO SMILE

 

Skinny Dipping. . .

An elderly man in Florida had owned a large farm for several years.  He had a large pond in the back.

It was properly shaped for swimming, so he fixed it up nice with picnic tables, horseshoe courts, and some orange, and lime trees.

One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn't been there for a while, and look it over.

He grabbed a five-gallon bucket to bring back some fruit.  As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee.

As he came closer, he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his pond.

He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end.

One of the women shouted to him, 'we're not coming out until you leave!'

The old man frowned, 'I didn't come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or make you get out of the pond naked..   '

Holding the bucket up he said,  'I'm here to feed the alligator.

Some old men can still think fast.
 

 

 

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