Tag Archives: travel

Space – The Final Frontier For Annoying Tourists

I noticed that Mr Tesla Elon Musk’s spacecraft company SpaceX is planning to launch two tourists on a private “mission” around the moon in 2018. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is also close-ish to launching tourist-laden flights. Exciting times.

In space no one can hear your pathetic life jacket whistle

Space tourism is an amazing concept, but think of the downsides. We’ll be potentially rocketing our planet’s rude tourists into outer space. Which could actually be a good thing, if it weren’t for those pesky return tickets.

At this stage, intrepid space tourists obviously won’t leave the spacecraft; they’ll be only peering out the window (this is when you WILL want a window seat). Eventually we’ll be doing day trips to other planets, solar systems, galaxies, even universes (universi?)

Here is my advice for would be space travellers:

*As you board the spacecraft, don’t hog the overhead locker. You’ll only be wearing the one spacesuit, you won’t need 437 suitcases.

*Don’t disturb the person next to you when continually floating to the bathroom, or joining your friends a few rows back for a space food stick.

*Please pay close attention to the inflight safety demonstration, especially the bit about the whistle and light on your life jacket. Actually don’t bother, in space no one can hear you whistle.

*While strapped into the spacecraft, please don’t let little Trevor kick the back of the seat in front of him. It’s a long flight.

*Trevor continually whining “Are we there yet?” is rather pointless, you’re in space, and the distances are quite long.

*If you book a trip to a resort on Mercury which is the closest planet to the sun, don’t forget your 2,000,000 Plus sunscreen, it’s a tad warm.

*Avoid saying things like “Really? That’s Jupiter?! Is that it? I thought it would be so much bigger.”

*When you’re on Neptune, don’t take out someone’s eye with your humongous selfie stick while getting the perfect shot of Uranus.

*Don’t be the annoying person who continually whinges, “Everything is so much better / cheaper / cleaner etc back on Earth.”

*When you’re buying a souvenir on Venus, please don’t ask, “But how much is that in dollars?” Also, don’t haggle. The concept is foreign to anyone but irritating earthlings.

*Surprisingly, not everyone on Jupiter speaks English.

*American tourists, please don’t be obnoxious. You’re not on Earth anymore.
Please STFU, show some respect for a change. At least the space suit will cover up your fugly bumbags (“fanny packs” to you) and the compulsory sandal and socks combo for Germans.

*Speaking of German tourists, you won’t have to run out at 3am to reserve a sun lounge on Mercury. It takes just over 58 Earth days for the sun-worshippers of Mercury to experience a single day. Also, I wouldn’t do the nudist thing on Mercury.

*Chinese tourists, I know some of you like to defecate on public transport, shopping malls and just about anywhere. In space, that shit will just stay in your suit, sorry.

*Australian tourists, please don’t be a bogan. The good people of Saturn haven’t had a close encounter of the bogan kind. Don’t be the first.

©Steve Williams 2017

*This piece also appeared in The Huffington Post Australia: 14 Tips For Potential Space Travellers

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Munich’s English Garden – A Winter Wonderland

Munich’s magnificent English Garden is one of the world’s largest urban parks, and an absolute must when visiting the city.

Stretching around five kilometres from the heart of the city, the English Garden boasts lush fields, 78km of paths utilised by walkers, bikes and horses, two fabulous beer gardens, restaurants,
a Chinese tower, Japanese tea house, Greek temple, surfers and nudists.

Though wandering around with my camera in the last few days, I obviously didn’t encounter the latter. The Kleinhesseloher Lake was frozen over, adding to the whole spectacular winter wonderland atmosphere…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words and images ©Steve Williams 2017

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Airline Seating and farting – creating a stink

The world of aviation has come a long way since Orville and Wilbur Wright burst out of the hangar on that December morning in 1903.

Rectal turbulence is no laughing matter

Or has it?

Today, airlines have a mission to cram as many passengers sorry, make optimum use of available cabin space for the ultimate comfort of their stakeholders.

We all know seats are shrinking, the already virtually non-existent legroom is decreasing before our sleep-deprived eyes, while in airline company evil laboratories, sadistic boffins are conjuring up and registering patents for truly cruel and inhumane seating configurations.

Some of these designs forged among the searing flames of hell include two rows of seats sandwiched on top of each other and “saddle seats” where passengers apparently squat,
which would require hamstrings of steel for a nice 16-hour jaunt.

Other patents include a seating configuration with passengers facing each other, standing seats, double-arse bench seats for the big-boned flyer, to the option of seating passengers inside a bubble on top of the aircraft.

They have to be taking the piss, which would not be difficult when you are sitting in that squat seat.

One aviation story caught my eye, “America’s airlines are introducing a class below economy.” Below economy? What? In the luggage hold?

The next step I assume will be a seat bolted to the wing. Imagine the breathless (literally) marketing spin, “Experience unforgettable 360 degree panoramic vistas from the comfort of your seat.”

Though I can see some benefits in this wing seat. At least it would be a fart-free zone.

I don’t have any conclusive medical evidence on the subject, and it would make
a fascinating thesis, but what is it with flying and farting?

Why is it that people become frequent flatulators at 43,000 feet?

Do they normally practice these disgusting anal acoustics in the comfort of their home, or do they kindly wait until they are in close, inescapable proximity with 400 poor unsuspecting souls before cutting the cheese – and I don’t mean the platter on the tray table. The culprits are always fat, bloated business men. You know who you are.

These are serious questions. I am not being classist about these arse-blasts.

Indeed, the wafting cloud of rectal turbulence can be experienced equally in economy and business class.

From personal experience, the methane menace is worse at the pointy end, and has woken me up like some cheek-squeak alarm clock. Makes you want to reach for the oxygen mask.

I implore airlines to implement a zero tolerance policy on backdoor belches, with ejector seats activated for passengers who play the trouser tuba, not to mention use corny fart euphemisms.

©Steve Williams 2016

*This piece also appeared in The Huffington Post Australia: Creating A Stink About Airline Seating

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Bastard Backpacks

Dear the bastard backpack wearing fraternity of the world.

I’m sure some of you are very nice people who like tickling kittens under their chin, but some of you are absolute bastards. Seriously.

Seat 12A on your next flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not talking about the noble types who trudge around Kathmandu et al taking-an-undisclosed-period-of-time-off-to-travel-the-world type of backpacker, more the commuting corporate warrior.

No, I’m taking aim at the women, but mainly men (who most likely work in the financial industry and wear pseudo-Batman utility belts for their various appliances) who infect trains, buses, ferries and planes with their massive growths on their backs, taking out innocent and unsuspecting citizens with every swivel of their shoulders.

So when you put your backpacks on, does your spatial awareness suddenly evaporate along with what was remaining of your fashion sense?

Don’t you realise that when you have your Dell laptop and other geeky apparatus strapped to your back like a dork baby koala, you may, just may, be slightly inconveniencing the rest of the world? No? Didn’t think so.

The next one of your kind who almost dislocates my shoulder as you bump your way down the aisle of a plane…

Words ©Steve Williams 2015

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A Fucking road trip (Fucking, Austria)

“Didn’t we have a lovely time the day we went to Fucking?”
(with apologies to that Bangor-loving band Fiddler’s Dram).

The very quaint Fucking village

Indeed we did. It is the first time I have typed the word “Fucking” into the car’s GPS system. Though I have directed that word towards it many times.

Setting out from Munich, myself and two esteemed media colleagues (let’s call them Jane and Phil) embarked on a day trip to Fucking, a village just four kilometres east of the German border.
Why? To quote Sir Edmund Hillary, (who possibly never went to Fucking), “because it is there.”
Also for the giggling, childish entertainment value. And the selfies.

Fucking is quiet, very quiet — it is a tiny, picturesque rural village, with only one hundred
Fucking residents.

I was expecting to see tourist coaches spewing out pissed Aussie bogans and English chavs,
intent on stealing the Fucking signs. Thankfully no.

There is not much in Fucking at all. There are no Fucking shops, no Fucking restaurants, not even
a Fucking hotel. The only Fucking living things we encountered were some Fucking cows,
one Fucking person and a Fucking dog, who was quite protective of the Fucking sign I was being photographed next to.

We enjoyed an excellent lunch at the Gasthof Lindlbauer in the next village of Haid, with an interesting decor of former Fucking animals, though we still had a lovely Fucking view.
The very hospitable waitress asked if we’d come for the Fucking experience, and duly presented us with bottles of Fucking Hell beer. Prost!

On reflection, it was a truly Fucking memorable day.

The Fucking directions

This Fucking way

A former Fucking resident

Another Fucking sign

The Fucking end

Words and images ©Steve Williams 2015

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Plane Genius – must have travel gadgets

Forget the Knee Defender – the boffins at Randomswill Laboratories have burst out of the shed brandishing these must-have airline travel gadgets. You’re welcome.

Armrest Arrester™ A small, surreptitious, skin-coloured taser that adheres to your elbow.
Bastard next to you tries to occupy your armrest? Hello 50,000 volts.
Ask our operator about the optional Fart Away™ attachment.

BO Blocker™ Say goodbye to gagging when Mr Businessman who reeks like he ate curry in a sewer sits next to you. BO Blocker™ is industrial strength deodorant you engage like capsicum spray on passengers who pong.
With BO Blocker™ their eyes may water for a bit, but they won’t stink.™

Sit The F*ck Down™ Cabin crew will love this. A magic lasso Wonder Woman style to rein in passengers who like to stand up and get their bags as the plane is landing.
“Hey! You in 24G! Sit The F*ck Down™.”

Luggage Lucifer™ A convenient, pocket-sized flamethrower that gives you the pleasure of setting on fire the luggage of the selfish a-hole in 14C who has crammed his extra luggage
in your overhead locker. Luggage Lucifer™ “Burn baggage, burn.”

Headrest Hero™  Don’t you hate those passengers who pull the back of your headrest every single time they get up? Hate no more. Headrest Hero™ is an adhesive velcro strip covered in thousands of tiny, barely-perceptible-to-the-eye razor-sharp needles. Headrest Hero™ “They’ll only do it once.”

Bogan Begone™ An ingenious ultrasonic Bluetooth device that repels singlet, shorts and thong (Australian footwear usage) wearing passengers who sport “mystical” Asian tattoos.
Narelle and Gavin will be instantly repelled, as will their bogan progeny Brihannna and Montannah.

©Steve Williams 2014

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MH17 — Collateral Damage?

I’m lucky enough to travel quite a lot.
As a matter of fact, I’m writing this on an overnight international flight.

As I clicked my seatbelt in, my thoughts turned to the passengers and crew of MH17.

Like me, they would have settled in to their seats, had a drink or a coffee, watched a movie,
or caught up on some sleep. The crew going about their well-practiced routine of feeding and watering.

Some passengers would have been reliving memories of their holiday or business trip, thinking about what needed to be done once they got home. Those mundane things like the washing,
or back-to-back meetings. The kids looking forward to telling their friends all about their adventures, showing them the selfies they hadn’t posted on Facebook.

Then they were blown out of the sky by some lunatic bastards.

There but the grace of whichever mystical sky person of choice go I.

Was it the sick work of some random rebel nutjobs playing with a deadly new toy (“what does this button do?”) Hardly. The lives of 293 people obliterated in a war that had nothing to do with them and in a split second ripping apart those of friends and families on the ground, scattered around the globe.

The stories emerged of MH17, as they do, of the passengers, the chaos of the scene and reports of looting and bodies shown no respect, left for days in the sun.

Will the murder of all those on board make one iota of difference in Ukraine? Of course not.
It will be murder as usual. The victims of MH17 will merely be collateral damage.

To the passengers and crew of MH17, a Monty Python quote:
“What a senseless waste of human life.”

©Steve Williams 2014

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A Gushing, Moving Experience

I’m very average at charades. Come to think of it, I had never attempted it / them — until the other day. I was pathetically trying to demonstrate to several bemused Thai guys the difference between a clothes dryer that works, and the ornament loafing in our new apartment in Bangkok.

Sadly, this was not one of the men in our shower

Hilarious.

Though my piece of resistance was the earlier performance of good v crap water pressure. This involved comedically graphic arm and thumb-up and thumb-down movements. Momentary panic set in when I was trying to recall whether “thumbs up” was considered offensive in Thailand. Apparently not — only in Afghanistan, Iran, Nigeria and random bits of Italy and Greece.

Thankfully my performance only resulted in much laughter. I would have loved it if one of my shower-mates had exclaimed in a plummy, silver spoon-esque British accent “Bravo sir, author!” Regrettably, no.

Standing in the bathroom gesticulating wildly and extremely expressively about the strength of our taps made me realise that this is why we travel or have a moving experience to another country.

It’s all about the experiences — whether posing for the OTS (Obligatory Tourist Shot) in front of your global landmark of choice, to a more obtuse, yet equally memorable mental snapshot such as encountering a work-experience scam artist in Paris, who severely needed to work on his pitch (that story is for another time.)

Travel – and life – is merely a set of experiences nailed together… appreciate and enjoy every one of them.*

*At the risk of sounding like one of those rather shitty inspirational quotes on an even shittier desktop calendar.

©Steve Williams 2013

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