Friday 15 January 2010

The Readers Strike Back

This week I'm featuring responses from Aerohaveno's followers to two recent competitions - one about travel disasters, the other about travel to movie locations.

First up, let's hear from the readers re their experiences when travelling to silver screen locations:

Justine: "I'm embarrassed to admit it now but I went on the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg when I was a wee lass. And I loved it! Made me want to make a dress out of old curtains and hang out of a tree. The locations were stunning. Austria is gorgeous."

Alison: "Bells Beach was a location in Bruce Brown's epic surf film Endless Summer and is one of the great surf spots anywhere, anytime. Although it comes to life at the Rip Curl Pro held each Easter, the best time to enjoy its waves are when the surf circus has moved on, the autumn winds and lowering water temperature have sent the sissies north and it looks like rain.

Then as the corduroy sets roll in, it's just the other desperados and yourself carving your names on the waves. You come in when you can't recall how many waves you've caught, your arms are like spaghetti from paddling, your feet are blue and you can't feel them any more. Bliss."

Carole: "My movie location was Universal Studios in Los Angeles; lots of action, actors and scenes from great movies. It was fun to wander around and see Marilyn Monroe and other greats, ride the train around the set, and see duels, action and the flashing lights of movies. Next stop Universal Studios in Osaka, as I'm in Japan."

And finally, here's the winning entry in the competition to win a copy of Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?. The task was to write about a memorable hassle while travelling. The winner is Serehfa, with this fine remembrance:

"Quite a few years ago now I took a holiday in Egypt, partly on the invitation of my North African boyfriend who was going home to visit family in the next country and would meet me there.

Booking a trip went smoothly, my departure flight and arrival posed no issues. The trip however held some challenges. I actually managed to stay healthy for a few days before succumbing to the usual, 'Egypt Belly' in this case. That was manageable.

Snorkelling on the Red Sea coast was amazing; desolate desert above the waterline and coral paradise beneath. However when you forget to put sunscreen on the back of your legs, it can be awkward. By evening I couldn't walk. I was very surprised not to have blisters but somehow I escaped.

It was agony though, and I couldn't sleep and could barely eat my dinner. Of course, there was no help to be had - the tour guide only stopped places where the tour company got a kickback and was not the least bit interested in helping any of the party who got into trouble. She was an Aussie too!

Two days later we had a scheduled camel ride through some mountains; I lasted about 30 seconds before experiencing agony from the 'saddle' - actually a bundle of small logs with a rag draped over them, presumably designed to be as uncomfortable as possible for mount and rider!

Once again no assistance was forthcoming; I slid off the standing camel to the ground and was left to walk back to the highway, and sit for hours in the middle of nowhere until the tour returned and the bus showed up.

Even that, though, was manageable.

The final joy was the boyfriend. We had some new people join the tour for the last week, one of whom was a wealthy Rhodesian woman who was obviously there for a good time. Boyfriend started flirting with her to the extent that at one point they disappeared together in the evening... and at the same time he started to become physical towards me in an unpleasant way.

I had been warned about cultural differences, and here were my first row seats to the show. He had earlier insisted we say we were married to save his pride - so I was caught between the twin humiliation of revealing a lie or putting up with the antics.

There were parts of the trip that were excellent, however, and some lovely people on the tour with whom I did not get to spend enough time.

All up it was an unforgettable experience; no matter how hard I try!"

Thanks to all who entered the competitions!


  1. Hey Tim, looks like an interesting contest that you ran there. I have two Silver Screen moments that I particularly remembered.

    The first was at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, where we toured the various locations used for shoots like "Desperate Housewives", "Jaws", "The Mummy" and oh so many other movies/TV shows. It was fun to imagine myself being on the set of "Jaws" and screaming away in mock terror.

    The more memorable one was of course visiting the Lord of the Rings locations at South Island, New Zealand. One particular spot which caught my fancy was where they shot Isengaard - Saruman's stronghold. I could almost imagine the surrounding trees uprooting themselves ala Treebeard and the Ems, stomping across the landscape in righteous anger!

  2. Thanks Walter. I think the movie travel moment I remember best was walking along the long canyon that leads to Petra in Jordan, then stepping out at the end to encounter the Khazneh, the ancient Treasury building that featured in one of the Indiana Jones films.