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Humor: The joys of air travel

Sixteen time zones

This is not my story.

Yet, it is a story that illustrates modern space and time considerations that were not relevant just fifty years ago, coupled with social issues that have had relevance through time immemorial. It is also a story of extreme mental stress.

The location: a vast area of the world covering sixteen times zones between Tokyo, Japan, and Brussels, Belgium, but the crucial focus is on a certain terminal in Heathrow Airport, England.

The time: getting ever later for a vital appointment.

It had been a forward-looking honeymoon when my wife-to-be, Emmy, joined me on a trip to the Orient, specifically for two scientific conferences in Japan. I arranged for her to fly in Business Class on my airline mileage credit and for that reason, she had to fly United Airlines from Brussels to San Francisco, where we met, and then onwards to Osaka.

It was the longer way sixteen time zones around two thirds of the globe while passing around the globe the other way would have taken half the time. However, to travel together for half the trip, we would meet in San Francisco and that gave Emmy the longer journey.

Fifty years ago, the journey would have been a lengthy adventure including an ocean liner, a railway and yet another ocean liner. Crossing the Atlantic would have taken five days. Crossing the United States to San Francisco would have taken three days. Crossing the Pacific would have taken another two weeks. Now, in the reclined atmosphere of Business Class air with music, food, and good conversation the whole thing took less than two days ignoring, of course, the time zones passing forward as time changed backward. Time had very little meaning other than what one’s watch registered when one got off the plane.

Space too had changed in fifty years. Previously the liner would have plodded through the best weather that could be found across the Atlantic and the train would have chugged and rattled over hard rails through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois to Chicago, following the last century’s immigration paths before contemplating the long Western journey to Colorado and through passes in the Rockies and the Sierras to California. Nowadays, the plane flew great-circle routes across the ocean as it curved towards Washington, and then onwards above the cloud covering an invisible earth to San Francisco and, finally, a further great-circle route up around Alaska to Asia, hardly passing over the ocean. These

Can Yahoos search technology catch up with Googles?

The question is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft are in the news right now, Redmond having dropped $40B in market cap in response to their bid to buy up the Yahooligans for another $45B in order to produce a “credible number two” to Google’s far-and-away number one in the online advertising space.

They’re all fighting to be the best buggywhip manufacturer in town, particularly when it comes to the mobile space.

Horizontal search, which Google unquestionably excels at, has its uses, but those uses become more and more limited as information (much of it useless) becomes increasingly “available” (i.e. findable). Simply finding a chunk of information that matches your inevitably incomplete attempts at what you think it might look like isn’t usually enough, not when the matching process is driven by how many randomly-chosen others point at this chunk, without regard to who’s looking for it.

A couple of concrete examples: if you just know me by first and last name, you’ll have one hell of a time finding anything that’s actually about me with Googlethere’s a guy who’s worked for Reuters for years with exactly the same name, who gets pointed at a lot more than I do (I’m working on this, I assure you). Most of what you’ll turn up is about him, unless you know more about me than that.

I live in Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz, California. When I try to find out something about Santa Cruz,I frequently find myself wading through a stuff about Santa Cruz County, Arizona, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Santa Cruz Island (aka Indefatigable Island) in the Galapagos archipelago, and so on. These are all places, whichwhile I’m sure they’re quite interesting, kindaare not locales that I’m likely to be looking for information about. Because I’m me, but Google doesn’t really know that (although they have enough information to know it better than they do).

I travel a lot. Type “plane flight to Brussels” into Google, and you’ll certainly turn up pointers to places that could get you one. Quite a few of them, in fact, both of the “sponsored” (i.e. AdWords ads) as well as of the “organic” (i.e. directly generated by the search) variety. Now, your work really starts. Out of the, oh, three-quarters of a million responses there, which one gets you the cheapest ticket on the nicest airline leaving (or arriving) at the time you want, and so on…?

Thus, the limitations of the horizontal approach to both

Novel excerpts: Satire

From ‘Days in the Life’

Chapter 8

It was the time of sending hundreds of job applications. Sometimes, I just sent for the sake of sending, but occasionally I found something of interest where I’ve said to myself Oohh, that is a bit of me.’ Such was the case with this ad for a famous press agency, looking for sales people to promote it globally. So I applied.. Three weeks passed, I already forgot about it.

Then one boring day, I came home from shopping and my answering machine, which is dead most of the time, kept blinking at me. I kicked off my shoes, lit a cigarette and pushed the play button. A female voice said: Hi, this is Esperanza, you applied for the sales position with our agency, please call me back for an interview’ I strained to listen to the voice rattling a Spanish phone number.

I sighed.. After months of fruitless job interviews and silly telephone calls where they ask you questions such as what motivates you to do sales, how do you speak to a client you’ve met for the very first time.’ I was happy. I say silly because I’m an international sales professional with 8 years of experience closing multimillion dollar deals. Excuse me, did you even read my cv? When I think of the types of people that interview potential candidates I decide that I wouldn’t let half of them watch my dog. I’m sure you’ll know what I mean.

The end of it was that I got invited to Brussels for the first interview. The company does not pay the costs of this first interview, but if you pass, you’ll get invited to the second round which is in Madrid, and that you will get reimbursed for..’ I rolled my eyes as I listened to her. I was painfully low on funds as it was, but okay, no pain no gain, right? I will have to if I wanted to be a posh representative of this firm, flying all over the world, selling and selling, making loads of bunce, and occasionally sipping a pina colada at some exotic destination.

I clicked onto the German railway website (the wonderfully efficient Deutsche Bahn) and found a Belgium online special and bought a return ticket for 92 Euro. Not bad, not bad.

Once you have a ticket on ‘special’ this means you’re tied to those particular trains at those particular times, the ticket is invalid for any other train and/or time. So the journey was like this: Leave Heidelberg at 6:05 am, switch in Mannheim, switch in Cologne, switch in Brussels Nord and arrive to the final destination: Brussels Centraal. The return journey was on the same

Can the Fundamental Principles of Non-fiction Writing be Applied to Fiction?

I have never written fiction and never intended to. My 40-year career has been in journalism and marketing communication. However, a few months ago someone who had read my book on expository (non-fiction) writing and speaking contacted me to ask if I could help her with some fiction projects. I was inclined to say “no”, because I couldn’t really see what my kind of writing had to do with hers. By chance, a few weeks earlier I had came across a compilation of comments on writing by noted novelists and was struck by the similarity of what they had to say and what I had say. So I decided to give it a try.

The lady asked me to look at a novel she had written a few years earlier. We will first analyze the prologue of the novel according to some key principles and practices of expository writing, then look at how it was revised.

But first, what are these key principles? There really are only three of them. However, if properly understood and applied, they cover most writing situations, both creative and expository.

A. Clarity Principle

Being clear is not a matter of personal appreciation. According to the clarity principle, to be clear you must do three things:
1. Emphasize what is of key importance.
2. De-emphasize what is of secondary importance.
3. Eliminate what is of no importance.

If you follow the formula, before you start writing you must first determine what is of key importance, i.e. what are the key ideas you want your readers to take away from your text?

This is not always easy. It is far simpler to say that everything is of key importance, so you put in everything you have. However, unless you do the work of defining what you really want your readers to know, they won’t do it for you. They will simply get lost in your text and either give up or come out the other end not knowing what they have read.

Next, you must be certain to de-emphasize what is of secondary importance. Why? Because if you want your readers to recognize and retain the key ideas, you don’t want them to get lost in the details. Details (information of secondary importance) explain and support the key ideas. They must never overwhelm them.

Finally, you must eliminate what is of no importance. Why? Because any information that adds nothing to explaining and supporting the key ideas will tend to obscure them. This is exactly the opposite of what you want.

B. Conciseness Principle

According to the conciseness principle, your text should be as:

1. Long as necessary

2. Short as possible

“As long as necessary” means covering all the key ideas you identified under “clarity”, and all the information of secondary importance needed to explain and support them. Note that nothing is said about the number of words, because it is irrelevant. If it takes 500 words to be “as long as necessary”, then 500 words must be used. If it takes 1500 words, then this is all right, too.

“As short as possible” means staying as close to the minimum as you can, because all words beyond the minimum tend to damage clarity. Subconsciously, readers will continually be trying to understand why those words are there, and will be continually failing because they serve no purpose.

Anything that doesn’t add to the text, subtracts from it.

C. Density Principle

According to the density principle, you text should contain:

1. Precise information

2. Logically linked

Using precise information aids clarity. For example, if you say it is a “hot” day, what do you mean? One reader might interpret hot as 24° C, while another might interpret is as 36° C. However, if you say the temperature is 28° C, there is no room for interpretation – or misinterpretation.

Using precise information also generates confidence, because it assures your readers that you really know what you are talking about. This helps to hold their attention, making it easier to get your points across.

To these three fundamental principles of expository writing, I would like to add a specific technique. Analyze each sentence or passage you write to see what question it may raise in the reader’s mind. Then answer it!

Usually these questions will be subconscious; the reader won’t even be aware of them. However, a lengthening list of “what is this?” and “why is that?” will inevitably cause the reader’s mind to wander away from what you are trying to say. When it has wandered far enough, it is unlikely to come back.

The reader will complain that the text is shallow, boring, insipid or confusing. And he will be right.

Analysis

Below you will find the “Analysis” of the prologue of the novel. For best benefit, you should probable read the text straight through, ignoring the comments in parentheses. Next, re-read with the comments. Finally, compare this original with the “Revision”, produced by applying the above principles.

The purpose of the prologue is to:
1) Introduce the principal characters
2) Outline the plot
3) Generate a sense of mystery and expectation
These are the key ideas; everything in the text should bend to them

———————————–

Aurora searched for his signal as the 737 taxied past her. (Where is she? Could she possibly be on the tarmac?). She saw nothing, but her belief didn’t waver. (Is she expecting some kind of major event?)

As the aircraft rolled almost out of sight, she noticed two distinct flashes. It was Mitch. As always, he’d remembered. Almost a year ago, they’d devised a system of code to communicate from the terminal to the plane when she’d complained that she couldn’t see in the tiny jet’s windows – a flash of his silver business card case meant that he loved her and he’d be back soon. (Hardly the major event suggested earlier.)

And she knew he would, considering the long-awaited engagement ring he’d just given her before he boarded – a solitary white diamond with heart shaped clusters on both sides and smaller diamonds embedded on the band. (Would a man really give a woman an engagement ring at an airport just before flying off to leave her for a week?)

Over fifteen minutes passed and finally the plane’s engines whined into action. Heaving greatly, the Rolls Royce motors overcame the aircraft’s stagnant weight and the immense mass accelerated down the long tarmac strip. Once having gained speed, it only took a small flick of the wing’s flaps and the steel structure effortlessly rose into the air and was magically in flight. (This seems a rather dramatic description of a plane taking off, particularly for people like Aurora and Mitch, who are used to flying. What is the purpose of this description?)

Aurora breathed a sigh of relief that was echoed by the few relatives that had remained on both sides of her – a petite woman, a young girl, a man.
The plane was away safely. (More drama about the airplane taking off. Is this paragraph really necessary?)

She dabbed her forehead with a handkerchief Mitch had given her. GMA it was initialized – Greg Mitchell Adderby – silver-haired, he was her boss, her mentor, her first real love (how old is she?). She breathed in the Antheus scent that still clung to it – his scent. Then she rubbed the sweat of her palm (still concerned about the takeoff?) against the jeans he’d bought for her at Harrods in London on their first excursion together, her first trip out of America. Ruby red denim. They were his favorite color, just like the ties he always wore. That was only a year ago.

She’d become so much a part of Mitch’s life since then, his wisdom and maturity a guide to her (how old is Mitch?). He had promised to protect her (against what?). And she marveled at the company he co-founded (with whom?), Rad Foods International, a distribution company for fresh and irradiated fruits and vegetables, a place where she could work happily, sometimes even excel.

But now he was gone. What would she do for a week? (Doesn’t she work in the company?) How she wished she hadn’t had to stay behind for the awards dinner, Young Business Designer of the Year. But she was proud of the achievement and the recognition. In his absence, Mitch had arranged for Gerard Marques, their lead salesman, to accompany her. “There’s no one else I’d rather rely on,” he had told her. (Aurora seems to have won award. For what? What kind of work does she do?)

On the plane, Mitch fumbled nervously with his briefcase (why “nervously”?). Then he stared out the window and caught a glimpse of Aurora in the oversized terminal window. Long, flowing, dark brown hair. Long waist, long, slender limbs. Even from a distance, the brightly dyed jeans and fire-engine angora sweater that clung to her svelte frame were a beacon to him. “My ray of sunshine,” he whispered, and breathed deeply, pensively. (Where is Mitch going? Where is he leaving from?)

As her tall figure dwindled to a mere dot, he took off his seatbelt and turned his neck almost backwards, straining to see her for a few more seconds.

Suddenly, the plane jerked. He was lurched abruptly, and a searing pain bolted from his head down his spine. He faced forward again and rubbed his sore neck. “Oh,” he cried, as the plane wrenched him another excruciating time, on this occurrence with even more force.

“For God sake man, get your head down,” a bearded man next to him yelled.
(Why bearded? This seems to be a gratuitous detail, shifting reader attention away from Mitch.)

“What?”

“Get your head down.”

Confused, Mitch obeyed the strict command and plunged his chest to his knees, gripping onto the silver card case through the chest pocket of his black Armani suit (is this dramatic moment an appropriate time to describe what Mitch is wearing?).

“Fire,” someone screamed from the economy section. “It’s the engine.” (Why economy section? Should we assume that Mitch is in business or first class? With the plane in crisis, does it really matter?)

“Place your head between your knees and be calm,” a shrill female voice wailed over the loudspeaker. (Would a trained stewardess “wail” in a “shrill voice”?) Her words were barely audible over the chaos.

As the aircraft reeled again, a luggage rack jarred opened above them, and a vivid fuchsia bag smashed into the aisle, its zipper bursting – bras, socks, and underwear spilling out. So steep was the jet’s angle now that the clothes tumbled down the length of the aisle with the ease of marbles. (Enumerating the contents of the bag shifts reader attention away from Mitch. Is it relevant?).

Next to Mitch, two women were sobbing hysterically. “This can’t be happening,” one screamed. (Once again, reader attention is shifted away from Mitch. Why?)

Unexpectedly, the doors of another overhead compartment swung open, this time hurling yellow cups onto the already frightened passengers (Is this sentence necessary?).

“Put on your seatbelt…” the bearded man shouted to Mitch from beside him. His hands fumbled to obey.

On the ground, Aurora swore that the plane lurched unevenly. It wasn’t ascending anymore. Suddenly, it made another wrenching motion and then pitched itself downward.

“My God,” she cried, looking fearfully at the dangerous angle. Everyone around her at the Niagara Falls terminal gaped at the scene. (Why this shift of attention away from Aurora just when it has been re-established?) The plane was only a few hundred yards off the ground, with no hope of enough room to level out for a smooth landing.

Suddenly, the aircraft tilted sideways and turned back towards the building. A colossal burst of fire spewed from the engine.

“They’re gonna die!” someone screamed.

“No!” Aurora pleaded as the metallic mass dropped to the asphalt with a force that violently quaked the ground, as if a Goliath was tumbling to earth. (This seems to be a gratuitous, distracting metaphor. Is it necessary?) The plane’s wing scraped along the airstrip with a deafening noise, and thick choking puffs spilled out of the hull.

An explosion blew out the left jet, and flames began raging.

Aurora was sure that Mitch was in one of the windows. She was with him – she envisaged the last time they’d eaten a romantic dinner together, the last time he’d snuck a kiss at work, the last time they’d made love– He was reaching out to her. (This seems a distracting interlude during a crisis. Is it necessary?)

Finally, the lamed giant skidded to a standstill on the tarmac just in front of the window where she stood.

———————————

The scene continues in very much the same manner, i.e. raising questions that aren’t being answered, unnecessary shifts of attention, distracting details, etc.

Revision of the Prologue

Here is the revision. See how application of the three expository writing principles (clarity, conciseness, density) and the question & answer technique have altered it.

——————————-

Aurora looked out of the terminal window, searching for his signal as the 737 taxied past her. She hadn’t yet seen it but she knew she would. As the aircraft rolled almost out of sight, she caught sight of what she had been waiting for, two distinct flashes. It was Mitch.

Almost a year earlier, she had complained that she couldn’t see him through the tiny jet’s windows, so they had devised their private signally system. A flash of his silver business card case meant that he loved her and would soon return.

And there it was. They had used the system many times over the past year, but this time was special. Just before boarding, he had given her what she had been praying for, an engagement ring. It was in the form of solitary white diamond with heart shaped clusters on both sides and smaller diamonds embedded on the band.

Mitch had planned to give it to her after his return, but as he said, “I just couldn’t wait.
“That was just like Mitch,” Aurora thought. Generally cool, calm and methodical, but capable of occasional flashes of appropriate spontaneity.

The moment he put it on her finger, all of Aurora’s girlish dreams about an elegant candle-lit dinner, a romantic moonlight stroll along the river, and maybe even her suitor down on one knee, instantly vanished. Mitch was as eager as she. That was all that mattered.

At the age of 26, she had of course been in love before. But never like this. It couldn’t have been like this.

The plane rested on the tarmac a good 15 minutes. Finally, its powerful Rolls Royce engines roared into action. It began taxiing down the runway, gathering the speed necessary to lift its heavy mass into the sky.

Aurora withdrew the handkerchief Mitch had given her from her purse. It bore the initials GMA – Gregory Mitchell Adderby. She briefly pressed it to her nose and breathed in the Antheus scent that still clung to it – his scent. Oh yes, she had been in love before, but never like this.

Just over a year ago, Mitch had been only her boss, but then became her mentor, her lover. And now her soon-to-be husband.

She touched the engagement ring he had put on her slender finger less than 30 minutes ago. Each time Mitch had gone away before, the days had dragged. But how was she going to get through the coming week now.

Mitch was on his way to the Young Business Designer of the Year awards dinner in Chicago, where he was to be honored. At 31, Mitch was still a boyish-looking if silver-haired entrepreneur. Six years ago, he and a university buddy had founded Rad Foods International, a rapidly growing distribution company for fresh and irradiated fruits and vegetables. Still small compared to its competitors, the company was generally recognized a real comer and would soon take its place among the big boys.

On the plane, Mitch was at a window seat, head turned back trying to catch a last glimpse of Aurora through the oversized windows of the Niagara Falls air terminal. Flowing auburn hair, long waist, slender limbs. Even at this distance, he could make out the ruby jeans and fire-engine red angora sweater he had bought her a few weeks ago when they were in London. “My beacon, my ray of sunshine,” he whispered.

As Aurora’s svelte figure dwindled to a dot, Mitch took off his seatbelt and started to open his briefcase. Suddenly, the plane lurched and he was thrown forward, hitting his head against the seat in front of him. He straightened up, rubbing his sore neck and just beginning to feel pain radiating down his body. The plane lurched again.

“For God sake man, get your head down!” yelled the man across the aisle.

“What?”

“Get your head down, you idiot! The plane is going to crash!”

There was no doubting the authority in the voice, so Mitch obeyed. He thrust his chest to his knees, gripping the silver card case through the chest pocket of his jacket.

“Fire! It’s the engine!” someone screamed.

Then a sturdily dispassionate but slightly wavering female voice came over the loudspeaker: “Ladies and Gentlemen, please place your head between your knees and remain calm.”

As the plane lurched again, an overhead luggage rack jarred opened. A fuchsia lady’s traveling case crashed to the floor, spilling out a rainstorm of equally colorful intimate apparel – bras, panties, stockings, nighties.

“Quite a show,” Mitch thought, trying to calm is rapidly fraying nerves. But the respite lasted only a moment.

“Put your damn seatbelt on!” thundered the man across the aisle. Mitch fumbled to comply, but never quite made it.

On the ground, Aurora was watching the scene in horror. The plane was no longer rising. Instead, it was wobbling from side to side as if trying to make up its mind which way to go. Abruptly, it pitched downward.

“Oh my God,” Aurora cried, her heart pounding and droplets of sweat pearling on her forehead.

Suddenly, there was a bright flash and a torrent of fire and smoke gushed from the plane’s fuselage.

“It’s going to crash! They’re all going to die!” someone shouted.

“No!” Aurora pleaded as the stricken aircraft plummeted out of the sky. Just before hitting the ground, the pilot regained some kind of control. He sent it along the runway. It screamed and screeched as its crippled undercarriage gouged huge trenches in the tarmac along its path.

Another explosion, more fire and smoke. Finally, the plane skidded to a stop just in front of the window where Aurora was standing.

————————————–

To answer the question at the beginning: Can the principles of non-fiction (clarity, conciseness, density) be applied to fiction? Indeed, they can. And with considerable effect. So if you have always wanted to write fiction but felt it was beyond you, why not give it a try? You may be better than you think.

Philip Yaffe is a former reporter/feature writer with The Wall Street Journal and a marketing communication consultant. He currently teaches a course in good writing and good speaking in Brussels, Belgium. His recently published book In the “I” of the Storm: the Simple Secrets of Writing & Speaking (Almost) like a Professional is available from Story Publishers in Ghent, Belgium (storypublishers.be) and Amazon (amazon.com).

For further information, contact:

Philip Yaffe
Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)2 660 0405
Email: phil.yaffe@yahoo.com,phil.yaffe@gmail.com

Exclusive Escorts – Relax Into a World of Pleasure

If you ever find yourself in need of an escort, we should always resort to the services of Lifestyle models from Brussels. They are one of the most professional escort agencies in the field, being completely dedicated to serving their clients and having only the finest model available. Together, you will travel with them to anywhere in the world, the destination being completely your choice. No matter if you want to go to the South of France with one of our beautiful ladies or you pick out a city hotel, the choice is yours. All you have to do is to enjoy the company of a Brussels escort and remain with long lasting memories.

The Internet holds a wealth of information about this agency providing exclusive escorts and you can easily browse their website to find out more about them. You can browse their gallery for as long as you want and pick out someone that suits you. The lifestyle models hired by this company have a full time career as fashion models, flight attendants or secretaries but they all are of an extreme beauty, guaranteed to put a smile on your face. A professional escort agency knows how to provide what you need respecting three golden standard rules: privacy, superior service and luxurious accommodations.

After you decide which Brussels escort is the one you want, you have to determine whether a hotel arrangement or a lifestyle arrangement is more suitable for you. Just keep in mind what your needs and preferences are and feel free to browse the gallery holding those beautiful, bewitching lifestyle models. With exclusive escorts, you are ready to travel to any destination in the world, transforming the whole trip into a romantic escape, filled with luxury and passion. Anywhere around the globe, any city and any hotel you want, you can have one incredible Brussels escort with you. If you decide for the exclusive yachting experience, then you should know that the South of France is an unbelievable place to visit.

The first step after picking out one of the exclusive escorts (Anne, Daniela, Evelyn or Ingrid) is to mention the name of the hotel and the desired travel schedule. You will also have to provide the city and the country the hotel is situated, plus the arrival and departure time. You can book one of the lifestyle models for at least a night and you can ask her to accompany you for business trips, parties and receptions, plus various other events. No matter what you kind of event you might need her company for, you are guaranteed to have the time of our life, with a beautiful, intelligent and extravagant woman. Make reservations on the Internet and prepare yourself to dazzle everybody with your Brussels escort.

The exclusive escorts can also make sure that you have one of the most unbelievable yachting experiences you’ve ever dreamed of. Together with them, you can travel to Cannes, Monaco or Saint Tropez, visiting unexpected places and taste a little bit of the exotic and unknown. Cannes is well known as a famous city festival and you can have high-quality time strolling through the city where celebrities come to enjoy the same life full of luxury and pleasure. You will be treated as royalty, picked up by a limousine and boarded on what can only be called a deluxe yacht. The Mediterranean lifestyle will totally suit you and your lifestyle model, relaxing on the beach, drinking an exotic cocktail or swimming in the crystal clear water. This experience will defeat any limits of your imagination.

Monaco can offer you another taste of the Mediterranean lifestyle, attracting you with incredible surroundings and the possibility of residing on an exclusive yacht. Along with the model of your choice you will be experiencing the entire Cote d’Azur coastline, feeling pampered and excited every step of the way. The South of France will seem to you more than incredible, especially since you will visit elegant and refined destinations such as: Saint Tropez, Ste Maxime and Cannes. The company of a Brussels escort and the beauty of the places you are going to visit will represent a dynamite combination, making you feel incredibly relaxed and happy.

Saint Tropez is another sweet destination that can guarantee you the time of your life. You will be taken on board with our lifestyle model, the boat being made only of luxurious Mahogany wood, with stylish interiors, finely decorated and accommodated with all you need. At Saint Tropez, you will enter the high lifestyle, attend the coolest parties and visit those famous beaches you have always heard so much of like Tahiti Beach and Nikki Beach. You will certainly be excited by the sexy atmosphere and feel like in heaven. Saint Tropez is a medieval town that can offer a lot of great things, exclusive parties and you can also have a taste of the delicious French cuisine. The whole city exudes an air of mystery and you can enjoy it all with a Brussels escort. Plunge into the world of high lifestyle and let yourself drawn into the whirlpool of pleasure.

Italian Air Travel Booking Tips

The cost of flying within Italy is often comparable to the cost of train travel, although be sure to include the expense of getting to and from the airport. When flying out of Italian airports, always check with the airport or tourist agency about upcoming strikes, which are frequent in Italy and often affect air travel. The work stoppages are called by trade unions over contractual disputes, and can also ground or delay flights to and from Italy operated by several European carriers, including British Airways and Air France.

Things to Think About when booking

When you book, look for nonstop flights and remember that “direct” flights stop at least once. Try to avoid connecting flights, which require a change of plane. Two airlines may operate a connecting flight jointly, so ask whether your airline operates every segment of the trip. You may find that the carrier you prefer flies you only part of the way. Check web sites to find more booking tip, to check prices and to make online flight reservations.

When flying internationally, you must usually choose between a domestic carrier, the national flag carrier of the country you are visiting (Alitalia for Italy), and a foreign carrier from a third country. National flag carriers have the greatest number of non stops. Domestic carriers may have better connections to your hometown and serve a greater number of gateway cities. Third-party carriers may have a price advantage.

On international flights, Alitalia serves Rome, Milan, and Venice. The major international hubs in Italy are Milan and Rome, served by Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines. American Airlines flies into just Milan. US Airways serves only Rome.

Alitalia and British Airways have direct flights from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports to Milan and Rome. From Manchester, British Airways has daily flights to Milan and Rome. Smaller, no-frills airlines also provide service between Great Britain and Italy.

EasyJet connects Gatwick with Bologna. British Midland connects Heathrow and Milan. Ryanair, departing from London’s Stansted Airport, has daily flights to Milan, Rome, Pisa, and Venice. Meridiana has two or three direct flights each week between Gatwick and Olbia on Sardinia in summer, and daily flights to Rome and Florence throughout the year. From its hub in Brussels, Virgin Express files to Milan, Catania, and Rome.

Alitalia connects Canada and Italy. Air Canada flies to Munich for connections to Rome, Florence, and Milan via Lufthansa. Qantas flies from various cities in Australia via Bangkok, arriving in Rome. Alitalia and New Zealand Air fly from Auckland to Rome with a stop in London. Another option if you’re coming from Australia or New Zealand is Thai Airlines, landing in Rome via Bangkok.

When buying tickets for flights within Italy, on Alitalia and small carriers such as Meridiana and Air One shop around for the best deals. Tickets are frequently sold at discounted prices, so check the cost of flights, even one-way, as an alternative to train travel.

Testimonies: Overcoming your fear of flying

I used to be scared – I’ll admit it!.

There’s not much I will admit to if I think it will make folk think less of me but the thought of flying 35,000 feet in the air in a metal create used to scare the pants off me!

I looked at it this way – if I was in a car, I had some control. I could drive or I could stop. If I was in a boat I could swim. If I was going up a mountain I could walk, climb with ropes (not likely!) or I could go down. If I was in a plane I could not fly!

And, to make things worse, what’s with the life jacket? I wanted a parachute!

Don’t get me wrong – I flew many times on business but only as an absolute necessity and because there was just enough pride in me not to ask to travel by ferry and train to Paris or Brussels.

However, I prepared myself – prayers in the loo before take off and a few quick drinks before we left. On the way and up to the point of boarding my heart would hammer, I would sweat and could barely speak.

Then, the flippin’ safety talk about exits and those flaming life jackets – ‘why do we need life jackets when we are flying over mainland Europe?’ I wanted to shout. Why not parachutes? -far more useful.

I was so bad that my boss -a lovely Japanese man who took the view that it was Karma – if you were to die that day, you would wherever you were- would not fly with me – he would always move seats!

To my credit, I have actually survived a couple of mis-haps on planes – one where an engine caught fire. Our pilot merely told us not to worry about the smoke coming from the engine out of the left hand window (why did he even have to tell us?) – the plane had three more and could fly on two he told us – just as well because within a minute or so, I swear I saw smoke coming from another one!

Another time, over what was Yugoslavia, our plane dropped like a stone – we landed at a military airport and were told to claim our bags. Dogs came out , sniffed us and then were taken to the plane. Later, after being left with no food and water for two hours in a dull, hot building, we were allowed back on to the plane. The steward told us there had been a bomb scare. (This was before all the trouble kicked off in the region). For the rest of the journey I sat comatose with fear in my seat – what if there had been a bomb? Had the dogs searched well enough?

I have also managed to survive turbulence, children annoying the pants off me and copious amounts of alcohol on a long haul flight to the US of A so all in all

Best airlines for a budget

I use RYANAIR regularly from Glasgow-Prestwick to Brussels or Frankfurt-Hahn and although I have had a couple of delays, I have had delays with every other airline I’ve used.

I flew recently with them to Brussels-Charleroi and the flight was 15 minutes late outbound and bang on time on the return. Sure, it’s cramped and it can be a bit of a stampede to get your seat but c’mon, it’s only a 90 minute flight.

Some say that the destination airports are out of the way, and that can be true, but they are also pretty quiet and easy to get in and out of. Try driving to or from Heathrow or any other major city airport, for that matter. Besides, just because you are flying to Brussels, it doesn’t necessarily follow that your final destination IS that city. For example; Charleroi airport is very convenient for visiting the Ardennes region.

At Brussels there is a bus timed to the flights that takes you to the city centre in about 40 minutes for around 4.

I think they do the same kind of deals at other airports as well. Glasgow – Prestwick is around 30 miles from Glasgow city centre but there is a train station linked by a footbridge to the airport. It’s about 20 minutes to Glasgow Central.

We always pick up a car and can be on the road within minutes of landing. That is not usually possible at big city airports.

I do think their customer relations can be a bit tardy if there is a delay but then again, which airline ever explains fully why there is a hold-up. It’s always a small technical problem isn’t it?

I think I have probably flown about 30 times with them and have had a 3 hour delay twice. Any other delay has been counted in minutes.

If you can be flexible with your travel dates, it is possible to fly to the continent for practically nothing.

I have never paid more than 40 return.

For a recent flight I paid a grand total of 33 for two adults. It cost me almost as much to park my car at Prestwick airport for the for the time I was away!

Both outward and inward flights landed around 30 minutes early.

I like the fact that I can book this over the net with no tickets and no fuss, turn up at the airport 30 minutes before the flight and get on and off a plane in 15 minutes.

It is like using a bus. EASY

As for snacks on the flight… take your own, it’s cheaper and tastier. How good is the food on a regular flight, does anyone actually enjoy it? Anyway, I can usually manage an hour or so without without eating.

I would say that if you can get a good deal, then it is well worth it – but if you have to pay the higher fares, look elsewhere.

Rail Breaks – Why many people are turning their backs on fly

According to statistics supplied by Great Rail Journeys (GRJ) – one of the UK’s premier holiday companies that specialise in rail – an amazing 40,000 Britons are taking package rail holidays every year. These figures would have been hard to believe some five to ten years ago when the phrase “British Rail” was synonymous with poor service and unreliable transport. However, as we will learn taking a holiday via train has become increasing popular amongst persons who prefer a more comfortable and yet adventurous way of travelling.

Traditional railway holidays were very much the norm in 50′s Britain. Be it short breaks to cities such as London, York or Edinburgh or exciting trips across continental Europe many Briton’s grew up with the rail package holiday. It is perhaps as a result of this that the back bone of the rail holiday industry in the UK is couples in their sixties and seventies reliving the vacations of their youth. Be it rushing to make tight connecting flights, crowed airports or a simple fear of flying – many travellers today simply don’t want to get from a to b on an airplane. The very fact you have allocated more time out of your schedule to travel by rail ensures the whole experience can be a great deal calmer – which is one of the key reasons why it is popular with the elderly market

However, this trend is certainly changing slowly – with more younger travellers choosing rail over flying. One popular type of rail holiday is EuRail trips across Europe. Often associated with backpackers, the Eurailpass is one of the most convenient ways to see Europe as the ticket offers unlimited train travel throughout 18 countries on their network – including the whole of Scandinavia. With frequent departures on busy routes, it is often the case that the train is a faster option than flying when you consider the commuting time it takes to reach most European airports on the edge of busy cities. This is especially the case when using fast train services such as the German ICE, French TGV or indeed the Eurostar which connects France with London.

Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to rail travel (at least outside the UK) is that it can be remarkably difficult to find information and actually book tickets. The large majority of travel agents no longer sell rail package deals and companies such as EuroStar have little information available once they get you as far as Paris or Brussels. In fact until very recently there were very few websites where anyone could gleam information about train journeys, times and bookings. Luckily there are a number of sites available now with a plethora of information such as Seat 61 which – despite being run as a hobby rather than a business – is a tremendous resource for anyone wanting to plan a foreign railway journey.

Domestically in the UK short weekend breaks on the train are becoming extremely popular. Be it a shopping trip to Glasgow or taking in a west end show in London, package deals which include two nights accommodation and rail tickets are becoming more available. Recently travel and rail companies Superbreak and GNER have teamed up to provide short break package deals to five UK cities – London, Leeds, York, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Prices are competitive and they provide a real alternative to driving to these destinations on crowded motorways.

Certainly this renaissance of rail travel is surprising to an extent. With the advent of budget airlines making air travel more accessible and price competitive many felt that this would be one competitor too many for the rail industry to remain an active part of the holiday market. However, it would appear that rail holidays have certainly found their niche and are likely to remain an active part of the UK travel market for years to come.

Released by Bigmouthmedia
About the Author

Robin works in Edinburgh for Bigmouthmedia, occasionally writing for TravelTips and carrying out bizarre experiments using stress balls and cups of water.

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