Best & Worst Holiday Experiences
This happened to a former work colleague
He was travelling by himself on a bus in Turkey. He
had fallen asleep but woke up when the bus stopped at a large bus
terminal. Realising he urgently needed to go to the toilet, he
jumped off the bus, did his business and raced back outside only
to discover the bus had disappeared with his luggage. He
frantically hurried into the terminal and lined up at the service
"My bus has left without me and taken all my
"Your passport please sir?" Asked
the customer service officer.
Reaching into his safe wallet
strapped around his waist, he realised it was not in the wallet.
A thorough search of every pocket did not find it and he got the
horrible feeling that he was in big trouble. A moment later he
felt a tap on his shoulder.
"Excuse me sir, is this
A man was standing behind him with a
passport which he passed over. Sure enough, it was the missing
passport. He asked the man to please wait while he sorted out his
missing luggage. Turned out his luggage had been taken off the
bus and was in storage.
He then asked the man to tell him
where he found the passport. He said he found the passport in the
bowl of a toilet. He took it out, washed and dried it, and handed
it to the attendant in the toilets. He then went and did his
business, washed and dried his hands and when he went to throw
the paper in the bin he noticed a passport in the bin. He took it
out and realised it was the one he had handed to the
Deciding he better find who owned the passport,
he walked up and down the terminus listening for an Australian
voice (as he noted on the passport). He heard my colleagues voice
and tapped him on the shoulder.
hotel Dewachen in the Phobjikha Valley in Bhutan.
traditional Bhutanese style and set high on the side of the
valley with a magnificent view it was a beautiful and magical
Massive rooms all with valley views. Even the shower
had a view of the valley through a small window. In terms of
atmosphere it was one of the best places I have ever stayed in.
No TV or internet and the power went off on the first night after
a huge rain downpour. Power had not come on before we left but it
didn't matter. They had a generator (they turned it off at 9 pm)
and they cooked some things on the wood fire in the dining room
which also had a magnificent valley view. We had wood heaters in
our rooms which most of us lit and kept going from a stock of
The Phobjikha valley is home to the rare black
necked cranes from Tibet who spend the winter there.
Kettering in Tasmainia.
in Tasmania we decided to visit Bruny Island for a day. We needed
to catch the first ferry across so decided to stay somewhere
close to the ferry overnight. Whilst driving along near Port
Huon, I found this hotel in Kettering (where you catch the ferry)
in the RACV accommodation book. Rang and inquired about a room
for the night. Guy says he will check and 10 mins later comes
back and says that is OK.
Got there and nice looking hotel
on the hill overlooking the bay full of boats. Booked in and went
upstairs to discover we were the only ones there. Very run down.
Communal showers, toilets & kitchenette all in poor
condition. Room just OK. Went down road to get pizzas for dinner
and took them back to kitchenette. Lights not working because no
globes in sockets. TV not working. In bedroom, a globe was
suspended from the ceiling with the old style pull switch.
bed and the noise started. They had a bar below us that the
locals frequented. It stopped about midnight.
It reminded me
of Faulty Towers. The RACV book gave it 2 stars but I think there
was a printing error and they forgot to put the minus in front of
the 2.. It was once a magnificent hotel in a lovely position. The
views in the morning to the bay were stunning.
capital of Nepal.
The air was polluted and streets littered
with rubbish. The traffic was chaotic. Power outages contributed
to the pollution because people used generators. The streams were
littered and raw sewage was running into them. High poverty level
and people living in the streets. There is no reticulated water.
The main area called Thamel was a rabbit warren. The
infrastructure was crumbling and I could see no evidence that
anything was being fixed. I would not call it a functioning city
and wonder what it will be like in 10 years time. I have no idea
where one would start to fix things. I purchased the Lonely
Planet guide to Nepal before we left and none of this was
mentioned in the guide. Many others I have spoken to say it has
"Spiritual Significance" but not for me.
the so called "sacred sites" were in a very bad
condition. Litter everywhere, motorbikes allowed to drive through
them. The sacred river had raw sewage running into it. At some
places we had to pay an entrance fee because we were tourists.
Where is all this money going?
Pokhara, the second largest
city, was in a better state but who knows what it will be like in
10 years time.
There is an organisation called the Kathmandu
Environmental Education Project (KEEP). It is a non government
project committed to preserving the environment in Nepal and
includes initiatives for improving conditions in Kathmandu. They
are doing some excellent work and we can only hope they make a
difference in the longer term.
Awe Inspiring Sights
through the Sun Gate via the Inca trail and the first view of
This was the most spectacular thing I have
ever seen. It was mid afternoon on a sunny day and it took my
breath away. The Sun Gate is about 300m above and 1km away from
Machu Picchu so you get a magnificent view over Machu Picchu. We
sat there for ages soaking in the atmosphere. Most people never
see this view first because they go up to Machu Picchu from Aguas
Calientes village by bus. The Sun Gate is a stone arch
strategically positioned on a ridge above Machu Picchu so that
the sun shines through the arch onto Machu Picchu at sunrise
which is apparently the best time to be there.
A stunning scenery day. Every turn in the road brought a new
surprise be it the rugged gorge, rock climbers, troglodyte
dwellings high up, old bridges, dwelling ruins, Château’s
and the remote villages dotted along the gorge. It was a
magnificent day and the excellent road wound its way alongside
the Tarn river through many rock tunnels and there was little
traffic. Of particular interest, was the town of Saint Chély
du Tarn. An ancient narrow bridge across the Tarn connected the
small scenic village to the rest of the world.Some houses along
the gorge on the opposite side of the river to the road were only
accessible by flying fox. To top it off, an English lady we meet
along the way gave us some lunch.
Snowstorm whilst Trekking in Nepal.
We were trekking in
Nepal between places called Tadapani and Chistibung.
set off and walked for about 2.5 hours and struck the first snow.
Had lunch in a gully where the snow was quite thick. After lunch
it started to snow so we put all our snow gear on. Good thing we
did because it got worse. Then came thunder and lightning. Then
we had to traverse a few treacherous sections. Very narrow path
(ledge) on very steep terrain. Made slippery with the snow. I was
scarred. Others were helped by the guides Still more thunder and
lightning and snow. Could not see very far. A collegue was
walking near me and I heard him yell out. I looked over and he
had fallen over. My first thought was that he had slipped and hit
his head but he yelled out that he had been hit by lightning. All
who were nearby raced over to help him but he kept complaining of
a terrible headache. We took off his head gear but could not see
any damage. He seemed keen to keep going and the guide said said
it was only about 10 mins to shelter and it was. He had a
headache for a few days and fully r covered.
Lost Travel Insurance Claim
We lost $6,000 under
circumstances I am still not happy about
In Sept 2011, I
made a travel insurance claim because I contracted a severe
urinary infection which caused me to cancel a holiday the day
before I was due to leave.
The insurance company denied my
claim because my situation fell within their policy’s
definition of a “Pre-existing Medical Condition”
disputed their decision and eventually my dispute ended up with
the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). They assessed my claim and
sided with the insurance company.
Before I had taken out a
travel insurance policy, my GP had referred me to a specialist
because of the symptoms I was experiencing (urinary symptoms and
rising PSA levels). My PSA levels are checked every year so this
is a routine check. Shortly after my GP visit, I took out a
travel insurance policy because I also had made some final
payments for the holiday. I then saw the specialist, had a biopsy
and contracted the urinary infection from the biopsy. Later, I
was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had it removed.
claim was denied because my situation fell within the insurance
company policy definition of a “Pre-existing Medical
had an ongoing medical condition, the symptoms of which I was
aware of before the policy purchase.
was also currently being investigated for a medical condition
(urinary symptoms and rising PSA levels) before the policy
I disputed the
insurance company’s decision because:
cancellation was due to a urinary infection, not prostate
was not aware that the symptoms I was experiencing meant that I
had prostate cancer (it had not been diagnosed before the policy
did not consider a referral by my GP as commencement of "the
investigation of a medical condition". Investigation
commenced as soon as I saw the specialist.
The FOS agreed with the
insurance company because:
though my trip was cancelled because of an infection that
developed following a biopsy, the infection was nonetheless
connected to the symptoms I exhibited before the policy purchase
and ultimately, the cancer. I would not have contracted the
infection if I had not exhibited the symptoms (consistent with
cancer) which necessitated the biopsy. The FOS told me that in
law this is known as a "causal" relationship.
FOS agreed that even though I was unaware that the symptoms I
had were prostate cancer, they had issued a recent determination
which dealt with the same argument and concluded that since I
was aware of symptoms that could turn out to be definitive of
the cancer, and it turns out to be true, the law could not
assist me in the matter.
FOS considered that the investigation of the medical condition
commenced from the time my GP provided the referral to the
Insurance companies are
very thorough and experienced in investigating travel insurance
claims related to medical situations. They will request all
faucets of information relating to your claim and if you refuse
to provide it they will deny your claim. I had to provide a copy
of my GP’s referral, my GP and specialist had to fill out
forms and they requested hospital discharge papers. They even
have their own doctor who assesses your claim.
did refund $2,000 towards the cost of my wife’s travel
costs. We lost about $6,000.