Batt and Robin

Batt and Robin are Teachers, Scientists, Artists, Authors and Travelers


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Food, Glorious Food

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Food, Glorious Food is the title of a song in the musical “Oliver Twist”. It encapsulates our five-week journey in Australia and New Zealand. Both countries have their own blend or style of the presentation of meals that is unique. Not Fusion, nor French, but an amalgam of the sights, sounds and smells of the beaches of New Zealand or the outback of Australia. We had a variety of different meals, including “bush tucker.” Meals were presented in an elegant setting, by confident and competent servers. What stands out it us are two meals, very different from each other and equally memorable. Both were at Uluru, Ayers Rock, in the middle of Australia.

The first evening in the Ayers Rock Resort complex, Rick, was our chef, was in charge of cooking our meat selections. Robin took care of the salads. What was our meat selection? Rick had kangaroo, crocodile, barramundi and emu. I stuck with the emu sausages. We used an outdoor bar-b-que and with other diners and cooked our meat. We sat family style and enjoyed a rare opportunity to fix our own food.

The next evening, began with a camel ride to the site of our outdoor sunset meal. We were greeted with champagne, and caused a flurry of photographs as we arrived and were helped off our camels. We sat family style. Our table included a ship pilot from Hong Kong and a family from Singapore. Our buffet meal consisted of bush tucker and a variety of more familiar items. As the sun set, we were entertained with Aboriginal dances, and then a star party. We all saw the southern cross and were invited to look at planets through a telescope.

As much as we love traveling, sometimes the constant need to find a place to eat becomes trying. Robin is a diabetic with accompanying dietary restrictions. We managed: we did our own breakfasts – from foraging for appropriate foods, to thinking up alternatives to plates and bowls. Lunch and dinner where enjoyed as we found places, often in the lobby of our hotel, or a search for goodies along the way. Sometimes we were surprised at our meal, sometimes not. Yet always, the service was always stellar.

What was the fall out – or weight gain – about 20 pounds between us.


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Starting our summer travels out right: Be prepared.

It seems like everyone we see at the airport these days is pre-checked in. They use their phone, iPAD, computer or pre-printed electronic boarding passes and check in. Most people come to the airport ready to drop off a bag and head to security. It saves time and sometimes a few dollars for using the online check in procedures.

Then there are those who arrive at the airport, not quite ready for travel, as the two groups of people ahead of us in line before our first leg of our summer trip to Australia and New Zealand. The first couple was going to Bombay. They discovered that not all their bags would go for free. Each of their second bags was going to cost them $100. They had their tickets, yet didn’t plan ahead in packing. With nervous looks at each other, they turned away from the ticket counter.

Next in line, was a young man from South Korea. He was going to Sydney, AU like we were. The agent asked him if he had his visa. He said he had applied on line for the electronic visa. When she asked when, he said a few hours ago. She couldn’t verify it and could not issue his boarding passes.  He turned away sadly to check his computer.

We were next in line. Rick handed the agent our copy of the visa authorization with our passports.

Passports?

Visa authorization form  

1 bag each and each under 50 pounds.

We were checked in as far as Los Angeles, CA, where we would change to Quantas for our international flight. Our bags, however, were checked all the way to Auckland!

Here are five points for low stress, high success, at the beginning of an international trip.

1 Do your homework.  Find out what your destination site’s regulations are. Comply.

2. See if you need a visa and apply for it at least a month before your flight.

3. Use a bathroom scale before your flight to weigh your luggage. Our trip included 9 more air flights, so we bought a hand-held luggage scale. Some flights had different weight allowances! We found our scale at our local automobile travel agent. We had a lot of fun distributing poundage between our bags and backpacks as our trip unfolded.

4. Arrive at the airport early. We booked our taxi in advance. The company we use is always early and the drivers are interesting people. Or save more by having a friend drop you off. The small gift you bring back for them will more that pay for itself.

5. Enjoy the extra $$ in your wallet. You might buy the special chocolates you love, or a Chicago style hot dog if it you fly through O’Hare and enjoy your flight.

I guess growing up as a Girl Scout and embracing the motto. “Be Prepared,” saves us time and money during our travels.