Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the day “March 20, 2017”

New American Electronic Devices Ban includes cameras. Is it safe to check a camera into hold luggage? 


The latest in the series of dictates from Trump is that severe restrictions on electronic devices other than mobile phones will apply to carriers from 12 countries including Jordan and Saudi Arabia. This will however not apply to American carriers. 

This raises many questions including the value of doing this and how and why only 12 countries are affected. Putting this to one side how safe is it to transport cameras especially DSLR cameras and their lenses into hold luggage. Even if we assume they will not go missing in transit packing these cameras to ensure they do not get damaged is going to be complex if not impossible. Similarly computers. Are insurers even prepared to take the risk on this one? 

DSLR cameras are universal now and do not cost the earth . Entry level cameras being around £300. The cost of some though is significantly greater. The new 5D mark 4 is around £3500. Add on lenses and most peoples kit will be above £500 and often £1000. 

Cameras now are made to withstand heat, cold and some degree of being thrown around.  However if one is brave enough to take a look at the baggage handlers as they load and unload cases some of their actions are hardly gentle and can be akin to shot putting.  There can be no guarantee that cameras will withstand this. 

So what should folks do? If it were me I would not check in either camera or computer and for leisure simply do without. It will be interesting to see how insurance companies play this game. 

Food At The Midtown Grill at Berlin Marriott. Best and Worst


One of the things about travelling alone is that meals in the hotel are the easiest option so tend to be by default. 

Berlin Marriott is a nice hotel. Fairly central and as one might expect from a Marriott. The first night I arrived fairly late and in reality wanted to sit in the bar and have a beer and a burger. Sadly this was not possible on two curious counts. Firstly the bar is not really a bar but the foyer of the hotel and secondly they served no food. 

The Midtown Grill is the hotel restaurant and I was put off entering last time because the handwritten special board indicated some steak item with something else in German for 70 euros. This time I had little choice. 

The ambience in the restaurant is acceptable but hardly special. The service was variable from very helpful to complete indifference. Curious. The first night I asked them for a Burger and beer without even seeing the menu. It came and was delicious . Arguably 15 euros for the burger was a bargain. 

The food was nicely presented and bread was served free of charge as a starter. I was even more impressed when the second night I read the menu and saw that burgers were not even on the menu. 
The second night I was feeling a little vegetable deficient and had Caesar salad with chicken. Again free bread emerged. 

The Caesar salad was superb and not small and again a bargain for 14 euros. The chicken though was maybe less good. The portion strangely was too large and the meat was tasteless and probably could have done with another 5 minutes grilling

. As a side dish though I decided to have Mac and Cheese.  In London I have had this a few times instead of chips and it works well. Here it was a disaster . In all honesty I cannot a worse restaurant dish ever. The portion was ridiculously large for 5 euros. The pasta was Penne not macaroni. The sauce at the bottom of the dish was water with a taste and consistency of what I imagine dishwater might taste like and worse contained enough salt to give one an overdose. There was a small amount of grilled cheese on the top. Simply inedible. In all fairness I told the waiter and he was very apologetic and said he told the chef. Ok. Five euros. No big deal. The happy ending though was the best baked cheesecake maybe ever given free of charge. It came with redcurrants, blackberries, blueberries and a cumquat. 
So would I return here? Sure if on business but not if on leisure. The prices on the menu for the steaks etc were huge. At those prices maybe I might need a restaurant with more ambience. Where a lot of hotels fall down with their restaurants is that they are simply too large and designed mostly for breakfasts or huge parties . A suggestion. Make a design change. Enable the restaurant to be partitioned off meaning that with perhaps 20 guests dining  the room looks a little cosier. 

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