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 tag “airport”

Mysteries of Eurovision 2019


Eurovision is a great institution and each year gets better. The staging last night in Tel Aviv was beyond brilliant. Many of the acts were also superb, others less so. We score the acts in our group and without fail never pick the winner. What we were in agreement about were the worst two acts coming from SAN Marino and Iceland. Discussion was had this morning about how these two acts actually qualified for the final over some of the others whom failed to make the cut . SAN Marino was many grades beyond dreadful . A non practicing dentist chanting in a low voice that reminded me more of a poor karaoke impression of Right Said Fred. The Icelandic offering was one of those pseudo political statements with the band clearly concentrated more on the Palestine issues than their music. For once I agree with the organisers of Eurovision that this is a musical not political event. Their specific noise , muttering, chanting and shouting was hideous. Hence being rated by us as the worst performer. I will spare you the tension and give you our final scores. The bottom five

  1. Iceland 2
  2. SAN Marino 5
  3. Estonia 8
  4. Slovenia 9
  5. North Macedonia 9

Clearly our musical intuition and interpretation did not match the worldwide juries who scored North Macedonia second best . The scoring though changed when the public votes were added who scored them like us one of the worst . The principle of having separate scoring systems for the juries, composed of music professionals, and the general public money spending audience, is a good one . There were many instances similar where the jury voted brilliant or awful and the public voted the opposite . A good example was Norway where the juries voted their entry as poor and the public voted it one of the best . Maybe the professionals had not listened to Alan Walker “Faded” , one of the most popular songs of the last few years , the style of Norway was similar and the girl singer was the same one who sings on Faded. A few songs were simply creepy . Try the Slovenian entry if you have a spare five minutes.

The best songs in our view were

  1. Norway, Denmark and France 27
  2. Italy 25
  3. Switzerland and Azerbaijan 24

The winning song from Netherlands got 20 points from us . Another mystery . A winning song yet devoid of many of the things Eurovision is famous for , good staging and interesting tunes. The bookmakers has this as their favourite. How do they reach this conclusion? I am always baffled by their conclusions and how spookily correct they often are.

So the mysteries of Eurovision remain strong and without doubt the staging was the best ever . Role in 2020 where I can make two predictions. The contest will be held in Amsterdam and UK will not be winners

How Do You Spell Brentford In Serbian?


Ridiculous fact number one for Xmas eve is that only 3 championship teams are spelled the same way in Serbian…. one of those is Brentford! My favourite is Lids….

Reethi Beach Resort Maldives


Reethi Beach is one of the newer resorts in Maldives. For those not familiar with Maldives, they are essentially a series of islands, some of which have been transformed into resorts.

Reethi Beach is a good resort although the complexity of travel in the Maldives means that getting there might take a bit longer than some other resorts. Flights arrive in Male and for some resorts a speedboat transfer is relatively quick – for example one could be in Kuda Huraa in less than 30 minutes. Most, however, require either a seaplane or an internal flight. Seaplanes look incredibly cool but do not come cheap and can add almost £1000 onto a holiday cost.

Getting to Reethi Beach requires an internal flight, then a short bus ride and finally a 20 minutes boat transfer each with its obligatory delay. So upfront I will say that the only negative about Reethi Beach is having arrived in Male at 8.30 am it was near enough 13.00 before arriving at the resort. The rest is entirely positive. If your bank account allows it seaplane is recommended but also remember a 20 kg luggage maximum and 5kg for hand luggage.

Reethi Beach is one hour ahead of Male time so it operates +5 compared to UK. The island takes maybe 30 minutes to walk around on the beaches.

Accommodation is chalets. A few water bungalows. Chalets are comfortable and clean but this is the Maldives so the occasional insect and cockroach cannot be discounted nor frankly prevented. Meals are buffet style for those on all inclusive. The food is superb beyond belief. Plenty of vegetarian options. The weather depends partially on the seasons, but you can reasonably expect 28-30 C sunshine most days, the occasional full cloudy day but rain showers also most days. These usually come and go in an hour. Beaches are idyllic. You can pay for a whole variety more of course including various dining options and range of water-sports. Snorkelling is not so good as some of the other islands but not too bad. Stingrays come right to the sea edge to get fed at 18.00 but also some with either bigger stomachs or cheaper watches come any time to say hi. Three herons patrol their beach territory and allow you within about 5 metres. Maybe less.

Prices in other locations vary enormously but essentially paying more gets you relatively less. I would personally recommend Reethi Beach for most people unless you expect the luxury that you get from other resorts paying perhaps 3-4 times more.

Things to recommend though. Pay for coffee in the Moodhu bar that sits on stilts over the sea. Views are great and the coffee is sublime . Expect to pay maybe 5$ for a superb hazelnut latte .Around the edges of the island you will find huge man-made sandbags that probably contain more rock than sand, to prevent erosion of the beaches and create some quiet little inlets. As with all Maldivian islands probably a week is enough or ten days maximum. After that maybe most have had enough sun, food and relaxing. I would personally recommend Reethi Beach. All the photos you see here were taken by myself in October 2018. Lastly there is free WiFi in public areas and also if you position yourself on the beaches near the bars and restaurants you can access it there too.

The resort also make more effort with night entertainment than many others. Live music, DJs and Quiz evenings are actually not a bad effort considering the geography.

Even On A Grey Day New Malden Looks Not Too Shabby


An afternoon dog walk on this grey day . Residential New Malden is not too bad. The only negative was the usual rubbish strewn along pavements . The beer cans and quarter brandy bottles suggest that neither Veolia nor Foxes can be blamed for everything.

There are some nice views. The Beverly Brook is not a bad little tributary. The big old house on Blake’s Lane . Even the grey skies. Not too bad at all.

Helsinki Cafes Are Full Of Surprises. Good Ones . Cafe Strindberg


Arriving in Helsinki you often could be forgiven for thinking the whole world has turned grey. Grey streets accompanied by grey sky and cold looking people . But you are wrong . Walking down any of the streets you eventually reach either the harbour or the centre area with the train station. Helsinki geography is easy.

The first surprise is that there are dozens of nice and slightly old fashioned coffee shops . Sitting outside is pleasant though in autumn a decent coat is needed. Some of them make you feel like you have stepped back in time.

My favourite has always been Cafe Strindberg. The coffee is nice although Nordic prices mean you pay 4.5€ for a cup of coffee. The atmosphere is slightly old worlde. The waitresses are mostly stern looking women but efficient and pleasant at the same time. They look the part wearing long white aprons. The coffee is good . If you are brave you can sit outside. The Croque Monsieur will set you back 12.50€ but is great.

There is a kind of healthiness here that is good . Water comes automatically with coffee. As it should . Coffee is a powerful diuretic . As an accompaniment to the sandwich you can choose grilled vegetables or crisps or salad. The grilled vegetables tasted superb mostly aubergine. The other nice thing is that they do not speak necessarily English. Why should they . This is Finland. The clientele are mixed. Some older couples looking guilty sipping their wine with lunch. Not speaking much . Just comfortable in their own presence. No one waits to be seated. One just walks in and sits wherever followed by the stern waitress with menu in hand . Young men under 20 years sit with their coffee and talk animatedly. Someone eating on their own like myself is comfortable.

In short this a lovely place to drink coffee and eat lunch . No pressure to eat quickly . If you are in Helsinki just try this place .

Salted Caramel Profiteroles


There are various kinds of Salted Caramel Profiteroles. A quick google search will tell you that many of the major supermarkets sell them. Mostly they are small and essentially typical profiteroles but with salted caramel added. And surprisingly cheap . At the end of the post you can see some examples.

Staying at The Curtain Hotel in Shoreditch in the buffet lunch was a rather different version. The outside is crusted and a little crunchy with the base being typical choux pastry . They tasted delicious and for the bakers out there maybe worth making . Size wise they were like small doughnut size and one was plenty! Cannot be certain but suspect they are homemade .

Supermarket Version

What Is This Starter? Can Anyone Guess?


This was a starter on a menu in Glasgow Marriott. An unusual option. I chose it and ate it. Delicious . But can anyone work out what it is?

Glasgow Chemical Spillage ? Hilton Hotel Anderston Thursday Afternoon


At the back of the Hilton hotel at Anderston around 2 pm there were two fire engines in attendance spraying . It looked like a spillage that was being neutralised. Relating to a lorry parked there presumably .

A group of workers are now clearing up the materials. Clearly folks were evacuated from either the Hilton or from the adjacent building . Around 2.45 pm they were allowed to return .

Seemingly meaningless Graffiti. Any ideas what it means?


Whilst traveling one comes across a lot of graffiti. Some of it great, some pure art, some vandalism and some of it simply strange.

I have no idea what these sets of graffiti mean. One was painted on a park bench and the other on a metal container .

The Cost Of Airport Food Is Outrageous . 20£ For A Burger at Arlanda Stockholm Airport


Travellers have little choice often to eat in airports. Having to arrive hours before a flight, airlines rarely serving free food and a mandatory queue at passport control afterwards. So it might be reasonable to expect two things. A choice of food options that are not dominated by Gordon Ramsay, Sushi and Caviar bars. As one gets in Terminal Five. Trying to buy a humble cup of tea or coffee can be impossible . A second expectation is that prices are equitable. Things are now getting out of hand and travellers have every right to protest.

At Arlanda airport last night a sports bar , O’Learys, nothing special if I am honest was wanting over 20£ for a burger . Ribs would set you back 27£ and a steak would cost you not much under 40£.

How can these prices for food that looked inferior to Burger King be fair? Put it another way. Family of three. A burger meal and drinks would be costing around £75. If the children asked for chicken strips that too is around 25£. Vending machines would then sell you chocolate bars such as Twix for £2.

Other airports are no better. London City Airport charges extortionate amounts for average food.

The regulators need to look into this. Just as service stations charge 20p per litre more airports should be prevented from operating this unpleasant pricing cartel .

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