Home' Travel News : February 2013 Contents 40 travel news February 2013
February 2013 travel news 41
From the outset I have to say that over the
years I have not and am still not a believer
of the many, many awards dished out each
year to various corporate entities around
the world. Who then use these awards to
broadcast to the world that they have been
voted the best of this, that and the other.
I always wonder what criteria is used
in making these selections. I'm sure it
differs from award to award, but it is never
satisfactorily explained how these results
are tabulated. While this little mag has
won an award or two over the years, I was
astounded when a prestigious local award
event called to ask me to submit my entry.
On the face of it, that sounded inviting. We
were a little chuffed, to say the least.
However, when they asked for a considerable
entry fee, I baulked. Asking the question 'How
is the voting done?', I was told that I would
have to canvass my friends and customers,
to get them to vote for Travel News. This
might explain to you why you get all those
emails asking you to vote for whatever it is
they want to be best of.
The internet has most of the answers, but as
I try to explain below, you need to be very
careful whose advice you take. A second or
third opinion is good advice.
I use Trip Advisor, and as I write for them, I
know the beast better than some.
When visiting locally or internationally, I
always check out the place I am booked into
to get a feel of where it is and what it's like.
Most reviews on Trip Advisor are positive,
with very little negative feedback.
This is not reality, you’ll agree.
On a recent trip to Korea I had to scroll down
many pages on Trip Advisor to try and get
a balanced rating for the hotel I was to stay
lot of work, and the information gained was
heavily biased on how wonderful everything
was. It was not.
As a Trip Advisor scribe, I wrote a review
after that stay, titled -- The World's Most
Expensive Internet; that experience, plus
charging US$ 20 for a G&T and a couple of
other niggles, obviously tainted my stay and
I was less than complimentary in my review.
Colleagues attending the same conference
and who stayed at the same establishment
voiced similar concerns.
I tend to tell it like it is, like it or not.
Blow me down; Trip Advisor sends me an
email the other day telling me the hotel I
reviewed had been the honoured recipient of
their prestigious Travellers Choice Awards.
Good for them, but to me the picture is cloudy
at best -- hence my recommendation that you
always get a second or third opinion when
researching such things on the internet.
It also might be of interest to you that Expedia,
probably the world's largest Internet travel
agency, owns Trip Advisor, so commercial
considerations must come into play of all of
the above, wouldn't you say?
Getting good unbiased information is
getting much harder to fnd these days.
When asked a question I cannot answer,
which is frequent, I usually respond by
saying, ‘Ask a friend’. It's not a copout; but
who else can you trust better than a friend,
and if they don't know, they could ask a
friend, and so on and so forth.
As if mirroring my thoughts, Facebook has
just launched a new feature where you
can do this, using the power of FB, which
is pretty awesome. Pose your question on
FB and magically your friends and friends
of friends of friends and so on, can all join in
and give you answers to your questions. It
does not mean any of them are right; some
might be, so again seek a second or third
Speed traps were until recently a rarity in
Kenya; not so anymore -- and with the newly
introduced super-fnes for over-speeding
(I love that turn of phrase, as if just plain
speeding was OK) are now becoming a
more common sight on our roads. One
place seems to be a whole lot worse than
others. Coming down the rift from Nairobi
just before Naivasha, after all the wiggly bits,
is this huge bit of three-lane tarmac -- and it
is here that a speed trap lurks.
If you are a speeding miscreant, you will
not notice it, until you reach the turn-off to
Naivasha itself, where you will be hauled
over and informed of your discretion.
But, but, but... Don't waste your breath, no
one is listening. This is a well-oiled machine.
Once six cars have been pulled over, you
proceed in convoy with a man in blue
onboard straight to the Naivasha courthouse/
police station. Here you wait and fret, and
are usually incarcerated, eventually to be
brought before the court and the summary
fnes handed down. If you do not have
the cash, you cannot use a get-out-of-jail
card, and go down to the local hole-in-the-
wall to withdraw the funds to pay your fne.
You are under arrest, and cannot leave the
premises. A nearest and dearest usually has
to come and get you released, armed with
the requisite cash to pay the now prohibitive
over-speeding fnes - usually, I am told, in
the region of Kshs. 20,000/- (US$ 235).
All of this will spoil your day, that's for sure; a
six-hour proccess is the norm.
Is this right? I'd say not. By rights, you should
be issued with a speeding ticket detailing
your purported discretion. The Traffc Act
allows you to plead guilty or appear in court
within a certain time frame. But not to be
summarily arrested and incarcerated and
treated like a common criminal. Speeding is
not a criminal act - end of story.
ThIs is not a pretty picture.
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