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not so old china hand

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not so old china hand last won the day on October 28 2017

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About not so old china hand

  • Birthday April 5

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  1. My recent experiences have not been too bad. Terminal 3 has had a makeover and had at least one comfortable coffee shop open 24 hours the last time I had an early flight from there (2016). As I mentioned a couple of months ago Philippine Airlines have a transit lounge in Terminal 2 for those using PAL on international flights with a stopover in Manila. This has comfortable armchairs in a room that is well-lit if one wishes to read, a darkened room with loungers for those that wish to sleep and showers. In my case I was also given a voucher for breakfast that could be used in a coffee shop in the departure area.
  2. In the UK and, AFAIK, most European countries you can reclaim VAT on purchases from major shops if the goods are being taken out of the EU area. I did this a few years ago when I purchased half a dozen shirts from Marks and Spencer. Most stores have a minimum purchase amount (typically £100). When you make the purchase you tell the shop assistant that you will be travelling outside the EU and ask for a VAT invoice. The process you follow is well documented but two key points to keep-in-mind are: 1) The goods need to be shown to Customs when you depart (so keep them separate from your checked baggage). 2) The agent that reimburses you will charge a fee so you will get back less than you expect.
  3. I've been fully retired for seven or eight months. Now I wonder how I ever found the time to work. (OK I know it's been said before but I'm finding it to be true).
  4. Men have always been vulnerable in a situation where it is their word against hers. My grandfather would never enter a compartment on a train if the only occupant was a woman. Sorry Fred Drift. To go back to the original point, on several occasions when staying with a family in the Philippines one of the pre-teen daughters has been sent out with me to act as a guide and translator. Other times I have taken children to the beach. It's sad comment on the times that such innocent behaviour could lead to major problems if someone holds a grudge (perhaps not even directly against me but against the family).
  5. I would also suggest the Wild Orchid. The times I have stayed there ( 2015/2016) they had special offers on standard rooms if you paid cash: 3,000 peso a night from memory. The pool-side rooms are more but very nice if you wish to splash-out (pun intended). JMO but I would not bother with the beach-side rooms which are across the road from the main hotel complex. If you take a standard room ask if you can compare rooms since there is considerable variation in size. I stayed in Subiza for a couple of nights when it was still Sheevens. It was OK but had too many niggling points against it: including the fact that my room opened onto a gallery that was a designated smoking area with people holding loud conversations late at night. Another niggling point with the room was the light switch was positioned such that one had to get out of bed to turn the light on or off: annoying if like me you like to read before sleeping.
  6. Unless things have changed there is a huge variation in expectations in Europe. At one extreme is France where 17.5% is the expectation on everything. Even the person who hires out rowing boats in the park expects their obligatory pourboir.
  7. I think that Dave is worried that there will be a problem passing through the security checks within the transfers area if he does not have an onward boarding pass. My only suggestion is to print out your itinerary (CP used to be sticklers for printed evidence of an onward flight from the Philippines) the online receipt for your booking, and a boarding pass (if you can). At HKIA airlines usually have ground staff waiting by the arrivals gate to assist with transfers. I would show them what you have and ask for their advice. My experience (albeit with Cathay Pacific and Air China ground staff) is they are helpful and know the workings of the airport well. If you do have to exit and re-enter the good news is that they seem to have streamlined the immigration process for visitors at HKIA. In April I visited HK from Beijing with a Mongolian friend. She got through Immigration almost as quickly as I passed through the e-channel with my HK identity card (although YMMV).
  8. Hi Dave, I have used them on and off for well over ten years and I have always found them completely reliable. As with all online sites, sometimes they offer the best prices and sometimes not. They are a huge company, dominating the vast market in China, and by internet standards, well established (1998 or thereabouts).
  9. Good to know. I will certainly double-check after booking with them in the future. To go back to the original question of whether booking sites do give the best deal I have just looked at the hotel's own site. It claims the cheapest rates since "there is no middleman to pay". Their price is the most expensive of the three. On the other hand it can be cancelled at no charge and so is not 100% comparable to the other two. I have stayed in this hotel a couple times this year. When I stayed there back in April I booked the hotel through Ctrip and then needed to extend for another night. The hotel told me that they could not match the booking site's price since "it was a special deal". Needless to say the booking site had no more rooms available for the extra night so I ended up paying the hotel's price. However they still gave me a healthy discount on the rack-rate.
  10. I have just been looking at hotels in Hong Kong on both Ctrip and Booking.com. Both sites show the total price including taxes before the payment is made. Admittedly both show the price before tax in large characters and the total price in smaller characters but the information is clearly there. I have just compared their prices for the same hotel (a superior room in the Charterhouse Causeway Bay) and Ctrip is HKD115 cheaper. Both are non-refundable deals so it looks as if the offers are directly comparable. Booking.com does say they will match a lower offer but I would not hold my breath on that one...
  11. IMHO this is like any other purchase on the internet. Sometimes it will get you the lowest price but it always pays to look at alternatives. Somethimes a hotel's own website will guarentee that it will give the lowest rate available on the iternet. I have used Booking dot Com several times to book hotels in the Philippines and paid on arival at the hotel. AFAICT I paid no more than I would have paid had I booked directly. On the other hand I have booked hotels in HK through them and been asked by the hotel for immediate payment through Paypal (which for various reasons I don't use). At the moment my go-to site for both hotels and flights is Ctrip and I seem to be getting the best rates and fares from them (I have just booked a flight to Hong Kong for example).
  12. I certainly do. Based on my experience of using a 2kVa frame-mounted Honda genny: it didn't once let me down in 4 years, required the bare minimum of maintenance and always started on the first pull.
  13. "McLintock" for example? If you haven't seen the movie try a search on "Image poster John Wayne McLintock"
  14. I wonder if they were Dutch (or Danish). Most Dutch and Danish people I know are fluent in four or five languages. For example my late father-in-law spoke Dutch, German, French, English, and Bahasa Indonesia fluently. Oh yes, and Latin. When he passed away in his 90s he was studying Italian. It seems the more languages you know the easier it is to acquire another language. And, if your native language is not widely spoken you have an added incentive to learn the languages of your neighbours.
  15. My humble apologies. Next time I will see if I can sniff them out.
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