SCOTCH EGG ON FACE
TOURISM slogans are funny old things but DepartureLounge is much amused (and simultaneously appalled) by Tourism Scotland’s latest effort. After enlisting Scotland’s top advertising brains and spending the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the tartan bureaucracy has come up with . . . wait for it: Welcome to Scotland.
The slogan will replace airport signs proclaiming Scotland to be ‘‘ the best small country in the world’’ (so there, Vatican City, Monaco, Nauru and co). That junked slogan, to Lounge ’ s mind, may smack of cringe but is several steps ahead of other new grab-phrases that are apparently part of a signboard sweep of Scottish towns and regions, including Home of Europe’s Fastest Growing Life Sciences Community.
Unsurprisingly, the Conservative Opposition has gone on the attack. Gavin Brown, the Opposition enterprise spokesman, has said: ‘‘ Next, (First Minister) Alex Salmond will be telling us this is the best small slogan in the world.’’
After many years of traipsing the globe and peering through her glasses in disbelief at posters and signs proclaiming Jewel of the East (or west, north or south, depending where one is standing at the time), Lounge ’ s favourite slogan remains the one she encountered in the southern Indian city of Mysore about 20 years ago. ‘‘ If this is your first visit to our city,’’ it read, ‘‘ you are most welcome to it.’’
At least there is a lovely logic at play there, unlike in the US state of Washington. Tourism consultants fattened their wallets there with SayWA (pronounced wahhh), until a public outcry demanded Washington State Tourism pull it. Please don’t anyone tell Western Australia there’s an as-new slogan going cheap.
HERE’S an African outing that has a ring of Precious Ramotswe to it. Alexander McCall Smith’s No 1 lady detective — she of traditional build and old-style values — would surely approve of Bench International’s new range of ‘‘ gentle adventure packages’’ in Africa for ladies only. Included in the mix is an 11-day tour that includes gorilla-tracking in Uganda.
Such wild encounters are not necessarily ladylike, however, as anyone would attest who had viewed Lounge at large in Tanzania’s Mahale Mountains National Park about this time last year. Lounge was chimping at the time and a combination of steep slopes, slippery ground and poor balance meant an unscheduled slide down from the jungle, in the manner of tobogganing without the toboggan. Lounge was heard to screech words not taught her by her mother and Mr Lounge was forced to gag her with the nearest khaki cravat.
The Bench International experiences are limited to small groups and sound like enormous fun. Chances of encountering Lounge therein are very small, which could be a bonus for many. www.benchinternational.com.au
IT has been six months since News Limited, publisher of TheAustralian, launched its One Degree campaign to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Myriad initiatives have been implemented during that period but, in the festive mood, it’s appropriate to pass on One Degree’s list of simple ways to reduce the environmental impact of Christmas.
1. Recycle Christmas paper from year to year.
2. Deposit Christmas cards and torn wrapping paper in your recycling bin or a Cards for Planet Ark box at supermarkets.
3. Consider the volume of packaging associated with the gifts and food you purchase this Christmas and reduce where possible.
4. Use energy-efficient LED Christmas lights, which last up to 100 times longer than incandescent bulbs, and use less than 10 per cent of the power.
5. Turn off Christmas lights each night before going to bed or use a timer.
6. If holding a party, opt for reusable rather than disposable cutlery, plates and glassware; recycle disposable products that must be used.
After all that, you really can tell Santa you have been very good indeed.
THAT fabulous pop-up production, Sydney’s St George OpenAir Cinema, is back in 2008, kicking off on Friday, January 11, with TheJaneAustenBook Club adapted from Karen Joy Fowler’s wellreceived novel of the same name.
Located at Mrs Macquarie’s Point, with deep views back to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the 350sq mscreen rises on a slow hydraulic system to stand three storeys high. From Lounge’s past experiences perched up in the grandstand with a wickedly good Pat and Stick’s ice cream sandwich, this moment invariably is accompanied by whoops from the audience and the mad flapping of circling fruit bats.
There’s a restaurant and Chandon bar on site and, as in past years, the cinema’s head honcho Rob Bryant has secured Australian premiere rights for opening night; also featured on the diverse agenda for the 34-night run are DeathataFuneral , TheKiteRunner and premieres that include Juno , CharlieWilson’sWar and the French hit Moliere. Tickets go on sale next Tuesday at 9am. But be quick; 34 of the 2007 season’s 35 films were sell-outs. 136 100 or www.stgeorge.com.au/openair. ■ LOUNGE loathes: Department store shopper rage. What examples are being set for young children when there is unseemly pushing, shoving and muttered threats even at Santa’s Cave? ■ LOUNGE loves: Cunard Line’s latest liner, Queen Victoria, has been officially named and launched by she who would be queen, HRH the Duchess of Cornwall. The 90,000-tonne, 2000-passenger ship, second in size to QM2 in the Cunard fleet, sets sail on its maiden world voyage on January 6. Billed as ‘‘ the youngest ocean liner ever to visit Australia’’, Queen Victoria will arrive in Melbourne on February 21, Sydney on February 23, Brisbane on February 26 and Port Douglas on February 29. On February 24, there will a royal rendezvous with sister ship QE2 in Sydney Harbour. www.cunardline.com.au. ■ FIND of the week: The new spa at Mirvac’s Cairns International Hotel has received an excellence award for best Li’tya spa facility. Australian product range Li’tya is based on Aboriginal and native bush healing remedies and ingredients and has been a success story in spas across the world. To celebrate its win, the Cairns International Hotel is offering a rejuvenation package from $390 a person twin share that includes two nights in a premium harbour view room, buffet breakfasts and extras such as a relaxation massage for two; valid to September 30. www.cairnsinternational.com.au. DEALS OF THE WEEK Double savings on flights to China; cutprice Thailand; early discounts on Middle East and African tours; say hello to Dubai with a free night. These and other money-saving offers are featured in Travel&Indulgence’s holiday deals, updated daily, which can be found via our upgraded and direct link.