Itchee Feet’s highlights and lowlights for 2011

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We’ve had some wonderful experiences this year… 5 highlights are:

  1. WOMADELAIDE! This wonderful world music festival is so family friendly. We had a brilliant time.
  2. Shanghai Pudong International Airport: Family queues at immigration, the amazing child-play centre, the storage areas, its cleanliness, convenience, and fabulous transport system outside… including the mind-bending Maglev train. This is one airport that helps families while they travel.
  3. House-sitting: We discovered the joy of house-sitting and house exchange. So much better than a pokey hotel.
  4. The Tokyo International Book Fair. What a fabulous event this was. We had so much fun and met so many wonderful people. We hope to make the TIBF an annual event.
  5. Lennox Head, NSW. We adore this jewel of a town, and Lake Ainsworth is RIOT’s all-time favourite place to swim.

5 lowlights in no particular order.

  1. The nuclear disaster in Japan. There were very few tourists in Tokyo while we were there, and every Japanese we spoke to was so worried about the long-term impact of the radiation.
  2. Air China: Overall, Air China wasn’t a bad airline, and I wouldn’t have a problem flying with them again. But there was no beer on our flight from Tokyo to Beijing. (SHOCK!) Seriously! OK, I exaggerate. There was one can of beer. ONE. I asked for a beer, the flight attendant marched off, then returned with one can and two cups. “That’s all” she snapped. “What do you mean, that’s all?” I asked. “One can, that’s all here.” So either there was only one can on the plane, or she felt the Other Foot and I shouldn’t drink… but either way it sucked.
  3. Qantas. Late and cancelled flights. No proper care for unaccompanied minors (they didn’t lose ours, but forgot to feed him). Plus all their other dramas. C’mon Qantas… we’re still loyal but you’re making it difficult.
  4. That cabin right next to a cemetery…
  5. The WORST hotel we’ve stayed at, possibly ever, was the Stanford Hotel in Adelaide. We booked it for a birthday getaway, and expected a kid-free sleep in. BEFORE 7am, we were woken by a jackhammer sound. We called front desk and were told by someone, who was INCREDIBLY rude, that we weren’t the first people to complain and that it was renovations. All our complaints fell on deaf ears. We emailed later to ask why we hadn’t been warned in advance, and received no reply. We contacted the Stanford numerous times and FINALLY got a rather terse response, with the offer of a late checkout next time we stay with them. As if that will ever happen.