Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tourism's 'volunteer army' helping Qld

'While they will never be as famous as Queensland’s marvellous 'mud army”, the state’s network of 124 accredited Visitor Information Centres (VICs) is ready to help our tourism industry recover after a challenging summer.
Queensland Information Centres Association (QICA) President Greg Realf said the thousands of Queenslanders who volunteered regularly at their local visitor centre were a “volunteer army” ready, willing and able to contribute towards Queensland’s tourism recovery.
“The best way to help our industry recover is to plan a Queensland holiday,” said Mr Realf. “Our trained staff are passionate and knowledgeable about their local regions, so you can’t go wrong if you contact the accredited centre in the region you are thinking of visiting.”
Despite several centres, including those in Esk, Rockhampton and Emerald being completely inundated during the recent floods, the entire network was now fully up and running, according to Mr Realf.
“Our Esk VIC operated out of their front window after the initial clean up after the flood while the Fernvale VIC was used as an evacuation centre then a community recovery centre.
“The network is now completely back to normal and our VIC volunteers and staff are very keen to help with inquiries from anyone thinking of visiting their respective regions or planning a holiday in Queensland.
“Our trained staff is able to offer free, personal advice to travellers and complement this information with brochures and maps, most of them for no charge,” he said.
There are 124 Accredited Visitor Information Centres throughout Queensland – just look out for the blue and yellow italicised ‘í’ sign. Staffed by friendly, professional and trained people with extensive local knowledge, they can provide reliable information on attractions, activities and events, make bookings for accommodation or sightseeing tours, and give up-to-the-minute advice on travel in the area. Visit www.queenslandholidays.com.au/vics to print out a map of the centres and take it with you on your travels. This site also provides links to local information.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I saw Mysore

Having a day mooching around Mysore. Went out early this morning but just the first flush of traffic and a few wandering cows about - nothing happens until 10am. Found a new four-storey supermarket - where a couple of packets of crisps would cost the same as week's wages for some poor bugger in the paddy fields. And what about the biscuits?
There were three aisles and several baskets of packet biscuits - shame, the Indians have such splendid teeth.
Palaces, guesthouses and mansions that were the vanity of the Maharajahs and British entitlement are now run down with unkempt gardens - most are now schools, training colleges and educational facilities here in the lovely city of Mysore - education for the masses? Those folk in the past wouldn't have been amused!
Tomorrow the train to Chennai, one day there and return to Sydney - will I find it unusual that there are no cows at the bus stop, that an elephant is not wandering through a temple shopping arcade, that there will be no men lined up along any fence structure existing having a pee in public? Funny how the abnormal quickly becomes the normal - that's India for you.
The happy snaps are: me at a bus stop; a new, innovative public toilet and a few of the well-travelled Brits on a tea shop stop at the bottom of the Nilgiri Hills.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On the road again, Indian style

Bussed it from outside Tanjore today, with a big lunch stop along the way for a typical Tamil banquet of excellent vegetarian nicey spicy dishes. An old temple was another stop - yes, more temples, but it had been used as an ancient tribe's place of worship, the tribe disappeared and the locals took it on as their own - strange ceramic statues of the deity's protectors. Wonderful sight of equine sentinels, broken, busted, solid, painted - all on form too. Arrived in Mandurai late this afternoon and catching up with blogging etc. I've just flicked through 92 TV channels - they love their TV in southern India.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Travelling around southern India

Well, India might be the IT centre of the universe but trying to get a plug to fit my computer, and download my pictures is more than difficult. I have loaded a picture of the resort I'm in today. Been here two nights with day visits to temples of unimaginable imagination - centuries old and putting the pyramids in a shadow the temple in Tanjore is big and is named 'the big temple', roads are teeth clenching dangerous, no hits yet though. Cars, trucks, bicycles, motor bikes and scooters, bullock driven wagons, goats, cows, people all vie for their piece of road to be transported on - and it's usually a narrow rural road. Getting my head round India as it's my first visit. Love the food, hate the service, love the countryside, hate the mountains of rubbish that lines the road and frames the background scenery - love the kids,love the immaculate appearance of nearly everyone - as they sail through the debris of modern living - the plastic bag has much to answer for . . . this is early days of my journey, hopefiully there will be better images if I can just get technical somewhere . . .
I'm at Paradise Resort, Darasuram Kumbakonam. Visit; www.paradiseresortindia.com