In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
Airlines ‘risking lives of those with allergies’
The failure of airlines to cater for the needs of travellers with nut allergies is placing lives at risk, a study has warned.
Of all modes of transport air travel is particularly dangerous for sufferers due to inconsistent information given the to cabin crew, the UK’s Daily Mail reported.
The experiences of 32 passengers with a nut allergy were tracked in a study published in the journal Clinical and Translational Allergy.
One passenger told how they were given a walnut salad despite informing the airline of their allergy.
Another said a flight attendant stroked their arm and muttered “poor you” after they had explained people were not allowed to eat nuts around them.
Hazel Gowland, co-author of the study and a member of the organisation Allergy Action, said a lot needed to be done to protect those with nut allergies.
“Inconsistency is a problem and it is going to take a complete and independent overhaul to overcome it,” she said.
“Policies available or explained to staff may not be implemented in practice, special meals are often not available or suitable for the particular passenger and flight crews don’t always remember or implement the company’s best practice.”
Dr Jane Lucas, a respiratory and allergy specialist at Southampton General Hospital, UK, said airlines need to take responsibility for the well-being of their customers.
Disaster tourism angers New Orleans residents
Authorities in New Orleans are attempting to stop tourism in the city’s Lower Ninth Ward, one of the districts hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina, following complaints by residents.
The 2005 disaster spawned an unexpected tourism industry, with operators guiding curious visitors around the neighbourhood, much of which remains desolate.
Although authorities prohibited the tour buses from entering the district in 2006 to prevent them from interfering with rebuilding work, residents claimed the ban was not being enforced.
A growing number of complaints have now prompting the city’s council to act, with operators being stopped and fined in recent weeks.
“We’re fed up and tired of them coming through the neighbourhood like we’re some sideshow,” Vanessa Gueringer, a lifelong Lower 9th Ward resident, told the Associated Press. “After all the suffering we have been through, we deserve more respect than this.”
Around 30 companies offer tours of the Lower Ninth Ward, charging visitors around $25 each, and some are seeking to have the ban reversed.
Ernest Charbonnet, a city councillor, was due to meet with firms and residents today to discuss the possibility of allowing a limited number of buses to return. Some residents are even believed to welcome the tours, as they feel the attention attracts more financial aid, and a few local entrepreneurs have even sought to profit by selling sweets and souvenirs to passengers.
Tourism has also developed at the sites of other tragedies in recent years.
Maldives accessible at modest prices
These may see more than 500,000 foreign visitors a year, but almost all of them overlook the capital Male, a dense grid of narrow bustling streets that covers the whole of one small island.
There is no room for the airport, which instead occupies all of an adjacent island shaped like an aircraft carrier, and at which most visitors make direct connections with seaplanes or speedboats and continue straight to a resort for a few days’ roasting in reliable sunshine.
But joining local people for the brief crossing of a narrow stretch of water on a wallowing wooden ferry is one of the planet’s more pleasant airport shuttle journeys, and this can be the start of a fully independent tour that includes both relaxation and real Maldivian life for a fraction of the cost of an all-inclusive resort package.
Male’s streets are thronged with two-stroke traffic, and everything is within about 10 minutes’ walk of everything else, although there are also taxis waiting to take you to guesthouse or hotel for around $2.
The key sights are the cavernous National Museum with its exhibition of archaeological bric-a-brac, piratical pistols and the former possessions of assorted Sultans. Nearby stands the 450-year-old Friday Mosque with its elegantly carved tombs, whose freestanding lighthouse-like minaret is the nation’s most recognisable monument.
Time can be pleasantly whiled away at the Sea House cafe-restaurant above the main ferry terminal with views across the low-rise roofscape, tousle-headed palms, and brilliant tropical foliage. Here’s where The Maldives’ foreign diplomats, aid workers and airline staff – the only people able to find the access staircase tucked away at the rear – eye each other up over iced-coffee or watch assorted craft squeeze through the tiny harbour’s narrow mouth just below.
In the afternoons an ancient wooden ferry, cheerfully painted in red, green, and yellow departs from another terminal on the opposite side of the island, shouldering its way between similar rocking vessels before increasing the engine note to a roar and sliding from turquoise shallows to sea of a deeper blue.
A wild goose barnacle chase
No other shellfish takes you closer to a feeling of actually eating the sea, says Charlie Skelton.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to eat a goose barnacle. And contrary to popular opinion, the wrong way is to eat it is in Galicia.
The goose barnacles of Galicia are prized worldwide – songs are sung along the Costa da Morte to the glory of the percebes and the bravery of the percebeiros who risk a rocky death to bring their catch to the plates of gastronomic pilgrims. But the glory comes at a price. Jostle your way to the front of a Galician fishmarket and you can pay upwards of a hundred euros for a kilo of barnacles, if you’re fool enough.
Or you can jump on a budget flight to Lisbon, drive 40 minutes up the coast to the unfashionable seaside town of Nazaré, and glut yourself on goose barnacles for a fifth of the cost: six euros for a 300g dose, and another euro for a glass of vinho verde. The food of the gods at recession prices. The barnacles of the Silver Coast may not be as gloriously rotund as their Galician rivals, but they’re every bit as sweet.
The goose barnacle has to be one of the most beautiful foods on the planet. The bright enamelled head with its ruby lips sits atop a snakeskin sleeve which pulls away to reveal a glossy, lucent finger of flesh, marbled and grey at the neck, bright orange at the tip. They’re the punks of the crustacean family. They thrive in violent waters, in their leathery jackets and studded collars, their heads a shock of colour.
You can pick up an imported bag of barnacles at some of the larger fish markets in the UK (like Billingsgate), but they’re better eaten in sight of the rocks they’ve been scraped off. I recently spent a long weekend chasing these gaudy morsels around the bars and restaurants of Nazaré, which is a thoroughly Portuguese holiday resort – hardly a British accent in earshot.
An awkward jumble of a town with a less than lovely sprawl of apartment blocks to the south, Nazaré hasn’t done much to trouble the pages of the travel guides despite having a fabulous beach, a really charming older uptown and more seafood restaurants than you could chew through in a month. Impossibly narrow alleys are packed with bars serving cockles, crabs and clams.