Everyone loves the idea of travelling in the 50s, the so called “golden age” of travel. But the reality was far different and a lot more dangerous.
Imagine you’re half way into your flight to London. The plane lands, the aircraft door swings open, and the intense smells of India fill the plane. You look out the window and see lights from the fires still burning at the shanties overlooking the airport.
So why do people love the idea of old fashioned travel? After all, it was a lot of time in the sky.
Is this a case of rose coloured travel glasses? Let’s go right back to 1947, when Qantas flew the kangaroo route all the way from Australia to London.
Today the flying kangaroo is flying direct from Australia’s mainland to London with no stops.
But there was a time, not so long ago, when it took 7 stops to kangaroo hop to London.
And it was a huge deal to travel, and also hard for Qantas to pull it off.
After all, landing in some of these countries was pretty complicated at the time.
So let’s take a bite of our grapefruit and pineapple cocktail – the food they served on board at the time, and go back in history.
Qantas was flying to London for the Second World War, sort of. They had a code sharing agreement from Brisbane to Singapore as early as 1935, using the de Havilland D.H.86 Express, which could seat just 10 passengers.
When the plane landed in Singapore, passengers connected to a Qantas partner, Imperial airways, which took them on to London.
But it wasn’t a 15 hour flight like it is today. It was 12 and a half days.
By 1938, Qantas had taken up more of that journey itself, and by 1947 there were as many as 6 weekly flights between Sydney and England.
The fastest route was a pacy 78 hours
And then the Kangaroo Route was born. Qantas used the Lockheed Constellations, with ten crew on board, including three pilots, one navigator, one radio operator, two flight engineers and three cabin crew.
Between them, they looked after just 29 passengers. Enough to make today’s airline accountants weep.
And if you were one of the lucky few to get a seat on board, you were pretty wealthy. The flight cost from Sydney to London was around $40,000.
But for that price, you got to see the world, literally.
Starting in Darwin, on the northern tip of the Australian island, the flight would take off bound for Singapore, then on to Calcutta, before another stop in Karachi, Cairo, Castel Benito and then Rome.
Over the following decade, Qantas was pretty experimental. Adding cities like Frankfurt, Zurich, Rome, Athens and Colombo, as other cities dropped off.
Flying to London was the experience.
Passengers loved it, and before long, competitors came for the Qantas golden goose.
BOAC was running four Britannias a week both ways, Air India flew the Super Constellation between Sydney and London, and KLM ran a super constellation between Sydney and Amsterdam.
Then came the jet age! In 1959, Qantas turned to Boeing to build an aircraft that could swoop it past the competition. And Boeing delivered, with the 707.
By now, Qantas was incorporating the Kangaroo Route into an around the world run.
With flights from Australia to the US and then on to London, in what became known as the Southern Cross route.
These were extraordinary times, and so exciting for passengers and those working in the airline industry.
By the 1970s, the 747 had changed the landscape once again. The queen of the skies could fly faster, and longer.
And with it, drastic changes to the kangaroo route.
As the planes got bigger, the routes got smaller, and the stops to places like Bombay were no longer necessary.
Airlines changed their marketing from an adventure, to speed and efficiency.
Pretty soon there was just one stop, usually in Singapore, with its air bridges and air conditioning. Replacing the local smells and sights.
Now there are heaps of airlines flying the route, from Singapore to Emirate, Etihad, Thai and British airways.
The aircraft are more sophisticated, and depending on the wind, that flight to London is now 21 hours, rather than 12 and a half days.
And pretty soon, the kangaroo route wont hop down anywhere at all, flying direct from mainland Australia to London or New York direct.
But take a minute to think back to that era when travelling was an opportunity to see the world, to learn about new cultures.
But for those of us who grew up only in the jet age, it’s nice to imagine what it was like.
Trump’s campaign debut was panned – but don’t underestimate his chances
Last weekend, Donald Trump held two events in New Hampshire and South Carolina, his first official forays onto the 2024 presidential battlefield.
The experts panned it.
A lot of the political class is talking about Trump in the past tense, and not the future, briefing out to the media that his rambling, Fidel Castro-like monologues bore his audiences silly, that his obsessions and battles with his political enemies do not have the reach they did in 2016 and during his term in office, that he is immersing himself more deeply in extremist QAnon cult waters, that he faces indictments and trials that will derail his campaign and might even put him in jail.
And more: that Trump wallows in the “stolen” 2020 election, knowing that there was no way he could have lost since he got 12 million more votes than in 2016. Trump never concedes. Six years later, he does not acknowledge that Hillary Clinton got almost 3 million more votes than Trump in 2016 – and that he won only because she lost in the Electoral College.
The telling critique – the one driving Republicans in private to say that Trump is done (or should be done, or will be done) is that Trump is a loser.
That Trump lost Republican control of the House of Representatives in 2018, bringing back Nancy Pelosi who secured not one, but two impeachments of the president; that he lost the White House in 2020; that he lost control of the Senate in January 2021 when Democrats swept both Georgia Senate seats, giving them control of that chamber; and that Trump-backed candidates in Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Arizona again cost Republicans control of the Senate in the 2022 midterms. As Vince Lombardi, legendary gridiron coach of Green Bay and Washington, said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Lombardi would say Trump was a loser.
Trump is having none of it, and his iron resolve was on full display for those listening more closely when he gave his orations last weekend.
“Maybe he’s lost his step,” Trump said in evoking the musings of some Republicans. But, “I’m more angry now, and I’m more committed than I ever was.”
The anger is palpable. The Trump 2023 brand joins his anger with the hottest culture war buttons he can press. Immigration, the open wound that is the southern border, the wall he will finish, the rapists and criminals who are flooding in and that he will keep out tomorrow. Immigration is his lead-off weapon.
Then promises of energy independence and oil forever. Utter hostility to electric vehicles and wind energy – especially if the windmills are offshore. No transgender women in sports. No way they are tolerated. A purge of woke content from school curricula, schoolbooks, school libraries, and school boards. Parents empowered to fire the principal of the schools their children attend; Trump says the parents can vote them out of their jobs.
Trump never goes far into the culture wars without conjuring up Hunter Biden, the president’s son.
Trump cannot get enough of Hunter’s laptop and the criminality of the Bidens, their business dealings and their money. We can barely follow all the Trump twists and turns in this tale, but there is no mistake that Trump wants Hunter nailed and his father to bear the consequences.
Reprising his role as Commander-in-Chief, Trump said, in case we have not been paying attention, that we are on the brink on World War III. That Ukraine would not have happened if he had been president. That we could have a peace deal “in 24 hours.” Trump wants to call Putin and knows Putin will be waiting for that call.
Trump’s great loyalist, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, was on the podium with Trump and put it this way after the event. “How many times have you heard we like Trump’s policies but we want somebody new? There are no Trump policies without Donald Trump.”
That’s the message Trump delivered to his base last weekend. And that’s how Trump intends to win.
Buried in Trump’s massive monologue was the core of what could be a winning message. “My mission is to secure a middle-class lifestyle for everyone. I did it before and I will do it again. And we will be respected in the world once again.”
Three powerful sentences which, coupled with the red meat of his anger and rage, mean that Trump is very much alive and kicking.
Leading athletes and medical experts push for medicinal cannabis in sport
Leading lawmakers, medical experts and athletes are pushing for therapeutic use of medicinal cannabis for chronic pain and injury
Basketball star Brittney Griner is one of the leading players of her generation. She jumped into the spotlight for serving a sentence for possession of cannabis oil in Russia.
It begs the question whether medicinal cannabis and athletes are a good mix. Well, many lawmakers, health experts and athletes around the world want to break down the stigmas associated with its use.
Many want to use Griner’s ordeal as motivation to change cannabis laws and therapeutic use exemptions in sports.
Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health has spoken closely with Dr. Peter Brukner who is a world-renowned Australian sports medicine clinician and researcher.
Brukner believes athletes should be able to compete in their field with medicinal cannabis because it doesn’t enhance their performance.
Brayshaw believes there are higher risks for athletes becoming addicted to anti-inflammatory and opioids. As opposed to any risks associated with taking medicinal cannabis.
He explains it enables athletes to function in a healthy way, pain free.
Overall, there is hope Griner’s case will break down stigma surrounding natural medicines and athletes.
In Australia, there are tens of thousands of new applications for medicinal cannabis every month.
There are also growing calls for countries to adopt therapeutic use exemptions in sport, including in the Australian Football League.
Why is China’s changing its strategy to handling the pandemic?
Changes to China’s COVID policies are coming thick and fast, much faster than many people anticipated given how strict the country has been in the last few years, the latest big announcement is around an app that people had to install on their phone
Then it tracked them when they travelled across the country, alerting them if they’ve been to a high risk COVID area, the government says that that app is now deactivated and people no longer have to have it installed on their phones.
It’s yet another indication of the change in China’s strategy to handling the pandemic.
We’ve seen changes related to quarantine, and also testing as well. And a real change in narrative from the authorities when talking about the virus and how dangerous it is. Now officially case numbers are dropping.
But that is largely due to the fact that much less testing is taking place, and we are seeing signs that in reality cases are surging.
There’s queues of people outside of pharmacies, queuing to get medication for colds and for fevers, and also self testing kits as well.
On social media, many people in China now saying that they have caught COVID For the first time, or that they know a number of people who have COVID When previously they didn’t know anyone at all.
So it’s clear that cases are rising, and this is coming just the month before the Chinese New Year holidays, which will take place at the end of January, traditionally a time when millions of people will travel across the country.
We would expect that to happen this year, as travel within China is now much easier.
So we would expect COVID cases to spread across the country talking to travel and is yet no sign of when the borders will open internationally.
Still very, very hard to get into China and very strict. When people do enter and the procedures they have to follow.
Maybe the government will wait and see how the first phase of reopening goes domestically, before thinking internationally?
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