Category Archives: Travels

Timeshare Advisory Service a Scam

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I am continually getting telephone calls from people wanting to sell me a new mobile phone, sort out my debt problems which I do not have, and buy my timeshare holiday week, even though I have used a service in the UK called The National Do-Not-Call List,  or the Call Prevention Registry, which should prevent such calls or organisations making unwanted “cold” telephone calls to me.

As soon as I hear a foreign accent, sorry to say from the Indian sub continent, and they ask for “Mrs Mee Holt“, the hairs on my neck go up, I know that they will be trying to sell me something I do not want. She never uses the shortened name “Mee” from her name Mee Len.

No you can’t. She does not live here any more.“, will only make them say, “Is that Mr Holt?

Just thinking about it makes me mad, but then I expect they can get around UK laws by calling from outside the UK.

I apologise to those working in the call centers making these calls, I know I am rude to you and I cut you off. Sorry, I know you have a job to do and want to make money, earn a living, but I do not want to speak to you.

I also sometimes get telephone calls from people who want to buy the timeshare week. I wrote about one company Alpha Group Resales who sounded very convincing in their sales patter or talk. (see article).

They give a reference of the Timeshare Advisory Service and a telephone number. I wonder if when the number is called, it ends up in the same office as Alpha Group Resales or whatever name they are operating under now.

I still notice after a number of years, people are landing on my web site article after searching on Timeshare Advisory Service in a search engine, so the scam still seems to being used.

To operate this scam, taking a large sum of money at the outset by credit card, to register the sellers name and cover administration costs, the seller enters into a contract which contains a clause saying that if the seller ends or cancels the contract, the initial sum will be forfeited. Obviously, there are no buyers for the timeshare, and thus the buyer cancels the contract or arrangement with the company operating the scam, and looses their initial deposit.

I cannot understand how these people can sleep at night, knowing that the next day they are going to sell something to people that they do not want it, advertising space, search engine placement, listings in telephone books and directories, a name of a potential buyer who does not exist.

The credit card companies know that these scams exist, they must get hundreds of calls of complaints, yet they continue to let these companies trade and take money off unsuspecting people.

The banks must know about the scam emails, which promise untold wealth from a person who died in a plane crash, or from a military person who found a box of millions of dollars in the middle of the desert whilst fighting in Iraq and wants to share it.  Why don’t they stop the unsuspecting public transferring money abroad to these people?

Worldwide government agencies know about these scams, why don’t they do something to stop it?

Oh Poo Poo, am I sounding like a grumpy old man?

Life is so hard and unfair.

Now read I don’t believe it

Water under Tower Bridge in London

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It was a cold, crisp evening as I stood near to Traitors Gate of the Tower of London, looking down the River Thames at a wonderful view of Tower Bridge.

Tower Bridge, London, seen from The Tower of London, Traitors Gate

As I stood there, I wondered how many times had the bascules had been opened, the central section which has two sections swinging up and down, to allow shipping to pass up and down stream.

I wondered how many people had left London on journeys to other parts of the world, sometimes never to return, sometimes to return to a different London they had left, as London is continually changing.

I wondered for how many people this was their last sight as they went to beheaded, but then realised that Tower Bridge was opened in 1894, and the last beheading at the Tower of London was nearly 300 years earlier in 1601, one Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, and the last execution being by firing squad in 1941 of a German spy Josef Jakobs.

I watched the flow if the River Thames, as the water was flowing back up stream from the Thames Estuary, flowing under the bridge as the tide was rising, just like the River Thames has always done bringing back travelers and people with memories of far off places and experiences. 

I could not wait in the cold night air to see the water change direction to flow downstream, washing away the dirty water, the drift wood, the flotsam and jetsam. I had a warm home to get back to.

There is a saying “water under the bridge“, which means referring or looking back at past experiences, good or bad, which we have decided to or should have forgotten, to have left behind us.

Perhaps looking at way the flow of the River Thames under Tower Bridge is a better idiom or metaphor, for as past experiences are washed away, the tide brings them back once again, but there is even more fresh water from upstream which will eventually wash away the dirty water, the memories.

What a difference a day makes

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Although I have traveled to Milan in Italy, I have not ventured from the Concorde hotel where I am giving PhotoReading and Mind Mapping iMindMap courses, it is an enjoyable time,as I take participants from unconscious incompetence towards unconscious competence.

The participants visibly get more confidence and better with each hour, and the difference after a nights sleep is very evident.

It has not only been the participants who have changed but also the weather.

Arriving early Thursday morning, to a little snow in the air, to cold rain on Friday and Saturday, this Sunday morning there is not a cloud in the sky. Now for Rome tonight.


View from the Concorde Milano

Synchronicity, I found another lost friend

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In his book Synchronicity, Joseph Jaworski tells his story, his journey of life, and he describes the coincidences that occurred for example meeting and marrying his wife, how things are actually connected, or as C.G. Jung’s book title says, “Synchronicity, An Acausal Connecting Principle“.

Synchronicity is defined as a meaningful coincidence of two or more events, where something other than the probability of chance is involved. (Jung – Synchronicity, An Acausal Connecting Principle).

I had to return to the Penang Adventist Hospital to pick-up my results from a CT Scan and on the return journey home, we diverted to a new shopping complex on the island of Penang, the Queensbay Shopping Mall, the largest and best in Penang giving wonderful views to Penang’s Bridge. (click for other views)

Penang Bridge in the far distance (Jambatan Pulau Pinang in Malay), among the longest bridges in the World.

Parking the car in the open air potholed earthen car park, it was a joy to walk into a modern cool air conditioned complex and the first shop that caught my eye was Borders (MY). My favourite bookshop in the UK which had closed down just before Christmas, here in PenangBorders (MY) are very much in business.

Borders book shop
Queensbay Mall, Penang

I am sorry, but I had to visit the store. The set-up, the layout, the whole shop had the same atmosphere as those that had closed the doors only a month ago in the UK.

It was like meeting a long lost friend, I was excited, overjoyed, like a child in a toy shop.

Wondering around the bookshelves I felt at home, the sections were the same, and I kept my eyes open for anything of interest, especially for books published by Prion, who bring together books of a nostalgic literature, Biggles, Sherlock Holmes, King Solomons Mines, books I should have read when I was a boy.

It was like putting on my favourite pair of shoes.

I did not find any books by Prion, but out of the whole shop of Borders (MY), three books jumped out at me from the book shelves, I was drawn to them. It was as if a hand from above had led me to these books above any other books in the shop, they caught my eye, they stood out. They did not have any eye catching features, they were just books, but they had something special for me.

Was I using Phillip’s Sausage? I wonder?

Why was I drawn to one book in particular?

This book may save my life. This book has given me a deeper understanding of a subject that I will write about soon, enough knowledge that I can talk with the experts, to be able discuss the subject, and, understand what they are talking about.

Thank goodness for PhotoReading.

Synchronicity happens to me all the time. Why was I to go to the Queensbay Shopping Mall? Why was I sitting in the waiting room in the Penang Adventist Hospital? Why did the Doctor in Gaziantep with Bells Palsy attend my NLP course and after 32 years of zero (0) movement in one side of her face now have 80% muscle movement and control?

As Jaworski says, “the world is not fragmented but fundamentally connected”. We should open our eyes and awareness to see the world as one of relatedness, of interconnections, and not as individuality, as separate thingness.

I find My Friend John, or is it a new friend?

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Last year whilst visiting Bukit Mertajam, my home in Malaysia, I found and lost a friend, not a close one, we never talked or had physical contact, but I felt a friend. read

After a bad nights sleep, the heat and the high humidity is sometimes too much for me but not for the rest of the family who live permanently in Malaysia, I walked around my garden in the early morning sun.

I then met my friend, or was it another. They all look the same to me.

What a loverly looking face, kind, warm and loving, it seems to be smiling at me as it watches me, watching it, watching me.

Malaysian Lizard, smiling at me in Bukit Mertajam

I cannot find a proper name for the species, so please inform me if you know, until then I will call it “My Friend John“.

Malaysian Lizard, My Friend John

Breakfast in the Marmara Suadiye Istanbul

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Not to make anyone jealous, but this morning I had a fantastic breakfast in my apartment here in the Marmara Suadiye Residence on the Asian side of the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

Um, I can’t wait until tomorrow morning for a memorable start of the day.

Breakfast in the Marmara Suadiye, Bagdat Street, Istanbul

A bath with a different view, Istanbul

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Today I find myself in Istanbul, having meetings, giving presentations to staff and teachers, interviews with the press, eating and a little sleep.

I am staying in an apartment on the Asian side of the Bosphorus in Istanbul on Bagat Street  THE MARMARA SUADİYE. This residence comprises of 32 furnished apartments, with mine on the 11th floor, with views of the sea and three islands and the Bosphorus, with all the shipping and ferries taking goods and people to various places. Oh, how I enjoy this city of Istanbul, it is alive, and the ferry crossing is a joy.

And here in the apartment with its’ large lounge and kitchen, massive bed, I could need a search party to find me if I over sleep to find me in the bed, plus a bathroom with a view.

The large sitting area and kitchen in the Marmara Suadiye, Istanbul

I can relax in a warm bath, with views over Istanbul, and flowers to keep me comfortable. Just luxury, and a pity I have to work.

Flowers in the bathroom of the Marmara Suadiye, Istanbul

Getting to Rome from Fiumicino Airport

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Rome’s Airport, sometimes known as Leonardo da Vinci Airport, is still referred to by its old name – Fiumicino, after the city it’s near, an it is said taking the train to Termini Station in Rome is easy.

There is  quick walk from the airports arrivals to the rail station, but for an average traveler with a suitcase, multiple escalators can prove a handicap.

I arrived at the airport from London with British Airways, and needed to get to the NH hotel Leonardo Di Vinci hotel in Via dei Gracchi to start the  PhotoReading and Mind Mapping course, and had little time.

I went to the ticket office and purchased the 11 Euro ticket and asking the ticket clerk when was the next non stop shuttle train (well not at stations) into Rome.

“In the next minute“, came the reply, “platform two.

With a large suitcase, full of the bits and pieces I need to give the course, plus my computer, I raced to platform two to get on the Leonardo Express shuttle train which leaves every half hour in each direction.

My mind was set on getting that shuttle train, especially as you have to climb four steps onto the train, and with a heavy suitcase this is not easy.

As I got inside the carriage the doors closed and off we went.

Soon after leaving the station on a graffiti covered train the ticket inspector came down the carriage, and I happily handed him my ticket. That is where my trouble started.

“This ticket is not valid.” I was told.

But I had just brought it.

I had not validated it, and was fined 50 Euro’s, and my ticket was canceled, so the whole journey cost 66 Euro’s.

Yes, my fault, I had not read the ticket.

How many people actually read the ticket?

I had in the past been told about validation of tickets by Elena my Italian translator, but my mind was set on the single task of catching the train.

The validating machines are not that noticeable, and I cannot recall any signs informing people to validate tickets. Yes they are yellow.

Trenitalia’s ticket validating machine, do it, or be fined 50 Euro, you have been warned.

How many tourists, business people, travelers get caught out by not validating tickets, not knowing Trenitalia’s system?

Why don’t they have a validating machine within the carriages like they have on the public buses in Bologna?

On arrival back in the UK, I told my story to the taxi driver, plus the story of Tranitalia’sFirst Class Standing” ticket (click to read), and his reply confirmed that many people get caught out and fined.

You have been warned. Have you been caught out?

Carpe Diem. My work starts off again in earnest

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There are some situations one can plan for, and some we can not.

Sometime times we plan ahead for what we presuppose will occur. It could be for a business meeting, a presentation, a meal with friends, a date with a loved one, a wedding, our health, our future.

How often does what we plan happen as we planned for it to happen? Rarely, as so many outside forces influences the outcome, beyond our control.

Not even Darren Brown, a mentalist, a magician, an illusionist, a hypnotist, a person who has studied NLP, and has now become a television personality performing the most amazing feats at this time on TV weekly, can predict the future. A couple of weeks ago on “live” TV he predicted the results of all numbers drawn in the UK Lottery. How did he do it? Well, as I said he is a mentalist, a magician, an illusionist, a hypnotist, a person who has studied NLP, and an illusionlist.

I remember being on a TV program by Granada and Discovery TV, Extraordinary People, commenting on another performer Jess Rose, and his performance was amazing, yet predicable. That is to say, I still do not know how Darren Brown does what he does so well.

I too do not know what will be happening in the coming weeks.

I will be in Milan, Italy, from Thursday till Sunday, presenting a PhotoReading and Mind Mapping course at the Concorde Hotel, and the following week in Rome giving the same courses to another set of participants.

I have a plan of what I am going to do, what I am going to teach and present to them, and I am preparing and planing the trip.

Already, things are not going to plan.

I have heard my normal translator will not be with me, and who will be my new person, I have no idea. I have no idea of how good they will be, or have they worked with me before.

My laminating machine I use to prepare a handout has finally gone to the scrapheap in the sky, halfway through producing the final product.

I have hoped to have heard from people so I can plan for future dates, but the telephone stays silent.

Poo Poo happens and will always happen.

Am I disheartened? No.

Slightly unhappy? Yes.

Poo Poo happens, so there is only one way forward, accept it and get on with solving the problem with joy and fun.

Both my sister-in-law and her husband in Malaysia have cancer of the liver and stomach. The prognosis is not good, in fact the end is very near.

The husband has given up, and has done for some time. Yes he is very ill, but he does not help himself, expecting other people to do the fetching and carrying, his wife has taken the same attitude.

It is a big struggle to get the sister-in-law to do things for herself, not to give up. To get out into the garden to see the beauty of the flowers, to listen to the songs of tropical birds, to hear and watch the ever changing heavy tropical rain storm.

Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Enjoy the day. We do not know what will happen.

So, I am looking forward to starting my next tour of many countries, meeting new people and old friends and challenges.

I am planning ahead, but will have to make adjustments, like going to buy a new laminater, which I can do with a smile on my face and happiness in my heart.

So where ever you are in this small world of ours, enjoy what we have now. Be kind to yourself and to others. What you give out, you will get back.