THE GOLDEN DAYS OF THE FLYING BOAT

I rather like the banner for my articles page of my new website tamarathiessen.com even if apparently Old English (Fraktur) text – )the Hot Off The Press bit in this header) went out of fashion with the Nazis. Highly decorative and at times impossible to read – I did improve the readability by changing the font away from capitals. After all a website is all about ‘transparency’ … but not to the point of being boring!

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Look … it’s a bird, it’s a boat, it’s an airoplane!

But it’s all these vintage travel posters I came across while searching just that, which I love. My stories are as globetrotting as myself – I write and photograph for the inflight publications of some 20 different airlines and counting … (even when the occasional one falls out of the sky …sorry that’s not on I know but there will be no naming names … )  So naturally I am besotted with everything about travel – and travel history. I am equally fascinated by it because it is my sole and such a vital lifeline connecting me with the outer world from my end of the world island of Tasmania.

In truth I am actually a travel writer who is terrified deep down of air travel … go figure …but this will have to be the subject of another blog.

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A 14 day long mid-flight tête-à-tête

Ah have things ever been so dependable as the good old days of the Flying Boats. These amazing contraptions initially took 13 days to fly from Rose Bay in Sydney to Southport in the UK  (please pay this a thought when you are next in the Qantas (or Ethiad or Singapore Airlines etc. executive lounge). Mini golf was one (incredibly modern) diversion, as was fishing in all the ports along the way. And there was  some kind of martini lounge where people gathered by night (night after night after night) in their fashionable pant suits.

These planes were run by Imperial Airways (from around the 1930s) who were a forerunner to Qantas. Despite the intensely excruciating length of the trip the epoch is heralded as the golden days of travel (So many hundreds and thousands of people are reluctant to do the ‘kangaroo route’ today and it only takes  24 hours! What’s a day and many gin and tonics later? It’s Australia that’s what it is …well worth the pain).

Anyway I am constaVintagePosterThePresidentPlanently getting off the point … which was? … These delightful techno-colored vintage travel ads in Time Magazine colours. Difficult to get nostalgic for such days, romance aside – in terms of the effort (and money) required. It cost a bomb to escape Australia for Europe in those days. These days it’s just a fleeting internet booking  – still exy but peanuts relatively speaking – it cost a year’s salary at least in the 1950’s so really only a reserve of the rich.

… For the Mad Men-like ads  yes, I get a little watery-eyed. For they conjure up all the lost wonder of days when going places was truly exotic. Not just a low-cost dream (a 99 cent Ryan Air online flight) but something far more difficultly attained. And in that, there was a lot of magic. Like all things hard-earned.

That said … I must go and book my coming trip home to Australia online!  The Kangaroo Route is still much more than a simple hop, skip and jump, but it’s not going to take me a fortnight to return. Can you imagine – just the packing for the journey itself – let alone the destination would require some forward planning. And you would never want to do such a lengthy trip with Brunei Airways (Brunei equals dry … It’s hard enough surviving the 10 hour flight on Royal Brunei Airlines without a drink let alone 2 weeks … then again I have smuggled on a hip flask rather successfully). Bon voyage!

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