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British Expat Newsletter: December 2010

Hello, and welcome to those of you who have just signed up. Many thanks to those who entered our October competitions, which closed at the end of November. The copy of Rosy Thornton’s The Tapestry of Love was won by Mike Kingdom-Hockings, who lives in France himself, while the iPod courtesy of Parcel2Go went to Chris Green in Malta. Well done to Mike and Chris, and thanks to everyone who took part!

In this issue

This month

There’s plenty of new content on the site again this month. Following on from our Singapore trip, we’ve reviewed the Robertson Quay Hotel – and our latest Pic of the Week shows a sci-fi sunrise over the city’s Marina Bay and its futuristic buildings. Daryl Yap takes us off to the islands off Sabah where they filmed the first series of the reality TV show Survivor Island. Mortgage broker Mike Jones advises expat owners of UK homes not to despair if they’re running into a brick wall trying to remortgage their property. And there’s a new quiz about weird words too.

Oh yes, and I was interviewed by Vanessa Feltz on BBC Radio London too, after the Daily Mail carried yet another story claiming that expats were all living the good life while people in the UK were all mired in misery. Of course, the truth can be very different. But you knew that already, didn’t you?

Meanwhile, by popular demand, we’re continuing with the Editorial section which was described as the highlight of the newsletter and something that people enjoyed reading.

Editorial: Commercialism at Christmas – the human face

After all the predictable annual complaints that Christmas has become an orgy of consumer indulgence, with the public’s appetites both whetted and sated by manufacturers, it’s nice to hear of one company that decided to take a slightly different approach.

Spanair’s flight from Barcelona to Las Palmas on 24 December was scheduled to land at nearly midnight, so its 190 passengers would be flying while most other people would be celebrating Christmas Eve. No big deal if you’re British, probably, but as in many European countries, Christmas Eve traditions in Spain are a much more important part of the whole Christmas celebration than they generally are in the UK. (The Royal Family famously exchange presents on Christmas Eve, but they’re German anyway.) So the airline decided they should lay on a surprise for their passengers so that Christmas Eve could be a special day for them too.

Imagine the passengers’ surprise when they were all standing at the baggage carousel waiting for their bags, and the first things to emerge through the rubber strips were a whole lot of brightly wrapped boxes in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes, each one individually labelled for a different passenger!
Actually, you don’t have to imagine it – you can see it on YouTube here:
YouTube: Spanair – Un Equipaje Inesperado (An Unexpected Piece of Luggage)

OK, it’s easy to be cynical and to dismiss the whole thing as a stunt, and I’m sure that Spanair did it primarily to generate good publicity for themselves. But on the other hand, I’m sure their imaginative act did make it a special evening for the travellers too.

I only hope they all got their baggage OK…!

Have you come across any other instances where a business has gone that extra mile to bring a smile to its customers’ faces?

We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please post on our forum discussion.

Parcel2Go are a global courier company offering cheap shipping services internationally. As the biggest parcel delivery company in the UK they have been able to score exclusive deals with FedEx, DHL and UPS amongst many other couriers, passing the savings onto the customer. Visit Parcel2Go today and see how much you could save on your parcel delivery.

Write for British Expat

Would you like to write for British Expat? Sorry, we don’t pay for articles but if you have a website we’ll link to it in the author’s blurb below any of your articles we publish. We use all sorts of content as long as it’s useful and/or interesting to our readership.

We’ve started doing some quick trivia quizzes – five questions about any subject. So, if you’d like to write for us but don’t feel like producing a literary masterpiece, then why not try writing a quickie quiz about your city, country, or even your hobby? Please use our contact form to get in touch.

British Expat Amazon Shopping

Amazon don’t just do books, you know. We’ve teamed up with them to bring you the ultimate in online shopping – from a micro SD card to a garden shed! A great way to do your shopping online, especially if the shops aren’t up to much in your part of the world.
BE Amazon Shop: UK & EU | BE Amazon Shop: non-EU

Bizarre searches

Some strange search terms which have led people to visit British Expat recently:

  • mark last crete
  • how long does it take to buy a car
  • search
  • getting old philosophy
  • maltese prostitutes website
  • bulgarian handwriting
  • moving family away
  • weird british insects
  • rugby and judo

So there’s a round-up of all that’s been going on. Come on over and see for yourself! Don’t forget…
Visit the BE website and join in with our lively community!

Till next time…

Happy surfing!

Kay & Dave
Editor & Deputy Editor
British Expat – the definitive home for British expats

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