Ten commandments for travellers…

photo by Vector

You already know I’ve decided to get rid of files and files of papers so my children won’t be left with a huge job of doing so later. Some are treasures — like this one. I don’t know where it came from or who wrote it, but I like it and decided to share it with you.

It you, like me, are biting at the bit to travel somewhere, anywhere, after all the long months of COVID:19, this may come in handy.

Frida Kahlo Museum, Mexico City

Ten Commandments for Travellers

1 Thou shalt not expect to find things as thou hath them at home for thou has left thy home to find things different.

11 Thou shalt not take anything too seriously … a carefree mind is the beginning of a vacation.

111 Thou shalt not let other tourists get on thy nerves, for thou art paying out thy savings to enjoy thyself.

Thou shalt not worry

1V Thou shalt not forget that thou dost represent thy country.


V Thou shalt not worry. One who worries hath no pleasure and few things are ever fatal.

V1 Remember thy passport so that thou always know where it is. A person without a passport is a person without a country.

V11 Blessed is the one who can say ‘Thank you’ in any tongue, for this is of more worth than tipping.

Roman Forum

V111 When in Rome, do as the Romans do. If in difficulty, use thy common sense and friendliness.

Pyramids of Giza

!X Do not Judge the people of a country by one person with whom thou hast had difficulties.

X. Remember thou art a guest in every land. Those who treat their host with respect shall themselves receive honourable treatment.


Calling all virgins

Mom, smile 3After my piece about Doctor-assisted suicide, Steve suggested I write about wills. I started to, but decided two serious posts in a row would shock you. You know I like humour. In the as-yet unpublished post on wills, I suggest getting rid of stuff so loved ones won’t have to dig through all the many useless things we’ve accumulated through the years. Well, I decided to do that myself. What do I have a lot of? Papers… Copies of articles I’ve written, letters from readers, years of work by friends as well as my talented progeny. If you can think of it, I’ve got it.

Going through my files, I found an article I wrote in 1992 which made me chuckle. I had visited China in 1991 and by now, much has changed, so keep in mind this actually happened in 1992. Here’s what I wrote: ‘Calling all virgins” “According to a recent item in the Globe and Mail, ”Virgins only need apply: Air China demands trainee flight attendants be chaste — and no smelly armpits” by Andrew Browne, Reuter News Agency, Beijing, the call is out for virgins. Air China, it seems, is having difficulty recruiting chaste young women to train as flight attendants. Things are getting desperate! “We can’t have our girls fooling around with the passengers,” insisted Hao Yu-ping, director of Air China’s flight attendant school in Beijing.

Chinese Airbus, circa 1992

Chinese Airbus, circa 1992

Virginity is not the only requirement. There are other restrictions as well. Not only do you need to be a virgin aching for only chaste, pure adventure, you also have to have perfectly formed feet. Pigeon toes or what Hao calls “duck feet” are not acceptable, nor “knock knees, bow legs, pimples, warts, moles, dark skin, squints, scars and bad breath.” Smelly armpits, which Hao describes as “a disease” would also disqualify you. Seems lady Hao is an expert when it comes to armpits and has smelled more than a few in the course of her career.

Apparently no one told Ms. Hao that virgins are an endangered species. The only one still known to exist, rumor has it, will never do since she has all the disqualifying features described above, which may be why she has remained chaste. And, how, I wonder, does Air China verify a prospective female attendant’s virginity? Are they interrogated days on end without food or water under a bare light until hunger and exhaustion make them confess? Are families, friends, former teachers and schoolmates called before a tribunal to testify about the applicant’s sexual behavior? Or, is each hopeful subjected to a thorough physical examination? And by whom?

Air China flight attendants, 1992

Air China flight attendants, 1992

Then, I wonder, what would happen if a straight-legged, nice smelling, clear-skinned, attractive, virginal cabin attendant meets a similarly blessed young male and (heaven forbid) gives in to desire — in spite of all the rules? Would she then be tossed out a plane window over the ocean to become dinner for a crab? And, how would Hao find out? Will sex spies be planted amongt the passengers to watch for miscreants to give themselves away? Will these spies check for an unusual glint in the eye or a careless, telltale spring in the walk? Perhaps a ready smile when handing a passenger a meal of white buttered bread and a slender slice of preserved meat is a sure giveaway. In any case, Hao has a tough assignment and you, dear readers just might come to the rescue. Are there any virgins still out there? This could be the job for you.’

In 1992 I was surprised that my somewhat conservative, younger editor even printed it, and as for virgin readers, I got no response. Would I lie to you?