Navigating the rivers of Sumatra
Sumatra is one of the largest islands in the world and the second largest of the Greater Sunda Islands, which include Java, Sulawesi and Borneo. It is about 473,606 square km and separated from the Malay Peninsula by the Malacca Straits. A huge volcanic mountain range, called the Bukit Barisan is the spine of the island, running from the Northwest to the Southeast, bordering on the Indian Ocean. The highest volcanic mountain is the Gunung Kerinci, which soars to an altitude of 3805 meters. The Eastern part of the island is lowland built up from silt of the mountains and deposited there over the millenniums by the several navigable rivers, like the Musi, which leads to the city of Palembang.
Captain Alphabet Jansen and I during a lunch break.
It was in 1954 that I spent the better part of a year as an acting first mate on a 556 ton coaster called the MV Landak. To be a first mate on a hulk like that did not mean much, as I was actually only a third mate and paid as such. My only assistant was a local Indonesian lad with a restricted diploma for coastal trade. The deck and engine crew was Malay and the catering department Singapore Chinese. Our trade was mostly Singapore - Palembang and vice versa, a weekly service if we could manage, which left us very little time for leisure in ports. Palembang was a dreary place but Singapore was great fun in those days.
The Chief Engineer was a loner who hardly ever came out of his cabin to be social and who had his meals in his cabin, being invariably drunk. The captain was a man incapable of tasting, as his taste buds had been ruined at an earlier age by a persistent cold or other ailment. He was proud of the fact and when I complained about the in-palatability of the fare, he laughed and said that he couldnt care less, as he was unable to savour it anyway. My roly-poly Chinese cabin attendant called Ah-Seng noticed the predicament I was in and consequently fed me delicious Chinese concoctions from the Chinese kitchen at frequent intervals. My favourite was turtle stew made of river turtle sometimes called terrapin. The Malay sailors also brought me Rendang and other spicy specialities of the Malay kitchen and when we anchored in the inner harbour, in front of the old Clifford Pier in Singapore, the old Chinese foreman of the labourers would bring me Hokkien Mee when we stopped working for a midnight break. This delicious Ma Mee was made with oblong mussels, crab and shrimps.
All this was of course very fattening, and as I was also drinking beer, I recalled that I gained a lot of weight. When I mentioned this to Ah-Seng he commented that to be fat meant that I was rich. It was a lonely life, as I had nothing in common with the Captain nor the Chief Engineer and the monotony of our schedule made things tedious. Fortunately the tasteless Captain was replaced one day by a most amiable man called Jansen, and not to confuse him with another Janssen, which I had come to know as most unpleasant man, we called our Jansen, Alphabet Jansen because of the many initials before his name. With him I had a most agreeable relationship, as he was kind and a man of many interests and much experience. The food improved, I cut down on the delicacies of the Chinese galley and achieved to loose weight again.
Sometimes we were redirected and steamed up the other great rivers of Sumatra, the Batang Hari to Jambi, the Rokan, the Inderagiri and the Siak to Pekanbaru. We loaded thousands of cases of shrimp paste in Bagansiapiapi, a town famous for the smelly condiment, rubber at Tanjung Balai on the Asahan River, in the fertile lands of Deli, as well as at Langsa, in Aceh, north of Medan. While we were waiting for the cargo barges to arrive on the Sungai Langsa, we caught small squid in the estuary at night. By hanging a cargo light over the side they would come attracted by the light and as for some reason they swim backward, it was easy to scoop them up with a fish net at their rear. One of the Malay sailors taught me how to prepare the cephalopods with garlic in their own ink, which is quite delicious.
Sailing up those rivers wasnt easy and often the branches of the trees would scrape the bridge. The trick was to navigate the outer bends of the river, which are always deeper than the inner ones. The mangroves were monotonous and the insects would attack viciously. To approach the correct river mouth of the deltas one had navigation instructions like: Keep three rows of fishing sticks (seros) on starboard and two on the port bow. Proceed to the next buoy, keep it on starboard and sail due east after rounding it until the next row of seros which should be kept on the port bow, and so on. The problem was that the buoy could have been swept away during a recent flood and the fishermen might have decided to move their seros to another location.
I do not know why I remember my small cabin on starboard so well. Whenever I cant sleep, which with advancing age is quite often, I fantasise to be back in my bunk on the Landak, with the fan spinning in front of the wind catcher in the porthole. Air conditioning was not installed in our ships and one had a fan. Sometimes the heat was unbearable, muggy and suffocating especially when we sailed with the wind or churned the muddy ochre rivers. Every now and then we would meet a small prahu (canoe), usually made from a hollowed out tree trunk, or pass some houses on stilts bordering the rivers with children swimming in the strong currents and mothers doing their laundry and bathing, but usually it was just mangroves and jungle, full of screaming birds and hollering monkeys. It was said that the forest of Southern Sumatra housed the so-called Kubus, ancient and primitive people who lived in trees and were very shy of civilisation.
The straits of Malacca and the roads at Singapore are notorious for the so-called Sumatrans, heavy squalls coming from the Sumatra mainland during the West Monsoon. They cause anchors to drag, which is a dangerous business with so many ships anchored on the roads of the busy harbour. As I said before, Singapore had many assets for us in those days, as its worldly pleasures, its tax-free goods like alcohol, cigarettes and electronic equipment were a great asset.
It was also the Chinese food we craved and one of our favourite places for this was Albert Street where there were many restaurants. They became busy after the movies at about eleven at night. One ate upstairs while the food was ordered by yelling out of the windows. When one paid, the waiter would throw the money out of the window, down to the cooks on the street. A block further was Bugis Street, frequented by ladies and transvestites. I never fancied Bugis Street, patronised by the late-late crowd until the early hours of the morning.
But as there was just the captain and me and one of us had to be on board at all time, there was no fun in going to these places on ones own. All I did was see a movie and visit some shops, after which I returned to the ships in our private sampang (small Chinese boats, made from sampan wood). It was rowed by an emaciated China man who made himself indispensable whenever we were in port.
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One-to-One marketing: walking the talk
by Imtiaz Muqbil,
Travel Impact Newswire
The buzzwords have gone from segmented marketing to target marketing to the latest One-to-One Marketing. But never mind the nomenclature. On paper it refers to more or less the same thing: How to reach customers, preferably direct, talk to them in their own language, cater to their specific needs, satisfy them in every possible way. And then wait for a big pay cheque and promotion.
Well, not quite. In reality, one-to-one marketing is easier said than done. Handshakes now no longer mean just that, but one computer linking up with another. Warm, hand-written notes are out, LotusNotes is in. As technology grinds into the travel & tourism industry, hotel owners are finding themselves swirling in a sea of techno gobbledy-gook which costs a bomb, means little and may or may not deliver the goods. Worse, the guy who is supposed to translate it into plain English may simply tire of 24-hour days and go work for a bank.
Cutting through these complexities is going to be the main focus at the International Hotels and Restaurants Association 36th annual convention in Manila next month. The theme, One-to-One Marketing is clearly the flavour of the season in an industry that has seen its bottom drop out in Asia and is desperate to bring back business at the lowest possible cost. Technology, on which marketing is becoming almost totally reliant, was already making an impact before the Asian crisis hit. How it can help Asias recovery should make interesting listening.
The IH&RA is bringing to Asia a theme that it has previously aired in Europe. In one sense, that is good. Asia needs tested and proven solutions, not maverick technologies that soon become obsolete. Indeed, an analysis of the papers presented at the IH&RAs recent Eurotech conference in Nice, France, showed that one-to-one marketing will depend almost entirely on how simply it can be executed. Said Flo Lugli, VP Worldwide Sales & Marketing of Cendant Corporation, Our challenge will be to streamline and simplify the transactions and consumption of our products.
Grahame Senior, chief executive of the Senior King Group and president of the IN Network of Independent Agencies, will be pressing just that point in an interactive session on Targeted Marketing for the 21st Century at the Manila congress. Arguing that smart consumers need smarter marketing, Senior will explain his philosophy: Fish where the fish are... and use the right fly. Looking at global shifts in consumer attitudes and empowerment, he has been assigned to track new motivations and opportunities to communicate and convince.
Hospitality case studies will be used to demonstrate targeted techniques for getting the right message to the right customer - with the right results. Senior believes that direct marketing campaigns can cut out wastage, improve response rates and increase conversions to new and loyal customers. That may sound a tall order but IH&RA spokesperson Caroline Harvey is encouraging Asia-Pacific hoteliers to come and see for themselves whether Senior will walk the talk, especially as many first need to bring customers back to the region before getting them through the doors.
Hotels pay the highest distribution costs of all travel sectors and are anxious to reduce them. The Internet beckons. On it, hoteliers can list out their entire product range to whatever detail they wish. Last year, about two million hotel bookings were made online in North America. One forecast predicts 15 million reservations world-wide in two years. If that happens, it wont be long before hotels join airlines in cutting travel agents commissions.
So, all those bookings will solve the hotels marketing problem, right? Wrong. Hotels still need to ensure a fine degree of revenue management to generate the best possible yield. That means juggling rates and room categories with seasonality and types of customers. And thats where things begin to get murky as marketing people come under the mercy of the techies and worse, the suppliers. Said George Bayz, President and CEO of MAI Systems, Technologies are moving so fast that everyone is looking for the right partner as no supplier can do everything for everyone.
Critical to the concept of one-to-one marketing will be another two buzzwords, data-mining and its first cousin data-warehousing, which involves collecting gold data on customer information and converting it into recognition, loyalty and repeat traffic. Customer profiles are fed into computers and organised in ways they can be queried. Marketers people can know who has stayed for how long and when, what she ordered for dinner, whether she used her laptop and the laundry service. By knowing all this, marketers think they can generate loyalty partly by letting regular guests know how much they know about them.
The downside, of course, is that customers may not want hotels to know that much about them at all. Lawyers will have a ball, especially if guests have not been explicitly asked if they want to be at the receiving end of one-to-one marketing. At exactly the same time that the IH&RA congress is convening in Manila, (October 24, 1998) the European Union will be implementing a law to protect personal data and block its transfer between countries. Says Janne Glaesel, partner of Bech-Bruun and Trolle law firm in Denmark, The directive will cover the following data collection activities: customer recognition, direct marketing, market research and the transfer and sale of data inside and outside the EU.
That could mean back from LotusNotes to handwritten ones which Michael Rumkey, Executive VP of Human Resources in Holiday Hospitality, says may still be the best one-to-one marketing approach. He questions whether technology has actually improved the concept of hospitality. Too much cost-cutting has focussed on throwing technological solutions at problems, he says. The industry must refocus on guest requirements, employee expectations and satisfaction and personal contact and service, relying on technology only to remove the burden of mundane tasks in order to increase service and value. His killer line: Most young people are IT literate, but lack the basic interpersonal skills essential to the hospitality industry.
So, high-tech? High-touch? Or a balance of the two? Harvey promises a congress of business-building ideas for independent and chain hotel and restaurant operators, an evaluation of brand marketing strategies in the interactive age, a look at the Asia-Pacific in a New Light and an overview of global marketing trends and advice on how to turn challenges into business opportunities.
Dont miss the international hospitality event of the year - the 36th IH&RA Annual Congress, 22 - 26 October 1998, Manila, Philippines. This years theme: One to One: Marketing in the Interactive Age. For further information contact Lucy OReilly on firstname.lastname@example.org, or (33 1) 44 89 94 00.
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The Beauty House opens on Pattaya Second Road
by Teetha Clench Pattaya Mails Fashion Editor
Teetha is so excited! She loves new things and innovations, too. New boyfriends can be a bit tiresome, as it takes time to break them in but a new beauty shop... well, that is something else.
The beauty shop was first known in ancient Egypt. Not that Teetha was there as her identical twin sister Elsa the Cow says. Shes just jealous of Teetha, whose parents, recognizing Teethas obvious differences from her sister, sent Teetha to a school in Switzerland when she was three.
It has been said that beauty is the one thing which guarantees a womans acceptance in society. If a woman was not born beautiful, it was considered a terrible misfortune. Even though Teetha has been a stunning beauty since birth, she loves going to beauty shops. From merely stunning, a good beauty shop can make Teetha positively radiant.
The lovely Ms.Achara Pajchimanan cuts the ribbon and officially opens the Beauty House.
Especially in this hi-tech age, those not as fortunate as Teetha can be changed from ordinary to very good looking.
Skin that was once like leather can be made to be as soft as a babys bottom and all manner of nipping this, tucking that, a dab of color here can work miracles.
This goes along with the Thai saying Chickens are made beautiful by their feathers and a woman is made beautiful by her make-up.
Teetha, along with her friend and genius designer Mince Aphai went to visit The Beauty House owned by the fashion and beauty maven, Naphaporn Wentworth. Naphaporn has been in the beauty industry so long and has such experience! Teetha and Mince could not help but be impressed.
Teetha was in a quandary as to what to wear but Mince with his usual genius told Teetha that as beauty shops had been around since Egyptian times, Teetha could go as Cleopatra.
Needing much less make-up than Elizabeth Taylor to duplicate this queens beauty, Teethas main problem was finding a suitable litter and bearers to take her to the opening in the style she knew was necessary. But Somchai, the security guard, with whom Teetha has become quite friendly, offered his and three friends services. Mince worked like mad, designing outfits for the men, which were Egyptian and yet so revealing that... never mind.
All eyes were, of course, on Teetha (and it seems some found Somchai and his friends costumes quite interesting) as she was borne on her litter to the opening.
The Beauty House is located between the Alcazar Cabaret and the Bangkok Bank, on Pattaya Second Road.
This oh so modern and fashionable beauty shop has everything for todays woman; and possibly some of todays men too! Anyhoo...
If you should want a face massage, a skin peel, a high-tech wrinkle remove, or a massage with mysterious and fragrant oils, the Beauty House is the place for you.
There is also a service for ridding oneself of annoying cellulite, using the Ultra-tone process.
This month only, the Beauty House is offering free facial massages to new customers.
The Beauty House is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., every day. You may call for an appointment at 361-749 or 361-750.
Everyone gasped when they saw Somchai and his burly friends put Teethas litter gently on the ground in front of the shop.
Teetha shouuld have known. She was planning to try one of the beauty treatments, but the staff told Teetha that in no way could they improve her looks.
Being perfect is such a curse, sometimes.
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Becoming unusually rich in Thailand
by Barrie Kenyon
If you want to end up with a small fortune here, better bring with you a large one. Or so they say. Hundreds of farangs in Pattaya alone have lost their nest eggs by investing in small bars or night clubs which went bust. Naivete may have been principally responsible or the fact that investing in the entertainment business often means operating at or beyond the fringes of the law. Antagonize just one of your Thai workers and the police may soon be knocking at your door to ask about that work permit which was never obtainable in the first place.
In Succeed In Business (Times Books International, paperback 1998, 450 baht) , Canadian Bea Toews and Australian Robert McGregor have produced a readable summary of the pros and cons of doing business in the kingdom. They quickly dismiss the nitery scene by quoting warnings of Bernard Trink in Nite Owl about the virtual impossibility of operating legally with all the necessary licenses. Then they explore the more promising areas such as import and export opportunities, franchises, taxation, government bureaucracies and the like. Of course, some details are necessarily out of date already, for example the 1979 Alien Business Law has very recently been amended, and the authors are less than perfect on visa rules. At one point, they describe a non immigrant visa as a working visa which can be legal dynamite unless an application for a work permit has been lodged.
The main conclusion drawn by the authors is that, to succeed in business, you have to understand the Thai social way too. Knowing whether you should offer to pay for a business meeting meal, appreciating something of Buddhist and rural influences and recognizing that Thai conceptions of status are very different from yours are all indispensable for a successful outcome. The book is particularly good on explaining Thai communication strategies such as nam jai, the milk of human kindness, which means extending generosity to others without expecting anything in return or hen yai, which is the ability to empathize with people. Sobbing at a colleagues funeral or praising one of your staff in public are bad ideas because they may make others feel uncomfortable.
Succeed In Business does not actually tell you where to put your money in order to come up trumps. Rather, it analyses the likely growing areas of the economy such as agricultural exports and telecommunications and makes it clear that your Thai business partners will be key players in any commercial enterprise. In Thailand, it is still very much who you know rather than what, as anyone who has had to deal with customs or the VAT authorities will confirm. There is also an insightful description of Thai financial markets and the current balance sheet. Or nearly current, as the country now owes internationally a staggering 87 billion baht. This fact alone ensures that Thais will want to continue to do business with farangs, increasingly on a partnership basis. Its all a matter of being well informed before you commit your foreign cash. Afterwards will almost certainly be too late.
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St. Andrews Night Charity Ball at Royal Cliff
Tickets are now available for one of the major social events of the year, St. Andrews Night Charity Ball, to be held at the Royal Cliff Beach Resorts Siam Ballroom on November 27, 1998.
St. Andrew, one of the twelve apostles and brother to St. Peter, is the patron saint of Scotland and Russia. PILC will celebrate his feast day in true Scottish fashion. The evening will start with a reception at 7:30. An excellent 4-course dinner including wine will be served at 8:15. During the meal a special ceremony of addressing the haggis (a unique Scottish dish!) will occur before the main course. The haggis is toasted with whisky, and then dinner will resume.
PILC is very privileged and lucky to have the Royal Scots Guards to entertain after dinner. To see this regiment in full ceremonial dress marching, piping and dancing is truly awe inspiring and very moving indeed. Also in the cabaret PILC will have their very own Scottish/Canadian highland dancer, Erin Johnson, who will demonstrate her skill.
During the evening PILC will raffle some truly lavish prizes including two round-trip air tickets to Europe. More details of the prizes will be available next month. Attention will next turn to the dance floor with a terrific modern band playing everything from Beatles to Aqua. They are guaranteed to get you on your feet and to insure that everyone has a great evening. All thats needed now is your support.
This evening will benefit three very special causes, the Camillian Trust Aids Relief Center in Rayong, the Redemptorist School for the Blind (for a Braille computer), and the Fountain of Life School. Last years ball was a sell out and raised 225,000 Baht. This year PILC wants to raise even more. Please do your best to support this event.
Tickets are 1350 Baht each including 4-course dinner, half bottle of wine, souvenir photograph, all entertainment and dancing. You can come either as a group of eight or you can book individually. This year admission will be by ticket only, and tables will be reserved as tickets are purchased so obviously the sooner you book the better the seat. Buy your tickets soon from Mary Harris, tel. 306-067; Ffion Mercer, tel. 225-359; Marcee Laudick, tel. 370-299; Catherine Bond, tel. 704-297; Jo Hall, tel. 241-061; Sally Taggart, tel. 225-688; or Lillian Ross, tel. 306-123.
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Successfully Yours: Jill Thomas
Jill Thomas, an expatriate Welsh lady, is the new Head at St. Andrews International School, Rayong. Dark piercing eyes hold your attention while she speaks excitedly about her school. However, she is much more reticent when talking about herself, but scratch under the school marm exterior and you will find a very interesting character.
Jill and her engineer husband Gethin are not living in Thailand as a happy accident, but are here as part of a deliberate lifestyle decision. Their introduction to the Kingdom came after a trip to Australia - on their way back they stopped off for a three day stop-over. After their return to the UK they began to realize that they were only talking about Thailand and not the great sun burned land down under they had visited for three weeks! Thailand was just so vibrant and so different. We both decided we wanted to come here and began looking for jobs. They were both successful and are now happily enjoying their tropical experiences here.
It has been a fascinating trip from the green valleys of Wales to Green Valley Rayong. Her childhood and early adult life was in Swansea (South Wales). The middle daughter of an Industrial Chemist she realized early that she was caught between two professions.
From childhood she was obviously an accomplished musician, so she nurtured the desire to become a professional muso. But at age 14 she worked in a summer school for people with severe learning disabilities and found she had a natural bent in that direction as well. I really found I liked working with people.
Leaving school she completed a music degree first, then backed up for a post graduate certificate in education.
With dual qualifications she ended up as Head of a Department of Music in Wales, and was already recording her own CDs, but now considers she has retired from the music industry.
She has applied herself to the art and craft of teaching for the past ten post-graduate years and is a great believer in the simple concept of asking for help or advice where appropriate. Jill is happy to thank her own personal mentor, Chris Manley, a Deputy Head in the UK who she feels really understood children and managed to pass on some of that knowledge to her. Firm but fair was the way she described his teaching model.
She has now been at St Andrews for only a short time, but listening to her you would imagine she had been there all her life, she has familiarized herself so well with the school and its workings. She is not a remote administrator, but is still very much a hands-on teacher, running classes in English, Music and Humanities.
Packing as much as possible into every day, she believes in Making the most of the opportunities you see in life, the one life youve got. In fact, her advice to the young teacher on the way up is to Glean as much as you can from every experience, be it positive or negative. You get the feeling, talking to Jill, that she has made all of her life a positive experience!
Her hobbies are mainly, like herself, very active and physical. Squash, horse-riding and diving rate high. She loves traveling - especially to Bali where she enjoys the off-shore diving. Cinema and theatre are also on her spare time pursuits list, but the opportunities for these are not so great in Pattaya so she does this more often on her trips back to the UK.
Jill Thomas is vivacious, energetic, enthusiastic and literate with an innate sense of music - the pupils at St. Andrews International School do not know just how fortunate they are with their new Headmistress. I was never so lucky!
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AutoMania: Who is Michael Schumacher?
by Dr. Iain Corness
The 1998 Grand Prix season has seen two times world champion Michael Schumacher pull up from a seemingly hopeless position to again be the major challenger to Finn Mika Hakkinen for the title. But just who is Michael Schumacher, the hero of Germany?
Michael Schumacher was born on the third of January 1969 to Rolf and Elisabeth Schumacher. His childhood was spent in the working class town of Kerpin-Manheim near Cologne, Germany.
Michael began his four wheeled career in GoKarts when only four years of age, with a lawn-mower engined contraption put together by his father. This was the start.
Schumacher Senior was heavily involved with GoKarts, from the mechanical engineering point of view, so it became only natural for his son to drive them. When Michael was only eleven he arrived at the one point in his life which would seal his future direction for ever. He went to Belgium for the World Karting Championship and saw a driver that impressed him deeply, Ayrton Senna.
Michael, with his determination already showing, was soon making a name for himself in Karts and in 1984 he won the German Junior Championship, followed by the European Championship in 1987.
Again, in common with the accepted and usual path to the top, he began car racing in Formula Ford or Formula Koenig as it was known in Germany. In his first full season he won nine of the ten rounds. This was enough to attract the attention of Willi Webber who was running a Formula 3 team and Michael was given a test drive.
His test was sensational. Within ten laps he was lapping faster than the regular driver. Willi could see a good thing when he saw one! Webber hired him and became his manager.
In his first year in the more powerful formula he was one of the top three (with compatriot Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Austrian Karl Wendlinger).
The following season Schumacher was dominant, but instead of placing his new talent in Formula 3000, Webber managed to secure a berth for Schumacher in the Mercedes junior team driving a sports car for Sauber.
Highly experienced drivers Jochen Neerspasch and Jochen Mass schooled the young Schumacher in the art of race car driving. It was here that he learned to drive smoothly - and fast.
His opportunity to get a Formula 1 ride came from the misfortune of others. Bertrand Gachot, Eddie Jordans driver ended up in jail in the UK for driving offences and Schumacher was given a test. Again his times were sensational, and Eddie Jordan quickly had an option on the young German.
Jordan wanted to sign up Schumacher with a three year contract but wily Willi outfoxed the Irishman and after much legal wrangling, Schumacher finished up that year at the stronger Benetton team. Poor Eddie has had a similar legal battle this year with Michaels younger brother Ralf - some people never learn!
He continued with his meteoric rise through the ranks and won his first Championship in 1994. The following year he backed up again with another World Championship, but this was gained at the expense of some queries as to his methods. He won the Championship in the final round after a collision with Damon Hill in the Williams sidelined his only challenger.
In 1996 he moved to Ferrari and a much larger bank balance. His abilities to lead a team are obvious, and during the 1997 season in conjunction with the legendary team boss Jean Todt, he assisted Ferrari to become a major challenger again.
But once more, his determination to succeed resulted in a major problem with an on-track incident with Jacques Villeneuve, but this time Schumacher came off the worst. This time the FIA could not ignore the action and Michael was disciplined by losing his second place in that years final standings. (Quite frankly this was the equivalent of forty slaps on the wrist with a wet tram ticket.)
In this years chase, Schumacher has again shown his prowess in the wet and his determination to bring the Ferrari home in first place. For most observers, Schumacher is the best driver in the current Formula 1 group - the only question to be resolved is can he temper his determination to succeed at seemingly any cost?
Last week I asked you about two Italian motor cars. The first was Il Porco Rosso (the Red Pig) and the second was La Barra Rossa Volante (the Flying Red Coffin). These were made by Alfa Romeo and each had two engines (the correct answer), and whats more, each was a perfect bitch to drive.
Il Porco had the engines mounted side by side, with each one having its own gearbox (and gear lever), so the poor driver had to shift two gearboxes in a race car. No wonder it dispatched poor old Arcangeli.
On the other hand, La Barra had one engine in the front and the other in the rear of the car, with the driver squashed between them. It was capable of over 320 KPH, but fortunately for Nuvolari it was exceptionally unreliable and so the factory dropped it from the racing line-up.
Lets stick with Alfa Romeo. Please note it is not ALPHA Romeo. Alfa came from Anonima Lombardo Fabbrica Automobili and before Nicola Romeo joined the outfit they were known as A.L.F.A.s. Some of their very classic cars were designed by Vittorio Jano, who went on to design a Formula 1 car for Lancia, many years later.
However, the grille badge on an Alfa Romeo is very interesting. If you have an Alfa in the garage, rush out and check - the rest of you will just have to believe me. The badge is circular and on the left side of the badge there is a red cross on a white background. On the right side there is a snake swallowing a man!
For this weeks Automania FREE beer of the week, just fax or email the editorial office with the answer to this ... what is the meaning of the cross and the swallowing snake?
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