Travel Tales: Bev Malzard
Name: Bev Malzard
Age: An interesting age.
Occupation: Journalist/travel writer/magazine editor
Favourite travel destination? Why?: Vietnam: the food, the people, scenery, the history, especially recent history. I was against conscription when Australia was sending boys to Vietnam to fight in that futile, unwinnable war; the energy of a nation working, rebuilding and with a dogged endurance – managing to survive all that have history has thrown at them. There are other favourite destinations – but that is this week’s fave.
Worst travel experience? What happened?: Many years ago travelling solo I was in Berlin (before the wall came down) – arrived late on a winter’s night and there were no ATM’s or money exchanges open and I had no money and couldn’t find a bed. I had to cadge dinner from another tourist who thought I was a local, tried to sleep under a hedge in a park, and the cops kicked me awake and threw me out; I was then pursued by a small group of seemingly dangerous young men and I had to run the gauntlet of what was then unofficially called junkie alley at the hauptbahnhof (main railway station) to find a drop-in centre where I could shelter. I did get shelter and the weekend progressed from bad to worse. But I survived and leant a big lesson – it’s best to be poor in the summer when travelling!
Best tips for beating jetlag?: I can’t beat it. I just sleep when and wherever I can.
What is the one thing you don’t leave home without?: My Swiss Army knife. While waiting in an office in Bangkok one day I was able to put their photocopier back together again for them with my Phillips Head screwdriver attachment. Also an extra credit card.
Do you stay in touch with people while you’re travelling? If so, what is the best way to do this?: Email and I still like to send a few postcards – people like them, especially my friends.
Best meal you’ve ever had while travelling?: I have been privileged to eat amazing food in amazing situations all over the world and can’t really separate the experiences; they have been so good. But I do remember a morning many years ago, the day after I arrived in Greece for the first time. I was sitting on a sea wall eating fresh bread from the bakery, spread with local honey followed by creamy yoghurt, the likes of which I had never tasted before. Looking out to sea, eating and my heart screaming with the joy of it all was my best meal while travelling.
Best kiss?: Not telling.
Best/scariest/funniest drive?: Again in Greece. We were crossing the Peloponnesus Mountains on a narrow winding road. I had a hangover, the driver was talking with his head turned round to the passengers, his window was crowded with religious paraphernalia and his music was loud. I was terrified and could not look out the window as we were so close to the edge that I had lost sight of the road
What has been the big WOW moment of your travelling life? What has taken your breath away?: Arriving in Cairo we caught a taxi (let’s just call it a vehicle) to the Oberoi Hotel. Hurtling though six lanes of traffic, my teeth were ground down with fright as we were crowded among trucks, cars, carts and a few camels on the main road – think Paramatta Road at peak hour on steroids. In the din and confusion, pollution and honking horns I looked up and ahead of me emerged the Great Pyramid. Everything stopped for me, the mighty construction filled my view and I almost swooned with the wonder of it, still standing, and standing above everything ugly and noisy around me.
Bev Malzard is the Editor of Get Up & Go magazine, Australia’s premier glossy travel magazine for grown-ups. It is published quarterly. Visit http://www.getupandgo.com.au/ and sign up for the free newsletter or travel with the editor on the blog http://getupandgomagazine.blogspot.com