Simon Calder

Sorry - I was just getting carried away by the current gushing glut of gratitude that seems to accompany every new travel book. The author of the new Cuba Handbook, Sarah Cameron, pays tribute to her daughters, Katie and Jenny, "for their tolerance, encouragement and complete conviction that Mummy's book is by far the best on Cuba".

Not wishing to venture too far along John Gummer and David Mellor's path of enlisting the support of one's offspring for the purpose of career advancement, I have been looking at the acknowledgements across a range of guidebooks. A surprising number read like the covers of Seventies' albums. For example, Mike Parker - one of the writers of the Rough Guide to Wales - offers "a huge diolch to Rhian Williams at the Wales Tourist Board", and thanks an intriguing list of individuals including Squidge, Dr Funkenstein and his co-author Paul Whitfield (the favour is not returned).

Across at Lonely Planet, the backscratching is mutual: one author of the guidebook to the Czech and Slovak Republics, John King, offers his co-author "mockrat dekuji to Richard for heroic work"; the response from Richard Nebesky is "last but not least, dik to John". Among this swath of acknowledgements I found myself wanting to find out more about the events leading up to the fulsome thanks paid to Michal Hnidka of the Vratna dolina Mountain Rescue Service.

A similarly intriguing incident is alluded to by James Henderson, author of the Cadogan Guide to the Caribbean and the Bahamas: "Thanks also to all those at Cadogan who pulled this edition together and were (more or less) unfazed by the author's sudden departure for another continent". Mr Henderson casts his net rather wider in his gratitude to others: "My thanks go to all West Indians".

My gratitude will be limitless to anyone who can come up with a more comprehensive list than my 1982 edition of Alternative London, whose first page begins "Compiled with the help of friends, file-spies, moles, insiders, survivors ..." and ends, after listing 70 other occupations, "... psychotherapists, philosophers". Not a word about children.

Finally, I'd like to thank my colleague, Harriet O'Brien, for attending the first-ever Virgin Atlantic Airways fear of flying course in Crawley last weekend, while I was otherwise engaged in the Colombian capital.

Some of the airlines around here take a rather different attitude to easing flyers' anxieties: in at the deep end. Looking at the accident statistics in this mountainous, stormy country, a fatalist might conclude that if you can survive a domestic flight here, you will be able to cope with aviation anywhere. You could call it a crash course.

The airlines here have even fewer frills than BA's new low-fare offshoot, Go - they don't even bother repainting their second-hand aircraft. I was alarmed to find that one scheduled aircraft on a domestic flight still bore the markings of a now-defunct British charter airline. The front cover of tickets issued by another carrier, Aces, bears a phone number and the invitation to call it to report "defectos de servicio". And the company ambitiously named Intercontinental promises it is the "Young Jet Airline", but I suspect that this doesn't refer to the DC-9 I flew on.

Thanks, anyway.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
Researchers have said it could take only two questions to identify a problem with alcohol
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Geography Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...

Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: If you are a committed Te...

DT Teacher - Resistant Materials

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Resistant Materials TeacherTh...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style