Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

The curious incident of the Carnival Magic in Belize UPDATED

Friday, October 17th, 2014

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#Ebola, a cruise ship, an international incident; my latest article, The curious incident of the Carnival Magic in Belize is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.

The curious incident will probably put the kibosh on Caribbean holiday tourism for a long time.

UPDATE
MUST-READ:
An Outbreak of Epidemiological Hysteria.

As Tyler Durden said, It’s almost as if the administration is doing everything in its power to spread a panic.

Argentina: Cristina’s vultures

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez has taken time between Botox injections to indulge in more name-calling.

No longer satisfied to refer to Argentina’s creditors as vulture funds, she now has vulture airlines:

Cristina tilda de ‘buitres con turbinas’ a American Airlines Cristina dubs American Airlines ‘vultures with turbines’

Why?

American Airlines will not sell tickets in Argentina more than 90 days in advance. Cristina says this is an “attack against the country to cause uncertainty” about the currency.

Considering how Argentina joins the Venezuela School of Economics by passing laws

that cap consumer prices of goods, set profit margins for private businesses and levy fines on companies found to be making “artificial or unjustified” profits

AA is worrying about getting paid. Over in Venezuela, the government is withholding US$3.6 billion in airline ticket revenue.

UPDATE
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!


Cuba/Venezuela: $10,000 “melange of Communism” trips

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Make sure you bring your own soap and toilet paper: “Get up close and personal with the locals that make up the melange of Communism.”

The Sydney Morning Herald calls it ‘Travel for the mind’ with George Negus – Venezuela & Cuba
READER OFFER: With George’s instinctive journalistic interest, this two-country excursion will awaken and engage your mind.

NO SEATS AVAILABLE 

SMH readers are flying to Venezuela for a $10,000 per head socialism celebration while Venezuelans are trying to fly out

“Of course, I’d rather fly,” he said. “But there are no seats available.” Cordova said that he had tried for a month to get a seat on an airplane, to no avail. That’s because the economic policies that have driven him to leave Venezuela have also made it exceedingly hard for people to depart by air.

That’s the “melange of Communism” for you.

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Do heed those travel warnings

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Today’s article on why you should check out the State Deprtment’s travel warnings before you go: Do heed those travel warnings

Colombia: Good news on the Casona

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Ace featured this breathtakingly beautiful photo,

The location is the Casona del Tequendama in Colombia, which has the reputation of being haunted:

In 1924, the then-luxurious Hotel (Refugio d)el Salto was inaugurated on the cliff facing the waterfall but due to contamination of the river water, believed to be a result of the popular locale, it was closed in the early 90′s. There has been talk of reopening it and restoring it to its former glory (but as a museum or even a police station) which might help rid the place of its apparent ghosts. They are said to haunt the hotel and according to the caretaker, are believed to be from the old days when bar fights on the second story would end up on its balcony, sometimes resulting in a drunk patron losing more than the fight.

On the other hand, there are stories of those who checked out (of life) by jumping off the cliff. That’s right, despite its beauty or perhaps because of it, the falls is a place where people have been known to say their goodbyes. When one would find a letter or some sort of personal item without an owner, it was thought to have been left behind.

In the photo above, it looks haunting, like something Lord Byron would have loved,

But my Soul wanders; I demand it back
To meditate amongst decay, and stand
A ruin amidst ruins; there to track
Fall’n states and buried greatness, o’er a land
Which was the mightiest in its old command,
And is the loveliest, and must ever be
The master-mould of Nature’s heavenly hand;
Wherein were cast the heroic and the free,—
The beautiful — the brave — the Lords of earth and sea,

Or a vacation spot for the Addams family.

The good news is that the French government is funding the building’s restauration along with local authorities (link in Spanish).

Let’s hope the restoration is completed and the building becomes viable.


Willful blindness: Lonely Planet and Rough Guides

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Michael Moynihan has an excellent article on the oh-so-enlightened travel guys and their fascination with purity in penury,
Leftist Planet
Why do so many travel guides make excuses for dictators?

The West’s misreading of Cuba is an old staple for this crowd, and a new generation of lefty guidebooks doesn’t fail to disappoint on this score. The Rough Guide to Cuba, for example, even has a kind word for the draconian censorship implemented by the Castro regime, lecturing us that it’s “geared to producing (what the government deems to be) socially valuable content, refreshingly free of any significant concern for high ratings and commercial success.” Sure, the guidebook says, one can read dissident bloggers like Yoani Sánchez, but beware that opponents of the regime can be “paranoid and bitter” and are “at their best when commenting on the minutiae of Cuban life [and] at their worst when giving vent to unfocused diatribes against the government.”

We’ve also apparently got it all wrong when it comes to Cuba’s notorious Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), a Stasi-like network of neighborhood-level informers that monitors and informs on troublesome dissidents like Sánchez. Lonely Planet: Cuba thankfully assures tourists that the group is, in fact, a benign civic organization: The CDR are “neighborhood-watch bodies originally formed in 1960 to consolidate grassroots support for the revolution [and] they now play a decisive role in health, education, social, recycling and voluntary labor campaigns.”

WHY ALL THE bending over backward to excuse the world’s most thuggish regimes? For the guidebook writer, as well as the starry-eyed travelers who buy them, there is no characteristic more desirable in foreign travel than “authenticity” — places uncorrupted by the hideousness of Western corporate advertising and global brands-and many of these pariah states are the only destinations that offer it. Lonely Planet enthuses that Cuba is “a country devoid of gaudy advertising,” possessing a “uniqueness [that] is a vanishing commodity in an increasingly globalized world.” Indeed, the dictatorship protects its citizens from the poison of consumerism in a manner other states might want to emulate:

Almost completely cut off from the maw of McDonald’s, Madonna and other global corporate-cultural influences, Cuba retains a refreshing preserved quality. It’s a space and place that serves as a beacon for the future — universal education, health care and housing are rights people the world over want, need and deserve.

Writing in the Ecologist, a venerable British environmentalist journal, Brendan Sainsbury, co-author ofLonely Planet: Cuba, contends that there is purity in Cuban penury:

Falling into step alongside pallid, overweight and uncoordinated Western wannabes out on two-week vacations from Prozac and junk food, the Cubans don’t just walk; they glide, sauntering rhythmically through the timeworn streets like dancers shaking their asses to the syncopated beat of the rumba. Maybe the secret is in the food rationing.

THERE IS AN almost Orientalist presumption that the citizens of places like Cuba or Afghanistan have made a choice in rejecting globalization and consumerism. From the perspective of the disaffected Westerner, poverty is seen as enviable, a pure existence unsullied by capitalism. Sainsbury refers to Cuban food as “organic” and praises the Castro brothers’ “intellectual foresight [that] has prompted such eco-friendly practices as nutrient recycling, soil and water management and land-use planning.” Meager food rations and the 1950s cars that plod through Havana’s streets, however, don’t represent authenticity or some tropical version of the Western mania for “artisanal” products, but, rather, failed economic policy. It’s as much of a lifestyle choice as female circumcision is in Sudan.

But it takes a special lack of integrity to write a Lonely Planet guide: Thomas Kohnstamm, who authored the Lonely Planet guide to Colombia admitted that

“They didn’t pay me enough to go (to) Colombia. I wrote the book in San Francisco. I got the information from a chick I was dating—an intern in the Colombian Consulate.”

Because?

Lonely Planet didn’t expect me to go to Colombia. They knew full well that I wasn’t going.

Hey, if you’re buying a book from people who are going to palm off their ideology under the guise of a travel guide, don’t expect anything resembling the truth.

UPDATE
Linked by Midnight Blue. Thanks!


What do Rand Paul and Sunny have in common?

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

The TSA, of course!

By now you probably know that Rand Paul, Senator for Kentucky and son of Congressman Ron Paul (that wacky presidential candidate), was detained by the TSA at the Nashville Airport for refusing a full-body pat-down.

Steve Watson wonders if that constitutes a Constitutional violation,

The Constitution specifically protects federal lawmakers from being detained while en route to Washington DC.

Article I, Section 6 states:

“The Senators and Representatives…shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same….”

Rand Paul was travelling from his home in Louisville to attend a session in the Senate today.

The White House’s Jay Carney wouldn’t even name Rand, and won’t call it detainment, either, saying instead, “The passenger was not detained. He was escorted out of the area by local law-enforcement.”

So it’s up to you to decide: Is the TSA a flight-inhibiting escort service, or your creepy uncle?

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Looser visas coming up?

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Obama’s heading to Disney World,

While specifics of his tourism plan were hazy, there is one topic at the top of the political wish list for Central Florida’s tourism industry: visa reform. The tourism industry has been pushing Congress and Obama to make travel easier for visitors from emerging nations such as Brazil, India and China.

“We understand that he [Obama] is going to trumpet the value of travel generally and improve facilitation for international travel, especially from China and Brazil,” said Blain Rethmeier, senior vice president of public affairs at the U.S. Travel Association.

Michelle Malkin reminds us,

In case anyone needs reminding, it was the relentless drive of the tourism industry and kowtowing State Department bureaucrats that led to the Bush-era Visa Express program — which relaxed visa policies, eliminated in-person consulate interviews, and opened the door to the 9/11 hijackers.

Change…

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Fidel’s daughter favors “Dutch-style sex ed”

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

In a Communist country, with sex tourism, and where your children belong to the state, the dictator’s daughter talks about the latest plan (h/t Gates of Vienna),
Cuba embraces Dutch-style sex education
Cuba can learn a thing or two from Dutch-styled sex education. That’s the view of Mariele Castro Espín, daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro, espoused in an interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

Mariela Castro is director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education, a government-funded body, whose aim is the development of the development of a culture of sexuality that is “full, pleasurable and responsible, as well as to promote the full exercise of sexual rights.” She will travel to the Netherlands in the near future to for discussions with institutions and government bodies related to sex education.

Cuba is a top destination for sex tourism. Maybe Mariela will have the whorehouses display their goods on shop windows as they do in Amsterdam.

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“Before things got out of hand, it was a typical annoyance that happens once a flight gets airborne: A passenger hit the recline button and sent his seat intimately close to the lap of the guy sitting behind him.”

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

And then all heck broke loose.

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