I wrote on Nov. 4 about a new era in the Maldives, but it appears that the new era may be something else again. According to multiple press reports, new president-elect Mohamed Nasheed wants to buy a new homeland for his people to give them a place to go if the sea rises as predicted because of global warming.
The UN forecasts that the sea could rise as much as two feet by 2100, and since most of the Maldives is less than five feet above sea level (many areas are less than three feet), life will be precarious there. Continue reading »
The game of golf, travel, and Barack Obama’s victory in the U.S. presidential election are getting all mixed up this week. In a stunning upstaging of Joe the Plumber, William K. Wolfrum reveals on Worldgolf.com that Obama’s success was preordained by “Curt the Golfer,” an Illinois 22-year-old who says (and he has witnesses) that he hit five holes-in-one in the past week.
Most golfers, including many professionals, go their entire lifetimes without hitting one. Wolfrum sees Obama’s success in these five aces by a fellow Illinoisan (in golf, a hole-in-one is also called an “ace”) as clearly as reading tea leaves. Continue reading »
It was a coronation, not an election today in the small Himalayan country of Bhutan. 28-year old Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, a Western-educated son of the former king, was crowned. The optimal day was picked based on astrology, and the entire country of 700,000 joined in the festivities.
Bhutan, a country the size of Maryland, is rugged, breathtaking and its culture has remained intact because of an insular and protective approach to governing. Travel to Bhutan is not easy or cheap. Foreigners are restricted; only 20,000 tourists are allowed in each year. Continue reading »
As I sit here writing, my mind wanders to the U.S. election, and I wonder how it will turn out. It’s been a stressful few weeks and my stomach is in knots. What will be our itinerary for the next four to eight years?
When I think of all that has happened of late, there is very little that seems positive. Perhaps, though, there are a few things to cheer. High gas prices have made staycations popular and trips closer to home a necessity. Folks are driving less, car-pooling and looking with fresh eyes at Public Transportation, something we have sorely neglected in this country.
Train travel, a staple of my youth and commonplace in Europe and other parts of the world, is having a bit of a renaissance according to a recent New York Times article. Amtrak ridership is up 11% this year alone and the trend is increasing. Continue reading »
Many years ago I stood near the southernmost point of India at Kanyakumari gazing out over the Indian Ocean. Somewhere over that horizon lay the Maldives, an isolated collection of atolls laid out like a string of gems some 400 miles away.
They’d been pulling at me since I first encountered them on a globe many years before and I’d traveled there many times in my imagination. Standing in the tropical breeze that day I knew I couldn’t visit them this time, but was certain I’d get there one day.
Google Earth isn’t news. After all, it’s been around since 2004, first as Earth Viewer, then as Google Earth since 2006. But it’s a great way to get a sense of the world beyond the horizon, a bird’s-eye preview of places on your itinerary before you leave home or to take another look after you return.
Some people who make travel their business use it to find new opportunities and plan new itineraries for their clients. Graeme Wood writes about these trailblazers in “It’s a Small World After All” in Culture + Travel magazine. Looking for a new surfing site no one has ever seen? Want to find the best camping areas in the bush to spot wildlife? Or just want to plan your own offbeat itinerary through desolate terrain? Google Earth is a good place to start.
But where do most people go the first time they explore the world through Google Earth? Home. We look for our own homes first to find our place the world.
If you still party like its 1999, but consider yourself to be Green, you might want to check out the new Dutch Green Disco in Rotterdam. Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, is often described as a gritty port city with a vibrant night life. Now it is also home to the Club Watt: a nightclub for the new millennium. As 2009 fast approaches, this is nightlife that is more in tune with today’s environmental concerns. Described as a sustainable Dance Club, the nightspot boasts a dance floor that gathers energy from the dancer’s movements. The club also advertises rainwater-fed toilets, heat created by the amplifiers and other musical equipment, as well as a robust recycling program.
Clubbing is never going to be a carbon neutral endeavor, with all the electricity needed for strobes, disco balls and audio equipment, but if you are planning a trip to Holland you might want to check out the latest in “hybrid” hotspots.