Tag: Travel

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I kipped off of work early so that I would be ready the moment my wife returned home with the kids at the end of the school day.  The water tank was full, the fridge was stocked, smores supplies laid by, the beds were made, and I hitched up our trailer for the journey.  The […]

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Last Tuesday I came back from a week-long trip to Paris. The reason I went was that I had been invited by the founder of the International Children’s Rights Institute to present my testimony at their second annual conference, which was being held there. So my plane fare, two nights accommodations, and a few meals were […]

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Bad Airports We Have Known

 

I traded a few tweets with fellow Ricochet members Whiskey Sam and 6Foot2InHighHeels — yes, we’ve joined the Twitter Borg — about bad airports and airport experiences. The exchange got us wondering what would make a good post on the topic. I settled on what became the title of this post: the worst airports you and I have known.

First, let me stipulate that my dad has many better airport — even landing zone — stories than I do. His two worst are LOS (Murtala Muhammad in Lagos) and MLW (the domestic airport in Monrovia, Liberia). LOS was the airport you’d see warned about in US airports:

Places I Want to See Before I Die

 

What places or cities do you feel you need to see before you shuffle off this mortal coil, lest your life be incomplete? The below are chosen in no special order and for no special reason — they’re just places I’ve always wanted to see and never have.

large China Shanghai town city blocks of flats high-rise buildings city skyline Huangpu river flow Pudong evening travel traveling Sunrise over the rooftops of Alfama, Lisbon Varanasi-4Oxford, Missisippi

Virtual Education

 

Imagine “walking” through the Louvre or Vatican City, exploring every nook and being able to examine every aspect in detail. The next day, you might explore the ruins of Vietnam or even the now-destroyed ancient monuments of Iraq and Syria. Or look all around you at the copious sea life of the Great Barrier Reef without need of SCUBA gear.

Since this video is produced by a video game publisher (and development software leader), it references games. But the future of Virtual Reality, if this truly does get off the ground at last, isn’t just gaming.

What’s the Biggest Misconception about Your State?

 

Though no one seemed to notice, I didn’t blog once last week. My cruel taskmasters at Ricochet Global Headquarters allowed me out of my padlocked cubicle for a brief vacation. (Troy Senik made me wear an ankle bracelet; the last staffer granted time off vanished for a few months before reappearing at The Federalist.) After taking my family to a cabin in the cool pines, I posted the following image for my adoring fans on Twitter:

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Member Post

 

As I was saying… When airlines began charging a fee to check-in a single piece of luggage, I was downright naive: “Now my bag is more likely to arrive with me!” I thought. I assumed the fee wasn’t for placing my bag on just any plane but on my plane. It was bad enough in […]

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What Are Your Natural Cathedrals?

 

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On Saturday night I took the picture above, showing the eastern slope of the Teton Mountains towering over the Snake River in Jackson, Wyoming. I was on one of my regular cross-country jaunts from Nashville to Los Angeles. Sure, Wyoming isn’t generally on that route but, c’mon, look at the picture — you’re going to go out of your way for that.

I can’t quite put into words what I experience every time I stand at that spot. It’s something akin, I suppose, to what Maslow described as a “peak experience.” Jackson Hole is one of a handful of spots that I regard as natural cathedrals — places that are overawing in their aesthetic majesty.

50 Shades Of TSA

 

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 10.28.36 PM

We’re just shy of fifteen years into the Global War On Terror. While the law of averages says the next fifteen will yield better results, at this juncture simply being allowed to keep our shoes on when boarding a plane seems like a major victory.

No serious person expected this war to be won in less time than it takes to fire TSA serial gropers (i.e., three months). But at least the consolation for participating in this airport kabuki was knowing that the terminal and plane was free of guns, makeshift explosives and excessive concentrations of toothpaste. Now we learn that the head of the TSA has been “reassigned” after covert tests conducted by the agency’s inspector general found that screeners at airports failed to detect prohibited items 95 percent of the time.

The Ricochet Travel Guide

 

ZionJay Nordlinger has an interesting Impromptus up at NRO today where he reveals the results of the following survey:

The other week, I had a journal from Istanbul. I said I had been wowed by the Topkapi Palace. And maybe a little less wowed by Hagia Sophia, by which the whole world is wowed. In a separate blogpost, I quoted an old colleague of mine, Christopher Caldwell. He once said, “The least overrated place in America is the Grand Canyon. The most overrated place is Yankee Stadium.” I then had a question for readers, a question in two parts: What places have you found “least overrated”? And what places have you found “most overrated”?

My answer to that question (talking strictly domestically): one of the least overrated places (in fact, I’d call it woefully underrated) is Zion National Park in Utah. It never seems to crack that first-tier stratum alongside Yellowstone or Yosemite, but it’s possibly the most breathtaking landscape I’ve ever seen. Photography fails to give you any sense of the scale of the place. You practically expect to see a T-Rex around every blind corner.

Member Post

 

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten, and where did you eat it? For me it’s a toss up between flying termites fried in butter (in Zimbabwe) and fried goat brains (in the Punjab).  Warning: The next paragraph is more likely to seem gross to you! Preview Open

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Five Proposals For Reforming The TSA

 

Your tax dollars at work.Fourteen years is more than enough time for the so-called services of any government agency to go from “controversial inception”  to an “untouchable entitlement.” No agency exemplifies this quite like the the Department of Homeland Security and its enforcement minions at the TSA.

Why is this so? Much of it is due to the managed expectations of Americans themselves. Far from being resentful, many Americans seem grateful at the FAA’s overturning of its long-overdue ban on such brazenly unpatriotic behavior as reading a Kindle after the plane has left its gate.

No longer is the government the last one in the room to get the joke – that attribute belongs to government’s primary constituency: progressives.

I Have A Dream

 

And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established at the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all of the nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come. And let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. And he will teach us of his ways, and we shall walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth Torah, and the word of God from Jerusalem — Isaiah 2:2:3

Something shifted in me this past October, after learning about the assassination-attempt on Rabbi Yehuda Glick. The Temple Mount — where Jewish access is restricted — had represented an ache in my heart, but stayed there, as elusive as a dream. Every time I visited the The Western Wall, I would feel sadness and loss, knowing that I was so close, yet so far away, but somehow I had accepted the status quo and settled for this state of silent complacency.

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I had been on the job less than a month. Two months earlier, in August, I had been a rendezvous navigation software engineer on the Shuttle Program. When the Shuttle Program ended I was let go. Given slack demand for space rendezvous navigation engineers, I recast myself as a tech writer. Sure enough, within a […]

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Do You Tip Hotel Housekeeping?

 

shutterstock_141325891I just returned from Europe, where tipping is rare. Unless service is truly exceptional, one does not tip for meals. Taxi tips simply round the fare up to the nearest Euro. Then, I saw an article about a new program Marriott is using to try to shame its guests into tipping the housekeepers:

Marriott isn’t the first hotel to use a note or an envelope to connect a name to the room’s upkeep and amenities. But it seems to be the first large chain to do so. Announcing its new program, called The Envelope Please, the company explained its goal:

“Hotel room attendants often go unnoticed, as they silently care for the millions of travelers who are on the road at any given time. Because hotel guests do not always see or interact with room attendants, their hard work is many times overlooked when it comes to tipping. The Envelope Please makes leaving them a gratuity simple and secure.”

Member Post

 

Hello All, As some of you may recall, fellow member Ragnar Danneskjöld and I are engaged. As it happens, we are getting married NEXT WEEK! The purpose of this post is not to solicit best wishes (although we accept them gladly!), however we are soliciting advice. We will be traveling to Europe for our honeymoon, spending 4 […]

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Member Post

 

With still another week remaining of vacation we received the news that ended the trip. Very early in the morning my wife’s phone rang. Over a very bad connection we heard: her uncle died the night before in a plane wreck in Florida. We took that day anyway to see Boston, but we drove all […]

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