Most of us, when we travel to another country, probably have in mind at least one “must-see” attraction., usually an iconic structure, museum, historic site, or natural wonder.
Examples might be Machu Picchu in Peru, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Giza Pyramids in Egypt, the Roman Colosseum in Italy, and the Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary.
Recently, TripAdvisor — which has propelled itself into the world’s leading travel site and travel data bank — released a map of Europe displaying the “one thing you must do in each country, according to tourists.” (I found it in the Huffington Post.)
For most countries, the results were pretty true to form: The Roman Colosseum in Italy; The Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium; the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Tallinn Old Town in Estonia; the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece; the… Continue reading
The news that Zimbabwe is planning a Disneyland-style theme park near Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is yet another example that Robert Mugabe’s corrupt, brutal and clueless rule is ruining that beautiful central African country — for both its citizens and tourists.
One writer has likened it to building casinos next to the Pyramids in Egypt, and I can’t disagree. (Cairo has enough tacky papyrus shops near the Pyramids as it is.)
I’ve been lucky enough to twice visit Vic Falls — also known in local tradition as “The Smoke That Thunders” — and consider it among the most stunning places I’ve ever seen, on a par with Arizona’s Grand Canyon or China’s mist-enveloped, multi-peaked Mt. Huangshan.
The last time I visited Vic Falls, I saw Mugabe speak, shortly after he… Continue reading
Universal Studios Hollywood theme park is now aggressively marketing $299 “V.I.P. Experience” passes that allow users to skip to the front of lines — avoiding waits that can sometimes seem interminable.
According to this June 10 New York Times piece, V.I.P.s also have access to valet parking and parts of the studio’s normally closed back lot, are treated to rides on special escorted trolleys, and are fed two gourmet meals (breakfast and lunch). The park even throws in some hand sanitizer, a poncho to stay dry and some mints.
If you just want to get to the front of lines or shows without waiting, you can shell out $149 ($169 in peak summer), which is considerably more than the already-steep regular one-day admission price of $84.
The allure of not standing in 45-minute lines on hot summer… Continue reading