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A POSTCARD FROM CHINA THE IMPORTER

A POSTCARD FROM CHINA THE IMPORTER

It seems like folks in the States believe that nearly everything that costs less than $20.00 is made in China. But the Washington Post points out that we Chinese have been consuming a good deal of stuff made int the USA. In fact, the Post reports that exports to, not from, China have increased by 468% since 2001. Continue Reading »

WORTH KNOWING: DID YOUR BIG BOX BANK PASS THE TEST?

WORTH KNOWING: DID YOUR BIG BOX BANK PASS THE TEST?

The Federal Reserve recently completed a series of “stress tests” to determine which of banks bailed out by the government three years ago are sound enough to weather another financial storm. As reported in the NY Times, four major banks failed the tests. They are Citigroup, Ally Bank (but A for Advertising), Sun Trust and Met Life. Continue Reading »

A POSTCARD FROM SLOW TO CHANGE MYANMAR

A POSTCARD FROM SLOW TO CHANGE MYANMAR

I visited Myanmar last November and it became one of my two top trips of my travels.  As a child at school in Robin Hood country, the British Empire and Ex British Empire were taught in history and geography lessons.  The magical names of Rangoon, Mandalay and the Irrawaddy river sparked a lightbulb so that, one day, one had to visit.    Continue Reading »

OUR 2012 "EXPEDITION OF THE YEAR"

OUR 2012 “EXPEDITION OF THE YEAR”

For true travelers seeking something different, we highly recommend Zegrahm Expeditions land-based tour, “The Five Stans: The Hidden Heart of Asia”. This 18-day journey beginning September 7th, 2012, includes time in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan,and Turkmenistan. Participants will follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo gazing at river-studded plateau steppes, snow capped mountains, camel caravans, and rich cultures from the legacy of Chinnggis Khaan to Samarkland’s Islamic cities. Continue Reading »

ATHENS IS CHANGING BEFORE OUR EYES

ATHENS IS CHANGING BEFORE OUR EYES

There is just no way to sugarcoat the fact that Athens is not the tourist-friendly city it was as recently as one year ago. The visitor to Athens is not going to be in any danger. The crime rate in Athens, while growing, is still lower than that of many popular European cities and even the worst of Europe, has crime stats that would make many US cities envious. Continue Reading »

MEXICO'S TOURIST NUMBERS UP IN 2011. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

MEXICO’S TOURIST NUMBERS UP IN 2011. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

The crime rate in sections of Mexico has caused the US State Department to issue a series of warnings related to travel within Mexico, The body count from the various internal drug wars keeps rising. Yes, in figures just released by the Mexico Tourism Board, travel to the country actually grew by 2% in 2011, the country’s best ever year for inbound visitors. Continue Reading »

THE CONCORDIA DISASTER STILL A  BURIED MYSTERY

THE CONCORDIA DISASTER STILL A BURIED MYSTERY

THE CONCORDIA

This Article Originally Appeared in Travel Weekly  – By Richard Bruce Turen

How do you check the reality of the nightmare that occurred off the shores of Isola del Giglio, a quiet island that, it is said, dips its small feet into the Tyrrhenian Sea

The diving is so good off the shores of this small island that the number of tourists who may visit is limited by regulation. Continue Reading »

WHY YOUR AIRLINE TICKET SEEMS MORE EXPENSIVE

WHY YOUR AIRLINE TICKET SEEMS MORE EXPENSIVE

The airlines and many online ticket agencies are livid over new U.S. Transportation Department rules that went into effect in January that require airlines to advertise and quote the full price of an airline ticket inclusive of required taxes and all fees. This new regulation has the effect of making it appear that the price of airline tickets has risen suddenly and dramatically.  Continue Reading »

FINALLY THE SECRET IS OUT: THE BEST TIME TO BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS

FINALLY THE SECRET IS OUT: THE BEST TIME TO BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS

The Airline Ticketing Corporation, the company that handles ticket purchases between airlines and travel agents, has just completed the largest survey of international airline ticket trends ever undertaken. They looked at literally millions of actual transactions over the last four years.

The conclusion: The very best time to purchase an airline ticket is six weeks prior to your scheduled departure. Continue Reading »

WORTH KNOWING: THE MOST IMPORTANT FOOD CHANGE

WORTH KNOWING: THE MOST IMPORTANT FOOD CHANGE

What would happen if you took a simple survey of ten of the leading American university nutrition scientists and physicians and asked them one simple question: If the American people could change one specific item in their diet – what should it be?

What was amazing about this poll, conducted by Prevention Magazine, was that there was almost complete unanimity in the responses. Continue Reading »

NOTES FROM THE REAL FOOD FRONT

NOTES FROM THE REAL FOOD FRONT

Things are not always what they seem. Tropicana Orange Juice contains oranges from Brazil. Only certain brands actually use Florida oranges. But, virtually all Grapefruit juice is home grown in the USA. The presence of fungicides in orange juice from Brazil caused some folks to actually read food labels. But food labels are deceiving. In fact, they are designed to be deceiving. Continue Reading »

CONGRATULATIONS: WE'RE GETTING CLOSER

CONGRATULATIONS: WE’RE GETTING CLOSER

The Doomsday clock has been moved forward – again. It may be time to travel since the clock is now set to five minutes before midnight. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists carried this cheerful news effective on January 11th – and that was before Newt Gingrich won South Carolina.

The group of scientists who manage the symbolic time settings have advanced our planet’s time one minute closer to the bewitching hour given the pending threat from nuclear weapons used by despots or sold on the open market, climate change, and emerging technologies that will enable man to kill his fellow man without the need to waste very much time. Continue Reading »

WORTH KNOWING: WE ARE THE WORLD'S 1%

WORTH KNOWING: WE ARE THE WORLD’S 1%

The latest figures from the United Nations indicate that any American with an annual income above $24,801 is, quite literally, among the 1% wealthiest inhabitants of our planet. 99% of the world’s people earn less than that per year. It is sometimes worthwhile to consider that fact during our travels and during our moments of quiet contemplation. Continue Reading »

WHICH ONE IS THE AIR MARSHALL?

WHICH ONE IS THE AIR MARSHALL?

As it turns out, not one of the gentleman in our photo is a Federal Air Marshal. In fact, trying to pick out the air marshal on transcontinental and overseas flights has become a sort of game for travelers, something to do while the seatbelt lamp is lit. It is usually assumed that the muscular guy in the aisle seat in First Class is one of the onboard marshals. Continue Reading »

2012 BERTH ANNOUNCEMENTS

2012 BERTH ANNOUNCEMENTS

Cruise lines are generally bullish when it comes to potential berth capacity going into the 20 teens. Or at least they were three or four years ago, when cruise line execs signed on to launch six new ships this year One of the primary reasons that seasoned cruise line execs and their investors are mildly optimistic about growth is the general feeling that the industry is maturing as it has come to realize the vast potential in on board amenities that are sold to guests rather than given away. Continue Reading »

WILL SOMEONE GET AMERICAN AIRLINES FOR CHRISTMAS 2012?

WILL SOMEONE GET AMERICAN AIRLINES FOR CHRISTMAS 2012?

You can call them vultures or you can call them smart corporate investors, but something in the air is circling American Airlines parent company, AMR Corp in Dallas. In fact, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that just as American is going through the kind of financial reorganization that will allow it to emerge from Chapter 11, three rather large birds are circling its corporate campus. Continue Reading »

SOUTHWEST STUNS INDUSTRY WITH NEW BOEING ORDER

SOUTHWEST STUNS INDUSTRY WITH NEW BOEING ORDER

Everyone in aviation knew Southwest was going to place a serious new order with Boeing for the new, “Max” version of the 737, but the size of the order, 208 new aircraft valued at $19 Billion was still a shocker. The more fuel-efficient Max engines are new and Southwest will be Boeing’s first Max operator. Southwest has had a policy of using various models of the Boeing 737 exclusively and is now the the largest client of the aircraft worldwide. Continue Reading »

AN EXPENSIVE POSTCARD FROM ROME

AN EXPENSIVE POSTCARD FROM ROME

The cost of a hotel night in Rome went up another $8.00 or so on January 1st. As one of the city’s new breed of public servants put it, “In order not to tax Romans we have decided to tax the tourists.” All Rome Hotel guests in four and five star properties will now be assessed a charge for maintaining the city’s churches and palaces. Continue Reading »

NOT EVEN APPLE'S ADS TOLD US THAT THE iPAD WAS FLYING THE PLANE

NOT EVEN APPLE’S ADS TOLD US THAT THE iPAD WAS FLYING THE PLANE

Remember the old days when pilots would trudge through the airport with two or three stacked carry-on bags filled with flight manuals and route information? Now, if you are flying an American Airlines 777 or perhaps United or Alaska Air, your pilot may be using an FAA approved electronic flight bag in the form of a loaded iPad. Continue Reading »

A SMOG SHROUDED POSTCARD FROM BEIJING

A SMOG SHROUDED POSTCARD FROM BEIJING

Travelers to Beijing need to “mask-up” before setting out to see the city this week as heavy clouds of industrial smog hang over the city. There is an air monitor mounted on the roof of the U.S. Embassy. This week the needle went past the end of the index, indicating a level of pollution that was beyond ordinary measurement. Continue Reading »

A LITTLE DUBAI GLITZ WITH YOUR PASTA CARBONARA?

A LITTLE DUBAI GLITZ WITH YOUR PASTA CARBONARA?

Visitors to Italy may be unaware of recent routing’s on the “World’s # 1-Rated (traveltruth) Airline” that can turn an Italy vacation into a two culture feast. Emirates has just initiated Airbus 380 Non-stop service between Dubai and Rome. There are four other direct flights between Dubai and Rome, Milan, and Venice. For a vacation of between 8 – 12 nights, the option to explore the desert kingdom while being transported by the airline that sets the current bar when it comes to excellent service and attention to detail, is well worth considering. Continue Reading »

A POSTCARD FROM ITALY WORTH NOTING

A POSTCARD FROM ITALY WORTH NOTING

Rome – 12.13.11 – As welfare Minister Elsa Fornero spoke to the nation about the passage of new austerity measures to be enacted by the Monti government, she broke down in tears and could not continue. Prime Minister Mario Monti, an economist rather than a politician, rushed to assist and finish her remarks. Italian workers are now seeing a rise in their retirement ages, elimination in pension cost-of-living adjustments, an army of new tax initiatives, and deep cuts in the amount of money the central government will pay to regional governments. Continue Reading »

PLANNING A TRIP TO THE 'WORLD'S BEST RESTAURANT"?  THEN HEAD FOR COPENHAGEN.

PLANNING A TRIP TO THE ‘WORLD’S BEST RESTAURANT”? THEN HEAD FOR COPENHAGEN.

The new ratings of the World’s Best Restaurants is out and Chef Rene Redzepi’s innovative cuisine at his restaurant, Noma, makes Copenhagen, Denmark the new “must go to” culinary destination.  Noma took the top spot in the  highly respected San Pelligrino ratings based on a near total redesign of the very concept of dining. Now, a second Copenhagen restaurant, Relae, is aslo garnering culinary acclaim. Continue Reading »

WINE ADVICE: ALWAYS PAY CASH

WINE ADVICE: ALWAYS PAY CASH

Many affectionados of fine wines are unaware that credit card purchases may end up as data linked to credit scores. It is always recommended that all wine store purchases be paid in cash. No direct link between a major credit card and so-called “morality profiles” have been found to date. But we do know that frequent purchaser card data is usually sold to outside firms. Continue Reading »

HOW WILL AMERICAN AIRLINES BANKRUPTCY AFFECT YOUR MILES?

HOW WILL AMERICAN AIRLINES BANKRUPTCY AFFECT YOUR MILES?

American Airlines, now the third largest carrier in the United States after the recent mergers, filed for Chapter 11 on November 28th. It is clear that the airline will face a major court-approved reorganization which will mean cancellation of some routes that are not profitable. Some American frequent flyers will panic, a percentage will abandon the airline, fearing their miles could be worthless in the future. Continue Reading »

FINALLY - THE 787 DREAMLINER ACTUALLY FLIES

FINALLY – THE 787 DREAMLINER ACTUALLY FLIES

The line was more than three years long but ANA, All Nippon Airways, received delivery of its first two spanking new 787′s. This is the plane that, quite frankly, is the Boeing Corporations biggest single gamble. The first  flight took off from Narita on October 26th, landing a short time later in Hong Kong. Journalists on board, including Travel Weekly’s Ken Kiesnoski, thought the world’s airlines on the order list may well feel the wait was worthwhile. Continue Reading »

TOP FIVE CRUISE LINE RATINGS REALIGNMENT

TOP FIVE CRUISE LINE RATINGS REALIGNMENT

The new traveltruth 2.0 ratings of the World’s Top Five Cruise lines is out and there have been some changes since the last ratings were completed in Januarfy of 2011. The World of Residensea maintains its position as the # 1 rated cruise line. But Silverseas and Crystal Cruises have increased their standings, occupying the # 2 and # 3 positions respectively. Continue Reading »

CAN WE PLEASE LET OUR AIR CONTROLLERS HAVE A BIT OF SLEEP?

CAN WE PLEASE LET OUR AIR CONTROLLERS HAVE A BIT OF SLEEP?

There were some tense moments in our nation’s capital, last March 23rd, when several approaching aircraft could not reach the tower. It turns out, as reported by USA Today, that the lone supervisor had fallen asleep.

We know that it has not been unusual for one controller to work the midnight shift at many mid-size airports in the United States. Continue Reading »

MARRIOTT'S MOST IMPORTANT NON US MARKET IS .....

MARRIOTT’S MOST IMPORTANT NON US MARKET IS …..

That would be China. A recent report in Travel Weekly shows the growth potential of an “American Heartland” lodging icon in China. The numbers are rather staggering. Marriott brands, including Ritz Carlton and the upscale JW Marriott division, will open a new hotel in China every month for the next three years. And there is a great deal of growth potential beyond that. Continue Reading »

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