Category: Travel Hints

Time for Reconciliation?

Is it time for “truth and reconciliation” in America? Most Americans who know what this is, think this is a process that took place in South Africa after the end of apartheid. But a truth and reconciliation process has recently completed in Canada, without any American news coverage I know about.

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Tune in to Saskatoon

   New Remai Modern Museum

I recently travelled to a place where few people go, Saskatoon, in Saskatchewan, Canada, but I think is about to start getting a lot of visitors as a result of a new museum opening there.  Most Canadians skip right over this gem known affectionately as “Paris on the Prairie,” a nickname recently made into a song by the popular band Tragically Hip.  One nice Canadian gentleman told me he was visiting Saskatoon because he had been to every province of Canada except Saskatchewan, and he wanted to go each one. Contrast that with the young lady who explained she was born in Saskatoon, and now worked in Calgary, but that all who come from Saskatoon eventually return there.

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WOW, other discount airlines, don’t

Flying these days is anything but luxurious, and the discount airlines nickel and dime you for everything. Nevertheless, sometimes the price of the ticket makes putting up with the inconveniences worth it. I don’t think that happens often, though. I recently flew the discount airline WOW (pronounced “vow”) Airlines to Iceland. This is a newish Iceland-based airline built on the same type of platform as Spirit Air, another discounter. I found the experience almost unbearable.

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Going the Extra Mile to Save for a Lifetime

The National Park Service’s Senior Pass is one benefit of getting older. If you are over age 62, the pass allows holders to enter parks free of charge. If you drive a car, the whole carload gets in without paying. So youngsters, make friends with the elderly! Currently the pass costs $10 and is good for your lifetime. Effective at the end of this month, August, the price is scheduled to go up to $80.

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Benedict Arnold, Commander of West Point

Before I visited West Point, I had no idea that the Benedict Arnold story was part of the history of West Point. Did you know that he was in charge of West Point and made a deal to sell plans for the fortification to the British in exchange for land? The plot was foiled by chance when George Washington was about to make a surprise inspection visit to West Point just as the deal was being consummated. The rest is history, as they say. Had Arnold succeeded in his plan, we’d all be British citizens today. West Point was crucial to America’s winning independence.

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Lone Star Park

Looking for a local activity that the entire family can enjoy in Dallas, Texas? If you love to gamble, love sport, love horses or love buffets, you’ll feel right at home at Lone Star Park. Located close to Dallas off Interstate 30 in Grand Prairie, Lone Star Park has something for everyone. On Sunday, seniors over 62 get general admission for free or get $5 off a reserved seat. Doors open at 2 p.m., and on the Sunday when I attended, I noticed that they stopped monitoring the ticket booths by around 4:30 p.m. essentially making entrance free for everyone after that time.

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Stranded in Mexico City

On a recent trip to Mexico City, my evening flight was cancelled due to storms in Dallas. I was forced to stay overnight at the airport until I could get the next flight in the morning. The morning flight was also cancelled due to the equipment not arriving in Mexico City as a result of the same weather. I didn’t get out until nearly 18 hours after my scheduled departure. All this had an upside. It gave me time to explore Mexico City’s international airport. I was pleasantly surprised.

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Night at the Museum, or 3

      Hotel entrance (above) and museum-style curated exhibit about 1 guest, Marlon Brando (right)

Mexico City is a wonderfully diverse and cosmopolitan city for a quick trip, especially from Texas.

That led me to book a cheap roundtrip flight on American Airlines for $200 from Dallas and a stay at Hotel Geneve ($100/night) for three days. Where else can you go for $500 including airfare? When you arrive in Mexico City’s very modern airport, taxi stands near the exits will arrange for a taxi for a prepaid fare depending on the zone where your hotel is located. The trip cost $25, which I paid with my U.S. credit card. Easy. All the nightmarish tales I was told about how unsafe taxis are, and how they rip you off, no longer apply. Those days are gone. Mexico City has come a long way.

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Add Mexico City to the A-list

Ask people in Mexico City and they invariably tell you it’s the world’s second largest city with 36 million inhabitants, second only to Shanghai’s 42 million. Of course, I have no way of independently verifying this, but a Google search reveals that the population is much lower and Mexico City isn’t second. In any event, the place is huge.

Such a huge city has its share of traffic problems and pollution can get very bad. But on the June weekend when I visited, it was sweater cool and the skies were very blue. Situated in a bowl surrounded by mountains, I can see how the pollution can vary. But its elevation usually makes the climate mild, despite the erroneous mythology to the contrary. Traffic, alas, is definitely a problem. I suggest you don’t drive in Mexico City.

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Zika poo

          The Zika mosquito is worth worrying about. It can cause a terrible human toll. Full disclosure: the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contacted me and other travel writers to get the word out about this underappreciated threat.

Zika is a disease that is spread by the bite of a mosquito. If you get the disease, your symptoms may be so mild that you won’t even realize you have it. However, if bitten during pregnancy, the disease can spread to the fetus and cause birth defects. The fetus can be infected even by a mother that has no symptoms. Those with symptoms may experience fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes that last for about a week.

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