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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Two “Newer” Sights in Mexico City

 

Several years ago, near the city’s main plaza, the Zocolo, and its cathedral, a buried Mayan city was discovered as a new subway line was being excavated. Today, the newish visitor site continues to be excavated and a fantastic museum displays some of the discovered artifacts. The Templo Mayor Museum brings the Mexicas (the word used to describe the indigenous cultures) to life.

You can still see some of these things at the amazing anthropology museum in Mexico City’s Chapultepec park or at the pyramids outside Mexico City at Teotihuacan. This newer museum offers an alternative right in the center of the city!

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Report: See Machu Picchu now

http://wapo.st/2rEowcQ?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.b497a1381c25

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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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Be a Space Cadet!

 Huntsville, Ala. is Space City, USA. Houston monitors the astronauts. Huntsville controls all the science in space. It’s an amazing place; definitely worth a visit! For me, I can relive my youth when space flight was new and exciting.

The numerous space engineers and even common folk living around Huntsville can rattle off the names of the various rockets used throughout the program. At the U.S. Space & Rocket Center everyone can see for themselves the progression of sizes and impressive increasing power of successive rockets, even if they don’t know the specific rocket names.

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