... something like this happens. This video was produced by Delta Air Lines, and features a suitcase filled not with clothes but with cameras. Six of them. Apart from a blackout at the security screening, they together give the luggage-level view of an airport journey none of us has made. (Well, I'm assuming that's the case!)
As travel videos go, this one makes you want to get out there and go places. This fellow, incidentally, was part of a crew that was able to document each step. (More details on Move are available here.)
"Why do they always put mud into coffee on board steamers? Why does the tea generally taste of boiled boots?" - William Makepeace Thackeray
Almost 150 years after Thackeray's death, you have to wonder how much has changed. (Yes, you can find a decent latte in every major airport, but I can't count the times I've had rotten coffee while on the move.)
If all goes well, we'll be off to New York for a visit - shortish - sooner rather than later. We'll see. It's great to visit, and not bad reading about the city that never sleeps, etc etc. Vanity Fair's website has collected some of its featured articles over the years on Manhattan.
[Surf's Up, as publishedin the St. John's Telegram on Thursday, July 17, 2008. Click here to read more columns.]
I won't be taking my summer vacation until mid-August, but my mind has been on taking it easy. A few weeks ago, our son made a list of things he'd like to do around the city this summer, which struck his parents as a great idea: why not, indeed, take advantage of what's in our own backyard?
That theme gets this week's web tour underway.
St. John's Time Let's have a round of applause for connecting the dots and working together. Some top-flight attractions in St. John's have evidently figured out they can work better by working together. The St. John's Folk Festival, the George Street Festival, the Royal St. John's Regatta … they all have their following, and they usually happen near each other. A few times, in the past, though, they've butted into each other, and I've often wondered why they didn't co-ordinate efforts to reach a wider audience. Smart, then, that they've banded together – with, let's not forget, the up-and-coming buskers' festival that happens on downtown blocks while the folk festival is underway – to better lure visitors. Click through to individual
Symposium Radio Meanwhile, the 13th edition of the Sound Symposium wrapped up in St. John's this past Sunday; if you missed out on things, you can still sample a bit of the range of the festival by clicking on the Symposium Radio player, located on the main site. A playlist of tracks will open up, and while it's fairly small, it certainly suggests how wide the symposium's programming is. Look also for links to pages of many of the participating artists at this year's festival.
Cape Spear National Historic Site Cape Spear on Flickr One of the first places our son wanted to visit, by the way, was Cape Spear. We've been out twice so far, in fact, and this year he was captivated by the battery abandoned after the Second World War. The official site has the information you'll need to know: visiting hours, what to expect, that sort of thing. What it's missing: the magic. There are only a few pictures about one of the most visually striking places we have. So, I went to Flickr and entered Cape Spear as tag words. What came back? Magic, in spades. You can see why so many people have been captivated by North America's most easterly point over time. (The amazing image above came from the Flickr photostream of a photographer known as Litehouseman.)
Regatta flag cam Hundreds of rowers (and their very, very patient loved ones) keep an eye every day on the flag status at the boathouse at Quidi Vidi Lake. Why? Well, green means go … and you can figure out the rest. The flag, after all, determines if a crew gets practice time on the pond, and given that wind conditions can vary from one end of Quidi Vidi to the other, a lot can ride on it. This webcam is trained on it, and I can testify that at certain times of day, it must get quite a lot of viewers.
Wikitravel I can't get over how large the travel section at many bookstores can be. That makes sense: for major trips, we've often invested in at least two resources to help guide us around. I also like heading to the web for tips and advice, and Wikitravel is one I can recommend. As the name suggests, it's user-generated, which raises questions about the quality if not the comprehensiveness. On the other hand, though, this is a good example of proof behind the "wisdom of crowds" theory that's prevailing these days. As a complement to published materials, it's terrific.
The Most Famous Hotels in the World I tend to travel modestly … or on the cheap, to be more blunt. That doesn't mean that one can't read up on what travel can entail. This site is basically a fantasy land, and a fun one to survey.
The above looks a bit like a basket set among a bunch of bushes; it's actually a building - the corporate offices of Longaberger, the Ohio-based company that manufactures baskets. We were in Ohio for a wedding a few days ago, and on some downtime we took a relative's advice and sought out the seven-storey building that resembles the signature product. Although I had never heard of the company, my wife had, and was also well aware that the higher-end items (even the lower-end stuff is pretty pricey) are collectors' items. Martha snapped this pic while we stopped outside the HQ, in Newark, Ohio. A few miles away, there's also a "homestead" - it's a very homey kind of company - that draws tourists who've come to see the handcrafted operation up close. More details on the above building here.
But beneath Ottawa's buttoned-up, civil-servant demeanor lies a surprisingly vibrant community, with enough green space, trails and water within city limits to satisfy the most hyperactive of travelers. (Go ahead, call it the San Francisco of eastern Canada — it's worthy.)
Ottawa has always had an image problem, but while I was working there (albeit between 1985 and 1987), I was struck by the wide range of recreation opportunities, and the unexpectedly cooler corners of the city.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.