International hospitality from Iceland to Bosnia
A deadly high-speed rail crash in China may have had a tragically ironic cause, foreign visitors to northern Kenya are threatened with kidnapping by Somali pirates, staying at a hotel where the President of the United States is also staying can be a major hassle, a woman successfully rows a boat across the Indian ocean, and more. Here are the stories travellers are buzzing about:
China's recent high-speed train accident may have had ironic cause
Dozens of deaths in a high-speed train crash this summer put into question China's programme for deploying ultra-fast trains, the world's largest. Local engineers may not have understood how to operate key safety equipment imported from abroad. According to an impressive Wall Street Journal investigation, since China is claimed to often steal foreign technology, foreign companies sold it equipment with concealed inner workings, making the devices "harder to copy, and also harder to understand, for instance during testing". The companies may have safeguarded their patented technology, but local engineers may not have been able to use the technology effectively to safeguard passengers.
Kenyan tourism tarnished by kidnappings
This weekend, British and French governments issued warnings against travel to the region around the seaside resort town of Lamu in northern Kenya. On Saturday, a French national was kidnapped by Somali pirates. Last month, two Britons were kidnapped. In each case, attackers raced in speedboats right up to the hotels along the shoreline, attempted to grab foreigners, and then jetted off while firing guns, according to some unofficial reports. The Northern Kenya resort area is popular with the jet set. For example, actors Jude Law, Sienna Miller and Princess Caroline of Monaco have all reportedly vacationed there, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Carnival ups its fun-factor
Yesterday, Carnival Cruise Lines announced a half-billion-dollar initiative to make its ships more enjoyable for guests, reports the Miami Herald. Through 2015, 14 ships will be updated with burger joints overseen by Food Network celebrity cook Guy Fieri, interactive game shows for families based on popular Hasbro games like Sorry and Simon, and more original bars and comedy clubs.
Staying at a hotel where POTUS is sleeping is a hassel
Writer Bob Greene booked a night's stay at the same New York City hotel as President Barack Obama without realising the president would be in town to speak at the United Nations, and some hassles ensued: Baggage from all arriving guests were carted to "an outdoor location behind steel-and-cement barriers" for screening and guests themselves had to undergo airport-style screening. No taxis come to the front door as "Secret Service war waggons" block the way. And don't expect to catch a glimpse of POTUS, aka, the President of the United States. All hallways will be locked down whenever he is on the move.
The mega re-tweet
We scour Twitter to highlight a standout travel tweet.
"It is Official: Roz Savage is the First Woman to Solo Row the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian Oceans. Hip Hip…"
-- @rozsavage. This morning, Roz Savage completed her trip across the Indian Ocean by rowboat.