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The vast majority of holiday travelers — more than 90 million — will be driving, and much cheaper gas prices will drive the costs of the holiday trips down.
Dad Nick Wolfe says their final stop is Vermont.
“Everybody is doing great. We had a DVD installed in the van, so we have been watching a lot of movies. It’s been great.”
For Alex Sphere and his family from Boston, highway driving has been great for the wallet, even if it means nearly running out of gas.
“We tried to make it to New Jersey without stopping so we could get the cheaper gas prices in New Jersey than New York, so we are running on just about empty,” Sphere said. According to AAA, the record 91 million people hitting the road is nearly 2 million more than last year.
Cheap gas may be fueling the increase. They are at an average $2 a gallon, down 37 cents from last year. A family of five driving a minivan from New York to Miami is paying just $130 one way — a savings of $80 compared to just two years ago. Read the rest of this entry »
Who needs an atlas when you have an algorithm? Data tinkerer Randy Olson, who is now known across the internet for developing the optimum search path for Where’s Waldo books, has used this same algorithm to compute the optimal American road trip.
At the urging of Tracy Staedter from Discovery News, Olson set out to find the quickest driving route that would stop at a national natural landmark, national historic site, national park or national monument in all of the lower 48 states. He also included Washington, D.C. and added another stop in California to get to a total of 50 stops. Read the rest of this entry »
Best Known for his novels and plays, Somerset Maugham also produced the most delightfully engaging and absorbing non-fiction, of which The Gentleman In The Parlour is a prime example. First published in 1935 it is the account of a journey the author took form Rangoon to Haiphong.Whether by river to Mandalay, on horse through the mountains and forests of the Shan States to Bangkok, or onwards by sea, Maugham’s muse is in the spirit of Hazlitt, who wrote: ‘It is great to shake off the trammels of the world and public opinion…and become the creature of the moment and to be known by no other title than ‘The Gentleman in the Parlour‘.’
“There enough raw material to sate his imagination and the journey itself takes on the contours of a story worth recording. Among the coolly-observed descriptions of ruined pagodas there’s the added treat of Maugham’s catty thoughts on his craft” – Sunday Herald (Glasgow) Read the rest of this entry »
Courtesy of those upbeat folks at foreignaffairs.com
Greetings from Hong Kong Fong! Continuing in my new role of China Deputy Bureau Chief and Hong Kong Photo Editor for Pundit From Another Planet, and following my inaugural PFAP post, The Visual Feast of Hong Kong: Through the Lens of Hong Kong Fong, Part 1, I now share with you Part 2.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 27, 2014
Today we largely take international air travel for granted. Every major city in the world is little more than a hop, skip, and jump away. But what was it actually like to fly halfway around the world in the 1930s, when the very concept was still novel? Pretty incredible, as it turns out—provided you could afford it.
At the dawn of commercial air travel, Imperial Airways was Britain’s shuttle to the world. As the British Empire’s lone international airline in the 1920s and ’30s, Imperial was responsible for showing the rich and famous every corner of the Empire. And in doing so, their mission was to make the Empire (and by extension, the world) feel that much smaller.
They did it in style.
During the WWI, airplanes became a vital tool for victory, ushering in a brave new world of battle. Airplanes were the future of war, but they had yet to prove themselves as the future of peace.
After the war, Britain had a surplus of warplanes that would jumpstart its commercial air industry. But the early 1920s was a hard period for British aircraft companies. Unlike their counterparts in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United States, very little government investment in British air travel occurred during peacetime.
Instead, the government hobbled together the few struggling British air companies to form Imperial Airways, which was incorporated in 1924. Imperial was devised as a private, highly subsidized company that would operate with monopoly support from the British government. They shuttled mail and passengers to the farthest reaches of the globe.
Imperial’s planes of the 1920s (made of wood and fabric) would slowly morph into the planes of the 1930s (made of metal). But it wasn’t merely because the streamlined aircraft looked sleeker. The newer planes also better suited Imperial Airways’ mission of Empire maintenance.
REST AND RELAXATION in Waikiki. A boys’ night out in Vegas. Gadget shopping in Tokyo. Most guys might choose the first two escapes, but I’ve been going to Tokyo every year for the past decade to seek out the newest gizmos—products that haven’t yet made it to the west or are simply too niche to ever be imported. In my travels, I’ve found tiny wooden speakers hand-carved out of rare Japanese cedar, silicone keyboards that roll up like a burrito and a Gameboy cartridge filled with 500 games that were never released stateside.
Some of the gadgets are brilliant solutions to urgent nerd problems; others will leave you dumbfounded. Don’t let the sillier products deter you, though. For every bewildering gadget you’ll find, a dozen more will be worth taking home. And, luckily for tech-obsessed tourists, getting around is easy: Most of the key stops are in the Akihabara neighborhood, on the Japan Railway’s Yamanote line.
Here are five of my favorite spots, as well as a few of the curios that I found on my latest trip. While you can buy some of these products online, there’s no substitute for making an actual pilgrimage.