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Phnom Penh Travel / Historical Travel / Political Travel / Death / Cambodia Travel / Museum Travel / Thanatourism / → All Tags
Usually we're pretty light-hearted when we travel because we simply love to explore new and exciting things. Eventually something does comes along, however, which shakes our soul and moves us in way that few other things have. Our recent exploration of Phnom Penh came with one of those moments while visiting the Genocide Museum. Vacations are supposed to full of good memories and a museum visit like this one doesn't sound too fun, but please stay with us; it's worth it.
Here's a little background before we get into our take on the grounds: back in April of 1975, Cambodia was in the thick of a government run by the political party of Democratic Kampuchea, led by the infamous Pol Pot. During this time, the security office S21 was created from a former primary school campus of four buildings, with the purpose of detaining Cambodian citizens considered a threat to the Communist movement, primarily those with education.
If you're thinking, "this can't end well," you're right.
Photo Gallery / Thanatourism / Titanic / Halifax Travel / Death / Canada Travel / Nova Scotia Travel / → All Tags
Going to visit the largest burial site of those who died in the Titanic ship disaster while on a cruise probably isn't the best idea, but then you think of something better to do while practically fogged in at Halifax's harbour. We took a bus out to Fairlawn Cemetery, which definitely isn't near downtown Halifax but more on the edge of a regular neighborhood. You'd never guess that inside the modest gates lay 121 victims, some still unidentified 100 years after the ship hit the iceberg and sunk on its maiden transatlantic voyage.
Fairlawn is open during normal daylight hours and, on a typical day, one bus tour will be followed by another bus tour stopping to visit the site. The Titanic portion of the cemetery consists of three rows of graves that mostly match, save for a few whose families purchased individual tombstones for their loved ones. All death dates are the same: April 15, 1912, though the ship hit the iceberg on the 14th.
If The Rapture does indeed occur tomorrow, as all the pamphleteers in the Times Square subway station say it will, then don't worry; we aren't going anywhere. The righteous will be swooped up into heaven or wherever, and we've simply cursed too often during flight delays and wished ill of annoying seat mates far too much to be included in that bunch.
Regardless, we do have some questions about the logistical side of having millions of people fly up into the air all at once tomorrow. God wasn't available for questioning as he's probably tidying up upstairs in preparation, so we'll just put our wonderings out there:
· So 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 states "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God." We want to know if Jesus will show up on Air Traffic Control screens as a solid blip, or is he just basically like air?
Google Maps / Terrorism / Political Travel / Pakistan Travel / Death / Osama Bin Laden / Military Travel / → All Tags
Last night, when President Barack Obama announced the killing of terrorist al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, history was made at the same time as a town in Pakistan lost its innocence. Abbottabad was named by Barack as the place in which bin Laden had made his mansion hideout home. He wasn't in caves, he wasn't in Afghanistan, and he wasn't going to escape this time. A recently built home, surrounded by walls and within an affluent community, was where the last stand between Osama and the USA took place, with the US' Navy SEALS emerging victorious in under 40 minutes of covert operations.
As such, Abbottabad is today the center of much curiosity; it's even been trending on Twitter all night thanks to Abbottabad-based Twitter user Sohaib Athar@ReallyVirtualwho lives in the town and who unknowingly live-tweeted the mission several days ago, hearing as he did helicopters overhead and bursts. Sohaib moved to the relative calm of Abbottabad to work on his IT business and escape the fighting in Lehore, Pakistan. This isn't all that extraordinary, since Abbottabad is a huge tourist destination; in fact it is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Pakistan.
Dangerous Travel / Boats / Indonesia Travel / Vietnam Travel / Death / Travel Insurance / → All Tags
The Ha Long Bay sinking
If there's something we've learned over the last year, it's never to trust an overnight "tourist" cruise in Southeast Asia. It was only a little more than a month ago that such a boat sunk in Vietnam's Ha Long Bay, killing 12 in only 30 feet of water. The safety (or lack of) in these boats is to blame, and nothing has illustrated the issue better than the story of "Adventurous Kate," who survived a shipwreck in Indonesia.
Kate is author of her own blog about traveling Southeast Asia on her own, which she has been doing continuously since October of last year. A week ago, on Monday March 28, she was enjoying a 5-day cruise to visit the famous Komodo dragons of Komodo Island when her tourist boat hit a reef and promptly sank, causing her and her fellow travelers to abandon ship and swim to the closest islandKomodo, with its dragons.
The reason they swam? Half of the life jackets onboard were unusable and both lifeboats failed. Their luggage was waterlogged and left behind, and what they did eventually reclaim had been pillaged by the boat's crew.
You don't need us to tell you this, but tourists really love to see some morbid things. Just think about it...the Paris Catacombs, Concentration Camps, famous graves and worse. To help sate the public's desire for the macabre, more new Thanatourism attractions open every year, but it looks like 2011 will be particularly dark. Here's the top three to look forward to:
· "Old Sparky" Electric Chair, Ohio
It was just reported that a particulary shocking exhibit will hit Columbus, Ohio's Historial Museum on April 1, and this is not an April Fool's Joke. "Controversy: Pieces You Don't Normally See" will be limited to guests 18 year old and up, because what's on display may be disturbing: Ku Klux Klan hoods, mental patient restraints, and "Old Sparky," the electric chair that brought capital punishment down on 315 inmates for over 30 years. No, you won't be allowed to sit in it. More info here.
Ukraine is obviously needing a little help in the tourism department. First, it has the bright idea to give tours of Chernobyl, and now the country is banking on a Hitler attraction to bring in the tourists.
Plans are in the works to turn Wehrwolf, Hitler's Eastern Front military headquarters near Vinnytsia, central Ukraine, into a museum. The facility is scheduled to open May 9, the anniversary of Victory Day over Nazism.
Airline News / Death / Concorde / Air France / Continental / Accidents / Travel News / CDG / → All Tags
The remembrance stone in Roissy, France
Just over ten years after the deadly day, a French court has found Continental Airlines guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the July 2000 crash of the Air France Concorde, which took the lives of 109 passengers and crew and another 4 on the ground. So just how did this come to be, that another airline is convicted of murdering the entire flight of another airline? It all goes back to a small piece of metal.
The tragedy of the Concorde AF Flight 4590 is well known, but here's a sentence to refresh your memory: a Continental Airlines DC-10 flew out of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. The plane wasn't properly maintained, and a 12" x 17" piece of titanium (that shouldn't have been on the plane anyways) fell of it onto the runway at CDG. The Concorde took off next, and the metal strip burst a tire, pieces of which then ruptured a fuel tank, which then did all sorts of damage and turned the Concorde into a flaming projectile that crashed into a motel outside the airport. The structural fragility of the areas damaged in this crash caused all Concordes to be grounded for the time being, and all Concordes ceased flying in 2003.
Events / Holiday Travel / Mexico Travel / Dia de los Muertos / Thanatourism / Death / Halloween Travel / → All Tags
Today, as you're coming down from your sugar high, don't forget you don't have to go far to get into the spirit of Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead.
Day of the Dead, celebrated each year on November 1, has traditionally brought families in Mexico together to pray at cemeteries for those who have died, usually their family members. You can recreate the tradition in your hometown by taking a drive through your closest ornate cemetery or searching for some of your ancestors' grave stones.
Today is a sad day in the soccer world, but also in the crazy animal stunts world, as Paul the Psychic Octopus has passed away. There'll be no more World Cup match predicting for him, but they had planned to retire him from that sort of thing anyways. At first we wondered what is the typical lifespan of an octopus, anyway? Three to four years for his sort, apparently, so in theory we should have all been preparing for this, as he was just over two and a half. His death now ends a great year of tourism for the aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany.
The The Daily Mail got the aquarium to comment:
'He appears to have passed away peacefully during the night, of natural causes, and we are consoled by the knowledge that he enjoyed a good life here,' said Stefan Porwoll, manager of the aquarium in Oberhausen.
We know the protocol for bringing laptops, liquids and things like that on a plane, but what about carrying on delicate cargo like a family member's remains? Obviously, when you're suffering the loss of a loved one, the last thing you want to deal with is TSA hassling you about bringing an urn through airport security.
Luckily, advice guru Dear Abby recently laid out the proper protocol if you need to bring ashes onto a plane. In case you worry about going through airport security, Abby reassures that airport personnel will never ask you to open an urn. In fact, TSA seems pretty adamant about it, putting this on its website: "Out of respect to the deceased and their family and friends, under no circumstances will an officer open the container even if the passenger requests this be done."
Thanatourism / Titanic / Halifax Travel / Death / Photo Gallery / Canada Travel / Canadian Cruise Field Trip / Nova Scotia Travel / → All Tags
Going to visit the largest burial site of those who died in the Titanic ship disaster while on a cruise probably isn't the best idea, but then you think of something better to do while practically fogged in at Halifax's harbour. We took a bus out to Fairlawn Cemetery, which definitely isn't near downtown Halifax but more on the edge of a regular neighborhood. You'd never guess that inside the modest gates lay 121 victims, some still unidentified almost 100 years after the ship hit the iceberg and sunk on its maiden transatlantic voyage.
Fairlawn is open during normal daylight hours, and on a typical day, one bus tour will be followed by another bus tour stopping to visit the site. The Titanic portion of the cemetery consists of three rows of graves that mostly match, save for a few victims' families who purchased their own tombstones for their loved ones. All death dates are the same: April 15, 1912.