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Traveling abroad should be fun, but often times, the countries we've been dreaming about visiting can be dangerous whether it be because of Mother Nature or political unrest. Our contributor, Linda Marsicano, is having second thoughts about returning to India after watching a powerful documentary about the treatment of women there. Here are her reasons why:
I visited India with my family as a kid and treasure memories of seeing the Taj Mahal and the other unique experiences we had as a family during the trip. Now with daughters of my own, I figured one day when they are old enough to appreciate it, we’d go back so they too can share that experience.
And then I watched “India’s Daughter,” a BBC documentary about the brutal gang rape and murder of a female med student in Delhi in 2012, which can be viewed in its entirety here. It details the cultural attitudes toward women and the seeming “justification” for the brutalization of women who dare to do simple things like be out at 8:00 pm without a husband or male relative.
It’s a disturbing film – and to make matters worse, instead of embracing the documentary India has banned it. While India is not on the State Department travel warning list, I personally would not be comfortable traveling there and certainly would not take my daughters there.<
After four years of renovations, one of Egypt’s iconic attractions, The Sphinx, is ready to be reopened to the public.
The courtyard of the Sphinx, which allows visitors to walk around the statue, was closed so that cracks could be repaired, mainly on the left side of the statue and on the chest and neck. Visitors could obviously still see the Sphinx from a distance, but they weren’t able to get close during the repairs.
Travel Movie Tuesday / Movies / Travel Movies / Cairo Time / Movie Travel / Egypt Travel / → All Tags
From Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck falling in love in Rome to Julia Roberts circling the globe to find herself, film has played an important role in shaping both the golden years and current day of travel. Thus, we present our newest series, Travel Movie Tuesday, where we detail the most inspiring travel films.
Some travelers are into planning every trip right down to the minute, while others are cool with playing situations as they arise, but what happens when plans go completely awry? That's just what happens in 'Cairo Time'; a woman's simple trip to Egypt to visit her husband turns her life upside-down in a matter of days.
Google / Google Maps / Google Street View / Travel Tech / Egypt Travel / Abu Dhabi Travel / Desert Travel / → All Tags
A few weeks ago Google posted a very slick interactive slideshow highlighting the new Google Maps of the pyramids in Egypt. You start at the top of the presentation here, and then you just begin scrolling down. The next slide is a regular Google Maps page that you can navigate, and then each next page is a series of clickable history lessons. You can lose hours, and we've embedded a video at the bottom to give you a sense of what's afoot.
That got us thinking though: getting to the pyramids is easy enough once you're in Egypt, but if Google is really going to start putting locations in middle of the desert on Street View, how exactly is that going to happen? Those GPS mapping machines are not small. We know how they do paved streets, and we've seen how they do rivers, and walkways inside zoos, and everything in between. But all of those are places either inherently accessible - like rivers - or designed to be that way. Deserts are more or less the opposite.
It turns out that they're going to use camels. Because of course they are.
The situation over in Egypt may be much improved, but that doesn’t mean that the tourists have flooded right back into the Valley of the Kings and beyond.
Unfortunately, Egypt just added another reason to stay away; it’s going to cost you a little bit more to visit, as the country is adding on something which pretty much can be summarized as a tourist tax. Those departing the country now face a fee of around $25, but don’t worry about paying up at the airport. The amount will be added into your airfare and ticket purchase, so you'll likely not even realize the extra bit of cash.
We occasionally do posts where we overview whether travel to hotspots of global unrest is worth it or not. Today's destination under scrutiny? Egypt where months of discontent and a week of protests have culminated with the country's president being ousted by its military.
Official US language still refers to what's happening in Egypt as "political and social unrest" and not a coup. (It's a tricky political situation because the US has laws about cutting off aid after coups and the US isn't really eager to cut off aid so lots of people are treading very carefully right now on rhetorical eggshells.)
The US issued an updated travel advisory today. The UK updated theirs yesterday. There is a bit of nuance in the US statement (though still urging "“U.S. citizens living in Egypt to depart at this time") while the British statement "advise[s] against all travel to parts of the country." Travelers have also been warned about violence against tourists and an ongoing rape epidemic.
Travel Politics / Politics Travel / Japan Travel / China Travel / Israel Travel / Egypt Travel / Australia Travel / Japan / China / Israel / Egypt / Australia / ANA / Japan Airlines / El Al / Qantas / Emirates / → All Tags
It's an unfortunate fact of life that sometimes politics impacts travel. It's an even more unfortunate fact of life that sometimes politics impacts travel so much that we have to write about it on a Friday afternoon instead of easing you into the weekend with baby animal pictures. And yet here we are, with flights being emptied or cancelled across three continents because of a variety of geopolitical flare-ups.
The most dramatic bit of travel politics comes out of Japan, where no less than 40,000 seat reservations to China have been canceled. China has been on a bit of a tear recently, claiming a bunch of islands that by and large aren't straightforwardly quite theirs. The campaign has put them on a collision course with various other countries in the region (obviously) and one of those countries is Japan. There have been anti-Japan protests in China and, apparently, lots of Japanese people are sufficiently pissed off to cancel vacations to China.
Apocalypse Travel / Thanatourism / Religious Travel / Egypt Travel / Ancient History Travel / Tourist Traps / Tourism / → All Tags
It's Veterans Day today, and it's also 11.11.11 as the date goes. Naturally tourist sites have been preparing for both, but with the major difference that Veterans Day takes place in the US and focuses on looking at history and remembering while 11.11.11 happens around the world, with a focus on the future.
For some however, it's actually a lack thereof (the future) with the belief that the world will end today. Well it hasn't yet, and Egypt's Great Pyramid can attest to this. Fearing negative attention and spiritual ceremonies, the Great Pyramid was closed to tourists. The AP notes that only the pyramid was on lock-down:
Bad Ideas / Political Travel / Oprah Winfrey / Cairo Travel / Celeb Travel / Egypt Travel / Tahrir Square / → All Tags
Cairo's Tahrir Square is clear of the makeshift dwellings of the protestors who were in it for the long-haul before Mubarak stepped down, and now, as the site of another event in the country's history, Cairo is looking to capitalize on the Square's popularity...and fast. So fast indeed, that they've invited lovely little Oprah Winfrey (and other famous faces) to come and do shows in the Square.
The brainstormer behind this is Egypt's freshly appointed Minister of Tourism, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, and he's got designs on more than just the queen of media. Nour is anxious to dip into social media as well, as Egyptian paper Al-Masry Al-Youm reports:
Woowho wants to go to Egypt now that the revolution's most violent days are behind us? No one? Yea, we didn't think the traveling public would be so eager to jump back into Cairo when they've barely cleared the makeshift protestor shacks from Tahrir Square. Still, the portion of the country that earns their income from tourism still needs to eat, and thus the pyramids have reopened to visitors.
This Voice of America article that interviewed some of the locals who work at the pyramids is quite eye-opening, especially with excerpts like this:
Obviously, the episode was filmed long before the recent turmoil in Egypt, not that it would have mattered much to the show's producer Ricky Gervais, who purposely tries to make each journey as uncomfortable as possible for his sidekick Pilkington.
iPhone Travel Apps / Free Stuff / Cairo Travel / Taxis / iPhone / Egypt Travel / Emergencies / → All Tags
This may be a long shot, but for those whom it touches, it could be a lifesaver:
The maker of one of our favorite favorite iPhone Travel Apps (Tokyo Teleport), is offering their newest app, Cairo Taxi Guide, for FREE right now in order to aid any foreigners in Egypt who are perhaps not so well-versed in Arabic.
The premise is simple; search a glossary of landmarks, museums, and really everything else in Cairo in order to discover how to say that you'd like to go there, in Arabic. The app provides clear taxi cards to show to your driver, so that you aren't literally just taken for a ride. They've also released similar Taxi Guide apps, priced between $5.99 and $9.99 each, for Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.