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Archive for September, 2007

Chance are when you think ‘tent’ you aren’t thinking of the tents at this fantastic camp in South Africa’s Krüger National Park. Run by CCAfrica (‘Conservation Corporation Africa’), Ngala is typical of the firm’s high-end safari facilities. (more…)

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When you need to tool around South Africa’s larger distances, say, en route to or from one of the country’s stunning national parks, you’re likely to end up on Federal Air. Young, sunburnt pilots also load the bags, provide sack lunches, and give the security talk. They remind one of Israel, where teenagers and those barely above that age seem to run all the essential services, at least on the visible end.

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It’s not Singapore Airlines, but South Africa’s emergence in its democratic period as the muscular economic strongman of Africa has led to improvements in its flag carrier as well. There are plenty of routes to Europe, North America, and of course across Africa.

Although the experience could not be mistaken for five-star, I’ve always received good service from SAA.

South Africa being a beguiling country, one does run into that odd situation where people’s bags are loaded but then they fail to board the plane. I don’t know where such people go. It’s always been something of a mystery to me. When they do show up, they should be roundly boo-ed. Our forefathers would have had them caned.

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Costa Rica has a public-private dual system of health care. As in most countries that employ this model, you do not want to get caught as a visitor in the public system when you’re ill. (more…)

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You heard it here first.

The quiet little secret at the heart of the ‘special relationship’ that binds together the UK and the USA to the consternation of the rest of the world is not what you think. It actually comes down to this: clean bathrooms (a.k.a. ‘loos’). (more…)

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The first time you tell your traveling companion that you’ll be staying ‘at the Y in Hong Kong’, you’ll have to defend yourself against the assumption that you’ll be sleeping under a bench in a locker room that smells like someone’s sweat.

Believe me, this is not your father’s YMCA. (more…)

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The American Express lounge is a small ray of light in the otherwise death-mongering suffocation that is GRU at night, when you may be unfortunate enough to have your plane arrive. All the more reason for frequent travelers to get that American Express Platinum card or a PriorityPass membership.

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