the IBIT Travel Digest 2.17.13

The good, the bad and the bizarre in the world of travel

 © Karin Lau |
© Karin Lau |

If you’re ever visiting New York anytime soon and find yourself feeling thirsty, you’ll want to introduce yourself to the Brooklyn Brewery.

If you have any doubts about the difference that travel can make in a person’s life, you’ll want to get to know the man behind the beers from Brooklyn Brewery, one Garrett Oliver.

Garrett Oliver
Garrett Oliver

He spent a year in Britain in the 1980s and developed a taste for Europe’s fine brews. Then, he came home to the United States, where most beers — churned out in industrial quantities by a handful of giant corporations — had no taste.

I remember those days. In much of the world back then, the term “American beer” was a bad joke, the ultimate oxymoron. When Oliver referred to the US beers of the time as “this thin yellow liquid,” trust me, he was being kind.

Most flavors of Kool-Aid had more character — and for that matter, more flavor. Some of this limp-wristed refrigerated dishwater was so pitiful, it couldn’t even form a decent head when you poured it into a glass. You were better off drinking tap water.

So in true American spirit, Oliver took matters into his own kitchen and started making his own beer at home.

Over the next several years, the amateur brewer became a professional brewmaster. And a guy who had graduated with a college degree in broadcast and film morphed into the world’s pre-eminent scholar on the brewing art.

He also became a creator of some truly world-class beers. How world-class? These days, the Europeans are importing beers from him.

Garrett Oliver is one of the reasons you now can find some 2,000 craft breweries scattered across the United States, from Portland ME to Portland OR, Savannah GA to San Diego, each literally lending its own flavor to the city in which it sprang up.

Who knows how much of this, if any of it, would have happened had Oliver not spent that year overseas, having his eyes opened by something he never would have experienced had he played it safe and stayed home. Travel has the power to change lives.

Road trip, anyone?


Halfway through the second month of 2013, Boeing seems no closer to getting its problematic 787 Dreamliner back into service after grounding all of them worldwide due to in-flight problems with its lithium-ion batteries.

Poland’s LOT went so far last week as to declare that no flights using Dreamliners will be scheduled until October — whether the bird is fixed by then or not.

In addition to grounding all the 787s already in service, Boeing has halted delivery of new ones until the battery issue is resolved. Either way, the airlines already committed to the Dreamliner are losing money daily while this drags on.

Meanwhile, Boeing’s principal rival, Europe’s Airbus Industrie, has dropped plans to use the same battery aboard its new A350 airliner, which is designed to compete with the Dreamliner but has yet to enter service.


And now, here’s The Digest:

from USA Today
Poland’s national airline, LOT, is the latest to ground the troubled Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and it says the plane will stay grounded into fall. Ouch.

from Travel Weekly
The American Airlines-US Airways merger may be official, but there’s still a long way to go before it becoes a physical reality on the ground and in the air.

from Budget Travel via Yahoo
Getting married? Planning on raising a family? Here are eight travel destinations you might want to see before you start having kids.

from the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)
Are reading and travel equally fundamental in your life? Five of the world’s most literary cities, all of them suitable for the literate traveler.

from USA Today
Multiple stories on the Carnival Triumph mess…and “mess” is indeed the operative word here, in more ways than one. And just when the cruise industry was still trying to put the Costa Concordia disaster fully behind it.

from AARP
Three classic cruise rip-offs and how to avoid getting stung.

from CCSD Tours
You’ve heard of pub crawls. Are you — and your bike — ready for a pub roll? These guys offer a cycling tour of pubs in Britain. They have other cycling tours in Europe, too, but this one’s for you beer drinkers out there.

from The Guardian (London UK)
Want a taste of fine French cuisine in a genteel English setting? Go north, young gastronome, to Montreal.

from the Washington Post
Welcome to Chicago, where the locals take their hot dogs seriously. Very seriously. These dogs “ain’t your average Huckleberry Hound.”


Want to start real discussion at your next party? Get three people together at random and ask them to name five livable cities in Africa. When they’re done, you hit them with this list of ten, and the reasons why. Watch their jaws drop.

from New Era (Namibia) via
The Namibian government and the private sector lay down guidelines for tour guides.

from the Washngton Post
West Africa’s French-speaking Cameroon is a microcosm of Africa, in ways good and not-so-good.

from the Tanzania Daily News via
Authorities in the Mara region are turning to a new weapon in the battle against poaching — education.

from The Namibian (Namibia) via
A generation before the Nazis, Germans were waging genocide in East Africa. It’s a story little known in this country and largely forgotten elsewhere — except perhaps Namibia.

from The Guardian (London UK)
When it comes to the lush jungles of Costa Rica’s incredible Caribbean coast, the local indigenous peoples make the best guides.

from Agence France Presse via France 24
Gamers in Hong Kong are creating their own great escape. All you have to do is figure out how to get out of a locked room while blindfolded and handcuffed, with a ticking clock prodding you on. In high-pressure HK, they call this fun.

from The Guardian (London UK)
What you’ll find in a walk across Shanghai, where 21st-century China coexists, barely, with the 14th.

from The Guardian (London UK)
In the largely unvisited northern Indian hill country of Meghalaya, the wild scenery is but the first of its surprises. For one thing, in this male-dominated nation historically torn between Hindus and Muslims, Christianity is the major religion and women rule the roost.

from France 24
Formerly down and dirty Marseilles is trying to remake itself this year as the official 2013 capital of European culture.

from CN Traveller
Berlin — rooms with a…zoo?

Edited by P.A.Rice


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