Chai Digest March 2-15: digging to China, big heads in Korea, and more

Why I don’t trust travel agents: they pick ATL as best airport in America. (The Economist) Some travel agents are travelers, most are not. Anyone who has transited ATL knows you need to be fit enough to run a half-marathon to navigate the huge distances of crowded hallways in the terminals, while below ground it is perplexing how a train in a straight, enclosed tunnel can be so bumpy and so often break down. ATL has its good points, best airport in America, though, it is not.

Since I am dinging Atlanta, here is a nice piece, Now Atlanta is Turning Old Tracks Green. (NYT) Prior to joining my prior company in 2007 I had never been south of the Mason-Dixon line in the US except for Florida. I went on to spend significant time on Atlanta and the city steadily grew on me, though I have never seen so much rubble on a road as the I-285 loop, the road where giants tires go to die and take others with them.

Musical Chairs (Choosing the Right Seat), useful for sit-down social gatherings. (Big Mischief)

There are reports that the BBC has had enough of destroying the Lonely Planet brand and will sell a majority stake to Kentucky-based cigarette billionaire Brad Kelly. (Skift)

Ken Jennings on the Real Reason You Can’t Dig a Hole All the Way to China. (The Daily Traveler)

What George W. Bush Did Right presents a case for strong humanitarian legacy of a president widely dismissed by partisans of both major US political parties. (Foreign Policy)

In High-Tech Japan, the Fax Machines Roll On. (NYT) And here I thought faxes were only still used for missing mileage requests.

Carnaval, Bahia style in Marching to an African Beat. (NYT)

You’re not welcome examines visa policies where diplomacy often reaches the heights of pettiness. (The Economist) Reminds me of the $2,000 Belize visa that left my wife at home.

What Do Mother Teresa and Oprah Have in Common? Big Heads in Korea. (WSJ)

Foreign visitors can now have mobile phone access in North Korea for exorbitant fees. (WSJ Korea Real Time) This is offered in conjunction with a local telco and an Egyptian telco. Egypt is quite active in North Korea, I recall my Air Koryo seatmate on the flight in was the daughter of an Egyptian diplomat spending her high school years there. Those international kids must feel like Footloose to the extreme.

Crewmen of USS Monitor are buried at Arlington. (Washington Post)

TSA to Allow Small Knives on Planes, I am sure that will be implemented consistently, haha. (WSJ)

For flying junkies:

Marriott and IKEA are partnering to launch Moxy Hotels (Travel Weekly), Wandering Aramean has a pithy take:

The way they describe the properties I can see some appeal for my travel habits, despite being quite a bit older than the “millennial” target market. That said, looking at the photos on their website I’m clearly not in the same circles. Not quite hipster and not quite euro-trashy; I don’t exactly know what they are going for, but it does have me intrigued.

Fortunately, maroon is not part of the IKEA palette.

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  • Matt M

    While I don’t think George Bush, at heart, is a bad person, I highly doubt he’ll be remembered for his strong humanitarian legacy. Sure, he did do some things right (like a broken clock), but if we’re all just misreading him here in the U.S., why is it that he’s reviled even worse around the world? I don’t think it’s just because he’s “misunderstood”.

  • @Matt M – I agree the argument is tenuous and provocative, which is why I found it interesting to highlight. I was only dimly aware of the AIDS work in Africa. As someone living and traveling outside the US during both his administration and the subsequent, the change in perception of the US, even where foreign policy has shifted little, is consistently positive and palpable. I have spent the least amount of time in Africa compared to other continents on my travels, so would be curious to see how he is thought of in some of the countries that benefited from these programs. I was just in Kosovo and it was interesting to relive the Clinton era through their tributes.

  • john

    thanks interesting stuff