Matthew at Live and Let’s Fly provides an excellent story and detail on the Saudi transit visa process. My effort to go there for a few days has been on-again, off-again, I may eventually settle for the 24-hour transit option.
Why RSS still matters (The Verge) and James Fallows (The Atlantic) on the effect of Google routinely canceling products – people stop trying them out of expectation that they will be killed. He includes a roundup of several similar articles, prompted by the recently announced death of Reader and launch of a new, unrelated product called Keep. Google is also killing print editions of Frommer’s guidebooks (Skift). I have used Frommer’s books a few times in the US when there is limited coverage from Lonely Planet or Moon. I find it perplexing that they feel there is not a market for fully offline-capable travel guidebooks. On my trips I always make some photocopies of key pages and maps that I tuck in my pocket, pulling out attention-attractive tablets is not a prudent practice. Matador hopes that the new owner of Lonely Planet will not follow suite.
A Sultan’s Quixotic Quest on the self-declared Sultan of Sulu’s spending of his supporter’s lives in an effort seemingly out of the history books to claim/reclaim the Malaysian-controlled state of Sabah on Borneo. (WSJ Southeast Asia Realtime)
For Chinese, Maldives Boycott Goes Beyond Instant Noodles. Allegations that resorts and Maldives remove hot water kettles from rooms due to Chinese cooking in them, eschewing resort restaurants touch a nationalistic nerve that is quick to explode at any perceived international slight. Access to hot water at all times of the day is serious business to Chinese, really serious. I was reminded of this the past few weeks in my Shanghai office, seeing the constant competition for streams of hot water from the overworked machines set in clusters of 3 throughout the office. (IHT Rendezvous)
Defying Predictions, the Japanese Yen Has Weakened to a Rate of 96 to the Dollar from Arthur Frommer argues that Japan has finally become relatively affordable.
Air Asia buys a 49% stake in the Philippines’ Zest Airways. (China National News)
Don’t make products with German military designs, it is a no-win proposition. (China National News)
Good Riddance, PT Cruiser Rentals (Businessweek):
Inevitably you’re stuck with a plum-colored PT Cruiser, those odd little Chryslers that for the past decade have populated rental car outlets across the country. “They’re just so awful,” says Stephanie Springer, a former research associate at a large biotech company in Boston. Springer and her colleagues once visited Los Angeles and were issued a whole fleet of PT Cruisers. “We ended up carpooling because the people who had PT Cruisers refused to use them,” she says. They briefly considered the possibility that the office administrator who’d booked their itineraries despised them.