I believe that is exactly how a typical American would define the kind of experience that I had during my stay in the United States. There was certainly this “disorientation” when I was just introduced to the American culture. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Travel’
By Joel Burgess
Last month, my wife and I had the privilege of traveling to Trinidad and Tobago, the southernmost islands in the Caribbean Sea. In fact, the closest point of Trinidad is a mere nine miles from Venezuela. We stayed at the Trinidad and Tobago Urban Ministries (TTUM) compound in St. Helena, a few miles from the Piarco International Airport and 45 minutes east of Port-of-Spain, the capital city. Here are a few facts about this island nation that is slightly smaller than Delaware.
Christopher Columbus, on his third trip to the new world in 1498, discovered the island of Trinidad. Looking back as he passed the island, he saw the three distinct peaks of its northern mountain range and proclaimed the island la Trinidad, Spanish for the Trinity.
First colonized by the Spanish, the islands came under British control in the early 19th century. The British abolished slavery in 1834, which hurt the islands’ sugar industry. Many of the freed slaves did not return to Africa for fear of being recaptured by US slave ships in transit, as the US did not abolish slavery until the early 1860’s. Free labor became cheap labor with the importation of contract laborers or indentured servants from India between 1845 and 1917. For working five years, contract laborers were given property and the promise their families could remain intact, a promising outlook for those looking to escape India’s caste system. The islands became independent of Britain in 1962.
Today, Trinidad boasts a culturally diverse population of 1.3 million: Indian (South Asian) 40%, African 37.5%, mixed 20.5%, other 1.2%, unspecified 0.8%.
Traditionally, the island has supported sugar production as well as the cocoa industry.
Today the economy benefits from a growing trade surplus. The country is one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean, thanks largely to petroleum and natural gas production and processing. Economic growth in 2006 reached 12.6% as prices for oil, petrochemicals, and liquefied natural gas remained high, and foreign direct investment continued to grow to support expanded capacity in the energy sector. Tourism, mostly in Tobago, is targeted for expansion and is growing.
Word of the island: Limin’
To “lime” is to chill. According to the islanders, limin’ was a term used first used to describe the attitude of British soldiers as they lounged around sucking on limes. Limes were a source on vitamin C that prevented scurvy.
Place to Visit: Marracas Bay
A beautiful cove trapped between the Atlantic & the mountains–it’s breathtaking. Don’t forget to try the Shark & Bake (bread) with spicy mango chutney, with locally caught shark.
Those of us who travel frequently are always looking for an edge. Here are a few ideas that appeared in an article in the New York Times on April 7.
If you haven’t yet discovered www.sidestep.com , you will find it to be a helpful way to compare fares among multiple carriers. Its easy-to-configure preference section gives you a quick way to decide whether a few extra hours of sleep before the flight are more important than the dollars saved by getting up before the crack of dawn.
Have you ever wondered which route is more likely to get you there? Well, www.flightstats.com may be the answer for you. It rates airports relative to likely delays, and also provides weather and security line delays for last-minute travelers.
Are you trying to take your family to an exotic destination using your frequent flyer miles? You may want to check out www.milemaven.com . This site will help you maximize your frequent flyer miles by taking advantage of special promotions.
If you’re already headed to the airport, you may want to know about Google Mobile’s text messaging services at http://www.google.com/intl/en-us/mobile/sms/ . Using your mobile phone to send a text message containing the airline and flight number to 466453 (Google on the key pad), you can receive flight arrival and departure information.
By Rebecca Rooy
It’s time to embrace the third dimension. Convenient sky travel has always been tantalizing. Dreams of whirling hovercrafts have lingered in our minds for decades: on-demand, point-to-point air travel specifically designed for one’s personal travel plans. It is now becoming a reality: an increasingly affordable, convenient, and high-speed way to travel for short-term trips.
Introducing . . . air taxis.
The United States has grown frighteningly comfortable on a teetering foothold in our use of transportation. We are on the verge: it’s either travel breakdown or travel revitalization. Our national airports are oversaturated with people and complicated flight regulations. The roads are breaking down due to the amount of commuter traffic and truck travel. We are frustrated by traffic gridlocks, airport customs gridlocks, and railway gridlocks, which leads to our sanity gridlocking as well. In short, our transportation demand has exhausted our transportation supply.
Due to NASA’s access and provisions of emerging technology, this Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) program materialized. With the turning point in transportation looming, NASA created the SATS program since the United States is in the ideal innovative position to launch this program in air transportation. The ultimate goal is to fully incorporate SATS into the mass transportation system. This new method of transportation will not only affect our traveling needs, but product delivery and service options as well. These new services hold promise for many industries. For example, there is the possibility of great economic benefit to the corporate realm because SATS provides increased access to rural or remote areas. The program developed 5,000 landing sites for public use throughout the country, to include areas in both the urban and rural communities.
NASA’s research has also led to the creation of the “very light jet” (VLJ), specifically designed for the SATS program. VLJs are designed to create safe, fast, and reliable travel, providing four to six seats on each plane. These new aircrafts are ideal for a ready-by-call taxi service. The technologies within each aircraft are custom created to make them compatible with small airports. Although the technology is cutting edge, these planes are being produced at increasingly lower costs in order to make the air taxi affordability a reality.
Although NASA began the program, it has now been handed off to individual organizations around the country. Unfortunately, the transfer of responsibility did not fully include the transfer of funding. NASA’s role in the program has ended, and many of these new SATS organizations are struggling to meet funding needs. At this point, funding for the SATS program is the biggest obstacle to overcome.
Throughout our transportation history, we have embraced the natural progress of innovation. The SATS program is an example of continuing our inventive and progressive history. Our current two-dimensional transportation infrastructures are over-extended and exhausted, and, therefore, it is not only logical, but natural, to turn to third-dimensional transportation. Get ready to hail the newest taxi.
“New Class of Jets will Fly High with Help of NASA Research.” PR Newswire US . Lexis Nexis. 13 October 2006.
Every year, international travel to the United States brings in approximately $80 billion to our economy. Unfortunately, in the last five years the number of foreign travelers to the U.S. has dwindled by 17%. The September 11 attacks have much to do with these downward trends concerning travel to the United States , not because of travelers’ fear of terrorism in our country, but because of the hassle and anxiety that come along with increased security at our country’s ports.
America has been forced to choose between security and ease of entry into our country. With tighter security, visas can take up to three months to acquire. Also, the unfriendly welcome that visitors may get from stern officials makes other travel options seem more attractive. While we may feel safer with increased security, it is having adverse effects on our economy. Not only is the United States losing its competitiveness with other countries for foreign buyers, but its market share for world travel has been reduced as well. Further, billions of dollars in tax revenue and spending are being lost, causing thousands of people to be laid off.
Discover America Partnership, an organization whose efforts includes creating a more positive view of America to countries around the world, has come up with a three-fold solution to tackle the issues at hand:
• Create a better visa system – with acquisition within 30 days
• Modernize and secure ports of entry – hire more personnel and use newer technology to process visitors in 30 minutes or less
• Change perceptions of America – implementing the first two strategies will provide an incentive for international travelers to come to America , and in turn they may lead to a more favorable image of America from “people-to-people” experiences
The proposed plan has a price tag of $300 million, which will hopefully be funded by government investment. Despite this expense, the rewards our country will see will be even greater! It should help our economy rake in billions of dollars annually from world travel and create thousands of new jobs on our turf. To take a look at the full plan, go to http://poweroftravel.org/pdf/DAP_blueprint.pdf