Sunday, February 24, 2008

Biofuel's Virgin Flight

Airline in first biofuel flight
The first flight by a commercial airline to be powered partly by biofuel is to take off from Heathrow airport.
BBC News
Last Updated: Sunday, 24 February 2008, 09:36 GMT

Billed as a green fuel breakthrough, the Virgin Atlantic flight to Amsterdam will not have any passengers on board.

here for complete article.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

End is near in Cuba?

Tourism 'golden era' ends in Cuba
Travellers interested in visiting Cuba are being advised to go now before an invasion of American tourists begins
From Times Online
February 21, 2008

Tour operators believe that the US travel embargo of Cuba could be lifted in the wake of this week's announcement that Fidel Castro is stepping down - ending a “golden era” of tourism to the Caribbean island.

here for complete article.


Make sure to check out ontoTravel's own photo rich report on Havana, Cuba: "Cocktail Culture" by John Hardcastle about his experiences during May Day 2007.

Photography by John Hardcastle © 2007

Monday, February 18, 2008

Expat Perspective - Chris in Freiburg - Berlin

Welcome to the latest instalment of Expat Perspective, a new series of posts by guest writers who come from X but are living long term in Y. Here's the latest post from Chris Mavergames, an American librarian who's recently settled into family life in Southern Germany.

I just visited a friend in Berlin. The last time I was there was the summer of 1997 while on a backpacking trip through 9 countries and at least as many cities in Western Europe and found Berlin to be my favorite. So much has changed there in the last 10 years that I hardly recognized entire areas of the city and it was as if I had never been here before. Examples: Potsdamer Platz: from dirt field trying to be a construction site to a "Times Square" experience; Oraniengburgstr. in Mitte: from no streetlights and buildings still slightly in rubble to swank cafes and restaurants. My friend lives in the Tiergarten in the Hansaviertel, an area dotted with utopian architecture from the 50s and 60s. My friend lives in one of these strange high-rise buildings (see picture).

I spent my week there re-introducing myself to the neighborhoods of Kreuzberg, Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg and Schöneberg. Also, I visited the glass dome, cupola, atop the Reichstag, actually formally referred to as the Bundestag now, something I would highly recommend anyone visiting Berlin to do, for the views alone. Other highlights included: Victoria Park in Kreuzberg, farmer's market in Schöneberg (Sat. and Wed.), the glass box bar on Karl-Marx-Allee, Alt Berlin in Mitte, coffee or lunch at Cafe Adler, a famous cafe from the Cold War era, a walk in the Tiergarten - hell, a walk anywhere - Berlin is an excellent walking city and a half-day trip to Potsdam, which I didn't have time for but came so highly-recommended that I am comfortable passing the recommendation on to others. Finally, a slightly amusing note for any Americans reading, I voted while I was there in Presidential primary, upstairs at a restaurant called Max and Moritz in Kreuzberg. The food is excellent there by the way!

TSA blogs about security and how to cope with airport security checks

Fight Or Flight
On the Media
February 15, 2008

Frustrated with the liquid ban while flying? Too bad. Wondering why the Transportation Security Administration can strip search you? Good luck with that. That is, until now. The TSA has started a blog and security expert and TSA critic Bruce Schneier thinks it may usher in a new era of understanding between the government and the jet set.

here to visit the On the Media website.
here to visit Evolution of Security, the TSA's blog.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Expat Perspective: Kimberly in Shanghai - "Razed"

Welcome to Expat Perspective, a series of posts by guest writers who come from X but are living long term in Y. Here's one from Kimberly, an American living and working in Shanghai ... and doing her best to document the rapidly changing cityscape. Thanks Kimberly!

Shanghai is tearing down old neighborhoods like crazy. Literally one day there is an old compound and the next it has been razed. I went walking around one of these razed compounds the other day and my friend snapped this shot.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Abu Dhabi's green city: Masdar City

Work starts on Gulf 'green city'
BBC News, UK - Feb 10, 2008
Abu Dhabi has started to build what it says is the world's first zero-carbon, zero-waste car-free city. Masdar City will cost $22bn (£11.3bn), ...
United Arab Emirates 'green city' to cost $22 bln Guardian Unlimited
UAE starts work on world's first zero-carbon city AFP
Masdar City breaks ground MEED

Work on the first carbon 'free' city begins, Australia - Feb 10, 2008
Masdar City will be designed to ensure residents do not need personal vehicles. Instead there will be an emission-free public transport system. ...

Abu Dhabi's Masdar Initiative Breaks Ground on City of the Future
FOXBusiness - Feb 6, 2008
Leading architects and engineers have come together from around the world to design Masdar City, which will save more than $2 billion of oil over 25 years ...

Friday, February 08, 2008

Be extra careful packing for Dubai

Thanks to Emiana for passing on this Sky News article:

How Dubai Holiday Could Land You In Jail
By Julia Reid
Sky News
Updated:10:47, Friday February 08, 2008

Fair Trials International is advising travellers to "take extreme caution" to ensure they are completely free of any substance banned by the country they are visiting.

here for complete article.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Supersonic all the way to Oz (in only 5 hours!)

The hypersonic plane designed to reach Australia in under five hours
UK firm unveils exploratory plans for 3,000mph eco-friendly passenger jet
Steven Morris
The Guardian
Tuesday February 5 2008

... a hypersonic passenger plane that could fly to Australia from northern Europe in less than five hours has been designed in Britain. With funding from the European Space Agency, a team of engineers and scientists has come up with the A2, a plane they believe could carry 300 passengers at a top speed of more than 3,000mph.

here for complete article.