This vacation-time repeat of our show of June 16, 2012, includes the following guests and topics:
Leslie Carlin, Travelocity editor, reports travel is up for Labor Day weekend in spite of rising gas prices. Rudy asks if this is a leading economic indicator that should cheer us all up. Historian and author Stephen Ujifusa joins Rudy to discuss his new book that profiles the genius who built the world’s fastest, safest, and most beautiful passenger ship, the SS United States. While the Titanic got all the publicity the past year, the SS United States was a project built in secret that resulted in a cruise line that was a standard bearer for the US. During wartime, the ship served as a troop transport ship. Designed by William Francis Gibbs, the SS United States lost its luster for travelers when jet planes began whisking passengers across the Atlantic Ocean in hours instead of days.
How many countries are there in the world? That depends on whom you ask and how you count says travel video journalist Bruce Northam. The United Nations recognizes 193 official countries while Federal Express delivers to more than 220 countries and territories, including North Korea. And other organizations come up with a different count, as Northam explains to listeners.
And how does all that jet fuel get to airports? What’s the difference between the gas we put in our car and the fuel that powers an airplane? And do pilots shop airports for the cheapest fill-up? John Heimlich, vice president and chief economist with the airline trade organization called Airlines For America, answers those questions and more. Plus, Rudy lists his best travel deals of the week at the end of the hour and delivers the week’s travel news at the open of the hour.
With reports of guests who stayed in certain cabins at Yellowstone contracting hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, Rudy checks in with the show’s resident infectious disease expert, Dr. Bruce Spellberg. He’s the author of Rising Plague and an associate professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Several weeks ago, Rudy talked with an Egypt specialist who described the looting of archaeological sites that followed the breakdown of the police force in Egypt after the beginning of the Arab Spring 21 months ago. Now Syria is facing the same problem, says Rudy’s guest, Christian Sahner, a graduate student at Princeton University who has made several trips to Syria.
LoveIt is a new visual sharing site that’s sort of a mash-up between Pinterest and a blog. The site allows users (at no charge) to curate their photos (with others and even privately) around any subject, link back to the origin of the posting, and import boards from Pinterest. Rudy talks with CEO and co-founder, Ron LaPierre about its usefulness to travelers. And celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay became a television star dropping in on restaurants and re-making them. Now he’s turned his attention to hotels for his Fox TV series “Hotel Hell.” Rudy talks with the owner of one of the hotels Ramsay chose for a makeover, Eddie Kaen of The Keating hotel in San Diego’s Gaslight District. Ramsay hated his suite as well as the hotel’s restaurant, and accused Kaen of building a hotel that pleased him more than his guests. Kaen tells Rudy what resulted from Ramsay’s visit and whether he’s glad he participated in the show.
And, as usual, Rudy begins the hour with some of the week’s news in travel and ends it with a couple more quick deals.
Rudy drops in on the 18th annual Southern Brewers Festival that benefits the Tennessee charity, Kids on the Block, and interviews Kelly Wilson in Chattanooga. In New York City, the Waldorf-Astoria has announced an amnesty program that asks past guests–or children and grandchildren of past guests–to return hotel items that might have been taken, um, by mistake from the hotel. Marketing director Matt Zolbe says he’s really most interested in the personal stories behind the items. Then, former Four Seasons vice president Stan Bromley joins Rudy to discuss how he felt about guests who stole towels and tells the story of a little girl who wrote him an apology note with a returned item . . . they stayed in touch, and not long ago Bromley attended her wedding. And how do you avoid long lines at the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, or stores when you visit Paris? Rudy answers a listener’s question on that subject. Plus, as always, Rudy delivers some timely deals of the week and the week’s news in travel.
Urban art painted on the side of a five-star hotel in Boston? That’s what Simon Mais, general manager of the new Boston hotel, The Revere, permitted to promote an exhibition opening for two Brazilian artists who happen to be twins. When in Jerusalem, don’t miss a visit to Yad Vashem, the stunning museum dedicated to the history of the Holocaust. Guide Hazy Flint–who recently walked Rudy around the museum–describes why remembering the terrible past is so important.
Travel blogger David Rowell says California’s plan for a bullet train is overpriced and ill-conceived. San Francisco travel writer Chris Barnett offers a first-person report on riding the slow Amtrak train that runs along the California coast. And Rudy closes the show with a few deals of the week.