When a rash of kids got measles whose germs were tracked to Disneyland last month, all that nonsense about how vaccinating kids puts them at risk for autism went out the window.
It’s about time, medical professionals say, but I find it interesting that it took a Southern California amusement park to alert parents to the fact that we’d just about eradicated measles until the anti-vaccination folks stated beating drums a few years ago.
It appears it took Disneyland to end the debate.
In 2014, an Amish missionary spread measles when he returned to his community in Ohio after a stint in the Philippines. That helped kick off 644 measles cases in the US last year, the most in two decades. But, of course, how much attention does the American media pay to an Amish missionary from Ohio?
Disneyland won that race in a walk. It’s known that someone can contract measles if they just walk in a room within two days of someone with measles having been there. Let’s hope the word is out now. Thanks, Mickey.
I was as excited as many other Americans when the President relaxed rules regarding Americans visiting Cuba. But yesterday and last Friday I offered some words of caution. While Americans will only have to assert they are going to Cuba to attend a cultural or sporting event or a number of other easy-to-say reasons, tourism is not one of them. You must get a visa, which could take weeks or months. And there are very few hotel rooms available.
And there’s another thing: restaurants. According to John Kavulich, who has visited Cuba many times and is an adviser at a non-profit that assists companies interested in doing business in Cuba, there are really only three or four restaurants in Havana.
Imagine, he says, a couple of mega-cruise ships stopping in Havana and disgorging 4,000 tourists for the day. Where, he asks, will they eat lunch? Even with some Cubans taking in tourists and preparing meals in their apartments to make some US dollars, there simply aren’t enough seats at tables to serve a major onslaught of American visitors.
So the opening of Cuba will proceed slowly. I would not recommend visiting without a hotel room reserved. And get there before the cruises ships do!
Pardon me for getting personal, but how did your Valentine’s weekend go? If it was ho-hum, it might not be too late to rescue it. Plan a trip today and tell your significant other you just had to nail down some details before you could announce it.
And why not? Most everyone loves a trip, and you’ve been late on birthday gifts before—you can be a couple days late for Valentine’s Day, too.
The very best way to save money on traveling is to buy a package on a web site like Orbitz.com that includes at least airfare and lodging. A couple I know just bought a package that included round-trip flights between Minneapolis and Las Vegas plus four nights in the very nice Vdara hotel in Vegas for about $350 per person.
Maybe you live in a cold climate and have wanted to visit friends in a warm one? Maybe you can stay with said friends? In that case, just buy the tickets, rent a car, and hit the road.
Trust me, you can make up a lot of ground you might have lost during a mediocre Valentine’s Day weekend by showing up bearing airline tickets.
For decades, Americans have slipped into Cuba by flying from the Bahamas, Canada, Mexico, the Caymans, or elsewhere. Cuban customs officials kindly didn’t stamp their passports because they knew most Americans were legally banned from visiting and would face big fines if found out.
But along with the White House announcement came news that airlines such as United were preparing to offer scheduled service from the US, and lots of my friends said they looked forward to visiting in the next couple of months.
But wait. You need a visa. A real one from the Cuban Interests office in Washington, DC. And it could take weeks, because the office is swamped. And you can’t hop on a regularly scheduled airline for a flight out of the US to Cuba yet.
If you simply MUST get to Cuba, talk to a Canada-based travel agency like Nash Travel.
More than 30 years ago, Thomas Nagin accompanied a friend on a trip to South America in search of rare minerals. They poked around some mines and returned home with a bag full of stones the two young men sold to the Smithsonian for quite a lot of money.
Thomas Nagin never looked back.
One of the fun parts of hosting a weekend travel radio show is discovering the myriad of reasons that people travel. Searching for gems was a new one to me, but Thomas Nagin managed to make a career of it. And now he has a six-show series on public television in which he invites you to come along with him to countries including Bolivia, Columbia, Brazil, Mexico, and even the state of Arkansas.
The series is called “Mineral Explorers,” and Nagin shows you how he and others find diamonds, topaz, quartz, emeralds and other less rare stones that are of interest to museums, retailers, and collectors.
He doesn’t necessarily recommend that amateurs start booking trips to do what he does. It can be dangerous business, not just because of rickety mines but also because locals sometimes resent outsiders coming on their turf looking for riches.
But it’s fun to watch Nagin do it on “Mineral Explorers.”