I’ve been heartbroken ever since the Liberace Museum closed its doors in Vegas about two years ago. But a new museum has opened featuring the history of the mob in Sin City. It’s high on my list for a look-see next time I’m in Vegas.
Everyone knows Vegas grew thanks to the influence and money of organized crime. Dozens of books and movies have celebrated that fact. Now, in what used to be the main post office in downtown Vegas, you can see vivid displays of that sometimes bloody history.
The federal government turned the post office over to the city with the understanding it would be renovated and used for a cultural purpose. What better culture to commemorate than the mob in Las Vegas?
I’m guessing it’s a great museum, as it was done by the same folks who brought you the International Spy Museum in downtown Washington, DC. So expect inter-active exhibits and great displays. The museum’s slogan is, “There are two sides to every story. Then there’s the truth. Visit today.”
Buy tickets and get details at themobmusuem.com. Adult admission is $18, kids and students, $12. I’m guessing Wise Guys get in free.
There’s a major showdown looming between China and its airlines and the European Union that has added a carbon emissions tax on all airlines that fly in and out of Europe.
And the Russians aren’t too happy about that carbon tax, either.
But first it was the Chinese who announced they not only didn’t like that tax, they decided they’d refuse to pay it. While airlines in the rest of the world—including the US-have reluctantly increased ticket prices to cover the tax, the Chinese government is holding firm, and it’s forbidding its airlines to pay the fee.
The European Union has said any airline that doesn’t pay that fee won’t be allowed to fly in and out of Europe. China is saying then no European airline will be permitted to fly in and out of China. And Russia seems to be following suit.
You can see the problem here.
This is not minor dispute. The EU, Russia, and China are big players, and none of those entities can afford to follow through on their threats. China needs to trade with Europe and Europe needs Chinese business and tourists. Same with the Russians. It’s a showdown in which all sides could inflict great damage.
Unless, of course, everyone flies through a third-party airline from a cooperating country. Which would be ridiculous. Stay tuned.
We’re still four years away from Rio de Janeiro hosting the Olympics, but a rash of robberies of foreigners is garnering headlines that suggest the local police have their work cut out for them.
In the last several weeks, here are a few true crime stories.
A knife-wielding men tied up 34 Americans, Britons, and Argentines staying in a youth hostel and stole their electronic equipment, money, and cameras.
A similar event occurred early in the morning at another hostel in Copacabana when 13 tourists were stripped of their valuables.
Ten tourists in the south of the city were luckier–a military patrol happened upon the mugging of all ten of them, and the bad guys fled.
In the first week of February, nearly 100 tourists were victims of crime in Rio. That’s a 20 per cent increase over the entire month of last February.
The usual warnings apply. Keep your passport in a safe place and have a copy of the opening page in a separate location. Don’t travel with valuables that might draw the attention of thieves and avoid neighborhoods you don’t know. Which, of course, is good advice anywhere in the world.
Alcohol-based hand-washing solutions are commonplace these days, especially on cruise ships working to prevent the spread of germs that could cause a norovirus outbreak. I just learned of another product that promises to be more effective.
It’s called Skin Wear, and it’s not only a hand sanitizer, but it also moisturizes and stays on your hands to repel germs for up to eight hours.
Alcohol dries out your hands as it kills germs, and it does nothing to prevent germs when you next touch something. Skin Wear purports to be a kind of invisible Kryptonite that germs bounce off of. So you can be a politician shaking a hundred hands or a traveler touching door handles, tray tables, and any of a thousand other places where germs lurk, and you’ll be protected against germ transmission.
The distributors of Skin Wear say they provided the product to a kids’ camp in California as well as school in Dan Diego. The results were dramatic in terms of cutting down on illnesses and sick days.
Check it out here and use the code MAXA for a 15% discount on a trail pack.
The State Department is particularly concerned about Americans planning to take spring break in Mexico this year. But this advice applies to all visitors.
Generally speaking, standards of safety, security and supervision in Mexico may not rise to American standards. Pay attention to flags that warn of rough surf at beaches . Don’t walk into neighborhoods you don’t know, especially at night. And that includes resort cities such as Cancun, which is now a city of 500,000 people.
Be cautious in bars and nightclubs—never leave your drink unattended at any time. Only take a licensed and regulated taxicab called a “sito” [SEE-tee-oh]. Users of illegitimate taxis have been robbed, kidnapped, and raped. Always ask your hotel or restaurant to call you a sito.
The bottom line is that Mexico is a huge country, and most of it is safe. But criminals go where the money is, and tourists carrying valuables such as cell phones and passports make ripe targets. Exercise caution, take no valuables, and make a copy of the opening page of your passport.
I love Mexico, and I don’t want it to fall out of favor. But use good judgment.