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Kuwait to require DNA testing of all tourists

I have been to many Middle Eastern countries (Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, UAE, for example) but not to the State of Kuwait. I have an open invitation from some Kuwaiti colleagues to visit the country. The news that the country will extend DNA testing to tourists leaves me a little disquieted. Kuwait has talked about introducing DNA testing for a while.  Following the bombing of a mosque in June, 2015 which killed 26 worshippers in Kuwait City, the country quickly enacted laws to mandate DNA testing of its 1.3 million are Kuwaitis and 2.9 million expatriates.  It’s the…

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Best 2016 April Fools Day Travel Gags

There were some great travel related gigs, tricks and prinks this year. Virgin Australia  launched Kid Class. I actually think it was a mighty fine idea -without the bubbles   The London Eye announced it would convert two of its capsules into luxury studio penthouses, which would rotate 48 times a day, giving people a view of the English capital along with Champagne on request and a personal pillow fluffer. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway has created the “Pawfect” Car dedicated just to dogs. Citipark UK launched left-handed ticket barriers. Google made a mess of their mic…

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#JeSuisBruxelles #JeSuisToutLeMonde

I have been to Brussels, the capital of the small European country of Belgium three times. It is my 14th favourite city out of the 185 cities I have visited across the globe with a population of 100,000+ I have flown out of Zaventem  the city’s airport. I have ridden the Brussels metro, enjoyed Belgian food, drink, art and culture. And I am a massive Tintin fan. On Tuesday, at 8am two coordinated bombings at that airport and one at Maelbeek Metro (subway) station at 911am killed 34 people (including the bombers). One airport bomb reportedly exploded near the…

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Je Suis Istanbul

I love Istanbul. After two fantastic visits there, I feel at home in its hillsides, streets, quaint shops, ferry boats and cafes. My Turkish is slight but the hospitality I have experienced from the warm locals has made up for that. I guarantee that I have eaten from one end of the city to the other! I also love Turkish Airlines which I have used to connect through Istanbul. Istanbul comes in at Number 30 on my Top 200 cities over 100,000 people! On both occasions, I stayed not far from Istanbul’s’ most famous shopping street: İstiklal…

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Je Suis Ivory Coast

Sigh. Another attack on a beach resort. This time in Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire). I have wanted to visit this vibrant country for two decades but not got there yet. I came close when I lived in Nigeria, 1000km (600 miles) away. 13th March was reportedly, a beautiful day in  the Ivory Coast, when six cowards dressed in black with balaclavas opened fire with Kalashnikov msachine guns on the beach at Grand Bassam. They were eventually shot by Ivory Coast security forces. The BBC reported “They killed a child, despite him kneeling down and begging”.…

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Taking Notes en Route

The older I get, the more I realise, I will not remember the name of the random person I met on the airport bus or the book they recommended or the walking tour guide’s name, or the artist whose sculpture I loved. I need to record it in some way on the spot. I used to write it down in my diary or travel journal but in this electronic age, there are my three favourite note programs. These are my top three: Evernote has been stable mate. It allows me to photograph things and imbed them…

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Can’t use a Non refundable hotel room?

The other week my boss had to fly to Sydney, Australia for work. And almost every hotel was booked out. The few rooms available were at astronomical prices. The Boardingarea community came to the rescue! Through a brilliant article on Magic of Miles on what to do with non refundable hotel rooms, I discovered Roomer, one of several websites that allows people to sell non refundable hotel rooms. As a result, I found a hotel room at my boss favourite hotel for less than half of what was being asked for. Win for the employee (me). There is…

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