Tag: Crossing Borders

Canadians in the U.S.: What Do They Miss About Canada?

Here’s a Canada Day treat from the New York Times: Eleven Canadians living in the United States talk about missing, among other things, hockey highlights, universal health coverage, the Canadian Mosaic and the “u” in color.

Paying for Passport Stamps

Paying for Passport Stamps Photo by lilit via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by lilit via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Over at Jaunted, blogger JetSetCD has opened up a conversation on those oh-so-tempting, oh-so-corny souvenir passport stamps.

You know, the ones from places like Checkpoint Charlie, Machu Picchu and so on. And then, beyond the stamps from major tourist sites, there are the just-so-I-can-say-I-was-here countries—Liechtenstein, San Marino and the like—that charge for their entry stamps, too. So, Jaunted asks, are novelty passport stamps worth their price? Or are they just as bad as “buying those horrific gift spoons”?

I have to admit, I’ve never actually been faced with the question before. But I love my passport stamps, and I can’t see putting a set of fake East/West Berlin markers into the mix. On the other hand, though it would irk me to pay, I’d probably want proof that I crossed Liechtenstein’s borders. What about you?

Farewell Passport 152027909

Jeffrey Tanenhaus says goodbye to his little blue book with a travel poem

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Clockwatching in Western China

Clockwatching in Western China Photo by Gusjer via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by Gusjer via Flickr (Creative Commons).

If you’re traveling in Kashgar, China, over the summer, don’t be surprised if the sun sets at 11 p.m. That’s because the old Silk Road city—like all of China—is required to follow the clock in Beijing, some 2,000 miles east. Aside from throwing circadian rhythms out of whack, the policy has exposed political fault lines in the region: the minority Muslim Uighurs, resentful of Chinese suppression of their culture, insist on setting their own clocks, two hours earlier.

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South America: Sticker Shock at the Border?

South America: Sticker Shock at the Border? Photo by szeke via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I’ve heard more than a few stories of shoestring travelers in South America getting burned by three-digit entry fees that they didn’t see coming. Luckily, BootsnAll has come to the rescue, with this detailed breakdown of existing visa and reciprocity fees for Americans. The article also includes a few hints and (legal) workarounds to reduce the number of fees you wind up paying. Gracias!

Cuban Exiles Recall Flights to U.S.

For the 265,000 Cubans who fled their homeland on U.S.-sponsored “Freedom Flights” from 1965 to 1973, the emotional 45-minute flight to a new life remains etched in memory.  Now, a Miami Herald series on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution has given Cuban-Americans a chance to share photos and memories of their “Freedom Flight” experience, in conjunction with a database that makes names and arrival dates of refugees available to the public for the first time.

In reading through the online recollections submitted by exiles who were children at the time, I was struck by how many remember their first taste of the U.S.—a coke, a ham sandwich, a pack of Wrigley’s gum, many handed out in box lunches at Miami’s airport. Others recall the tense days leading up to their departure, and the clothes, jewelry, and dolls left behind. 

With the recent publication of Rachel Kushner’s novel, Telex from Cuba, and Tom Gjelten’s Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: The Biography of a Cause, along with the much-anticipated release of Steven Soderbergh’s Che next month, it seems Cuban history remains a hot topic in the U.S. Kudos to the Herald for rounding out that history with an important public record.

China-Taiwan Flights Go Daily

Travel between rivals China and Taiwan got a whole lot easier this week. Airlines launched more than 100 daily weekly flights between the two sides, stepping up a historic opening in travel kicked off last summer with weekend charter flights. Two travelers set to take advantage of the new policy: “Tuan Tuan” and “Yuan Yuan,” giant pandas expected to arrive in Taipei Dec. 23 as a gift from the mainland. Their names linked together—“tuanyuan”—mean “reunion” in Mandarin, a not-so-subtle hint that the Chinese government would like to see Taiwan return to the fold.

Vagrant Ruminations of a Compulsive Traveler

Ferris Wheel Photo by Peter Wortsman

Peter Wortsman recalls a life of travel inspiration.

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Confessions of a Cross-Border Shopper

What's the thrill of buying socks and parmesan-flavored Goldfish crackers in Syracuse, New York? Eva Holland took advantage of the surging Canadian dollar and hit the road to find out.

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Border Stories

San Diego native Jeff Spurrier has visited Tijuana's tourist circus countless times. Now he's on a Reality Tour and the sites beyond Avenida Revolucion are sobering.

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