Tag: War

Lantern Floating for Memorial Day

Lantern Floating for Memorial Day Photo by mujitra via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by mujitra via Flickr (Creative Commons).

If the pictures are anything to go by, the Memorial Day Lantern Floating ceremony at Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu was the kind of visual feast that makes you think you’re in a dream.

2,000 candlelit lanterns are sent off into the ocean at sunset, each bearing “healing prayers for victims of conflict, famine, disaster and disease as well as our hopes for the happiness of all past and present.”

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Travel Movie Watch: ‘Homage to Catalonia’

More than 70 years after its initial publication, George Orwell’s Spanish Civil War memoir is hitting the big screen.

Hugh Hudson, best known for “Chariots of Fire” and “I Dreamed of Africa,” will direct, while Colin Firth and Kevin Spacey have already signed on to star—the media coverage of the news doesn’t offer anything definite, but it looks as though Firth will play Orwell, and Spacey will take on the role of Georges Kopp, Orwell’s POUM commander.

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90 Years Later: Searching for Wilfred Owen

90 Years Later: Searching for Wilfred Owen Photo by Jim Linwood via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Jim Linwood via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War just passed, and The Times of London’s travel section marked the occasion with a powerful essay by Chris Haslam, who traveled around France in the footsteps of war poet Wilfred Owen. Haslam’s search covers several battlefields, and ends at the forest cottage where Owen spent his last night.

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The Water Is Wide

Bronwen Dickey considers Tim Butcher's "Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart," which takes readers deep into the Congo

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New Travel Book: ‘I Wouldn’t Start From Here’

Full title: “I Wouldn’t Start From Here: The 21st Century and Where It All Went Wrong”

Author: Andrew Mueller

Released: August 1, 2008

Territory covered: London, New York, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Taiwan, Georgia and more.

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New Travel Book: ‘Children of Jihad

Full title: “Children of Jihad: A Young American’s Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East”

Author: Jared Cohen, U.S. State Department policy planner and 25-year-old second-time author

Released: Oct. 25, 2007

Travel genre: Travel memoir, cultural commentary

Territory covered: Internet cafes and house parties from Beirut to Tehran

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The Other Problem With ‘Welcome: Portraits of America’

Photo via “Welcome: Portraits of America”

The inclusion of an iconic Canadian landmark in a new U.S. government video designed to promote travel to the States has stirred up controversy, as it should. It’s an embarrassment, to be sure, but the most interesting—and important—thing about the video is the simple fact that it exists. U.S. standing has sunk so low in the world, and so many travelers are staying away from the country, that the government had to borrow some Disney magic, partnering with the company to create a video promoting America as a welcoming place. The seven-minute, 20-second video is already showing at Washington Dulles International Airport and Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and will soon be seen in the international arrivals areas at other domestic airports and at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.

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Traveling Behind the Headlines in Lebanon and Beyond

Photo of Martyr’s Square in Beirut by Joanna Kakissis.

When I visited Beirut last November, most of my friends and family thought I was reckless, even crazy. Because of decades of war and assassinations, Lebanon is thought to be one of those places visited only by war journalists, soldiers and aid workers. That’s wrong, of course. Beirut still retains its “Paris of the Middle East” mystique and manages to attract tourists, even as the country remains on edge.

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Dispatch from Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province

Photo by mknobil via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

I’ve been irked lately by the increasing attention Afghanistan is getting as a reemerging tourist destination. Yes, some visitors are returning to Kabul. But in the south of the country, the war is still being fought, and recent travelers’ reports of cheery residents beginning to pick up the pieces are much harder to find. So I was pleased to find a dissenting perspective in David Common’s recent dispatch from Kandahar, where NATO troops are still involved in heavy fighting and the Taliban sometimes seems to be gaining ground.

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Manuel Noriega Slept Here

Manuel Noriega Slept Here Photo by Leigh Ann Henion.

In Panama, Leigh Ann Henion's self-appointed tour guide insisted she visit the home of the country's former strongman -- the same man scheduled to be released from a Florida prison next week

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Tourists, ‘Diamante-Encrusted Bikinis’ Return to Lebanon’s Beach Resorts

Photo of Beirut, Lebanon by Salim Shadid, via Flickr (Creative Commons).

A year after war between Israel and Hezbollah rocked Lebanon, and with “sectarian tensions and political standoff” still simmering, Reuters reports that the country’s beach resorts are back and packed with revelers. “Until three weeks ago, it seemed that people couldn’t forget the scars of last year’s war. But now Damour is back again,” said Fady Saba, general manager of Oceana resort, referring to the coastal strip near Beirut. The resorts are using fashion shows and concerts, among other things, to attract travelers from Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East, particularly Arabs from Persian Gulf states.

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War Tourists Descend on Falkland Islands

Photo by alex-s, via Flickr (Creative Commons).

Twenty-five years after Argentina and the United Kingdom fought for their control, the Falkland Islands, or Las Malvinas as they’re known to Argentinians, are the latest destination to get a boost from war tourism. More than 900 people died in the 73-day war. According to the AP, most visitors are drawn to the sites of the fiercest fighting: Mount Longdon and Mount Tumbledown. Earlier this year, we noted El Salvador’s entry into the war tourism business.

Anne Frank’s Beloved Chestnut Tree to Fall

Photo by Ned Raggett, via flickr (Creative Commons).

In the Diary of Anne Frank, young Anne rhapsodized about looking out of the house where she was in hiding and seeing “the blue sky and the chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine.” It’s a tribute to the power of her writing that newspapers around the world are carrying news that the 150-year-old tree has been attacked by a fungus and will be felled. AnneFrank.org has posted a short video of the view of the tree from the house. Last year, actress Emma Thompson helped launch AnneFrankTree.com, billed as an “interactive monument.” The Anne Frank Museum plans to plant a sapling from the original in its place.

Peace Deal Helps Lure Travelers Back to Nepal

Photo of Nepal by Hugh Gage (Via Flickr, Creative Commons).

Adventure travel companies that had discontinued trips to Nepal in recent years are planning to resume their operations soon, according to a New York Times report. Conflict between the Nepalese government and Maoist rebels had caused outfitters to stop running trips, but a peace deal signed in November changed their outlook.

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Driving Afghanistan’s Ring Road

Further evidence that some of the most compelling newspaper travel stories don’t appear in the travel section: Paul Watson’s front page account in the Los Angeles Times last week of his seven-day drive along Afghanistan’s Ring Road. “On the way,” he writes, “we managed to avoid a Taliban ambush, a potential kidnapper or highway robber, a suicide bomber and a gunman who fired close enough to take off one of our heads.”

The Heartbreaking and Surreal Times of ‘Anthony Bourdain in Beirut’

The Travel Channel aired Anthony Bourdain in Beirut last night, the story of what happened to the “No Reservations” host and his crew when they were stranded in Beirut, Lebanon last month during the early days of the war between Israel and Hezbollah. “It’s not a hard-news account of what happened to Lebanon or what happened to Beirut,” Bourdain says at the beginning of the show. “I think at best it’s a little bit of what Beirut was and could have been. What it felt like to be there when things went sideways. This is not the show we went to Lebanon to get.” Nevertheless, Bourdain returned with one of the more compelling travel shows—or any television show, for that matter—of the year.

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Anthony Bourdain Evacuated from Beirut

Whew. Reuters caught up with the host of the Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations on a U.S. Navy ship, where he was reclining on an army cot among hundreds of other evacuees. As we noted earlier this week, the globe-trotting chef was in Beirut with a crew to shoot an episode of his show when the violence began. Bourdain left a very different city than the one he found when he arrived just days ago. “It was paradise, sort of the western dream of the way we’d all like the Middle East to be—enlightened, progressive, multi-cultural, and multi-religious,” he told Reuters. No longer. “I was in love for two days,” he said, “and had my heart broken on the third.” He added: “I feel this awful sense of regret that we were never able to show Beirut as it was. To see everyone’s hopes die and watch the country dismantled piece by piece was very painful. I’m very angry and very frustrated.”

Anthony Bourdain in Beirut*

As we mentioned the other day, Anthony Bourdain and the crew of his Travel Channel show No Reservations were caught in Beirut when the violence between Hezbollah and Israel began. He told the New York Post, among other things, that he just wanted to have a drink at the bar. “The mojitos here are great,” he said. His comments rubbed some people the wrong way and inspired a lot of posts at the eGullet and No Reservations message boards. In response, Bourdain has apparently posted his further thoughts on the situation. He writes at eGullet: “I’m very aware of how flip my response to the Post was (made last Wednesday, very early in the crisis)as I sought to reassure family and friends that we were safe and okayand in good cheer. . It was—at the time—very representative of the (outward) attitude of Beirutis themselves, who pride themselves on their resilience and their determination to ‘keep the party going.’”

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No. 4: “The Soccer War” by Ryszard Kapuściński

To mark our five-year anniversary, we’re counting down the top 30 travel books of all time, adding a new title each day this month.
Published: 1978
Territory covered: Africa, Central America, Cyprus and Israel

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The Burden of War

The Burden of War Photo by Bobby Model

Wendy Knight went to Sudan in search of compelling war stories. Then her own personal battle began.

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Tags: War, Africa, Sudan