World Travel Watch: Dress Code in Vatican City, Taxi Kidnappings in Nicaragua and More
World Travel Watch: Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news
07.28.10 | 12:12 PM ET
World Travel Watch is a weekly report designed to help you make informed judgments about travel. Conditions can change overnight, so always make your own inquiries before you leave home. The U.S. State Department and embassies or consulates are good places to start.
Greece: More Strikes Make Life Miserable for Greeks, Travelers
More strikes disrupted life and travel across Greece when both air traffic controllers and truckers walked off the job, delaying hundreds of flights and creating gasoline shortages around the country. Air traffic controllers returned to work July 27 and withdrew plans to strike July 31 to give the government time to address their concerns. Truckers who transport gasoline continued an indefinite strike that threatened to cut off gas supplies to service stations nationwide, with some 95 percent of gas stations around Athens out of fuel and three-quarters of Thessaloniki’s service stations also on empty.
Kenya: Bandits Kill Tourist in Masai Mara Camp
Bandits attacked a tourist tent camp in the Masai Mara Game Reserve, killing one and wounding two but reportedly escaping without obtaining any valuables. Authorities launched a major security operation involving 100 police, sniffer dogs and two aircraft to track down the assailants. The attack took place at a resort in the Mara Triangle, the northwestern section of the reserve that is less visited, less crowded and usually has more wildlife than the rest of the famous game park. Police called the attack an isolated incident. In other news, the U.S. State Department issued a warning about possible civil disturbances surrounding the Aug. 4 constitutional referendum, and encouraged visitors to avoid rallies and demonstrations.
Nicaragua: New “Friends” Lure Victims into Taxi Kidnappings
The U.S. Embassy in Managua reported that nearly a dozen taxi kidnappings occurred in the past month in several areas, including around the international airport, along bus routes to and from San Juan del Sur, San Jorge, Granada, Managua, Esteli and Masaya, and in the city of Managua. In all cases involving U.S. citizens, the incidents involved a local befriending the American and offering to share or help find a taxi. Once inside the taxi, the victims were held at knife- or gun-point, threatened with violent assault, robbed, driven to ATMs to empty their bank accounts, then abandoned in remote areas. The incidents often occurred after strangers befriended the victims on a bus and the bus arrived at its destination. The assailants have had many profiles, including a young pregnant woman and women and men of various ages. The Embassy recommends using only officially registered taxis bearing registration numbers on the door, license plate and trunk or radio-dispatched taxis.
Turkey: PKK Threatens to Attack Tourist Areas
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) threatened to attack urban and tourist areas in western Turkey in retaliation for the Turkish military’s campaign against it in northern Iraq. The separatist group has conducted terrorist attacks on tourist sites in the past, including bombings in Marmaris in 2006 and a suicide bombing on a popular shopping street in Ankara in 2007.
Vatican City: Guards Turn Back Immodest Dressers
Authorities have begun enforcing a dress code to enter Vatican City that previously applied only to St. Peter’s Basilica. The ban on “immodest clothing” now applies to shorts and “shoulder-revealing” tops. Locals, who are accustomed to treating Vatican City as just another neighborhood in Rome, were surprised by the crackdown, while tourists who were barred from entering scurried off to buy shawls and trousers.