World Travel Watch: Monster Crocs in Australia, Bridge Collapses in Costa Rica and More
World Travel Watch: Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news
11.12.09 | 1:33 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.
Australia: Monster Croc Bites Tourist Boat, No One Injured
Two unprecedented incidents occurred on crocodile cruises on the Daintree River in Far North Queensland recently, and luckily no one was injured. In the first, a tourist fell overboard in croc-infested waters but was quickly plucked out unharmed. In the second, a 15-foot monster croc dubbed Fat Albert by the local tour operators leapt from the water and bit the side of the boat, sending tourists scattering. He had been fighting with a smaller rival and may have turned his fury on the audience. Animal experts warned that the crocodiles have become familiar with the tour boats that ply the two-mile stretch of river and more incidents are likely.
Canada: Bed Bugs Plague Toronto, Vancouver
Bed bugs have been turning up in many cities around the world, but they seem to have taken a special liking to Toronto, where a report funded by the city and the Ontario health ministry showed 1,500 reports of bed bugs in Toronto over eight months in 2008. In 2003 there were just 43 reports. The pests have turned up in offices and authorities now worry that they will soon spread on public transit and in public gathering places. Many of Toronto’s reports have come from the city’s downtown area. Vancouver also has a bed bug problem, but how large is hard to say. A website dedicated to tracking bed bug infestations, Bed Bug Registry, reported that users in Toronto and Vancouver register the most complaints on the site.
Costa Rica: Bridges Collapse after Study Shows Dozens Are Dangerous
Two bridges have collapsed since Oct. 22, one from lack of maintenance, the other under the weight of a 95-ton crane crossing a span that was designed 50 years ago to support just 35 tons. The latter bridge crossed the Rio Rincon in Puerto Jimenez, a fishing community and popular tourist destination on the Osa Peninsula. A new bridge is being built but currently Puerto Jimenez is accessible only by air or boat. Two other bridges were closed because of structural damage, one over the Burro River near the Lake Arenal region, the other spanning the Nandayure River in Guanacaste. In September, following a study that revealed that dozens of bridges were in potentially dangerous condition, the government declared an emergency.
El Salvador: Heavy Rains Wash Out Roads, Bridges, Phones, Power
Floods and mudslides caused by heavy rains washed out roads and bridges around the country on November 8. Power and phone lines were knocked out in some places and cell phone coverage was sporadic. The regions hardest hit were San Salvador, San Vicente, La Libertad, La Paz and Cuscatlan. The government declared a national emergency and recovery efforts were underway, but the danger remained that other bridges and roads could give way.
Senegal and Cape Verde: Dengue Fever on the Rise
An outbreak of dengue fever occurred in Cape Verde, with more than 3,000 cases reported and one death. Thus far no cases have been reported in Senegal, but dengue is endemic to West Africa and Senegal has many ties to Cape Verde, so it is possible that cases could show up there. Dengue is spread by mosquitoes and there is no specific treatment for it. The only prevention is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.