Travel Blog: Travel Channel

Tonight: New Season of ‘Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations’

The new season kicks off tonight at 10 ET on the Travel Channel as Bourdain heads south of the border to Mexico with Carlos, head chef of Les Halles in New York City.

World Hum’s Most Read: Dec. 27-Jan. 2

Our five most popular features for the week:

1) Subcontinental Homesick Blues (pictured)
2) What Every Traveler Should Know About Disposable Underwear
3) ‘EIMI: A Journey Through Soviet Russia’
4) Plato Was a Backpacker
5) World Hum’s Top 40 Travel Songs of All Time

The ‘Peruvian Pan Flute Epidemic’ Rages on ‘South Park’

Peruvian flute bands are apparently a big enough phenomenon—and irritating enough to Trey Parker and Matt Stone—to take center stage on “South Park.” The latest episode warns of a “Peruvian flute band epidemic” so extensive that the head of Homeland Security says, “All over the world wherever there are tourists or shoppers there are now on average 65 Peruvian flute bands per square kilometer.”

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The Problem With ‘Do you Speak English?’ (And an Easy Solution)

Travel Channel show host Samantha Brown doled out some travel advice in Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle, and I thought this simple observation about language barriers was particularly astute: Americans’ tendency to ask “Do you speak English?” with little introduction when they’re overseas, puts distance between them and their hosts.

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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 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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