A US-born NASA scientist was detained at the border until he

A US-born NASA scientist was detained at the border until he unlocked his phone

His travel

Sidd Bikkannavar at one of his solar car racing events. Shane Winter

Two weeks ago, Sidd Bikkannavar flew back into the United States after spending a few weeks abroad in South America. An employee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Bikkannavar had been on a personal trip, pursuing his hobby of racing solar-powered cars. He had recently joined a Chilean team, and spent the last weeks of January at a race in Patagonia.

Bikkannavar is a seasoned international traveler — but his return home to the US this time around was anything but routine. Bikkannavar left for South America on January 15th, under the Obama administration. He flew back from Santiago, Chile to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas on Monday, January 30th, just over a week into the Trump administration.

Bikkannavar says he was detained by US Customs and Border Patrol and pressured to give the CBP agents his phone and access PIN. Since the phone was issued by NASA, it may have contained sensitive material that wasn’t supposed to be shared. Bikkannavar’s phone was returned to him after it was searched by CBP, but he doesn’t know exactly what information officials might have taken from the device.

The JPL scientist returned to the US four days after the signing of a sweeping and controversial executive order on travel into the country. The travel ban caused chaos at airports across the United States, as people with visas and green cards found themselves detained, or facing deportation. Within days of its signing, the travel order was stayed, but not before more than 60,000 visas were revoked, according to the US State Department.

Photo by David McNew / Getty Images

His ordeal also took place at a time of renewed focus on the question of how much access CBP can have to a traveler’s digital information, whether or not they’re US citizens: in January, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed complaints against CBP for demanding that Muslim American citizens give up their social media information when they return home from overseas. And there’s evidence that that kind of treatment could become commonplace for foreign travelers. In a statement this week, Homeland Security secretary John Kelly said that people visiting the United States may be asked to give up passwords to their social media accounts. “We want to get on their social media, with passwords: What do you do, what do you say?” Kelly told the House Homeland Security Committee. “If they don’t want to cooperate then you don’t come in.”

Seemingly, Bikkannavar’s reentry into the country should not have raised any flags. Not only is he a natural-born US citizen, but he’s also enrolled in Global Entry — a program through CBP that allows individuals who have undergone background checks to have expedited entry into the country. He hasn’t visited the countries listed in the immigration ban and he has worked at JPL — a major center at a US federal agency — for 10 years. There, he works on “wavefront sensing and control,” a type of optics technology that will be used on the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope.

“I don’t know what to think about this,” Bikkannavar recently told The Verge in a phone call. “. I was caught a little off guard by the whole thing.”

Bikkannavar says he arrived into Houston early Tuesday morning, and was detained by CBP after his passport was scanned. A CBP officer escorted Bikkannavar to a back room, and told him to wait for additional instructions. About five other travelers who had seemingly been affected by the ban were already in the room, asleep on cots that were provided for them.

About 40 minutes went by before an officer appeared and called Bikkannavar’s name. “He takes me into an interview room and sort of explains that I’m entering the country and they need to search my possessions to make sure I’m not bringing in anything dangerous,” he says. The CBP officer started asking questions about where Bikkannavar was coming from, where he lives, and his title at work. It’s all information the officer should have had since Bikkannavar is enrolled in Global Entry. “I asked a question, ‘Why was I chosen?’ And he wouldn’t tell me,” he says.

The officer also presented Bikkannavar with a document titled “Inspection of Electronic Devices” and explained that CBP had authority to search his phone. Bikkannavar did not want to hand over the device, because it was given to him by JPL and is technically NASA property. He even showed the officer the JPL barcode on the back of phone. Nonetheless, CBP asked for the phone and the access PIN. “I was cautiously telling him I wasn’t allowed to give it out, because I didn’t want to seem like I was not cooperating,” says Bikkannavar. “I told him I’m not really allowed to give the passcode; I have to protect access. But he insisted they had the authority to search it.”

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Photo: NASA

Courts have upheld customs agents’ power to manually search devices at the border, but any searches made solely on the basis of race or national origin are still illegal. More importantly, travelers are not legally required to unlock their devices, although agents can detain them for significant periods of time if they do not. “In each incident that I’ve seen, the subjects have been shown a Blue Paper that says CBP has legal authority to search phones at the border, which gives them the impression that they’re obligated to unlock the phone, which isn’t true,” Hassan Shibly, chief executive director of CAIR Florida, told The Verge. “They’re not obligated to unlock the phone.”

Nevertheless, Bikkannavar was not allowed to leave until he gave CBP his PIN. The officer insisted that CBP had the authority to search the phone. The document given to Bikkannavar listed a series of consequences for failure to offer information that would allow CBP to copy the contents of the device. “I didn’t really want to explore all those consequences,” he says. “It mentioned detention and seizure.” Ultimately, he agreed to hand over the phone and PIN. The officer left with the device and didn’t return for another 30 minutes.

Eventually, the phone was returned to Bikkannavar, though he’s not sure what happened during the time it was in the officer’s possession. When it was returned he immediately turned it off because he knew he had to take it straight to the IT department at JPL. Once he arrived in Los Angeles, he went to NASA and told his superiors what had happened. Bikkannavar can’t comment on what may or may not have been on the phone, but he says the cybersecurity team at JPL was not happy about the breach. Bikkannavar had his phone on hand while he was traveling in case there was a problem at work that needed his attention, but NASA employees are obligated to protect work-related information, no matter how minuscule. We reached out to JPL for comment, but the center didn’t comment on the event directly.

this is from an IRL friend of mine. this is NOT my america. EVER. #MuslimBan Siid is a US Citizen. @CustomsBorder u say “Welcome Home” #NASA pic.twitter.com/W4UtF88rJy

Bikkannavar noted that the entire interaction with CBP was incredibly professional and friendly, and the officers confirmed everything Bikkannavar had said through his Global Entry background checks. CBP did not respond to a request for comment.

He posted an update on Facebook about what happened, and the story has since been shared more than 2,000 times. A friend also tweeted about Bikkannavar’s experience, which was also shared more than 7,000 times. Still, he’s left wondering the point of the search, and he’s upset that the search potentially compromised the privacy of his friends, family, and coworkers who were listed on his phone. He has since gotten a completely new device from work with a new phone number.

“It was not that they were concerned with me bringing something dangerous in, because they didn’t even touch the bags. They had no way of knowing I could have had something in there,” he says. “You can say, ‘Okay well maybe it’s about making sure I’m not a dangerous person,’ but they have all the information to verify that.”

Bikkannavar says he’s still unsure why he was singled out for the electronic search. He says he understands that his name is foreign — its roots go back to southern India. He didn’t think it would be a trigger for extra scrutiny, he says. “Sometimes I get stopped and searched, but never anything like this. Maybe you could say it was one huge coincidence that this thing happens right at the travel ban.”





12/01/2018

Posted In: NEWS

Tags: ,

Leave a Comment

New Evidence Suggests Biblical Great Flood of Noah s Time Happened,

Sections

Yahoo!-ABC News Network | 2017 ABC News Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.

New Evidence Suggests Biblical Great Flood Happened

His travel

The story of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood is one of the most famous from the Bible, and now an acclaimed underwater archaeologist thinks he has found proof that the biblical flood was actually based on real events.

In an interview with Christiane Amanpour for ABC News, Robert Ballard, one of the world’s best-known underwater archaeologists, talked about his findings. His team is probing the depths of the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey in search of traces of an ancient civilization hidden underwater since the time of Noah.

Ballard’s track record for finding the impossible is well known. In 1985, using a robotic submersible equipped with remote-controlled cameras, Ballard and his crew hunted down the world’s most famous shipwreck, the Titanic.

Now Ballard is using even more advanced robotic technology to travel farther back in time. He is on a marine archeological mission that might support the story of Noah. He said some 12,000 years ago, much of the world was covered in ice.

“Where I live in Connecticut was ice a mile above my house, all the way back to the North Pole, about 15 million kilometers, that’s a big ice cube,” he said. “But then it started to melt. We’re talking about the floods of our living history.”

The water from the melting glaciers began to rush toward the world’s oceans, Ballard said, causing floods all around the world.

“The questions is, was there a mother of all floods,” Ballard said.

According to a controversial theory proposed by two Columbia University scientists, there really was one in the Black Sea region. They believe that the now-salty Black Sea was once an isolated freshwater lake surrounded by farmland, until it was flooded by an enormous wall of water from the rising Mediterranean Sea. The force of the water was two hundred times that of Niagara Falls, sweeping away everything in its path.

Fascinated by the idea, Ballard and his team decided to investigate.

“We went in there to look for the flood,” he said. “Not just a slow moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a really big flood that then stayed. The land that went under stayed under.”

Four hundred feet below the surface, they unearthed an ancient shoreline, proof to Ballard that a catastrophic event did happen in the Black Sea. By carbon dating shells found along the shoreline, Ballard said he believes they have established a timeline for that catastrophic event, which he estimates happened around 5,000 BC. Some experts believe this was around the time when Noah’s flood could have occurred.

“It probably was a bad day,” Ballard said. “At some magic moment, it broke through and flooded this place violently, and a lot of real estate, 150,000 square kilometers of land, went under.”

The theory goes on to suggest that the story of this traumatic event, seared into the collective memory of the survivors, was passed down from generation to generation and eventually inspired the biblical account of Noah.

Noah is described in the Bible as a family man, a father of three, who is about to celebrate his 600th birthday.

“In the early chapters of Genesis, people live 800 years, 700 years, 900 years,” said Rabbi Burt Visotzky, a professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. “Those are mythic numbers, those are way too big. We don’t quite know what to do with that. So sometimes those large numbers, I think, also serve to reinforce the mystery of the text.”

Some of the details of the Noah story seem mythical, so many biblical scholars believe the story of Noah and the Ark was inspired by the legendary flood stories of nearby Mesopotamia, in particular “The Epic of Gilgamesh.” These ancient narratives were already being passed down from one generation to the next, centuries before Noah appeared in the Bible.

“The earlier Mesopotamian stories are very similar where the gods are sending a flood to wipe out humans,” said biblical archaeologist Eric Cline. “There’s one man they choose to survive. He builds a boat and brings on animals and lands on a mountain and lives happily ever after? I would argue that it’s the same story.”

Catastrophic events of this kind are not unique to the Bible. Some contemporary examples include the 2004 tsunami that wiped out villages on the coasts of 11 countries surrounding the Indian Ocean. There was also Hurricane Katrina, described as the worst hurricane in United States history.

Scholars aren’t sure if the biblical flood was larger or smaller than these modern day disasters, but they do think the experiences of people in ancient times were similar to our own.

“If you witness a terrible natural disaster, yes, you want a scientific explanation why this has happened,” said Karen Armstrong, author of “A History of God.” “But you also need to something that will help you to assuage your grief and anguish and rage. And it is here that myth helps us through that.”

Regardless of whether the details of the Noah story are historically accurate, Armstrong believes this story and all the Biblical stories are telling us “about our predicament in the world now.”

Back in the Black Sea, Ballard said he is aware that not everyone agrees with his conclusions about the time and size of the flood, but he’s confident he’s on the path to finding something from the biblical period.

“We started finding structures that looked like they were man-made structures,” Ballard said. “That’s where we are focusing our attention right now.”

At first Ballard’s team found piles of ancient pottery, but then they made an even more important discovery. Last year, Ballard discovered a vessel and one of its crew members in the Black Sea.

“That is a perfectly preserved ancient shipwreck in all its wood, looks like a lumber yard,” he said. “But if you look closely, you will see the femur bone and actually a molar.”

The shipwreck was in surprisingly good condition, preserved because the Black Sea has almost no oxygen in it, which slows down the process of decay, but it does not date back as far as the story of Noah.

“The oldest shipwreck that we have discovered so far of that area is around 500 BC, classical period,” Ballard said. “But the question is you just keep searching. It’s a matter of statistics.”

Still, Ballard said the find gives him hope that he will discover something older “because there, in fact, the deep sea is the largest museum on Earth,” he said.

Ballard does not think he will ever find Noah’s Ark, but he does think he may find evidence of a people whose entire world was washed away about 7,000 years ago. He and his team said they plan to return to Turkey next summer.

“It’s foolish to think you will ever find a ship,” Ballard said, referring to the Ark. “But can you find people who were living? Can you find their villages that are underwater now? And the answer is yes.”





12/01/2018

Posted In: NEWS

Tags: ,

Leave a Comment

His travel japan – Japan Travel #travel #agent #training

#his travel
#

his travel japan

HIS Travel Agency Tokyo Daily Life Japan YoNinja

About YoNinja YoNinja is a travel site for people living and traveling in Asia. YoNinja is your guide to Asia and a site where you can share your travels with

Travel Japan by HIS Auckl Facebook

Travel Japan by HIS (Auckland). 81 likes 0 talking about this.

HIS Travel Agency s discriminatory policies rip-off foreigners

Ever had to book some plane tickets in Japan? The best option within the country seems to be using one of the major travel agencies. HIS is one of the

Travel OkinawaJet Mensore!

HIS is a well-known travel agency in Japan. The homepage for HIS Okinawa also has an English site. Branches are in Naha, Koza and Hanby-Chatan.

No.1 Travel FUKUOKA

No.1 Travel for English speakers residing in Fukuoka. The official No.1 Travel Fukuoka website. and Transport.Member of Japan Association of Travel Agents

H.I.S. Kansai Flight search for international destinations from





20/12/2017

Posted In: NEWS

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Comment

Vienna, Austria – His Travel Blog #find #a #flight

#his travel
#

Vienna, Austria

As an Australian living and working in Europe, I find it incredible how often I m confused as being an Austrian. I was in Minnesota for work last year and someone congratulated me on my flawless English! I’ve also been asked multiple times what the official language is in Australia, presumably mistaking it for the EU member state. There are no kangaroos in Austria people, nor any alps in Australia. Look at a map!  I hadn’t thought of it from the other perspective however, but my Austrian friend who lives in Vienna (and happens to love surfing) says he’s constantly mistaken for an Australian during his international travels!

Read the sign people

Following a 3 day work trip for my wife in Nettingsdorf (in western Austria) we took the opportunity for a quick weekend break in the capital, Wien (Vienna). Previously we’d only been through Vienna’s airport on the way home to Australia, so while I could comment on the quality of it’s airport lounge (very high), there wasn’t much else I could say. I was excited to finally visit this famed European capital and catch up with my “pseudo-Aussie” mate Martin and his girlfriend.

If I was to use one word to convince you to visit this city, what word would I choose Opera?  Viennoiseries?

No, the most persuasive word I can think of is schnitzel. Wiener schnitzel to be precise. A thin piece of pounded veal covered in delicious golden breadcrumbs, with a perfectly-balanced side of lemon wedge. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s up there with France’s hallowed baguette for pleasure-to-simplicity ratio.  I must mention that have a slight predisposition to the schnitzel I once indulged in a 9am breakfast schnitzel in Munich airport (a considerable feat considering it was after a weekend at Oktoberfest, where almost every meal was some variation of the deep-fried veal delight).

One of the standout (read: few) memories from my bachelor party in 2011 was of my friends from Germany, Italy and Austria arguing over the origin of the schnitzel. Each of them was convinced their own country deserved recognition and nobody was willing to concede. The more important issue though is which country has now mastered it. I’ve tried each, and while cranberry conserve is a nice accompaniment in some parts of Germany, the Wiener Schnitzel from Austria takes the prize for pure unadulterated simplicity.

Cultivating more chest hairs at Figlmüller in Vienna

A word of warning before you go – try not to compare Austria or Austrians to Germany or Germans (think: New Zealand and Australia or Canada and the U.S.). The countries are completely different and both worthy of a visit for different reasons. Having good friends in both Austria and Germany, I’ve come to realise that apart from sharing a language they generally don’t appreciate comparison.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from my first trip to Vienna – I knew it was world-famous for its viennoiseries (pastries), although Paris seems to have stolen that title in recent decades. My wife also informed me to expect plenty of gro ßer braüners (double espressos) available in the hundreds of traditional coffee houses across the city. My Austrian friend Martin has lived in Vienna for the last couple of years and was nice enough to take us for a personal tour of the city. Turns out that as well as having flawless (non-accented) English, he’s also pretty knowledgeable about the Capital considering he grew up in a smaller town 200kms to the south.

While not as cosmopolitan as some other European capitals, Vienna has an impressive list of attributes an understated regal facade, a long and interesting history, dozens of world class museums and expansive public spaces. It s a place you could easily imagine living and a painless city to navigate as a tourist. With such a rich musical history (Viennese composers include Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Haydn) it s a shame we didn t get the chance to visit one of the concert halls in Vienna, but a weekend trip is just too short to enjoy all the city has to offer. Besides, if it s a choice between being cultured and eating schnitzel, I know which way I m going to lean.

If you re a sucker like me for anything food related, make sure you visit the Naschmarkt, a 1.5km long fresh food market close to the city centre. The market has a huge collection of colourful fruit and vegetable stands and just about every other culinary offering you could imagine. It would be easy to spend an hour or two here strolling down down the lane-ways, stopping for felafel or a glass of wine along the way (we begrudgingly skipped the wine as it was still only 9am, but certainly didn’t have the same reservations about hummus and felafal). Eventually the food stalls give way to a full-blown flea market which is held every Saturday – we didn’t feel like tussling with the masses, so made a speedy exit to one of Vienna’s many typical coffee houses nearby.

All smiles despite no breakfast wine

You may have heard that Vienna has some of the best museums and art collections in Europe. In fact, Vienna’s Museumsquartier is the eighth largest cultural area in the world. For reasons unknown, we shunned the historical cultural gold-mine on offer, and instead visited 21er Haus – The new Museum of Contemporary Art. At the time, a photo exhibition was showing Points of view in Austrian photography from the 1930s until today. It was interesting enough, but to be honest I struggled a little to see the art-value of some of the photographs, such as a naked man sitting on stool looking pensive. I did appreciate the general vibe of the collection though, and the modern steel and glass building that it’s all housed in is a stark contrast to the regal architecture of the rest of the city.

21er Haus

During the evenings we hit some rooftop bars with Martin and his girlfriend Verena, one at each end of the spectrum.  The Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom  has an amazing panoramic view from its top-floor restaurant / bar, Le Loft .  While we felt seriously underdressed after seeing Vienna’s VIP theatre-elite enjoying pre-drinks in the corner, we were welcomed at the bar and treated to some amazing cocktails while soaking up the view.  Then it was a change of scenery to the 25hours Hotel. a design hotel in the very cool 7th district.  Full of hipsters, its rooftop bar Dachboden  gives another expansive view of Vienna’s night lights.  On a snowy winter’s night you can’t really make the most of it but I imagine in Summer there’d be no better terrace in town to enjoy a drink!

Night lights from rooftop terrace at 25hours Hotel

Overall, Vienna is a thoroughly enjoyable travel destination. It may not feature big hitting monuments like some other European cities, but it has a distinct culture and something to please everyone. Below you can find further travel inspiration to plan your trip (click images to view full screen) and travel tips from locals living in Vienna.

The historic Heldenplatz, notable as the place where Adolf Hitler announced the Anschluß (annexation) of Austria to Germany in 1938. The Naschmarkt, a 1.5km long fresh food market close to the city centre





25/11/2017

Posted In: NEWS

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

William Shatner on Losing His Pants and Other Travel Travails –

#william shatner travel
#

William Shatner on Losing His Pants and Other Travel Travails

If only real life was as clever and easy as a commercial.

Jason Clampet

William Shatner is back as a shrewd, unflappable travel expert in his latest TV commercial for an online company.

But in real life, even Shatner can t avoid the perils of getting through airport security lines.

I got patted down one time, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and my pants fell down. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, Shatner said, recalling the incident at Los Angeles International Airport.

Shatner returns as the priceline.com Negotiator in a new ad campaign that launches Sunday, with Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting ( The Big Bang Theory ) again playing the travel pro s daughter. He s unfazed that fans recognize him for the long-running commercial gig as well as the Star Trek TV series and movies and his Golden Globe-winning role on Boston Legal.

This is a form of creativity, he said of collaborating on the TV spots. It is like an acting job.

Working with priceline.com is only part of what keeps Shatner busy as he nears his 84th birthday in March.

The original Capt. James T. Kirk just wrapped a national tour of his one-man stage show and is planning for another. He s got what he calls an unusual summer series for NBC in the works; is in the upcoming fact-based movie The Sunday Horse ; and is collaborating with a custom motorcycle manufacturer on designing a new three-wheeled vehicle.

Shatner, an avid motorcyclist, plans a Chicago-to-Los Angeles charity ride to launch the bike this summer. Another longtime passion is horses, which he rides competitively and which help him keep fit.

I get out and ride five, six horses in a session, and might spend three hours riding very hard, he said. I feel great. I don t even think of age.

Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This article was written by Lynn Elber from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.





15/11/2017

Posted In: NEWS

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Will Gordon Ramsay make good his escape? #travelicity

#ramsay travel
#

Will Gordon make good his escape?

The programme’s been set up as an escape from the last 12 or 18 months of being targeted by the tabs. It’s also an attempt to ditch the Glasgow hardman image that’s become a bit of a millstone, and show a softer side to the chef who’s recently spoken again about a troubled upbringing dominated by a violent father .

People have been urging Gordo to get back in the kitchen for some time now. but the message was rather more to leave the cameras behind. He doesn’t seem able to turn down the exposure (and presumably, the fees are pretty persuasive in troubled times ) but in an attempt to salvage his reputation, he’s turned to a different style of programming akin to the Stein or Oliver culinary travelogue / personal journey model. As his production company, Optomen, has it. we’ll gain insights into the real Gordon Ramsay. We’ll see a very different side to the nation’s favourite chef: more thoughtful, confessional, and open-minded .

We’ve become used to seeing Ramsay in charge, that hectoring macho caricature he’s become thanks to Hell’s Kitchen. Kitchen Nightmares (particularly the USA version), even, to a lesser extent, the F Word. so this format is quite a departure for him – and for us.

He approaches a subject he admittedly knows little about with some humility, apprenticing himself to various Indian chefs, first on the Mangalore Express train throwing in references to his early days, as he remembers starting out 20 years ago, chopping onions – now I’m back there and struggling to cook a vegetable curry through a bout of travel sickness, where he admits conditions are tough for for this weak-bellied Scot (although the inner macho man can’t resist challenging the other chefs to pull ups on the train).

He takes orders well, from legendary chef, Imtiaz Qureshi. constructing an epic goat biryiani – an egg, inside a quail, stuffed in a chicken, inside the goat – and, despite glimmers of that rather manic Ramsay in the introduction to the great man – the King Korma, dog’s bollocks, dog’s nuts, Yes?! – it’s more refreshing than I imagined watching him working under someone, showing respect, reminding us he’s done his time over the years, earned his stripes. When Qureshi isn’t happy, Gordon, remembering, perhaps, the formidable wrath of an old boss. quips, In situations like this you keep your mouth shut and finish the job.

Later, when cooking for Seema Chandra, he’s even more out of his comfort zone, struggling to cope in an unfamiliar kitchen, merely the subject of amusement, rather than terror, to chefs he cannot scream at. You can feel the panic building as he struggles to communicate, pointing upwards and doing star jumps in an attempt to mime a need for star anise. In the end, the dishes are not finished with the trademark, DONE! , rather, his attempts at pumpkin puree and the like were sampled with encouraging comments such as promising and has possibilities . Not really what the big man is used to and, to be fair, he accepted the criticism so graciously I, surprisingly, found myself, if not exactly rooting for him, at least hoping his finished dishes would be a success.

But what to make of this new, gentler Gordon (you’ll be able to tell him yourself on February 1 when he starts tweeting )? Will it last? Are the glimpses of a more human Ramsay enough to prick our interest in him again? In other words, is this attempt to shed the hardman image going to work?





15/11/2017

Posted In: NEWS

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Vienna, Austria – His Travel Blog #book #airline #tickets #online

#his travel
#

Vienna, Austria

As an Australian living and working in Europe, I find it incredible how often I m confused as being an Austrian. I was in Minnesota for work last year and someone congratulated me on my flawless English! I’ve also been asked multiple times what the official language is in Australia, presumably mistaking it for the EU member state. There are no kangaroos in Austria people, nor any alps in Australia. Look at a map!  I hadn’t thought of it from the other perspective however, but my Austrian friend who lives in Vienna (and happens to love surfing) says he’s constantly mistaken for an Australian during his international travels!

Read the sign people

Following a 3 day work trip for my wife in Nettingsdorf (in western Austria) we took the opportunity for a quick weekend break in the capital, Wien (Vienna). Previously we’d only been through Vienna’s airport on the way home to Australia, so while I could comment on the quality of it’s airport lounge (very high), there wasn’t much else I could say. I was excited to finally visit this famed European capital and catch up with my “pseudo-Aussie” mate Martin and his girlfriend.

If I was to use one word to convince you to visit this city, what word would I choose Opera?  Viennoiseries?

No, the most persuasive word I can think of is schnitzel. Wiener schnitzel to be precise. A thin piece of pounded veal covered in delicious golden breadcrumbs, with a perfectly-balanced side of lemon wedge. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s up there with France’s hallowed baguette for pleasure-to-simplicity ratio.  I must mention that have a slight predisposition to the schnitzel I once indulged in a 9am breakfast schnitzel in Munich airport (a considerable feat considering it was after a weekend at Oktoberfest, where almost every meal was some variation of the deep-fried veal delight).

One of the standout (read: few) memories from my bachelor party in 2011 was of my friends from Germany, Italy and Austria arguing over the origin of the schnitzel. Each of them was convinced their own country deserved recognition and nobody was willing to concede. The more important issue though is which country has now mastered it. I’ve tried each, and while cranberry conserve is a nice accompaniment in some parts of Germany, the Wiener Schnitzel from Austria takes the prize for pure unadulterated simplicity.

Cultivating more chest hairs at Figlmüller in Vienna

A word of warning before you go – try not to compare Austria or Austrians to Germany or Germans (think: New Zealand and Australia or Canada and the U.S.). The countries are completely different and both worthy of a visit for different reasons. Having good friends in both Austria and Germany, I’ve come to realise that apart from sharing a language they generally don’t appreciate comparison.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from my first trip to Vienna – I knew it was world-famous for its viennoiseries (pastries), although Paris seems to have stolen that title in recent decades. My wife also informed me to expect plenty of gro ßer braüners (double espressos) available in the hundreds of traditional coffee houses across the city. My Austrian friend Martin has lived in Vienna for the last couple of years and was nice enough to take us for a personal tour of the city. Turns out that as well as having flawless (non-accented) English, he’s also pretty knowledgeable about the Capital considering he grew up in a smaller town 200kms to the south.

While not as cosmopolitan as some other European capitals, Vienna has an impressive list of attributes an understated regal facade, a long and interesting history, dozens of world class museums and expansive public spaces. It s a place you could easily imagine living and a painless city to navigate as a tourist. With such a rich musical history (Viennese composers include Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Haydn) it s a shame we didn t get the chance to visit one of the concert halls in Vienna, but a weekend trip is just too short to enjoy all the city has to offer. Besides, if it s a choice between being cultured and eating schnitzel, I know which way I m going to lean.

If you re a sucker like me for anything food related, make sure you visit the Naschmarkt, a 1.5km long fresh food market close to the city centre. The market has a huge collection of colourful fruit and vegetable stands and just about every other culinary offering you could imagine. It would be easy to spend an hour or two here strolling down down the lane-ways, stopping for felafel or a glass of wine along the way (we begrudgingly skipped the wine as it was still only 9am, but certainly didn’t have the same reservations about hummus and felafal). Eventually the food stalls give way to a full-blown flea market which is held every Saturday – we didn’t feel like tussling with the masses, so made a speedy exit to one of Vienna’s many typical coffee houses nearby.

All smiles despite no breakfast wine

You may have heard that Vienna has some of the best museums and art collections in Europe. In fact, Vienna’s Museumsquartier is the eighth largest cultural area in the world. For reasons unknown, we shunned the historical cultural gold-mine on offer, and instead visited 21er Haus – The new Museum of Contemporary Art. At the time, a photo exhibition was showing Points of view in Austrian photography from the 1930s until today. It was interesting enough, but to be honest I struggled a little to see the art-value of some of the photographs, such as a naked man sitting on stool looking pensive. I did appreciate the general vibe of the collection though, and the modern steel and glass building that it’s all housed in is a stark contrast to the regal architecture of the rest of the city.

21er Haus

During the evenings we hit some rooftop bars with Martin and his girlfriend Verena, one at each end of the spectrum.  The Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom  has an amazing panoramic view from its top-floor restaurant / bar, Le Loft .  While we felt seriously underdressed after seeing Vienna’s VIP theatre-elite enjoying pre-drinks in the corner, we were welcomed at the bar and treated to some amazing cocktails while soaking up the view.  Then it was a change of scenery to the 25hours Hotel. a design hotel in the very cool 7th district.  Full of hipsters, its rooftop bar Dachboden  gives another expansive view of Vienna’s night lights.  On a snowy winter’s night you can’t really make the most of it but I imagine in Summer there’d be no better terrace in town to enjoy a drink!

Night lights from rooftop terrace at 25hours Hotel

Overall, Vienna is a thoroughly enjoyable travel destination. It may not feature big hitting monuments like some other European cities, but it has a distinct culture and something to please everyone. Below you can find further travel inspiration to plan your trip (click images to view full screen) and travel tips from locals living in Vienna.

The historic Heldenplatz, notable as the place where Adolf Hitler announced the Anschluß (annexation) of Austria to Germany in 1938. The Naschmarkt, a 1.5km long fresh food market close to the city centre





17/08/2017

Posted In: NEWS

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

HIS International Tours – Travel Services – Sawtelle – Los Angeles,

#his travel
#

Recommended Reviews

It s been a lifelong dream of my dad s to visit the motherland and 2014 marked the year we finally took the plunge and decided to book a… Read More

It s been a lifelong dream of my dad s to visit the motherland and 2014 marked the year we finally took the plunge and decided to book a trip to Japan. But where to start?

We knew we didn t want to be shuffled around like cattle on a tour bus with a large group achi-kochi all over Japan, but at the same time, we weren t comfortable with having to contact hotels in Japan and set up the accommodations ourselves. So, with a brief search on the Internet, we found Destination Japan, which brought us to HIS.

Booked hotels, 7-day JR Rail Pass and a helpful itinerary not enough? Well, toss in a couple half-day tours (Kyoto Tokyo), an all-day Hakone Pass, 10 days (well, 13 for us) straight of breakfast buffets included and transportation to and from Narita Airport. Still not enough? Well. don t be greedy. Haha.

Seriously, this two-week jaunt through Japan was indeed the trip of a lifetime, and much thanks to HIS for making it possible and far less of a headache than it could have been. Thanks, Mike! And thanks HIS! I can t wait to return!





24/07/2017

Posted In: NEWS

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

William Shatner on Losing His Pants and Other Travel Travails –

#william shatner travel
#

William Shatner on Losing His Pants and Other Travel Travails

If only real life was as clever and easy as a commercial.

Jason Clampet

William Shatner is back as a shrewd, unflappable travel expert in his latest TV commercial for an online company.

But in real life, even Shatner can t avoid the perils of getting through airport security lines.

I got patted down one time, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and my pants fell down. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, Shatner said, recalling the incident at Los Angeles International Airport.

Shatner returns as the priceline.com Negotiator in a new ad campaign that launches Sunday, with Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting ( The Big Bang Theory ) again playing the travel pro s daughter. He s unfazed that fans recognize him for the long-running commercial gig as well as the Star Trek TV series and movies and his Golden Globe-winning role on Boston Legal.

This is a form of creativity, he said of collaborating on the TV spots. It is like an acting job.

Working with priceline.com is only part of what keeps Shatner busy as he nears his 84th birthday in March.

The original Capt. James T. Kirk just wrapped a national tour of his one-man stage show and is planning for another. He s got what he calls an unusual summer series for NBC in the works; is in the upcoming fact-based movie The Sunday Horse ; and is collaborating with a custom motorcycle manufacturer on designing a new three-wheeled vehicle.

Shatner, an avid motorcyclist, plans a Chicago-to-Los Angeles charity ride to launch the bike this summer. Another longtime passion is horses, which he rides competitively and which help him keep fit.

I get out and ride five, six horses in a session, and might spend three hours riding very hard, he said. I feel great. I don t even think of age.

Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This article was written by Lynn Elber from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.





08/07/2017

Posted In: NEWS

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Schock treatment: Congressman reviews his travel spending #train #travel

#his travel
#

50 New

12/01/15 02:23 PM EST

The latest email dump shows a hunger for intel on the domestic political scene – and an eye toward presidential politics.

12/01/15 02:14 PM EST

The agreement sets the stage for the bill to move through the House and Senate as soon as this week.

Schock treatment: Congressman reviews his travel spending

Updated 02/11/15 06:11 PM EST

When originally asked by POLITICO about the reimbursements, his office defended the practice, citing Schock’s extensive travel throughout his Peoria, Illinois, area district.

He added: “This weekend alone, I traveled 800 miles with events in Quincy, Bloomington, Peoria, Roanoke, Washington and other towns. I am proud that the voters and elected officials of Illinois 18th district can see me out in the district.”

Aaron Schock: ‘Haters are gonna hate’

When pressed for further information — including details of his official travel in and out of the United States, and of campaign travel — Schock’s office sent a different statement hours later, indicating that it wasn’t sure who was driving his car at certain times, whether Schock was present and whether it was allowed under House rules.

“Congressman Schock and his team have a well-deserved reputation for constituent service,” the second statement from his office read. “This is due to extensive travel throughout the district which is 205 towns and 19 counties. The Congressman’s staff has access to his vehicle so it is used frequently when he is both in and out of the district. For example, this weekend over 800 miles were driven crisscrossing the district for events. Congressman Schock takes his compliance responsibilities seriously and procedures concerning this issue will be reviewed to determine whether they can improved.”

Kenneth Gross, a leading ethics and campaign finance attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher Flom, said reimbursements for using personal vehicles are a “perennial headache.”

“Reimbursements for cars are a perennial, ongoing problem that often get into allocation issues, personal use and campaign use and official use — all three of them come into play,” he said, speaking broadly about the issue, not about Schock’s specific situation. “If you are going to do an allocation, you need to have some basis for that allocation.”

Multiple sources familiar with Schock’s office’s operation have raised questions with POLITICO about the miles Schock says he drives and how much he’s pocketed in reimbursement charges.

Schock has a busy schedule in Washington and around the world — and April 2014 was a perfect example.

On April 6, he was in Las Vegas for the Academy Of Country Music Awards. He missed House votes the next day.

On April 19, he was in Hawaii, where a photographer posted on Instagram a shot of the chiseled Illinois Republican surfing off Waikiki Beach. He then jetted off to Asia for a six-day congressional delegation trip to China, South Korea and Japan. On April 28, he was back in New York, where he appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and Fox News.

Schock was also in Washington for 11 days that month, casting votes on the House floor.

Yet in April, Schock received a reimbursement for nearly $1,200 worth of mileage, amounting to approximately 2,100 miles on his personal vehicle. The same month, his aides received a total of $702 in reimbursements, which would equal 1,255 miles in driving.

The next month — May 2014 — Schock traveled to Brazil with three other lawmakers for several days as part of an official cultural exchange. Still, Schock received $1,232 in automobile reimbursements, roughly equal to 2,200 miles in official travel. His aides received $750, equivalent to a further 1,341 miles in travel. (Schock’s office declined to say how long he was in Brazil, and whether additional days were tacked on as a vacation. He won’t have to file a disclosure until the summer.)

Schock, who has a prized seat on the Ways and Means Committee, has collected tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money for miles he says were put on his personal vehicle. It amounts to more than 150,000 miles driven for congressional business using his car since he took office in the beginning of 2009.

In total, Schock is claiming his vehicle has been driven about a quarter-million miles in roughly six years while conducting official and campaign duties.

And that doesn’t include upward of $70,000 in taxpayer travel his office has racked up on private planes, which his office says is to help him get around the district more efficiently.

In addition, Schock has been reimbursed tens of thousands of dollars more for travel as part of his burgeoning political operation, although this is more difficult to track because individual trips are not disclosed. Schock and his aides boast that he visited 40 districts on behalf of Republican candidates in October 2014 alone. In 2014 alone, Schock’s campaign reimbursed him $18,354 for mileage.

His campaign later bought a Chevrolet Tahoe for nearly $74,000. His campaign has also purchased a Ford.

Schock’s campaign committees have reimbursed him more than $50,000 for campaign mileage, amounting to nearly 100,000 more miles driven since 2008.

He’s also racked up tens of thousands of dollars in private aircraft charters while conducting campaign work.

Schock’s spending has come under scrutiny in recent days. It started when The Washington Post revealed that he had redecorated his Capitol Hill office to look like “Downton Abbey,” a show airing on PBS about British aristocracy. POLITICO reported Monday that Schock’s campaign was spending heavily on lush hotels like the Four Seasons and a posh ski resort in Aspen, Colorado, in addition to money his campaign and taxpayer-funded congressional office have spent on private airplane flights around his district and across the country.

A pro-Democratic watchdog group has filed multiple complaints with the Office of Congressional Ethics in relation to his use of official funds for the office renovation and the sale of his home to a donor.

The office has already been looking into whether the Illinois Republican solicited a contribution above legal limits for a super PAC that was designed to target incumbent Republicans. Schock has maintained that he did nothing wrong, and he has not been charged with any ethics violations.

‘Downton Abbey’ congressman’s aide resigns over Facebook posts





15/04/2017

Posted In: NEWS

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

William Shatner on Losing His Pants and Other Travel Travails –

#william shatner travel
#

William Shatner on Losing His Pants and Other Travel Travails

If only real life was as clever and easy as a commercial.

Jason Clampet

William Shatner is back as a shrewd, unflappable travel expert in his latest TV commercial for an online company.

But in real life, even Shatner can t avoid the perils of getting through airport security lines.

I got patted down one time, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and my pants fell down. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, Shatner said, recalling the incident at Los Angeles International Airport.

Shatner returns as the priceline.com Negotiator in a new ad campaign that launches Sunday, with Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting ( The Big Bang Theory ) again playing the travel pro s daughter. He s unfazed that fans recognize him for the long-running commercial gig as well as the Star Trek TV series and movies and his Golden Globe-winning role on Boston Legal.

This is a form of creativity, he said of collaborating on the TV spots. It is like an acting job.

Working with priceline.com is only part of what keeps Shatner busy as he nears his 84th birthday in March.

The original Capt. James T. Kirk just wrapped a national tour of his one-man stage show and is planning for another. He s got what he calls an unusual summer series for NBC in the works; is in the upcoming fact-based movie The Sunday Horse ; and is collaborating with a custom motorcycle manufacturer on designing a new three-wheeled vehicle.

Shatner, an avid motorcyclist, plans a Chicago-to-Los Angeles charity ride to launch the bike this summer. Another longtime passion is horses, which he rides competitively and which help him keep fit.

I get out and ride five, six horses in a session, and might spend three hours riding very hard, he said. I feel great. I don t even think of age.

Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This article was written by Lynn Elber from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.





06/04/2017

Posted In: NEWS

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment