In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
First Christchurch hotel reopens after earthquake
There are signs that tourism in Christchurch is recovering as the first hotel has reopened following the devastating earthquake in 2011.
The Ibis Christchurch hotel has undergone major remedial work, including the renovation of all 155 rooms and public areas.
The core structure of the building has been also strengthened to meet the city’s new building code.
The hotel is set to open on September 4, to mark the second anniversary of the first major quake to hit Christchurch, which had less of an impact as the subsequent February 2011 quake.
The city’s authorities aim to have the city fully open by the middle of 2013, Tim Dearsley, the general manager of the Hotel Ibis, said.
“Christchurch tourism has suffered enormously because of the perception that the city was closed following the earthquake,” he added. “This was never true, but the re-opening of the Ibis will highlight that the city centre is now accessible to travellers.
“While some of the CBD is still cordoned off, it is important to note that the ‘red zone’ has reduced from 387 hectares to 49 hectares today.”
Work to rebuild the city has been taking place in earnest – a new cathedral, the handiwork of the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, will be opening in time for Christmas and is expected to become a major tourist attraction. It will fit up to 700 people and serve as a temporary replacement for the city’s former landmark building, Christchurch Cathedral, one of many structures to have suffered severe damage in the earthquake.
Yosemite hantavirus warning extends worldwide
U.S. officials have warned travelers from 39 other countries, most in the European Union, that those who stayed in certain Yosemite National Park tent cabins earlier this summer may have been exposed to a rare but deadly mouse-borne hantavirus, a park service epidemiologist told Reuters Tuesday.
Of the 10,000 people the federal Centers for Disease Control estimate could be at risk of contracting hantavirus pulmonary syndrome from their stays in Yosemite between June 10 and August 24, some 2,500 live outside the USA, said Dr. David Wong.
Six cases of the rodent-borne disease have been linked to Yosemite, and two men, from northern California and Pennsylvania, have died. Park officials traced five of the cases to 91 “signature tent cabins” in Curry Village, one of Yosemite’s most popular campgrounds. They said a design flaw allowed mice to nest between the double walls of the insulated cabins. Another approximately 400 canvas-walled tent cabins in Curry Village remain open.Britain’s Health Protection Agency said in a statement Monday that officials were “providing health advice and information … about the ongoing situation in the U.S.” to about 100 people believed to have traveled to the national park between June 10 and Aug. 24.Yosemite officials have sent emails and letters to 3,100 people who reserved any of the 91 signature tent cabins during that timeframe, urging them or anyone in their party to seek immediate medical attention if they start to show the initial flu-like symptoms of the disease, Associated Press reports.
Keepin’ It Kubrick at Amsterdam’s New EYE Film Institute
Movie lovers rejoice! Amsterdam opened its new spaceship-like EYE Film Institute Netherlands in April of this year in the city’s developing north neighborhood, across the River IJ from Old Amsterdam.
With a goal of promoting film as art, the museum’s collection spans decades of filmmaking brilliance and they hold one-offs of some of the world’s earliest films once thought lost. This collection has even been named as part of UNESCO’s “Memory of the World” Register.
Aside from an extensive program of films being shown in their four screening rooms, the EYE Film Institute hosts interactive exhibitions of both famous and not-so-famous, but important, filmmakers. While there we had the pleasure of taking in the Stanley Kubrick installation, which proved to be entertaining, educational and provocative. (Cue the Clockwork Orange exhibit. Can you say bondage?)
The Kubrick exhibition took us through several of the filmmaker’s most important films, everything from Lolita to 2001: A Space Odyssey to The Shining. Each moody exhibit room played one of the director’s movies while visitors could listen in on interviews with the actors, directors and the filmmaker himself. Surrounding each room were props, costumes and various memorabilia from the film. We saw models of the spaceship for 2001: A Space Odyssey, poster designs for Eyes Wide Shut, the itemized set budget for Dr. Strangelove (a mere 28,000 GBP), and Jack Nicholson’sfamous ax from The Shining. Now there’s a new visual for your nightmares.
$700 million skyscraper ‘resembles a pair of pants’
China’s newest superstructure is legging it into the ranks of the world’s strangest skyscrapers, along with an elephant-shaped building in Thailand and the UK’s famous Gherkin.
The $700 million Gate to the East skyscraper in Suzhou has been mocked for its striking resemblance to a giant pair of pants.
The building was meant to be a “dramatic, iconic gateway to the East” that would outshine Paris’s iconic Arc de Triomphe.
The 74-storey building, which is supposed to be shaped like an archway, has been the subject of much criticism online.
“This should be called the Pants of the East, not the Gate of the East,” said one user on China’s blogging website Weibo.
The Shanghai Daily questioned: “Is it an arch or just plain pants?”.
The brainchild of UK architecture firm RMJM, the arch was designed to “represent the significance of China in the world today”.