In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
High-flying shark makes pilot look twice
Inflatable sharks that were a hit at Christmas are heading for the exits around the country and flying off into the wild blue yonder.
Reports of escaping sharks have come in from homes as far apart as Auckland and Riverton in Southland. The issue first drew attention when the pilot of a passenger jet on his descent to Christchurch International Airport on Boxing Day radioed ground control with a sighting of a shark flying at several thousand feet.
The fish out of water was identified as a remote-controlled, helium-filled shark that has topped must-have present lists this Christmas.
Claims of possible ownership of the sighted high flying fish have come from bereft households in Hamilton, Feilding, and two from Christchurch. MetService said working out where an escaped shark might have travelled to would be a difficult task. Factors would include the amount of helium in the fish, affecting its height, along with wind speed and direction.
The 1.44-metre-long Air Swimmer toy has a radio receiver attached to its underside and can be operated by remote control over a range of 15m. Designer-developer William Mark Corporation warns that the shark is for “strictly indoor use only”.
Adventurer launches world light plane trip
SLOVENIAN adventurer Matevz Lenarcic has flown out of Ljubljana at the start of an eco-friendly trip around the world in an ultra-light plane boasting super-low fuel mileage.
“I want to make people understand that this world is the only one we’ve been given and if we destroy it, we and our descendants will be losing it for good,” Lenarcic said ahead of the solo adventure dubbed GreenLight WorldFlight.
Lenarcic hopes to fly the Pipistrel Virus-SW914 weighing just 290kg about 100,000km, circling the world westbound in 10 weeks.
His first stop will be Morocco, followed by Senegal. He’ll then cross the Atlantic Ocean.
Lenarcic plans to overfly seven continents, 60 countries, 120 national parks, the world’s highest mountains including Mount Everest, cross three oceans and the Antarctic, while burning the smallest amount of unleaded fuel per distance flown.
Warning of heightened terror threat in Kenya
The Foreign Office is urging Britons in Kenya to be extra vigilant, warning that terrorists there may be “in the final stages of planning attacks.”
The ministry said in travel advice issued today that attacks could be indiscriminate and could target places where expatriates and foreign travelers gather, including hotels, shopping centers and beaches.
Kenya’s military has been fighting militant fighters from the al-Shabab group in neighboring Somalia. Kenyan troops entered Somalia in mid-October to attack the militants, and have been supported by the country’s weak army.
What Does Unesco Recognition Mean, Exactly?
New York Times
World Heritage is big business, bringing hordes of tourists to poor countries that can use the jobs and the cash. It can also overwhelm the very sites it is designed to protect with all the less-savory aspects of mass travel, from chain hotels and restaurants to the impact of thousands of sport-shoed feet treading on fragile ground.
But World Heritage can also be an odd business, giving recognition to traditions (like premodern tribal dances and giant French family meals) that might have little aesthetic value to any group except the one that practices it.
Whatever the merits, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) has embraced the concept. In fact, Unesco loves heritage so much that it has created two treaties to enshrine it.
The first, the World Heritage Convention, dating from 1972, builds on the notion of the United States national parks system, which was set up to defend a wild landscape before it disappeared. The second, the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, was introduced in 2003 to defend traditions, not places, and is more controversial. Some 188 nations have ratified the first convention. To date, there are 725 cultural, 183 natural and 28 properties combining the two, in 153 countries. The World Heritage list represents a catalog of marvels. Italy, needless to say, includes the Leaning Tower of Pisa (the whole Piazza del Duomo, to be fair) and Venice and its lagoon. Jordanhas Petra and Wadi Rum. France even lists the banks of the Seine.