In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
Capsule lodgings hit Hong Kong
Space-starved Hong Kong has long been plagued by high rents and steep hotel rates, vexing university students and tourists alike. But help may be at hand, thanks to one Hong Kong firm: tiny pods stacked up in tiers to create capsule lodgings at low cost.
Inspired by Japan’s inexpensive capsule hotels, capsule bed manufacturer Galaxy Stars HK is offering wifi-enabled capsules that can be stacked together in cupboard-like formations to ease the high-priced room crunch.
“It’s like Lego,” said Eric Wong, managing director at Galaxy Stars HK, explaining how the units can be pieced together in a matter of days.
“I want to bring this product to Hong Kong tourists to relieve Hong Kong’s hotel shortage.”
Each pod, which measures 1.9 metres long, 1 metre wide and 1.15 metres high, is slightly larger than a twin bed. They come complete with bed, air conditioning, light switches, computer tables and power outlets.
Wong said he expects his main customers to be tourists. The average hotel room rate was HK$1165 a night in 2010, according to the city’s Tourism Commission.
But he added that about a dozen local students had expressed interest in a capsule college dormitory near campus, offering pods for HK$3,500 a month.
“Students are affected by a severe lack of space in university housing, so we thought, why not do dorm rooms as well?” Wong said.
New ‘tornado travel’ map causes a stir in Joplin
Eight months after a massive tornado blew into town creating a six-mile path of destruction and killing 161 people, the city’s tourism office is courting visitors with a free “tornado travel” map.
Patrick Tuttle, director of the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau says the map is meant to illustrate “living history.”
“We are not actively promoting the tornado,” Tuttle said in a phone interview Monday. “Mainly, (the map) is a piece of information. Maybe people will have a reason to give, or put together a volunteer group because there’s still a lot of work being done, or even come into town and buy something.”
Hotels, restaurants and stores are open for business, he added.
However, a news report about the map, sparked the ire of some residents. One man created a Citizens Against Tornado Tours Facebook page urging others to voice their criticism. On the CVB’s Facebook page, comments ranged from “insensitive” to “tacky.”
Say hello to a new language
Scared of Spanish? Flunked French? It could be time to try again, says Enjoli Liston, who’s finally tackling Hindi.
The first, and last, time I attempted to sit down and learn an Indian language was in 1996. My mother (originally from Mumbai) had given 10-year-old me a “teach-yourself Gujarati” textbook and cassette tape. One of the first, and last, phrases it attempted to impart on me was: “How many goats do you have in your village?” I didn’t make it past the fifth page.
At school I studied French and Latin GCSEs, at university I passed an Italian-for-beginners course, and since 1996 I have picked up some Gujarati from my mum. But in spite of all this, I remain a jack of several languages and a master of none.
Hunters criticised for killing giraffes
Tourists and even families are paying tens of thousands of pounds to hunt giraffes and have the heads of their trophies mounted to take home.
Hunters pay up to £10,000 for the giraffe-hunting expeditions, which target the larger males.
Safari clubs and game reserves ask for a £1,500 trophy fee and add £1,000 a day for guides and trackers.
Dr Julian Fennessey, of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, said some hunters came from Britain but most were from North America, Germany, Russia and Scandinavia.
“Some hunters just like to have photos taken next to the dead giraffe”, he said. “But others pay taxidermists to mount the head so they can take them home as a souvenir. Or they might want to take the skin.”
Joe Duckworth, of The League Against Cruel Sports, said: “It is immensely selfish to kill these animals.