In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
Villains are forever at James Bond exhibit
Fans of fictional super spy James Bond rely on the durable film franchise for must-have elements, such as jaw-dropping stunts, great clothes, sultry women – and villains who are drop-dead evil.
An exhibition that opened on Friday makes clear that the nasty types that 007 has battled for five decades have changed but one constant remains. The only true match for the world’s greatest secret agent are characters that moviegoers love to hate.
“Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains” at the International Spy Museum in downtown Washington, is dedicated to the most memorable bad guys and gals in the 23-film series.
From the eponymous “Dr. No” in 1962 to the just-released “Skyfall,” the exhibit shows links between fact and fiction and how villains have kept pace with an evolving world.
“Bond seems the same, but the villains have all changed. They have changed to reflect the changing times,” Anna Slafer, the museum’s director of exhibitions, told a news conference.
In “Dr. No,” the villain schemes against the U.S. space program. Probing the nuclear fears of the 1970s, tycoon Karl Stromberg plots genocide in “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977).
The information age turns up with Max Zorin, who lusts to corner the microchip market in “A View to a Kill” (1985). In “Skyfall” cyberterrorist Silva tries to hack British intelligence computers.
But some things have remained the same for the Bond villain, said Alexis Albion, a guest curator and intelligence historian.
They are highly successful, often charming, live in isolated places, generate fanatical loyalty, and think big, she said. “They are on a level that we have to send someone like James Bond after them.”
Trekking with gorillas in central Africa
Greg Cummings leads safaris to see gorillas in their natural habitats across central Africa, in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Here he tells us about the arduous treks his job entails – and its heart-stopping rewards.
We’re flying south over Uganda at 7,000m when our pilot starts to descend. Below us the Nile snakes through lush vegetation, shimmering in the morning sun as it churns up white froth around the scattered islets that obstruct its course toward the Albertine Rift.
My clients, a Hollywood producer and his son, are glued to the windows in anticipation of buzzing the legendary Murchison Falls. I have visited on many occasions, but this is the first time I’m getting a bird’s eye view. Here the Victoria Nile forces 300 cubic metres of water a second through a gap only seven metres wide, before flowing calmly westward into Lake Albert. Our Cessna 421 descends to less than 1,000m over the base of the falls, the Devil’s Cauldron. From here we can pick out individual crocodiles on the banks, waiting patiently for a meal. Murchison never fails to deliver.
I am a gorillaphile (strictly platonic), having worked in gorilla conservation for two decades. But for the past six years I have been taking travellers over mountains and through jungles, to see gorillas. This involves everything from organising a human caravan before setting off on foot into the jungle – porters, security guards, chefs – to making sure the helicopter arrives on time. And I have trekked with some interesting people: celebrities, CEOs and polymaths. There’s no better time to get the benefit of a genius’s mind than after he or she has spent an hour with the gorillas.
Gorilla tracking is often listed as one of 50 things to do before you die. I certainly never tire of spending time with our hairy mountain cousins. I visited the world’s most easterly gorilla habitat (Bwindi, in Uganda) and the most westerly (Cross River, in Nigeria) before I was 10 years old, and I’ve made it my life’s ambition to trek through every one of them. I regularly take clients to Bwindi, and to Volcanoes national park inRwanda, but if it’s safe we can visit any number of gorilla parks across central Africa.
Toppled Jersey Shore rollercoaster could become tourist attraction
A Jersey Shore rollercoaster that was destroyed and partially submerged during Superstorm Sandy may remain as a tourist attraction.
The ride on Seaside Heights on the Jersey Shore was hit by powerful winds that affected large sections of east coast America. It was rocked off the Casino Pier into the ocean waters and soon became a symbol of the damage the storm wreaked on east coast America.
However, the local mayor, Bill Akers, has since told the television station NBC 4 New York that he had asked the Coast Guard to find out whether the structure was stable. He added that he thought it would make “a great tourist attraction”.
The storm had a major impact on the area, severely damaging the boardwalk at its heart.
The seaside resort, which has long figured in pop culture, including the songs of Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, as well as the reality television show Jersey Shore, was one of the areas worst affected by the Hurricane Sandy storm surge. The cost of repairing damage to the Seaside Heights area has been estimated at US$1billion (£626m).
Only four of the 44 seafront rides were reported to be unscathed by the storm – as well as the toppled rollercoaster, the log flume was ripped in half.
Siberian kids believe pouring a bucket of cold water in icy cold temperatures keeps them healthy
Siberian kids are tough. Very tough. At playtime they run around in swimsuits in the snow and pour buckets of water over their heads. Icy cold water.
Don’t believe us? Just take a look at these pictures from the Siberian Times.
The photos were taken at a Siberian Kindergarten where they believe pouring a bucket of cold water over your head every day keeps you fit and healthy.
When these photos were taken it was minus ten degrees outside. That’s MINUS ten. Below zero. And these kids are in swimsuits.
Kindergarten director Olesya Osintseva has been dousing her pupils in cold water for 18 years. She says the children love the experience and will even run out into the snow to pour water on themselves in temperatures as low as minus 30.
Is it cruel? Is it torture? The smiles on the children’s faces says no. They are not forced to join the wet group. They can stay dry if they want to.
According to Ms Osintseva the ritual keeps the children healthy.
“Some eighteen years ago we gathered together teachers and doctors to speak about our children’s health,'” she told the Siberian Times.
“They were catching influenzas, and there were moments when half of the children attending the kindergarten were unwell.