In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
London’s top five ways to see the Olympics for free
Couldn’t quite stretch to a £500 ticket for the 100m final? Don’t worry, Olympic thrills don’t have to cost anything …
Watch live coverage on big TV screens
There are screens showing live Olympic events in some of London’s major parks as part of the London Live celebrations (btlondonlive.com).
Hyde Park has four screens and Victoria Park three. There’s also the chance to try different sports and enjoy live music from stars such as Feeder and Tom Jones. You can book guaranteed entry to each venue (£3.50 per booking) in advance or wander in free of charge if there’s space.
There are plenty of screens in locations outside central London, including Blackheath Common in Lewisham and the Town Square in Walthamstow. Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Derry, Dover, Edinburgh, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Swansea, and Swindon also have big screens.
Watch the Olympic cycling road race
This weekend you’ll have a chance to spot competitors in the Olympic cycling road race (london2012.com/venue/cycling-road-race). The men’s event runs on Saturday 29 July from 10am to 4pm, while the women’s race is on Sunday 29 from noon to 4pm.
Download a map of the route at the link above – 250km (155 miles) for men, 140km (87 miles) for women – which runs from The Mall into Surrey and back again.
The start and finish sections are ticketed, but free viewing spots include outside the Natural History Museum, Richmond Park, and Bushy Park north of Hampton Court Palace, as well as the rural stretches. Trains from London to Surrey are likely to be very busy.
Elephants killed by Maasai in row with wildlife services
Maasai tribesmen have killed at least 10 elephants on the outskirts of the Amboseli National Park in an ongoing dispute with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
The trouble started last week when a Maasai boy was killed by a buffalo and an officer from the KWS blamed the killing on the Maasai.
Outraged Maasai warriors vented their fury by spearing an elephant and a buffalo before order was restored and the officer in question departed.
As a result of the unrest it was agreed that Julius Kipng’etich, director of the KWS, would meet the Maasai to discuss their grievances this week.
The meeting happened on Monday, but a community warden and two board members went in place of Mr Kipng’etich. The Maasai felt so disrespected that the meeting broke up in disorder. To make their feelings known, hundreds of warriors from villages around Amboseli were instructed to go and spear all elephants, buffaloes and lions they could find in the rangelands surrounding the park.
KWS rangers were completely outnumbered. According to the Kenya Wildlife Trust, at least 10 elephants were killed in the ensuing violence. Many more were wounded and up to 10 buffaloes and a lion were also killed.
Most of the tension relates to the fact that the Maasai receive only a small proportion of the revenue from the park, which covers 300,000 acres of the two million-acre Amboseli ecosystem, and most of the animals regularly move in and out of the unprotected areas where the Maasai live. On most nights, three quarters of Amboseli’s elephant population will be outside the park, destroying crops and creating conflict with the surrounding human population.
Marlon Brando’s eco-hotel to open in 2013
Fans of late movie great Marlon Brando can enjoy the comfort of the eco-resort he dreamed of creating on a private island in Tahiti from the end of next year.
The Brando will open for business on the paradise he bought in 1965.
Brando purchased 12 small islands north of Tahiti, called Tetiaroa, after falling in love with the area while filming Mutiny on the Bounty there in the early 1960s. He spent three decades island hopping and even opened a hotel there, but he abandoned his dream of creating an eco resort after his son Christian killed Dag Drollet, the boyfriend of Brando’s daughter Cheyenne, on Tetiaroa in 1990.
Brando’s estate executor Mike Medavoy gave permission to Tahitian developer Richard Bailey to build an eco-friendly hotel on one of the main islands after the movie star died in 2004. The project was signed off by Brando’s heirs, who will benefit from the resort’s profits
Sacre bleu! Campaign to put an end to rudeness in France
The French are renowned for their lack of manners, but now Paris’s transport authority is hoping to put an end to the rudeness with a campaign showing locals how to behave properly.
The RAPT campaign includes large posters which depict Parisians as animals next to shocked human onlookers.
Among the beasts is a sloth who hogs a bus seat while onlookers glare at him, a hen who yells into a mobile phone on a packed bus and a donkey who spits chewing gum onto a train platform.
The RAPT has even created a website where frustrated travellers can write their own captions onto photos depicting rude situations.
French author and teacher Cécile Ernst told France 24 that rules of civility were thrown out the window in the 1960s when strict social conventions were contested.
“People do not feel nostalgia for the social codes themselves, but for the rules marking respect for others and the desire to live together,” Ms Ernst said.
She said not only do her students lack social graces, they are proud of their “incivility” and see it as a form of liberation.
And it’s not just tourists who annoyed by the “selfish and snotty” behaviour of the French.
A RATP survey found 97 per cent of passengers had witnessed “uncivil” behaviour on the French capital’s buses and metro lines.
It even published a list of the top 10 most annoying behaviours of French commuters, with loud mobile phone chatter topping the list.