22 September 2017

Happy Fall and helping our neighbors

I hope this note finds you and yours happy.  So take some time to help others who may not be happy by donating time, money and/or goods to help those affected by earthquakes, hurricanes, hunger or poverty.

Since the Caribbean has been hit hard and many depend on tourism to their income, consider taking some of that vacation money to help our neighbors out.  The Red Cross is one of many organizations that you can use.  And Nuestras Raices in Holyoke, Mass, is collecting for Puerto Rico.

17 September 2017

Travel and money

Back when I first traveled abroad it typically was not a big deal.  After all, it was Canada.  While the currency was different it was still dollars and dimes and pennies.  Depending on the exchange rate at the time, it might be good for Americans or it might be good for Canadians.

Reaching across the big pond a couple of decades ago, I figured to use American Express Travelers Cheques. It meant for example that you had to find someone to cash it and if no one would do it, you had to go to the bank.  You know about Bankers' hours.  I guess they were protected, but it was certainly hard to cash sometimes.

Next came credit cards.  The challenge here was whether or not the vendor's credit account was in the same network.  Look at the back of the card to see what I mean.  This is not the bank that issues the card, but the international network they communicate in. Think NYCE or STAR or Cirrus for examples.

Debit cards started being used in the States about 50 years ago but not widely used until the 90s.  When my credit card did not work in Paris (the network issue) I broke out the ATM, slide into the machine and bought tickets for the elevator in the Eiffel Tower.

I found out later that I needed to know the PIN for the credit card, something I never used in the US.

Today, the US caught up with the rest of the world and added the chip in our plastic.  A PIN is needed and it will probably work anywhere.  The network issue should not be a problem, but I always call my credit card company before travelling and let them know what countries I may be visiting.  I also let me debit card bank know, since it was a pain to have to call the bank from Iceland so I could use the ATM!

 Lastly, I do try to have some cash on hand, maybe equivalent to $US 20 at least.  In some places that doesn't buy much, but in others you can feed a family of four at a decent restaurant.  Since plastic is basically used everywhere, cash is becoming less important.  But I have yet to buy a cup of coffee with plastic (except my cell phone app from Starbucks).

16 September 2017

Golf Revenue for Golf down in Blue States

A report in the New York Times notes the decline of revenue for many Trump Golf Clubs in the states that voted for Clinton in 2016.  On the other hand, in the red states, where members can afford $25,000 initiation fees, the Trump clubs are doing well.

It goes to show that the name "Trump" may have an economic impact, at least in the States.  Trump workers in Dubai however, would like to paid on time.

12 September 2017

Help the recovery

Sure Irma's path in Florida is a mess. Millions without power, clean drinking water and for that matter communication.  But we need to look a bit south to those island nations that are less affluent.

Since many of these islands depend on tourism, the recovery must be quick in order to meet the winter demand for tourism. (like me who wants to escape the New England weather, sit on a beach and each Fresh fruit and vegetables).

Oh yeah the All Inclusive Beaches Resort is still closed for business.

So as I said earlier, always anticipate hurricanes in the late summer in the Caribbean before travel plans.  You do not want to be part of the problem. Stay home.

10 September 2017

Why Human Coverage of Irma?

Why do we need embedded actors covering Hurricanes?

Why can't we set up some remote cameras and have a voice over cover natural disasters?

Why do we put these people at risk, and those who may have to rescue them?

Why?

07 September 2017

Hurricanes 2017

I won't say I told you so, but ......

My blog back in July alerted tourists of the risk about travelling to the tropics during hurricane season.  Florida seems to be listening to the warnings. But Barbuda and Antigua got slammed yesterday, Puerto Rico, and then TCI tomorrow?

Keep informed by official weather reports and not the beautiful people on the W Channel.

Check out this loop for Puerto Rico.

And of course, after Harvey and Irma comes Jose.  Oh yeah, Katia heading for Mexico.