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Iraq opens Najaf airport, hopes to spur tourism

Iraq opens Najaf airport, hopes to spur tourism The Dalmatian Coast and Marrakech are so 2007 -- you aren't a real hipster traveler until you've visited Iraq's newly accesible tourist destination: Najaf. Officially opening its doors this month, Al-Hamza airport was just revamped by Kuwaiti investors and is now geared...

Top hell-holes on earth

Top hell-holes on earth April Fool's Day, 2007, I wrote a post on Linfen, China. Although it was written as a joke, the premise is true. Linfen is a royal mess. Its mighty pollution problem has earned it the number 2 spot on the recent "Hells on Earth" list. The air quality in Linfen is so horrific...

Painful lesson on stray pets in foreign countries

Painful lesson on stray pets in foreign countries Have you ever been tempted to save that "poor little puppy's" life by airlifting it from its miserable life in Egypt, Greece or Asia, and bringing it home, so you can pamper it with vitamin bones and pet spa treatments? I have friends who have rescued a puppy from one of the...

Weird weather around the world

Weird weather around the world In the middle of the desert, snowflakes are falling. Of all places, it was snowing this morning in Baghdad, which made headlines in publications like the New York Times and TIME Magazine. Some people interviewed said they've never heard of snow in Baghdad while others say...

Seven (screwed up) wonders of the totalitarian world

Seven (screwed up) wonders of the totalitarian world There is something terribly crazy about totalitarian governments and their sense of architecture: monumental, gaudy, pompous, and, more often than not, in extraordinarily poor taste. That's whey the fine folks over at Esquire Magazine have compiled a list of what they feel...

Talking Travel with the Today show's Peter Greenberg

Talking Travel with the Today show's Peter Greenberg When I was offered the chance to interview Peter Greenberg, author of The Travel Detective series, I took it without knowing what a large personality he is. Then I did some Googling, and was promptly in a nervous frenzy over having to talk to my first celebrity. His resume...

Local Bloggers Revealing Country Secrets

Local Bloggers Revealing Country Secrets The political situation of many countries doesn't allow much freedom of press; what gets printed is thoroughly watch-dogged. That's kind of messed-up when you realize that the media is the one thing that keeps us connected and informed about the rest of the world. I remember...

Savvy Traveler: Arab vs Muslim

Savvy Traveler: Arab vs Muslim It is a little frightening how many people use the terms "Arab" and "Muslim" interchangeably. Shows how much we know about that region of the world even after years of being intimately involved with the Middle East. One often hears that people say "Arabs" when referring to...

New Airline in Iraq Bans Iraqis

New Airline in Iraq Bans Iraqis There's a brand new airline in Iraq fittingly called ExPat Airways, and aside from limiting food and alcohol on the flight, they're also banning citizens of Iraq, among other countries. According to ABC News, "Expat Airways said it is only accepting U.S. and Western...

Iraqi Ministry of Tourism

Iraqi Ministry of Tourism What's currently the toughest job in the world? Try working for the Iraqi Ministry of Tourism. Talk about a tough sell! And yet, such an organization exists. Convincing tourists to come back to this war-torn country--albeit not an immediate goal--is going to be very...

The World's Most Dangerous Destinations for 2007

The World's Most Dangerous Destinations for 2007 Here at Gadling, we usually profile places people WANT to go. However, sometimes it's useful to mention places to avoid. Consequently, here's an interesting (and not altogether surprising) list of the 2007's 12 Most Dangerous Destinations: Somalia Iraq ...

Polo's Bastards Top 10 Worst Destinations

Polo's Bastards Top 10 Worst Destinations With the current conflict going on between Ethiopia and Somalia, my mind immediately began to wonder what the writers at Polo's Bastards had been up to and what dangerous lands they've been exploring. Last time I checked in they'd just posted a piece on Rio's favelas. Since...

Why the Veil?

Why the Veil? Every good traveler knows that it is imperative when abroad to be sensitive to the local culture. But some cultural practices have a foreignness to them that is off-putting to people ,and when you factor in Islam, well, there's a whole nasty stew of prejudices and issues...

Looting Baghdad's Past

Looting Baghdad's Past What happens when you invade one of this planet's oldest civilizations? Much of what remains of its past suddenly goes missing. The list of "Bad Things That Happen When you go to War" is immeasurably long. Since this is a travel site, we won't discuss the political,...

Kurdistan Launches Tourism Campaign

Kurdistan Launches Tourism Campaign USA Today runs a rather interesting story on the recent tourism campaign launch to get more travelers into Iraq's Kurdistan region. A California marketing firm involved in helping the Kurdistan Development Corp., recently created a new television ad campaign for the...

Poetry in Baghdad

Poetry in Baghdad Every time I hear Baghdad mentioned in the news my face and stomach both turn to sour. The American death tolls, the Iraqi death tolls, Bush, politics, etc. All of it makes me want to holler. Can the world get any worse? Surely, but I'm in no mood to discuss politics...

Iraq Skier

Iraq Skier We're just about through with ski season, but let me call your attention to online travel magazine Stellar, which is running a rather unusual series by Bob Dedic called Miles From Home in which this avid skier from Colorado ruminates on family, fighting and the joys of...

Word for the Travel Wise (04/24/06)

Word for the Travel Wise (04/24/06) Anyone out there know whether or not Lonely Planet co-founder, Tony Wheeler returned from Iraq? If he hasn't just yet I'm betting a slew of loyal Lonely Planet readers will jump on the bandwagon and book flights to the country once he does. I found only two Iraq blogs where...

Daily Lives of the Iraqi People

Daily Lives of the Iraqi People The BBC is currently featuring stories of daily life of Iraqis on its website.  However, unlike most reports of Iraq which are written by journalists, these accounts are actually in the words of the Iraqi people themselves. The accounts were all taken on April 7th,...

Citizen Penn

Citizen Penn I'm about a week behind on my New Yorker reading and so was pleasantly surprised this week to find last week's issue had a rather informative and interesting profile by John Lahr on Sean Penn. Now, I'm no celebrity worshipper. I honestly, deeply believe that our fascination...

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