Travel

Friday, April 24, 2015

So What's New?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 2:00 PM

PHOTO BY JOAN SAFIER
  • Photo by Joan Safier

So what's been happening the past few weeks I should know about, and maybe write about? I've been traveling in southern Spain, and the reason you go there isn't to follow current events, though thanks to the miracle of wireless-in-every-hotel, I kept up a bit. The main lure of the area is getting a glimpse of the area pre- and post-inquisition. When it comes to Spain, I learned in school that in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. It wasn't until later I learned the date was also a marker of the worst kind of intolerance: 1492 was a very bad time to be a Jew, and a bad time to be a Muslim too. It was also later that I learned, when the Muslims were in control of the area, it was a hotbed of learning, culture and art. The Alhambra, above, is a wonder. The time is known as the Golden Age of Jewish Culture, when Jewish learning blossomed alongside Muslim learning. Walking through the Muslim palaces and mosques, seeing a small pre-Inquisition synagogue — one of three still standing in Spain — was educational and awe inspiring. And rubbing the feet of a statue of The Rambam (the name given to the scholar/philosopher/physician Maimonides [If you didn't before, next time you watch The Big Lebowski, you'll get John Goodman's reference]) is supposed to grant you luck and impart wisdom. I usually don't go in for the rubbing-for-luck thing, but in Córdoba, I rubbed his feet every time I passed.

So . . . if you think I missed something important in the news, give me a heads up in the comments, preferably with a link,
 and I'll try to get my mind back in Arizona, circa 2015 C.E.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Shady Dell #1 Airstream Hotel in the US of A

Trailer Love

Posted By on Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Photo from The Shady Dell Facebook Page
  • Photo from The Shady Dell Facebook Page

Are you looking for romantic trailer park getaway? Thrillist named Bisbee's Shady Dell Trailer Court the world's coolest mobile motel of 2013. Who needs a cookie on your pillow when you can get lawn flamingos on freshly cut astroturf.

1. The Shady Dell Trailer Court — Bisbee, AZ
This place's nine vintage aluminum trailers with equally vintage décor (think phonographs and old-school radios) promise a blast from the past. You'll return to a simpler time, a better time, when men were men, drinking on the job was basically a requirement, and you returned home to crack a brew on your patch of astroturf.
How much? $87/nt

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

TSA Allows Small Knives Back on Airplanes

Posted By on Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 4:33 PM

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons by Christian Kitazume
  • Photo from Flickr Creative Commons by Christian Kitazume
The Transportation Security Administration announced today that for the first time since 2001, U.S. airline passengers will be allowed to carry small knives on board with them, along with golf clubs, hockey sticks, billiard cues, and other sporting goods.

This change, which will be effective beginning April 25, has caused an uproar with several flight attendants.

The union for Southwest Airlines flight attendants said that the change is "designed to make the lives of TSA staff easier, but not make flights safer," according to Fox News.

The president of the union, Stacy K. Martin, said, "while we agree that a passenger wielding a small knife or swinging a golf club or hockey stick poses less of a threat to the pilot locked in the cockpit, these are real threats to passengers and flight attendants in the passenger cabin," in an article in the Los Angeles Times.

A statement by the TSA made online today about the decision states the different items that are now allowed and the requirements for such.

"This is part of an overall Risk-Based Security approach, which allows Transportation Security Officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives,” the statement also included.

The blades of the knives that will be allowed on flight must be no longer than 2.36 inches. Box-cutter type knives, razors, and knives with molded handles will still be banned.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Do Your Friday Night Plans Involve A Road Trip To New Mexico? If So, Leave Early

Posted By on Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 12:00 PM

The railroad is generally considered to be a big reason this country grew as much as it has from coast to coast. You can thank all of those Chinese slaves for that.

Now the railroad can also be blamed for f—king with your plans this Friday night or Saturday morning, if said plans just happened to involve driving on Interstate 10 east of Tucson.

Demolition of an old and, apparently, too low-hanging Union Pacific Railroad bridge requires the closure of I-10 between State Route 83 and State Route 90 from 9 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. Because of the closure, motorists still on the road and heading toward that area during that time will be directed on a 67-mile (!!!!) detour down through Sonoita and Whetstone to get back onto I-10.

Hear those places are lovely during the witching hours at the start of an early March weekend.

This detour is supposedly old-hat for many long-haul truckers, who because of the lack of clearance caused by this old bridge routinely have to make this detour when traveling I-10. Another reason I've probably not pulled the trigger on that long-harbored dream of being an 18-wheeled road warrior.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

The Nogales-to-Tucson Commute Just (Legally) Got a Little Faster

Posted By on Fri, Dec 7, 2012 at 11:26 AM

In case you hadn't noticed — and since no one is as attentive toward such minutiae as I, you hadn't — a small facet of a road sign replacement project on Interstate 19 has actually slightly altered the speeds at which you can legally travel.

Since May the Arizona Department of Transportation has been using a $1.6 million federal allocation to replace slightly older upgrade "regulatory, warning, speed limit and some guidance signs" along north- and southbound I-19, according to ADOT spokeswoman Linda Ritter.

While no changes are being made in regards to the long-discussed-but-currently-dead-in-the-water plan to shift the signage from kilometers to miles, placement of some of the new signs has in effect lengthened some stretches where drivers can go 75 mph before having rapidly decelerate to 65 mph.

Previously the "speed break" between the Papago exit to nowhere and the exit for San Xavier Road on northbound I-10 was just north of Papago. Now the first indication you're going too fast and need to quickly cut down to 65 mph comes just before the bridge over the Santa Cruz River. Or, in other terms, a lot closer to where a DPS cruiser could be sitting up near San Xavier.

The same scenario now exists between Canoa Ranch Road and Continental Road on the south end of Green Valley. No such "speed break" changes happened going southbound, so your attempts to flee the country haven't legally become quicker.

So, to sum up: while you can technically go a little faster for a little longer heading up from Nogales, when you do approach these slow-down areas you're more likely to run into some law enforcement heat sooner into your deceleration.

Okay, now back to focusing on things that really matter in life. Like which Happy Hour to go to this evening.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Finding Babel: The Key to Indo-European Language Family

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Map of Romance Languages in Europe
  • Wiki Verbix
  • Map of Romance Languages in Europe

Story by Brandon T. Bishop/Scicats

An international group of researchers used a new statistical approach to try to solve a long-disputed mystery—the birthplace of the Indo-European language family.

For many years, most linguists and archaeologists supported an area in the Eurasian steppe north of the Black Sea. A minority of scholars, however, favored an origin in central Anatolia in what is now modern Turkey.

English, Spanish, Russian, Hindi and many other languages in Europe and South Asia all share a common ancestor once spoken near the Black Sea. These languages, which belong to the Indo-European family, are now spoken on every continent. In fact, almost one of every two people on Earth speaks one of these languages.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

One Million Bowls of Chicken-Feet Soup

Posted By on Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Is that chicken foot flipping me off?
  • Is that chicken foot flipping me off?
Peruvian food is good. I especially enjoy the seafood soups that can be bought for a few bucks at restaurants along the country’s long and beautiful coast. Papas huancaina, which is served across the country in one form or another, is also incredibly delicious, as are the large tamale-like juanes, which I’ve been told were created to memorialize the beheading of John the Baptist.

But on my recent trip across Northern Peru, I hit the wall when it comes to one aspect of Peruvian dining. Perhaps I’m getting a bit older and set in my ways, but chicken-feet soup for breakfast, which was the only thing available along one especially long trek through the Andes, finally did me in. I ate it anyway — personal weaknesses are no reason to insult the cook, after all — but the memory of chicken feet floating around in oily broth has been plaguing me for days.

It was good to experience this. Good travel teaches us as much about ourselves as it does about the places we visit. It was shocking to realize how much I craved a fried-egg sandwich after only a few short weeks, and how I was plotting to craft my own breakfast burrito as soon as I had access to a kitchen. Food, it seems, has as much, or maybe even more, to do with our comfort than the place we lay our head at night.

On a side note, Peru is currently experiencing a bit of a culinary renaissance thanks to chef Gastón Acurio, which will be fun to watch as the years roll on. Due to the country's amazing variety of landscape—from oceanside beach towns to deep Amazonian jungle villages, and everything between—the food is some of the most varied I've ever experienced. It seems it will only be a matter of time before American chefs catch on and start infusing their menus with some of the incredible flavors the country has to offer.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Retired 56-Year-Old Bikes Around the World

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Christine Farrugia is a retired government worker, but she isn't taking it easy just yet. She's on a mission to teach and raise money for children by biking around the world. She started off in California and will be in Tucson through early next week. At noon on Monday, Jan. 2, she will be at Fairwheel Bikes, 1110 E. Sixth St. to talk about her journey. Future stops include Houston, New Orleans, Orlando and Miami as well as Cape Town, South Africa and Harare, Zimbabwe. Visit www.projectmiracleco.org for details.

Read on for more info:


Christine Farrugia is currently riding her bike, alone, around the world. Beginning early December with an event that included the Mayor of Pasenda and many others seeing her off. The 56 year old retired government worker with over 20 years of teaching is peddling her way to a year-long bicycle ride around the world to raise awareness and money for Children’s issues.

Ms. Farrugia had an epiphany recently, a seed of an idea that came from one of her students. An avid traveler and sometime bicyclist (to school and back), a student asked "if she had ever ridden her bicycle around the world"? It was at that moment that she realized that she had an opportunity to make her classroom much larger than just the standard four walls. With over 20 years experience teaching she will embark on a bicycle ride around the world. Christine has begun the year long trek that will take her from California to major cities and small towns across the US to Asia, Europe, South America and everywhere in-between.

As Christine sees it, it's more than just a bike trip around the world-"I will be teaching via Youtube videos. I am working with a teacher at Hillsides who will show the video once a month with Q & A with the kids, the teacher will email me the questions and I answer the questions on the next video. My goal is to do this in every school in the world."For Christine Farrugia, this is a chance to teach children the world over about the importance of exercise, determination and that anyone (even an ordinary person) can accomplish anything if they put their mind to it. She has also established the Project Miracle Co, (organized solely to raise funds for established children's charities) that will be the direct beneficiary of the media attention her bike ride will generate.

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Twilight Thursdays & Sunset Saturdays

Every Thursday night during the summer and the fourth Saturday (June 27, July 25, Aug. 22), we’ll… More

@ Tucson Botanical Gardens Thursdays, 5-8 p.m. and Fourth Saturday of every month, 5-8 p.m. Continues through Sept. 3 2150 N. Alvernon Way.

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