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Archive for the Category "News"

Couchsurf around the world Sep 16

Have you heard of Couchsurfing? This is basically a network of people that are offering their help and services to other travelers. You register and create a profile and then you can surf other member’s profiles and ask if you can spend the night on their couch when traveling. Sounds too good to be true I guess but I have hosted a few travelers and shown them a bit of Norwegian life and and attractions around Stavanger and they have loved it. You can also use this network if you are traveling alone and just want to get in touch with people for a coffee, a drink or just to learn a bit about the local culture. There are also other similars networks like Hospitalityclub.org. So don’t be shy…register online and help fellow travelers in need :-)

Category: News, Travel  | One Comment
Is it the end of The World? Sep 15

No, we are not talking about Armageddon here – we are talking about The World in Dubai. As some of you know, the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has started some of the most amazing building projects in the world….some examples are Burj Dubai, Ski Dubai, the Palm Jumeirah etc. They also started the contruction of The World a few years back; a man made archipelago of 300 islands located of the coast of Dubai. The project got it’s name as the islands together formed a world map and to start with the there were lots of rumors of celebrities buying varies islands.  According to the project homepage, The World was completed on October 1st 2008. But this week there are rumors that the whole project has been canceled – check this article in TimesOnline. I could see the islands when I was there in May but I don’t think that anything has been built on them yet – I guess the economic crises in the world put an end to the whole thing and maybe this shows that it was just too insane to complete. I’m always fascinated by building projects that are over the top but I didn’t quite see the big attraction in owning a small island of the coast of Dubai. From what I have heard the property prices in Dubai has dropped a lot but I was surprised to see that there were still a lot of construction activities when I was there in April and May. There has been some negative press about Dubai as a tourist destination in the last year and I guess that is not helping either. Anyway, I will write more about my feelings regarding Dubai in the upcoming trip report that I will post on gardkarlsen.com . You can read more about The World on Wikipedia.

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The most expensive city in the world Aug 25

The Swiss investment bank UBS has just relased a “Prices and Earnings” study and Oslo came out on top as the most expensive city in the world…hurrah, we finally won something ;-) Well, it is not really news that Oslo and Norway are voted to be expensive – I think all foreigners knows this to be a fact. At least I do get comments and questions regarding this topic all the time. A couple of years back I had visitors from Malaysia and they were quite shocked to see the prices (especially on food) compared to their home in KL. But this means that it is great being a Norwegian when traveling as most places in this world are cheaper….well, getting a drink in Dubai is actually more expensive than in Norway actually. Here is an article about the study.

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SAS is in trouble Aug 13

Or maybe it should have said “SAS is still in trouble”. SAS is Scandinavia Airline System – the airline that is the “pride” of Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The only problem is that they are loosing money…a lot of money. It seems like they lost about 140 million US $ in second quarter this year and today CEO Mats Jansson had to tell the press that they have to cut more jobs and save more money. Another 1500 jobs must be removed in addition to cuts that have been made already and the rest have to face a cut in salary of 10-20% – I wonder what that will lead to as SAS has a history filled with strikes as the unions are pretty strong within the company. I guess it is not news that airlines are struggling these days but it is sad to see how things are going with SAS. The problem seems to be that their expenses are so much higher than for e.g. Norwegian so they are not able to compete. So while Norwegian is doing great at the Oslo stock exchange, the SAS shares have dropped a lot over the last years. SAS have also had a lot of intercontinental routes (that they have lost a lot of money on) and they are being cut one by one. So what will happen to SAS? I think that when they get control over their costs they will be bought by e.g. Lufthansa and then Lufthansa can take care of the intercontinental flights while SAS can take care of the Scandinavian traffic and to/from Europe to Scandinavia. So maybe it is wise of me to spend the Eurobonus points now…it would be a tragedy to lose all of them if SAS goes bankrupt.

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Tourists warned of Thailand airport scam Jul 30

It seems like quite a few tourists have been detained at the Bangkok airport this year with allegations of shoplifting. In order to get out of this they have been forced to pay thousands of US dollars. Please read this BBC article for more information. I have been through the Bangkok airport many times over the last couple of years (see my Bangkok trip report) but I have not experienced anything like that…yet. I hope that they will sort this out or else it will be another set back for tourism in Thailand.

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Statue of Liberty’s crown is repoened Jul 05

On July 4th the crown of the Statue of Liberty was opened for the first time in 8 years. So now you can climb 156 steps to enjoy the view from the top. We did go to the Statue of Liberty when we went to NYC in 2007 (see our NYC trip report) and the view from the top of the pedestal is also spectacular . Well, you can read more about the news in this article.

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