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In Transit Blog: Sherpa Guides Abandon Everest Climbing Season

Written By wartini cantika on Rabu, 23 April 2014 | 17.35

Updated, 1:51 p.m. | Following an avalanche on Friday that produced the worst single-day death toll in the history of Mount Everest, a group of Sherpas announced today that they decided to abandon this year's climbing season, disrupting plans of hundreds of climbers, many of them waiting at the mountain's base camp.

The avalanche, which killed at least 13 Sherpas, has put a spotlight on members of this ethnic group who, renowned for their skill at high-altitude climbing, are often guides for such expeditions.

With the ability to earn $3,000 to $5,000 a season — a substantial amount for a region where there is little opportunity for employment other than potato farming — Sherpas put themselves at great risk for affluent clients, fixing ropes, carrying supplies and establishing camps for the climbers waiting below, exposing themselves to the mountains first.

Insurance, however, is often adequate. Sherpas are asking the Nepalese government for $10,000 to be paid to families of the guides killed in the avalanche as well as those who were injured and cannot resume work.

"We had a long meeting this afternoon, and we decided to stop our climbing this year to honour our fallen brothers. All sherpas are united in this," Tulsi Gurung, a local guide, told Agence France-Presse.

The strike comes on the heels of a series of proposals from Nepal's government to cope with the crush of climbers on Mount Everest (on a single day in 2012, 234 climbers reached the peak, with some unable to stand on its highest point because it was so crowded).

With foreigners increasingly bringing their own guides, Nepal this year proposed requiring outsiders to hire a local guide for any ascent above 26,000 feet.

And on March 3 the government announced it would require every climber returning from the summit to bring back at least 18 pounds of garbage, the first concerted effort to eliminate the estimated 50 tons of trash left on the mountain over the past six decades.


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In Transit Blog: A New Zealand Trail Is Open for Cyclists

Written By wartini cantika on Selasa, 22 April 2014 | 17.35

New Zealand's Heaphy Track, the longest of the country's nine famed Great Walks, is now open to cyclists.

In a decision almost 15 years in the making, New Zealand Department of Conservation officials have approved winter mountain biking on the nearly 50-mile trail.

Beginning May 1, cyclists will be allowed to tackle the track, which winds through rugged and remote terrain in Kahurangi National Park, in the northwest corner of the country's South Island.

A longtime Heaphy Track guide, Brian Alder of Helibike Nelson, a guiding outfit, said riders can expect an intermediate-level, single-track journey across an eye-opening wilderness route that descends from alpine forest – with the chance of snow – to subtropical coastline dotted with palm trees.

"You really feel like you're in the middle of nowhere, and it's really quite a unique experience. There's not a lot of places in the world where you can get that," Mr. Alder said.

The trail can be traversed by experienced riders in a day, but most cyclists make a two- to three-day journey of it to take in the scenery, stopping at one of the seven well-equipped huts, Alder said.

"You get the double benefit of an amazing place and wilderness area and the sheer enjoyment of riding," he said. "It's such a fine track and such an iconic thing to do."

Winter cycling is open through Sept. 30, although the conservation department is considering lengthening it an additional three months.

The Department of Conservation also has invested in improvements to the trail to support up to 4,000 mountain bikers per year, including a new hut and four new suspension bridges, and has approved year-round cycling on two other Kahurangi National Park trails, opening the door for increased bike-focused tourism in the area following a three-year trial period.

Hut reservations (32 New Zealand dollars, about $28 U.S.,  per night) can be made online through booking.doc.govt.nz/, by email at nmbookings@doc.govt.nz, or by calling 64-3-546-8210.


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In Transit Blog: Planning a Trip That’s Socially Acceptable

Two new travel apps are harnessing the power of Facebook to help friends spend some time together.

For those with a bit of flexibility and both time and money, TripCommon, a travel software company, recently completed beta testing for Hitlist, which works as a travel agent of sorts, monitoring fares between a home airport and a user's favored destinations.

When those fares drop in price, the app sends an alert, deeming flights "good," "great" or "spectacular," depending on how they measure up to the lowest fares of the previous season. If the price is right, users are directed to Skyscanner.com, a booking website, to make a purchase.

Following the lead of its parent company, which favors social networking technology, the app also uses Facebook to locate the home airports of "friends," for which fare alerts can also be requested. If also in the Hitlist network, friends can view one another's destination wish lists or current bookings or locate friends living in a potential destination.

TripCommon plans to soon expand Hitlist to other social networks, like LinkedIn, said Gillian Morris, the company's chief executive. While other search engines are great for working within specific parameters, she said, the goal of Hitlist is to help leisure travelers who want to register their intent and then sit back and let the app do the work for them.

Momondo, the travel search website, recently released its own social-network-focused app, which also uses Facebook to assist with travel planning. A "Friend Compass" feature on the app displays a virtual compass of the user's Facebook friends, where they live and an estimated cost to fly to each. Search parameters can be narrowed to find people nationally, regionally or globally. And a "City View" option will display a wheel of general destinations worldwide, along with estimated fares to each.

Hitlist and Momondo are available on iOS and Android devices.


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In Transit Blog: A Beer Vacation Is On Tap in Chicago

Lagunitas Brewing Company, the Northern California beer maker with a penchant for live music, has expanded its operations to Chicago, where it will open a  300,000-square-foot facility early next month.

But Lagunitas, one of the five best-selling craft brews in the United States last year, won't just be making beer.

Following in the footsteps of its big brother brewery in Petaluma, Calif., it will also offer tours and tastings to hopheads and will host musical guests in its 300-seat concert venue, the TapRoom, five nights a week.

As a boon to early visitors, the brewery has partnered with the JW Marriott Chicago hotel to offer a Lagunitas "Beercation" package for travel between May 22 and Sept. 1.

Participants will be greeted in their rooms with a selection of craft beers, and later, will receive a complimentary designated driver to and from the brewery (coordinated through Uber, a mobile application that helps find professional cars for hire), where guests will be guided on a tour of the facility, be offered tastings of the brews and be able to check out the TapRoom.

Those in town on May 17 or 18 can get a sneak peek at the brewery during its opening party, a Lagunitas "Beer Circus," the proceeds of which will benefit Rock for Kids, an organization that provides music education to underserved children. Tickets are $40 for those 21 and older and include four tastings.

"Beercation" room rates start at $204 per night, including valet parking at the hotel. Reservations can be made at marriott.com/specials using the code "W36″ or by calling 312-660-8200.


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In Transit Blog: A Beer Vacation Is On Tap in Chicago

Written By wartini cantika on Senin, 21 April 2014 | 17.35

Lagunitas Brewing Company, the Northern California beer maker with a penchant for live music, has expanded its operations to Chicago, where it will open a  300,000-square-foot facility early next month.

But Lagunitas, one of the five best-selling craft brews in the United States last year, won't just be making beer.

Following in the footsteps of its big brother brewery in Petaluma, Calif., it will also offer tours and tastings to hopheads and will host musical guests in its 300-seat concert venue, the Tap Room, five nights a week.

As a boon to early visitors, the brewery has partnered with the JW Marriott Chicago hotel to offer a Lagunitas "Beercation" package for travel between May 22 and Sept. 1.

Participants will be greeted in their rooms with a selection of craft beers, and later, will receive a complimentary designated driver to and from the brewery (coordinated through Uber, a mobile application that helps find professional cars for hire), where guests will be guided on a tour of the facility, be offered tastings of the brews and be able to check out the Tap Room.

Those in town on May 18 or 19 can get a sneak peek at the brewery during its opening party, a Lagunitas "Beer Circus," the proceeds of which will benefit Rock for Kids, an organization that provides music education to underserved children. Tickets are $40 for those 21 and older and include four tastings.

"Beercation" room rates start at $204 per night, including valet parking at the hotel. Reservations can be made at marriott.com/specials using the code "W36″ or by calling 312-660-8200.


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In Transit Blog: A Beer Vacation Is On Tap in Chicago

Written By wartini cantika on Minggu, 20 April 2014 | 17.35

Lagunitas Brewing Company, the Northern California beer maker with a penchant for live music, has expanded its operations to Chicago, where it will open a  300,000-square-foot facility early next month.

But Lagunitas, one of the five best-selling craft brews in the United States last year, won't just be making beer.

Following in the footsteps of its big brother brewery in Petaluma, Calif., it will also offer tours and tastings to hopheads and will host musical guests in its 300-seat concert venue, the Tap Room, five nights a week.

As a boon to early visitors, the brewery has partnered with the JW Marriott Chicago hotel to offer a Lagunitas "Beercation" package for travel between May 22 and Sept. 1.

Participants will be greeted in their rooms with a selection of craft beers, and later, will receive a complimentary designated driver to and from the brewery (coordinated through Uber, a mobile application that helps find professional cars for hire), where guests will be guided on a tour of the facility, be offered tastings of the brews and be able to check out the Tap Room.

Those in town on May 18 or 19 can get a sneak peek at the brewery during its opening party, a Lagunitas "Beer Circus," the proceeds of which will benefit Rock for Kids, an organization that provides music education to underserved children. Tickets are $40 for those 21 and older and include four tastings.

"Beercation" room rates start at $204 per night, including valet parking at the hotel. Reservations can be made at marriott.com/specials using the code "W36″ or by calling 312-660-8200.


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In Transit Blog: A Beer Vacation Is On Tap in Chicago

Written By wartini cantika on Sabtu, 19 April 2014 | 17.35

Lagunitas Brewing Company, the Northern California beer maker with a penchant for live music, has expanded its operations to Chicago, where it will open a  300,000-square-foot facility early next month.

But Lagunitas, one of the five best-selling craft brews in the United States last year, won't just be making beer.

Following in the footsteps of its big brother brewery in Petaluma, Calif., it will also offer tours and tastings to hopheads and will host musical guests in its 300-seat concert venue, the Tap Room, five nights a week.

As a boon to early visitors, the brewery has partnered with the JW Marriott Chicago hotel to offer a Lagunitas "Beercation" package for travel between May 22 and Sept. 1.

Participants will be greeted in their rooms with a selection of craft beers, and later, will receive a complimentary designated driver to and from the brewery (coordinated through Uber, a mobile application that helps find professional cars for hire), where guests will be guided on a tour of the facility, be offered tastings of the brews and be able to check out the Tap Room.

Those in town on May 18 or 19 can get a sneak peek at the brewery during its opening party, a Lagunitas "Beer Circus," the proceeds of which will benefit Rock for Kids, an organization that provides music education to underserved children. Tickets are $40 for those 21 and older and include four tastings.

"Beercation" room rates start at $204 per night, including valet parking at the hotel. Reservations can be made at marriott.com/specials using the code "W36″ or by calling 312-660-8200.


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In Transit Blog: A Geneva Hotel Thinks Younger

Written By wartini cantika on Jumat, 18 April 2014 | 17.35

Some travelers will go to any length for the type of rest and relaxation that makes them feel 10 years younger.

But for those with limited time to do so, a new program from La Réserve Genève Hotel and Spa in Switzerland promises a rejuvenating experience in seven days or less.

La Réserve, which describes itself as a "cleverly concealed reserve of happiness" on Lake Geneva, is now offering a new spa program developed and supervised by Nescens, a company that specializes in anti-aging products and programs, designed with the help of specialists at Genolier, one of Switzerland's largest networks of medical clinics.

The four- or seven-day programs begin with a full medical assessment, including a blood test and other queries into diet, lifestyle and exercise.

The result is a custom treatment program for each guest, created and supervised by a Nescens team, including osteopaths, dieticians, doctors to advise on anti-aging medications, and fitness and lifestyle coaches.

Next comes the best part: the actual treatments, which can include massages, body contouring (a massage performed by an osteopath that focuses on knees, ankles and shoulders), therapeutic baths, wraps, scrubs and three organic meals a day.

Most treatments take place in the spa's 22,000-square-foot facility and are available to locals and hotel guests at a price of 3,200 Swiss francs  (about $3,750) for the four-day program and 4,900 francs ($5,740) for seven days, not including accommodations. Average room rates at the hotel start at 445 francs ($520), double occupancy.

Extra days can be added for those who might want to try to erase a bit more of their past.


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T Magazine: Feeling For | A Bohemian Getaway in the Heart of Mumbai

Written By wartini cantika on Kamis, 17 April 2014 | 17.35

Until this year, Mumbai didn't have a single boutique hotel. There was the Taj Palace, with its iconic confectionary grandeur; some characterless, midrange hotels scattered around Colaba, the core of historic South Mumbai; the Oberoi and the Trident in their 1970s concrete boxes. But there was no hotel that captured both the rich visual heritage of historic Bombay and the intense aesthetic energy of contemporary Mumbai. Now, there's Abode.

Built by David Sassoon, a wealthy entrepreneur, at the turn of the 20th century, the building was run as a small hotel for decades by the Sham family. In 2011, the English expatriate Lizzie Chapman approached Abedin Sham, the family's patriarch, about transforming the space into a stylish, affordable city retreat. Shortly after, the pair brought on the Australian architect and designer Sian Pascale to modernize the interiors while conserving the building's bones.

Abode was designed with a diverse audience of travelers in mind. The ground floor boasts luxury rooms outfitted with two-story windows, separate sitting areas and restored midcentury furniture alongside original local artworks. Upstairs, the basic rooms — though smaller and set up with shared toilets — combine the price point of a hostel (spots start at just 3500 rupees per night) with a heavy dose of Pascale's bohemian design sensibility and attention to detail.

From the outset, Chapman hoped to eschew the obsequious formality of India's celebrated palace hotels – what Chapman describes as "Sir/Madam/Namaste service" – in favor of something truer to the city's casual, offhand warmth. Pascale, for her part, based her design on Bombay's singular aesthetic history, upending typical notions of Indian luxury. To that end, you won't find turbans or cusped arches here. Instead, you'll see traditionally patterned cement tiles and Art Deco teakwood furniture, sourced from the city's markets (the Sham family has a long history in antique dealing). Old books in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and English line the walls, which are dotted with signs handcrafted by the same artisans who paint buses and trucks across town.

Throughout, there are glimpses of Mumbai's precolonial fishing villages, its Raj-era Victoriana, its midcentury boom and its frenetic, irrepressible present. Two clocks in the reception area, set to the same time, are cleverly labeled "Bombay" and "Mumbai," a nod to the city's simultaneous propensity toward nostalgia and tendency to ruthlessly demolish its own past. Here, a list of must-see/do/eat items for your next trip to the most populous city in India.

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum
The city's most celebrated restoration project transformed the former Victoria & Albert Museum into a lovely display of urban history and craft. Set in the once affluent neighborhood of Byculla, adjacent to the Mumbai Zoo, the BDL Museum is a wonderfully atmospheric departure from the tested tourist grounds of Colaba and Fort.
91 A, Rani Baug, Veer Mata Jijbai Bhonsle Udyan, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Marg, Byculla East, Mumbai; bdlmuseum.org.

Liberty Cinema
Mumbai's best Art Deco showpiece is, appropriately in this city of cinema, a movie theater. Recently restored to its original glory, it's possibly the world's best place to watch a film.
Liberty Building, Vitthaldas Thackersey Marg, Dhobi Talao, New Marine Lines, Marine Lines, Mumbai; thelibertycinema.com.

Britannia restaurant
The Parsis, the Zoroastrian community with its roots in Iran, may be a minority in Mumbai, but they have had an outsize impact on the city's cultural growth over the centuries. For sampling the community's unique culinary traditions, there's no institution more iconic than Britannia. Don't miss the berry pulao (a rice dish prepared with dried berries and meat) or the sali boti (mutton stewed with onions and tomatoes and topped with crispy fried onions) — or an opportunity to chat with the venerable bespectacled owner, who will, upon learning that you're American, tell you exactly how much he loves "Madam Hillary Clinton."
Wakefield House, 16 Ballard Estate, 11, Sprott Rd, Ballard Estate, Fort, Mumbai; +91 022-2261-5264.

The best seafood spots
Most Americans don't think of fish when they imagine Indian cuisine, but like any coastal city, Mumbai relishes its seafood. There are plenty of options here, many of them quite famous. You'll undoubtedly hear about Trishna and Mahesh Lunch Home, but of the seafood institutions dotting south Mumbai, the real gems are New Martin, a bare bones canteen serving traditional Goan cooking, and Ankur, serving Mangalorean food from the coast south of Goa in comfy, if kitschy, surroundings.
New Martin, 21 Glamour House, Strand Road, near Radio Club. Ankur, MP Shetty Marg, near Horniman Circle, Fort; +91 022-2265-4194.

Shree Thakker Bhojanalay
Along with the Parsis, Gujaratis are Mumbai's most influential community of merchants. Vegetarian Gujarati cuisine often gets left off foodie itineraries, but the thali, or unlimited set lunch, at Thakker's, a 70-year-old restaurant tucked away in the rundown bazaar of Kalbadevi, is among the greatest culinary surprises the city has to offer.
31 Dadiseth Agiary Lane, 2nd floor, Kalbadevi; +91 022-2201-1232.

The bazaars
North of the old British districts of Fort and Colaba, you'll reach the bustling bazaars of what was once known as the Native Town. There's the shabby Victorian tower of Crawford Market, the densely packed lanes of the Mangaldas Fabric Market in the elaborately pinnacled shadow of the Jama Masjid and past that, Zaveri Bazaar, famous for its costume jewelry.

Mohammed Ali Road
Chor Bazaar (which means "The Thieves Market") is Mumbai's antiques lane, and one of its most popular attractions. This is the place to buy old photos and Bollywood Posters (and, of course, to bargain). The adjacent Mohammed Ali Road is also the best place to try the cuisines of the city's Muslim populations. The nalli nihari – a delectable beef stew topped with bone marrow – at Noor Mohammadi is a highlight.
Noor Mohammadi, 181-183 Abdul Hakim Noor Mohammadi Chowk, Bhendi Bazaar.

South Mumbai shopping
Several of Mumbai's best boutiques are clustered within easy reach of Abode. Bombay Electric is known for its eclectic collections from young local designers. Bungalow 8, a three-story monument to local design, contains a stunning collection of furniture, accessories and one of the city's best loved clothing labels, The Bungalow. And Obataimu, just north of Colaba in the gallery district of Kala Ghoda, combines a global aesthetic with India's special talent for personalized tailoring.
Bombay Electric, 1 Reay House, Best Marg, Colaba. Bungalow 8, Grants Building, Apollo Bunder Rd, near Radio Club. Obataimu, Machinery House, B Bharucha Marg, Kala Ghoda.

Bandra
The so-called "Queen of the Suburbs" is now home to much of the city's young creative class. It's one of the best parts of town for a stroll along tree-lined streets, up seaside promenades and past colonial-era bungalows. This is the place to take the city's pulse and see that New India you've heard so much about.

Related: The Scene | When in India


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In Transit Blog: New Tours of Johnson’s Glass House

Starting in May, visitors to architect Philip Johnson's renowned Glass House in New Canaan, Conn., will have a twice-monthly option of taking a self-guided tour, allowing them to linger in the house and at several other Johnson-designed buildings on the 49-acre grounds.

Glass House guides will be on hand to provide background and answer questions.

A variety of guided tours also is available when the grounds are open, from May 1 to Nov. 30.

Visitors this year also will be treated to "Veil," an installation by the Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya, where a shroud of mist will periodically enclose the house and then gradually disappear to reveal the landscape.

The self-guided tours and installation are part of an initiative by the new director Henry Urbach to enliven Glass House visits through readings, performances, sleep-overs, art exhibitions and other offerings, spokeswoman Christa Carr said in an email.

Philip Johnson, the founding director of the department of architecture at the Museum of Modern Art, helped define modern architecture in America. His all-glass, one-room house, built from 1949 to 1955 as a weekend retreat, pioneered the use of materials such as glass and steel in home design.

The landscape completely surrounds the house, which is situated at the edge of a crest overlooking a pond. Johnson turned the house over to the National Trust before his death in 2005, and it was opened to the public in 2007. Tours depart by shuttle from the visitor center in downtown New Canaan. Prices range from $30 to $250 a person; the self-guided option is $75.


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