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Archive for November, 2008

Bridgwater Readies Its Squibs

By Linda Tancs

A carnival atmosphere returns to Bridgwater in Somerset, England tomorrow night for the annual Guy Fawkes Carnvial. Guy Fawkes was a Catholic co-conspirator who attempted to blow up Parliament in 1605. The foiled plot is celebrated every 5 November with fireworks and bonfires. As early as the 1700s according to historical records, Bridgwater has fervently commemorated the event with a nighttime carnival on the Friday following Guy Fawkes Day. The festivities include the parading of squibs (mounted fireworks) in the High Street. Check out the Spirit of Carnival statue unveiled in 2005 at the spot where it all began over 400 years ago.

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Sideways in New Zealand

By Linda Tancs

Movie buffs will recall the 2004 movie “Sideways,” about two men searching for the meaning of life amidst the California vineyards. Fast forward 12 hours (as the plane flies) and discover the fledgling wine country of New Zealand in Martinborough. The first fruits were planted there in 1978. Since then, nearly 40 wineries have sprung up, giving rise to an award-winning pinot noir. You can sample that varietal and other international winners at the annual Toast Martinborough food and wine festival, to be held this year on 16 November. Better hurry before the last ticket sells.

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A Costly Exit

By Linda Tancs

In a move surely not to surprise many, Singapore Airlines will now charge $50 for exit row seating in economy class. Sure, costs are skyrocketing and margins are plummeting. This, however, is not exactly a recent phenomenon. As early as March 2006, Northwest instituted a $15 charge for exit row seating, followed by AirTran in 2007. And back in December 2006 Virgin was asking $30 per seat. So what was the excuse back then? It pays to remember, though, that exit row seating is more than just a convenience. It’s a promise to act responsibly in the event of an emergency. Are you ready, willing and able to open a 50-pound hatch at the drop of a hat if necessary? Your cramped comrades sure hope so.

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Happy Culture Day

By Linda Tancs

Bunka no hi, Culture Day in Japan, is celebrated every November 3rd in memory of Emperor Meiji. On this day the current emperor honors those who’ve made significant contributions to Japanese culture and society in a ceremony at the palace in Tokyo. It’s also supposed to be the best day over a 100 year period with fine weather. Well, today’s weather was clear with a high temperature of 60 degrees fahrenheit. Sounds about right.

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