Travel News – Planes Without Pilots, Plane Hotel, Uruguay Forgives, Zimbabwe Dumps Currency

by Chris Christensen  Add comments
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biplaneIt has been a bad week for planes and pilots as this first story shows:

Plane takes off without pilot at vintage airshow

A runaway aircraft took off on its own when the pilot could not get into the cockpit on time after swinging the front propellor. The classic biplane ran in circles on the ground at speeds of up to 60mph before taking off and flying on its own for 200m. It then crashed into trees at the edge of Goodwood airfield on Sunday.

As bad as that story was, it is not nearly as bad as a plane landing without the pilot… alive.

Passenger lands plane in Florida after pilot dies

Doug White and his family had just enjoyed a smooth takeoff and were ascending through the clouds when the pilot guiding their twin-engine plane tilted his head back and made a guttural sound.

The pilot, Joe Cabuk, was unconscious. And though White had his pilot’s license, he had never flown a plane as large as this.

Perhaps planes should be put to better use… like using them as hotels.

Costa Rican Airplane Hotel Takes Flight

If you have fantasies of living like the Swiss Family Robinson or even the characters in Lost, this rainforest resort near Quepos, Costa Rica may be just the ticket. Situated on the edge of the Manuel Antonio National Park, the Costa Verde Resort features an incredible hotel suite set inside a 1965 Boeing 727 airplane. In its former life the airplane transported globetrotters on South Africa Air and Avianca Airlines, and it now serves as a two bedroom suite perched on the edge of the rainforest overlooking the beach and ocean.

Where will you find the most forgiving people in the world? Perhaps in Uruguay.

What’s going on in…Uruguay?

The people of Uruguay tend to be extremely tranquilo – they drink mate and aren’t generally worried about the exact time of day. At the same time, Uruguayos tend to be politically active, especially this year, as they will vote in November for their new president and on various bills.

One of these bills calls for annulling the law called “La Ley de Caducidad (The Law of Expiration).” This is a law passed in 1986 after the 12-year military dictatorship ended (1973-1985). It gives impunity to the dictatorship’s military officials for their human rights violations, among other crimes. No, you did not read this incorrectly.

As we mentioned in Travel to Zimbabwe – Amateur Traveler Episode 158, Zimbabwe has been living with incredible runaway inflation of its currency. Finally this week Zimbabwe gave in to the inevitable.

Zimbabwe dumps own currency

In a move not entirely unexpected, the Zimbabwean government and the Central Bank of Zimbabwe decided over the Easter weekend to throw their own worthless currency out of the window, replacing it with foreign currency use for at least a year and possibly much longer to allow the country to recover from hitting rock bottom.

Record inflation, despite several currency “reforms,” which over the years slashed dozens of zeros off the local “Zimbabwe dollar,” runs at more than 230 million percent, a figure previously not seen anywhere else in the global economy.

Other articles that caught my eye:

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  • Top 10 travel technology trends for 2009
  • Winging It: Facing the ‘new normal’ – The travel industry fears revenue is down to levels that may be typical for years.
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by Chris Christensen

I am the host of the Amateur Traveler. The Amateur Traveler is an online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations and what are the best places to travel to. It includes both a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog.

+Chris Christensen | @chris2x | facebook

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