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Hello! If you’re Canadian, happy Thanksgiving! If you live anywhere else, it’s Sunday. I’m back on the newsletter beat after a terrific time in Montreal with Adele, who broke our hearts and lifted us up over and over again with her beautiful voice and relentless charm. What did we do to deserve her?
If you are reading from Nova Scotia, Canada, an important reminder: municipal and provincial school board elections are coming up on October 15, 2016. Get out and vote, or do what I did, vote online from your couch in your jammie-jams. Have a great week!
Haiti and Hurricane Matthew
I’m including a block this week to talk about Haiti and its recovery from Hurricane Matthew. I visited Haiti in 2015 – as a tourist – and I fell in love. It is endlessly beautiful, its people friendly and resilient, but Haiti has suffered at the hands of centuries of international interference. Haiti is also known as the “Republic of NGOs,” given the sheer number of them that set up shop after the 2010 earthquake, with some tough lessons learned for foreign organizations. So, here we go again with a barrage of bad news stories about Haiti.
- The BBC has prepared a good explainer on the extent of damage and why Haiti is particularly vulnerable to catastrophic weather.
- It’s a positive human response to want to help Haiti recover. Please don’t send items, send money. Haitian-owned businesses in the country are directly harmed when well-intentioned people outside of the the country send goods that could be purchased inside the country. Goods can be purchased there. SEND MONEY.
- But don’t send it anywhere. Send it to an organization that is established in the country, that has a recovery or medical support mandate. I don’t support religious organizations, but I do support organizations like Partners in Health (PIH Canada), who has been in Haiti for decades and has a positive relationship with the communities where it works.
- This is the best (and regularly updated) list I’ve seen of organizations that will effectively use your donation.
- When I was in Haiti, I visited an amazing organization called the Art Creation Foundation for Children in Jacmel. Fortunately, Jacmel was largely spared by the storm, but you should see how ACFFC is caring for its children and their families during the recovery anyway.
- If you want to talk more about Haiti, read this and come back to me. We’ll talk.
- Finally, SEND MONEY NOT THINGS.
Travel news you can use
- Hurricane Matthew is wreaking havoc on Caribbean cruise itineraries, including sending Caribbean cruises to Eastern Canada. Bring a sweater, folks!
- A slightly smoky Samsung Galaxy Note 7 forced a very real plane evacuation in Kentucky recently. Samsung, get your [bleep] together, fools!
- An Indian budget airline has introduced a “quiet zone,” like in some train cars, barring children under 12. I’ll just leave this here for the internet to fight about.
- I love Venice. Fed-up Venetians are taking to the waters as pirates to fight off cruise ships. Carry on.
- Air rage incidents are on the increase and airlines are looking for stronger penalties for antisocial behaviour. Also, if we don’t know each other, don’t talk me on an airplane. For different antisocial reasons.
- Paella, the ubiquitous Valencian dish offered up at tourist eating spots from one end of Spain to the other, now has a new role: unifier. Jamie Oliver unified Spaniards, at odds over two inconclusive elections and 10 months of political gridlock, with his crap-tastic “twist.” Well done, Jamie.
- Hey, jerks, when you’re in another country, it’s on you to respect local culture, rules, and customs. Don’t end up like this Dutch tourist, who will be doing three months in a Myanmar jail performing hard labour, for interfering with a religious broadcast.
- While we’re at it, don’t strip down to a Speedo with the Malaysian flag on it when you’re a guest in the country.
- Reminder: if you’re visiting Canada, entry requirements have changed and you may have to get an electronic travel authorization (eTA) in advance.
- I’m intrigued by the idea I can learn Portuguese with a chatbot (after they update it). Bring it, Duolingo.
- Tourist-in-Chief Barack Obama’s sightseeing stops throughout his presidency reveals what a lot of travelers already know: the world is full of wonders that delight and challenge us as people.
- If, like me, you’re a big fan of Google’s new Trips app, here’s the 280-year old mathematical theorum that made it all possible.
- You know when you’re in an airport and it feels like you’re on an epic journey from one end to the other? Yeah, that’s real.
- RIP Tombili, the famously chill cat in Istanbul.
- Are you The Worst on a flight? Here are the passenger behaviours flight attendants loathe the most.
- Read this. All of it. Here are 25 travel money mistakes and how to avoid them. I’ve been doing #1 for years: have a travel savings plan. Live it, love it, then go see something.
- If you love heritage, add these new UNESCO World Heritage Sites to your travel plans.
- Cape Breton, Nova Scotia has risen in recently owing to the dumpster fire that is the US election, take a test drive with this wonderful 5-day itinerary of the island.
- There are lots of places to visit in the world. Here’s the case for visiting a smaller, non-touristy city.
- If your itinerary includes a stopover in London, check out these guides for how to spend 6, 24, or 48 hours in the city.
- If you’re taking advantage of the weekend 24-hour Tube in London, check out some late-night eats.
- The famous main branch of the New York Public Library has re-opened its beautiful reading rooms after a lengthy restoration. This is great news for me, since it was closed when I was there last and it’s a favourite stop in NYC.
- Before I left for Montreal, I wrote a new post on the blog about packing for Iceland, it will cover you for late spring, summer, or early fall.
- No one else packed anything this week, I guess.
Zipping the suitcase
This week’s newsletter was a long one, thanks for sticking with me this far. Next week will be shorter, I promise – time for turkey (in Canada)! Tell me what you think about the newsletter by sending a message directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more about where I travel on http://bitesizedtravel.ca. See you next week!