There’s a new travel site in town that I’m pretty excited about. One that I think has been a long-time needed. It’s called Routehappy, and it doesn’t just find you the lowest priced airline ticket – it finds you the best value flight.
Each flight is given a “happiness score” that reflects things like legroom and availability of WiFi and ports to charge your gear. I’ve long thought that a way for customers to be informed on value – instead of just price – is the way to get airlines to compete on more than just stripping things away. But creating something like that myself was too herculean a task. Finally, someone’s done it! (Assuming it works well, of course.) On the other hand, it’s also one way to test out the statements of those who claim they’re willing to pay a little more for better treatment. What do you think? Is this an flight-buying method for you?
I like this sign in Bandolier, New Mexico. I think we should have one on the airplane.
I might need convincing…
Hiraizumi's Golden Hall
photo: Chusonji Temple
April 18th is World Heritage Day, which seems a great time to mention the newly listed UNESCO site that I’m excited about: the Buddhist temples of Hiraizumi in Japan’s Tohoku region, which somehow escaped damage from the earthquake. The site encompasses a cluster of temples, gardens and ruins dating from the Oshu Fujiwara warrior family, rulers of the region from the 11th to 12th centuries. The top attraction? Chusonji Temple – dating from 850AD, best known for its glowing Golden Hall.
Also designated to the list is 2011 was the Ogasawara Islands off Tokyo. Well, if 1,000 km can still be called “off”. The islands are popular for whale and bird-watching, and swimming with dolphins. Together, these sites bring Japan’s WH number to 16. As if you didn’t have enough reasons to go already…
David Creedon’s images of mysteriously abandoned Irish homes. Clues left behind indicate that most of the homes (in this selection anyhow) were left behind in the 1970s.
Click the photo for slideshow of Creedon's photos (via salon.com).
The photos are an excerpt from Creedon’s forthcoming book, Ghosts of the Faithful Departed, which is right out of my head (with an Irish twist). I have long been fascinated with abandoned structures, namely those barns and (possible) houses I see dotted around the rural country where I grew up (and indeed, the entire South). What were they for? Were they homes? Barns? Storage? Is there anything in there? I wonder this everyday that I drive around the area.
When I was younger I did not notice them. They were just a part of the landscape, like occasional deer, bright blue skies and fields of cotton/corn/tobacco. But after living in European cities, where there is simply no room to randomly abandon structures, I see my old landscape anew. I used to find them ugly. Now they paint for me a pleasantly slow, romantic vision of the South that I’ve inherited from my (foreign) husband.
I always intend to take photos when I visit, but never do. I have never peeked inside one, too grown-up to be unaware of the possible dangers that lurk within. Of course, David Creedon was brave enough to risk a few rotting boards, and found a relative treasure trove. Perhaps I need to give my own urges to investigate architectural ghosts a more serious look.