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     New travel developments are rare in the summer months, as travel hits peak traffic, but if anything is new and significant it's the awesome number of Americans choosing to vacation in the Persian Gulf—namely, in Dubai, Abu Dubai, and Doha. (Even more of them will go there in the winter months). These modern new cities are a sort of Disney Land for adults, stressing luxurious comforts (in futuristic skyscraper hotels), endless shopping opportunities (in literally scores of shopping malls displaying every international brand), and weird adventures (like an indoor ski slope featuring snow in the summer).  What's more, the airlines servicing these gateways (Emirates Airways, Qatar, and Etihad) are flying the most modern giant aircraft there, at reasonable rates. Though real cultural opportunities are rare (but they include a branch of Paris' Louvre Museum), the oddity of these experiences is attracting record tourism.
 
     A strike of Paris taxi drivers, and dangerous riots by desperate migrants seeking to enter the trans-channel rail tunnel at Calais, have led some Americans to fear that travel to France is currently unsafe.  Both problems have been overcome: The taxi drivers have won a concession by ride-sharing Uber not to operate low-cost rides, and a strong police presence has permitted the "Chunnel" to operate normally, moving passengers between France and England....
 
A massive, temporary loan by the Rodin Museum in Paris to the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, of dozens of immortal statues by the great French sculptor, has created a potent reason to visit Montréal.  Not simply The Thinker, but also numerous other masterworks of art and sketches for eventual statues, provide an enthralling travel experience that is further aided by the great cuisine and other exotic attractions of the immense, French-speaking city so close to most population areas of the U.S. The exhibit will remain on display until October 18 of 2015.
     The recent refusal of the U.S. Senate to adopt a five-cents-per-gallon increase to the gas tax, is a sad example of the triumph of dumb Tea Party ideology over practical national needs. Because a great many Senators have taken a pledge never to increase taxes for any reason, they passed up an opportunity to properly fund an appropriation to repair our crumbling highways and bridges. Instead, they passed a much smaller measure financed by—and are you ready for this?—financed by selling off a portion of our Strategic National Petroleum Reserve. Imagine! We are reducing our protection against dire national emergencies in order to avoid placing an additional five cents on the cost of gasoline that has already declined by more than a dollar a gallon in the past year. A five-cent increase that no one would have noticed has been dispensed with and we will now improve our nation's transport infrastructure to a much lesser extent. Write your representatives in Congress to reverse this act of short-sightedness. 
 
     Finally, thinking about booking a flight aboard Ryanair in Europe? Make sure you're carrying the lightest of carry-on bags. Persons carrying too much have recently been made to pay a penalty to Ryanair that completely wipes out the financial benefit of using that air carrier.


Tags: dubai, PersianGulf, UberInParis, ryanair, RodinMuseum, MontrealRodExhibit, GasTax

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