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Merriam-Webster Creates a Fun Online Word Game for Travelers

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 11/05/2020, 11:00 AM

Every time we speak, we travel. English is a polyglot language derived from many tongues and made of an ever-expanding lexicon of borrowed words picked up like souvenirs from all corners of the globe.   As Merriam-Webster, the venerable dictionary publisher, puts it: "English is, by any reckoning, a very large language. No one is entirely certain how many words it contains (since it is very dif...

Free Entry to the U.S. National Parks For Students, Veterans—and Everyone Else

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 11/02/2020, 3:00 PM

The U.S. National Parks had big plans for little people this year. But like so many things, they went awry. Long story short: 2020 was supposed to have been another year when all of the country's fourth graders (and their families) got free entry to the parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands, a program administered for half a decade by the federal government. But because so many of us...

A Delightful New Book About Countries That Have "Fallen Off the Map"

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 10/30/2020, 9:00 PM

In this time of not being able to travel almost anywhere, one of the most intriguing new travel books is a volume that takes readers to places that no longer exist. I’m talking about Gideon Defoe’s droll new tome, An Atlas of Extinct Countries: The Remarkable (and occasionally ridiculous) Stories of 48 Nations That Fell Off the Map—a whirlwind tour through the pleasingly oddball tales of histor...

Iconic Neon Cowgirl "Vegas Vickie" Kicking It Again at New Casino

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/29/2020, 1:00 PM

Circa Resort & Casino, which opened this week on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, is the city's first casino built from the ground up in four decades.  But not everything on site is brand new. In a nod—or, in this case, kick—to the property's past, Vegas Vickie, the 25-foot-tall neon cowgirl once stationed above the Girls of Glitter Gulch strip club, has been installed in Circa's hotel...

New Rules Transform New York City Into a Wonderful, Open-Air Bazaar

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 10/28/2020, 7:00 PM

What's the top reason people visit New York City? If you guessed Broadway shows, museums, or even restaurants, you'd be wrong, wrong, and wrong. Year after year, shopping is cited as the main reason people plan a trip to the Big Apple— something I know well, as the author of Frommer's EasyGuide to New York City. As in the rest of the United States, the city's retail sector has been wallop...

WATCH: Kazakhstan Makes Nice—Very Nice!—with Borat By Taking His Catchphrase

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/27/2020, 8:00 PM

The premise of the newly released Borat sequel, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, is that Sacha Baron Cohen's titular character, a clueless Kazakh journalist, must deliver an animal or, barring that, his daughter (living conditions for both are roughly the same in Borat's homeland) to the Trump administration. This is meant to be Borat's penance for making Kazakhstan a laughingstock in the first movie (...

Costa Rica Fully Reopens to Tourism—No Test, No Quarantine Required

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/26/2020, 2:00 PM

Starting November 1, all international travelers, including those from anywhere in the United States, are welcome to visit Costa Rica—and neither a quarantine period nor a negative Covid-19 test are required for entry.  The Central American nation, a tourism heavy hitter due to its jungles and beaches, had been previously admitting "select" international travelers from areas considered low-risk...

Dingle, Ireland's Beloved Dolphin, Fungie, Has Disappeared

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 10/23/2020, 9:00 PM

Ireland may be the land of leprechauns, banshees, and merrows, but its most magical being was real, and it swam in the waters off County Kerry. In 1984, a lone, bottleneck dolphin was spotted in the bay of the town of Dingle, on Ireland's west coast, by a lighthouse keeper who was escorting fishing boats out to sea. The dolphin was still there when the keeper brought the boats back into the har...

WATCH: Rare Waterfalls Appear All Over Australia's Uluru

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/23/2020, 4:00 PM

Visitors at Uluru in Australia's Northern Territory got a rare treat this week: the sight of waterfalls tumbling over the surface of the red sandstone monolith.  That only happens when there's a lot of sudden rain in the region—and since this area, part of the arid "Red Centre," is one of Australia's driest, the phenomenon doesn't happen often. (The photo above was taken in 2010.) But earlie...

The Word Is Out: Language Museum Opens in D.C.

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/23/2020, 3:00 PM

UPDATE, October 23, 2020: Originally scheduled to open in the spring of 2020, the Planet Word language museum in Washington, D.C., began welcoming visitors on Thursday, October 22, instead. This post, first published on February 17, 2020, has been updated below.  A new museum dedicated to language has come to Washington, D.C. Housed in the renovated Franklin School building—site of one of th...

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