Thursday, June 27, 2013

Commonwealth Games 2014

The United Kingdom's 2014 Commonwealth Games will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, July 23 - August 4, 2014.

4,500 athletes from the UK's 71 nations and territories will compete in 17 sports, including track and field, rugby, lawn bowls, swimming, gymnastics, weightlifting, table tennis and shooting. A few events will be held outside the city, in Angus and Lanarkshire.

Tickets will go on sale in the summer of 2013, with prices expected from £10 (about $15) to -- for opening or closing ceremonies, £1000. For more information, visit

Saturday, June 22, 2013

UMT International

As my readers know, I try to find the unusual to present here. Whether it is tidbits about cities celebrating centennials or warnings about travel delays, I try to post information about something that might not be obvious elsewhere.

This time I found UMT International, a company that makes after market accessories for boats such as boarding ladders, t-tops, dive tank brackets, deck showers and bow seats. Their facility is located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Anyway, looking at this site was a learning experience. I love to be on the water but have never owned any kind of boat. (Does my husband's canoe count? LOL) I never realized what is involved in having a boat in terms of the decisions that need to be made about what kind of this item or that item I may want.

For instance, would I want boarding stairs that are heavy duty or lightweight? Would I want them side accommodating or as a boarding ladder?

I can see where if I was ever fortunate enough to have a boat of my own, and needed some after market accessories, that it would be important to work with a company that had a lot of experience along with quality options.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Christian Home Exchange

Home exchange is nothing new. There are lots of good reasons for doing a home exchange. It is a great way to stretch your vacation dollar. You stay in a home free while the homeowner you are swapping with stays free at your home. You have all the conveniences of a home while away including a full kitchen, laundry facilities and lots of room for all family members. There are neighbors to provide assistance if you should need it or to simply ask for a restaurant recommendation. Additionally, your own home is not left empty ... you know someone is there taking care of things just as you are doing for the homeowner you are swapping with.

What I found new-to-me is Christian Home Exchange, a service provided by St. Hans Ministry Exchange, Inc. A non-profit organization, the exchange works with Christians around the world for ministry exchanges and home swaps. Whether the purpose of the swap is for study or a retreat, or simply an opportunity to get away from the every day, the service provides assistance for exchanges among like-minded individuals. All members of the exchange know that they will be sharing in their common faith during the house exchange.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sixtieth Macau Grand Prix

The 60th Macau Grand Prix will be held in Macau, China, November 14 - 17, 2013. The race is known as the only street circuit racing event with both motorcycle and car races. The difficult 3.8 mile track features sharply twisting corners and long straightaways.

Tickets cost $6.25 on practice days and $16.25 to $112.50 on race days and are available in advance online and via the ticket hotline. Contact the Macau Grand Prix Committee.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Airport Removal of Body Scanners

If you've flown since the first of the month, you may have noticed a difference going through security. Congress passed a law -- effective June 1 -- that requires all full-body scanner used in US airports to produce only a generic outline instead of an image of a naked body.

Remember all those complaints about the body scanners being too graphic. Well, if you were one of those complaining, you were right.

There are two manufacturers of body scanners and one of them was not able to meet the June 1 deadline. To compensate, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been removing 250 backscatter x-ray scanner from the 30 airports where they were used and replacing them with millimeter wave scanners.

The TSA currently has 660 millimeter wave scanners and some of them are being transferred from smaller airports to larger ones. Some of the smaller airports will end up going back to using simple metal detectors.

Monday, June 10, 2013

China Rail App

The tour company China Travel Guide has launched a new free app for iPhone, China Trains, which allows users to check China's train schedules, plan trips to many cities, look up trains by number and check ticket availability, all in English.

Tickets cannot be purchased from the app, but schedules can be downloaded for offline use. The app is available from the Apple App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Singing Bowls

Have you seen these in your travels? Perhaps you've been to Tibet and seen the singing bowls there.

Crystal Singing Bowls provide the same sense of serenity for mediation and relaxation as other types of singing bowls.

If you've always wanted a singing bowl but getting overseas to buy one has not been possible for you, they are now available to be purchased in the U.S.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Korean Garden Expo

A 3.5 hour ride from Seoul, South Korea, via bullet train ($36 each way), the International Garden Exposition in Sucheon Bay runs until October 20th. It will include indoor gardens, urban gardens, herb gardens, forest paths and exhibits on ecology and wetland management.

The expo site is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 to 7 on weekends. It is located a 10-minute bus ride from the rail station.