My Dad flew this Plane

My Dad (George Bigler Parkes) flew the plane above many times during his times in the United States Air Force, until the plane finally caught fire, all engines, and crashed into the Irish Sea in the mid-1950s. Everyone died except for my Dad and three other guys. He was deemed a survival expert and moved over to the USAF survival unit where he traveled and lectured for years about survival techniques from the Arctic to Panama.

In other news, always happy to recommend the sage advise coming from Tripso, where a small collection of travel writers and others in the industry continue to answer questions about the trials and tribulations of being a traveler. Not necessarily a travel writer, but it's close enough, and this site always rings true, plus there's an RSS feed for easy daily access.

Question: Recently, I booked airline tickets from Chicago to the Greek island of Crete online through Sam's Club. When I called to confirm my reservation, I was told that my flight had been canceled. A representative asked me to mail the old tickets back and we agreed to pick a new flight.

Although I was led to believe that we had made another reservation, something apparently went wrong with the transaction, and the booking didn't go through. I called Sam's later, when the tickets didn't arrive, and it turned out that my credit card number had been typed into the system incorrectly by one of its agents.

In the meantime, the price of the tickets had gone up $500 each. Sam's agreed to pay the difference and we settled on a new flight.

Problem solved? Not quite.

On my return flight on Aegean Airlines, I was told my tickets were "no good." If I wanted to catch a flight home, they said, I would have to stand in line and buy another ticket for about $300. The reason the tickets weren't valid? Sam's had printed the Aegean tickets on the wrong ticket stock, which made them unacceptable.

I'm trying to get my money back from Sam's for the extra ticket I had to buy, but so far, no luck. Can you help me?

Kathy Winters, Cottage Grove, Wis.

Answer: Wow, talk about the vacation from hell. It looks like almost everything related to your airline tickets went wrong: a cancellation, a booking that didn't go through and then a worthless ticket.

Although Sam's tried to make things right, it ultimately left you with a bill for $300. Then it stonewalled you when you asked for a refund.

Tripso Link

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Times Links to Travel Sites

Posted by Chika On 1:24 PM 0 comments

Canned Heat in SF

I don't know who collects or checks these links from the Sunday Times (London), but they really don't have a clue about decent and useful websites for the traveler. This is just another knock against having some junior, young, newly hired editor given the assignment to survey the travel world via blogs and websites, when it really takes a great deal of time to understand what is going on.

The 108 best travel websites
From bookings to blogs, Gareth Scurlock picks the essential sites


NOT SO LONG ago, finding what you wanted on the internet was hard, and buying online was beset with worries. Now search engines are better at finding the site that you need, and reliable, top-quality travel websites have emerged.

But the joy of the web is its sheer size and variety; there are hundreds of independent travel specialists offering something quirky, different and fascinating.

Our choice of the Top 100 Travel Websites has been based on quality of information, design, value for money and ease of use. In the freewheeling spirit of the internet, we have aimed to make our selection new and surprising, so we have excluded many bigger sites.

Instead, our list leans towards “indie” websites run by enthusiasts, bloggers telling of their adventures, round-ups of handy tips, and any free and useful service.

Times Online Link

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Funny Stuff Mistakes from a PR Hack

Posted by Chika On 11:02 AM 0 comments

Whine, Whine

I would assume that many of you travel writers know the missives of Durant, who actively participates in many of the travel writers forums on the web, and so he posts a short but very humorous missive from some PR person (unnamed) with all the guffs. Not really earth shaking news, but always fun, so thanks Durant.

Shit, I can't find it. Problems with Blogger. Perhaps later.

Found it!

AN APOLOGY FOR ERRONEOUS AD

To all our readers,

With all sense of responsibility, the staff, management and editors of
eTurboNews apologizes for the error in yesterday's Rail Europe ad featuring
France Wine Tour.

We are sorry that the subject for the eTurboNews Travel-Telegram broadcast
read "France Whine Tour" instead of "France Wine Tour"....


Here's his link to all things Europe:

Durant Link to Europe for Visitors

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A Happy Travel Writer

That's Brad running through the water in some warm, sunny place. Since it seems that most readers of this blog can't be bothered to click the links, I'll go ahead and give you a heads up about the recent story in the New York Times about the "trials and tribulations of being a travel writer." See, it fits right into my theme.

It's summer now, and countless travelers are fumbling their way around the globe, heads buried in guides published by Let's Go, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and Frommer's among others. Probably few stop to consider what goes into producing travel guides or even who wrote them. And as it turns out, many of the intrepid young writers scouring the planet doing research for next year's crop of guidebooks never stopped to consider what those jobs would entail, other than the romantic — and often overstated — prospect of being paid to travel.

While the phrase "travel writing" may invoke thoughts of steamer trunks, trains, Isak Dinesen and Graham Greene, or at the very least, well-financed junkets to spas in Rangoon for some glossy magazine or other, writing budget travel guides is most decidedly yeoman's work. Most who do it quickly learn the one hard and fast rule of the trade: travel-guide writing is no vacation.

"Many underestimate exactly how much work goes into making a guide book," said Jay Cooke, an editor for Lonely Planet. "Some potential authors think it would be fun to travel and get paid for it. But they're expected to write tens of thousands of words. It's a big, big job, and it goes far beyond journal keeping on a beach somewhere."

Indeed a day in the life of a guide writer can be wearying. Amelia Atlas, a recent Harvard graduate who is now in Berlin researching a guide to that city for Let's Go, said that last Wednesday she set out early to case a new neighborhood, Prenzlauer Berg, for her Berlin guide. She visited three hostels and three restaurants before collecting the shopping and eating options around a particular square. She visited a section of the Berlin Wall that still stands, made notes about the historical displays there, and set about walking the neighborhood block by block to see what she might find. After a quick dinner, Ms. Atlas went to her apartment to write about the day's findings. Then she planned to go out to sample the night life. "Manic is a good word," she said.

New York Times Link

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Airline Seating Configuration

When it rains, it pours. After the post below by Erik at Gadling, Travel Happy from Southeast Asia follows up with some more discouraging advice for prospective travel guidebook writers, including a link to the recent controversial article published last Sunday in the New York Times.

Becoming a travel writer for one of the major guidebook companies like Lonely Planet or Let's Go is not the romantic idyll many imagine before they hit the road.

The New York Times has a pretty dispiriting piece on the state of the travel guidebook industry, where young, eager writers are paid a pittance to spend thousands of hours on the road collating info about hotels and restaurants for the next guidebook edition. Pay rates have spiralled downwards because there are so many people willing to take on the job and whose words can be hacked into readable prose by editors at the mothership office. It's essentially become a McJob, which one guidebook writer likens to "data entry". There's a lot of travelling in terms of logistics but precious little in terms of travel experience per se, and a huge amount of ongoing stress to submit all that information on time.

You'd have to be incredibly well organised and efficient to leave some time over for you to actually enjoy the places you're travelling and stay within your advance budget. I'm not saying it can't be done - but I am saying you should think, think and think again before getting involved with this sort of gig. Personally, I think saving up a few thousand dollars and then going travelling without any ties in South East Asia would be much more preferable, even if it doesn't have the kudos of being a guidebook writer - kudos which isn't much use because you can't tell anyone you work for one of the major guidebooks anyway for fear of favouritism.

It's definitely worth checking Josh Berman's advice on how to be a travel guidebook writer and Friskodude's TravelWriters blog - he's a veteran travel journalist who's resolutely unsentimental about travel writing for a living.

Travel Happy Link

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Gadling on Travel Guidebook Work

Posted by Chika On 9:18 AM 0 comments

Travel Truths?

Blogger seems to somewhat screwy this morning, so I'm not sure if these posts are going through. Readers sometimes ask me why I don't add more content to this blog, but do please remember that I have a theme here: the trials and tribulations of being a travel writer. It's always somewhat difficult to find new, appropriate content, but I do want to follow this theme. If you want to know where to give away your travel writing content for free, or next to nothing, you'll need to go elsewhere. And if you want to read fine travel literature, the usual suspects are listed over to the right.

In other news, Erik at Gadling has graciously put up a new post today about "the trails and tribulations of travel writing," so it fits right into the theme of this blog. Do check the link for some additional hot links. The link to the blog of Lief Pettersen is just outstanding......

For those who have ever entertained dreams of gallivanting off to exotic lands to pen travel guides, hold on just a moment. The travel-guide writing life ain't all it's cracked up to be. In fact, when you are a guidebook writer, you are more likely to find yourself checking under toilet seats or sniffing mattresses than hanging on the beach or sipping tropical drinks with the locals. The job is work, not vacation. There was an interesting article about this in a particular paper about which I cannot write. But as a secondary source, I point you to two places. Both of these sites actually do a fine job conveying what life as a travel writer is like. In this site by the travel writer Leif Pettersen, who happens to be in right now, we learn a lot about guide writing in Eastern Europe. Here in this post he coaches you along to help you nurture your skills of asking for free carp...um, I mean crap.

And then in one of my old stand-bys, I urge you to pay a visit to FriskoDude, aka Carl Parkes, who often ruminates on this very subject. And even if you can't find a post to your liking (unlikely), you can at least admire his wonderful sense of humor in the photos he posts.

Gadling Link

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World Map

I wasn't going to post this link, but just let you folks follow the link provided by Gadling, but it's such a great piece of work that I just had to pass it along. In fact, do take the time to explore the entire blog of Leif Pettersen, who's an enormously talented travel writer with plenty of useful messages and advice for prospective travel guidebook writers. I don't necessarily agree with his opinions about accepting free crap while researching guidebooks, but it's still an hilarious piece of writing.

The delicate art of asking for free crap

You may be surprised to hear that travel writing has a seedy underside. Quite often, almost routinely in fact (when you’re not working for Lonely Planet), travel writers are given a free room, meal or service, with an accompanying wink, on the condition that they compose glowing praise for whatever the free thing was, no matter how much ass it sucked.

The nadir of this ritual is called a ‘press trip’. This is where some tourism bureau organizes an all-expenses paid trip for a pack of travel writers (with assignment letters in hand, obviously, we gotta keep out the riffraff), arranging for flights, hotel rooms, meals and tours, hands held for every waking second, and then the travel writer is sent home to write an article, or more preferably articles, about how great the destination was, even if it was Miami.

Mostly this is just underhanded advertising under the guise of what lay-people assume is an objective travel article. However, tourism bureaus aren’t completely to blame for the popularity of this tactic. In the defense of what may seem like greed on the part of the travel writers, the reality is that newspapers can’t find it in their hearts to pay more than $100-200 per article. So, if a professional travel writer were to pay their own way on a one week trip, even to some relatively cheap destination like Duluth, then came back and spent two days diligently writing the article for an average newspaper fee, the travel writer’s net earnings for that assignment (nine days of time, plus expenses) would be about -$500. Over the course of a calendar year, that travel writer would net between -$25,000 and -$50,000, depending on trips and expenses. The upshot is all these negative earnings would be tax free. In your face IRS!!!

Clearly, this isn’t a feasible arrangement. Tourism bureaus saw a slick, promotional opportunity that helped both them and the travel writers and press trips were born.

As if to cement their positions as blood-sucking wankers, now many newspapers won’t accept articles that were written on the strength of a press trip, meaning unless their field of hopeful travel writers is independently wealthy, none of them can afford to take a newspaper assignment that ranges further than local zoo. Since no one is beating down their doors to work for negative money, the newspapers usually end up printing some soulless shite they bought off a syndicate that was probably written by someone who themselves wrote the piece off a press trip, or worse, wrote the piece from Internet research and thinly veiled plagiarizing off other travel articles. While the newspapers fancy this approach as being honorable and legit, in actuality everyone loses, particularly the readers.

Leif Pettersen Killing Batteries Link

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Travel Guidebook Agent Warnings

Posted by Chika On 12:50 PM 0 comments

The Road to Mandalay by Carl Parkes

Kipling wrote that famous phrase about the Road to Mandalay (up the river from Rangoon) but did you know that Kipling never visited Mandalay? Reading this blog, you get all kinds of trivia that might come in useful in your next game of Trivial Pursuit.

In other news, it's bad enough that freelance travel writers must navigate around terrible contracts, but those suckers who actually resort to using the services of an "agent" must keep their radar on high alert.

Also, I've had a few questions about why I don't update this blog very often. The answer if simple. I'm trying to keep this blog focused on the Trials and Tribulations of being a Travel Writer. If you want leads to writing gigs for no money, you can check other blogs. If you want fine travel writing, see WorldHum. If you want to know the dirt on the real world of travel writing, see this blog. I don't get much information that fits in this blog, and rather than just fill blank space, I let this blog lay dormant until I find something relevant to the subject matter. Of course, if you find something of interest, do please send it along and I'll repost it here.

Victoria Strauss -- Top Ten Signs Your Agent is a Scammer

Because we can't be serious all the time.

10. Your offer of representation comes via form letter (somehow, you never do get his phone number).

9. Whoever typed his contract didn't use spel chek and can't rite real gud neither.

8. You first heard of him when [pick one: you found his ad in the back of Writer's Digest/you saw his ad on Google/he solicited you].

7. When you asked if he'd worked for another agency before establishing his own, he said yes--a real estate agency.

6. When you asked for a list of recent sales, he told you the information was confidential, because he didn't want you pestering his clients. And by the way, only a bad, ungrateful writer would ask that kind of question.

5. When you asked what publishers were looking at your manuscript, he told you the information was confidential, because he didn't want you pestering the editors. What is he, anyway, your secretary?

4. When you got his contract, you discovered you had to pay [pick one: $150/$250/$450/more] for [pick one: submission/administration/marketing/circulation/other].

3. He told you your ms. was great, but when you got your contract you discovered you had to [pick one: pay for a critique/pay for line editing/pay for a marketability assessment].

2. He got you an offer from a publisher--but you have to [pick one: pay for publication/pay for editing/pay for publicity/buy 1,000 copies of your book].

And the number one sign your agent is a scammer: You got an email from his assistant telling you he'd been killed in a car crash, but when you called to ask where to send the sympathy card, he answered the phone.

(And in case you're wondering, I didn't make that up.)

A. C. Crispin Blog Link

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Japan MPC Five Cents 1960

Writing for free is the single most powerful element destroying all possibilities of survival as a freelance writer, as once again pointed out in the excellent weekly email newsletter. Writers Weekly. A guest columnist provides an introduction and then passes along a few email messages he recently received commenting on his previous column on the same subject. All writers were opposed to giving away their writing skills for free, aside from one surprising exception, Tim Leffel.

In my previous spew concerning sites that offer to place your blog entries in publications to give you more "exposure," I indicated that I was not comfortable with the concept of opportunists feeding off my carcass without benefit of compensation.

But, since this write-for-free debate is such a tired standby, I sighed and said maybe I was becoming the crab on the block. What do you think? I asked. My mailbox overflowed!

One writer, who is a top-rated contributor to one of the sites mentioned, commented: "Although it's very nice to have a star by my name and be recognized for my superior writing prowess (gag, she adds), the articles haven't done a thing for me professionally. The only thing writing for free has done for me is gain me a reputation as a generous spirit - or sucker - depending on your vantage point."

"This ties to my pet peeve, trawling craigslist.org for legitimate writing job links and instead, finding several advertisements looking for writers for 'no pay,' just 'Coverage, Resume building! Exposure!' ad nauseum," writes feng shui expert Katy Allgeyer (www.fengshuibyfishgirl.com). "I actually emailed Craig himself. Much to my surprise, Craig emailed me back 20 minutes later and said they are working on the problem. I suggested they come up with another heading for these types of jobs. 'slave labor' comes to mind."

Betsy Crowfoot, a journalist and screenwriter for 11 years, says this controversy is being fueled by the existence of two camps: Those who are full-time writers and want/need to make a living at this profession, and those who want to be writers, but are making their living in another profession and don't rely on writing gigs to feed their children. (I would add those with working spouses to that list.) "Unfortunately," she says, "this gives editors/businesses the idea they don't have to pay writers or pay them on time."

"I can't tell you the number of times I"ve had these robber barons try to blow smoke up my rump with their lines about how they have helped writers by ripping off their content," writes DeAnn Rossetti. "I just read an ad yesterday on Craigslist that said, 'Do it for the love of writing.' Ha!"

Continues Rossetti: "These same people pay for everything else on their site, the hosting service, the website layout, and I am sure they pay a doctor when he has taken care of them. I doubt they tell him that by taking care of their health concerns, he is getting good publicity!"

Writes Kevin Murphy, author of Degrees of Murder and other books, "The only 'freebies' I ever do are for no-budget community organizations of which I am a member - and I do very few of those."

Writers Weekly Link

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Victim of Writer Scams

The always informative Writers Weekly often posts warnings relevant to all writers, whether your thing is fiction or travel, this weekly email site is well worth subscribing to. See the link below for hot links to each article. Thanks, Angela.

Whispers And Warnings For June 21st

EzineArticles.com - Charging $750 to get published?!?! HA HA HA!!!

Writopia Inc. / T-zero Xpandizine / The Writer's E-Zine / thewritersezine.com - Writer not paid until WritersWeekly intervenes

Freelance Work Exchange / freelanceworkexchange.com - Another Complaint.

publishforlesscompany.com - SPAMMER and this guy gives us the creeps!

Long Story Short / lsswritingschool.com - SPAMMERS

AllGoodArticles.com - SPAMMERS

The Village Magazine / Privilege Media Group International - And another complaint!

Writers Weekly Link

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Passport News

Posted by Chika On 1:49 PM 0 comments

My Expired Passport

Last month, I was invited on press trips from Tourism Malaysia and Tourism Authority of Thailand, and so checked my passport, which expired in April 2006. Yep, the long-time world traveler hadn't checked his passport in almost a decade, and it had gone out-of-date just before the 60th coronation of the Thai king and a trip to the northeastern section of peninsular Malaysia......so I was out of luck.

Tripso, the "last honest travel website" (I guess that eliminates this blog) has some reminders and tips about keeping your passport current for future travels.

It’s true: Some countries require that your U.S. passport be valid not only for the duration of your visit, but also for three to six months after your entry or return from their country. This means you have to check your passport expiration date carefully. For example, if your passport expires on March 1, 2007, and you want to travel this coming November, you may need to renew your passport before you go.

Here is a list of some countries that have special passport expiration rules.

Tripso Link

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Packing Light

Posted by Chika On 1:23 PM 0 comments

Travel Journalist on the Road

J. Flynn at the S.F. Chron Sunday travel section recently posted his travel tips about packing light here but I've got my own list culled after over 20 years of travel in Asia, and kept tucked away inside my passport for easy reference before each trip.

* office supplies: rubber bands, tape, stapler, scissors, white-out, only fine-point pens

* misc: swiss army knife (in all plastic version), can opener, superglue

* misc: small umbrella, alarm clock, sunglasses

* misc: zip-lock bags (six), notebooks, briefcase

* pants: 1 pair cotton, 1 pair nice slacks

* shorts: 2 pair (1 wild, 1 conservative)

* shirts: 2 pair wild short-sleeved shirts

* shirts: 2 polo shirts with pockets

* shirts: no long-sleeved shirts!

* socks: 6 dark only

* shoes: 1 pair light and comfortable; good sandals

* maybe: ground coffee beans and melita filters

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The Decline of Photo Stock Agencies

Posted by Chika On 11:33 AM 0 comments

World Map by Population

Think the decline and fall of the professional travel writing industry is a sad, sad thing? Then consider the crisis now facing professional photographers, who have been making a respectable living via photo stock agencies for many decades. Looks like the photo stock agency as business model is almost on it's last legs.

After several weeks of back-and-forth, Menashe emailed Harmel to say that, regretfully, the deal was off. “I discovered a stock photo site called iStockphoto,” she wrote, “which has images at very affordable prices.” That was an understatement. The same day, Menashe licensed 56 pictures through iStockphoto – for about $1 each.

iStockphoto, which grew out of a free image-sharing exchange used by a group of graphic designers, had undercut Harmel by more than 99 percent. How? By creating a marketplace for the work of amateur photographers – homemakers, students, engineers, dancers. There are now about 22,000 contributors to the site, which charges between $1 and $5 per basic image. (Very large, high-resolution pictures can cost up to $40.) Unlike professionals, iStockers don’t need to clear $130,000 a year from their photos just to break even; an extra $130 does just fine. “I negotiate my rate all the time,” Harmel says. “But how can I compete with a dollar?”

He can’t, of course. For Harmel, the harsh economics lesson was clear: The product Harmel offers is no longer scarce. Professional-grade cameras now cost less than $1,000. With a computer and a copy of Photoshop, even entry-level enthusiasts can create photographs rivaling those by professionals like Harmel. Add the Internet and powerful search technology, and sharing these images with the world becomes simple.

Wired Link

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World Map to Explore

Several intriguing writing job opportunities has recently popped up on Craig's List for those of you living in the Bay Area, or willing to relocate.

********************************

Common Ground Editor (SOMA / south beach)

Reply to: jobs@cenlightenment.com
Date: 2006-05-24, 6:26PM PDT

Common Ground is looking for a new editor and writers for our revised publication. Common Ground has been covering the spiritual, political, environmental issues of the Bay Area for over 30 years. We are looking for writers/editors who want to make a difference.

Our ideal candidates are spiritual, not religious, love the environment and have an activist vibe, and knows San Francisco. If this is you or if you have articles that you think may be of interest to us please send them along.

************************************

Editor/Content Manager (potrero hill)

Reply to: employment@cca.edu
Date: 2006-05-24, 3:36PM PDT

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT
EDITOR/CONTENT MANAGER
SAN FRANCISCO CAMPUS
FULL TIME (37.5 HOURS/WEEK), EXEMPT
May 2006
Job #1745

THE COLLEGE:
Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts is the largest regionally accredited, independent school of art and design in the western United States. Noted for the interdisciplinary nature and breadth of its programs, the college offers studies in eighteen majors in the areas of fine arts, architecture, design, and writing. The college confers the bachelor of architecture, bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, master of architecture, master of arts, and master of fine arts degrees. With campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, California College of the Arts currently enrolls fifteen hundred full-time students.

REPORTS TO: Director of Publications

DEPARTMENT: Communications

SUMMARY
Under the direction of the director of publications, the editor/content manager is responsible for managing copy for a variety of college publications.

RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE:
* Manage college copy across departments in order to promote a unified image/voice of the college; develop database of copy that can be drawn on for a variety of print and web publications
* Serve as editor of and write feature articles and news items for Glance, the biannual college magazine; work with in-house and freelance writers on other magazine articles
* Maintain CCA¡¦s house style guide
* Contract and supervise freelance writers and proofreaders
* Work with clients from various departments of the college to help them develop copy
* Manage new copy and updates for college listings in Peterson¡¦s and Princeton guides; also, coordinate copy for college listings in various online guides
* Manage copy for various print publication series, e.g. CCA Wattis Institute catalogs, Architecture Studio Series
* Compile collegewide calendar listings for use in web and print materials
* Work with news team and web manager to write news items and repurpose copy for college website
* Write articles, press releases, brochure copy, and other texts, as needed
* Proofread college publications, as needed
* Work on publications with in-house Sputnik design team, as well as freelance designers

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:
* BA and three or more years editing and writing experience, preferably within an educational or cultural setting
* Excellent copyediting, proofreading, and writing skills
* Detail-oriented with a thorough knowledge of and experience using The Chicago Manual of Style and The Associated Press Stylebook
* Ability to work on deadline and manage a number of assignments at once
* Outstanding interpersonal skills; the ability to work well with faculty, staff, and students; and a proven record of working both independently and as part of a team.
* Flexibility and ability to thrive in a fast-paced, creative environment.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:
Applicants are invited to submit a letter of interest, resume and the names and telephone numbers of three professional references to:

California College of the Arts
Human Resources (Job #1745)
5212 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94618-1487
fax (510) 594-3681
employment@cca.edu

Application Deadline:
Screening begins immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

California College of the Arts is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes
applications from individuals who will contribute to its diversity.

Compensation: Starting salary $43,000 to $46,000, and includes a comprehensive benefits package.

This is at a non-profit organization.

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Dead Magazine Reviews

Posted by Chika On 6:13 PM 0 comments

One Magazine Dead

If you're thinking about sending off your latest travel missive to some suspect magazine, you might check the website below to see if the mag will still be in business in six months, and able to send you that hefty check for your writing skills.

Besides, any website that can quote obscure lyrics from Alice Cooper is completely all right with me. Did I tell you I was in Phoenix last week, and that Cooper has a restaurant/nightclub in that town? He, apparently, hangs out there on a regular basis, when he's not working on his nine-iron shot at the local links.

Bundle: RIP April 2005 - May 2006

Alice Cooper is one of the Grim Reaper's favorite bands from the 70's with their classic 1971album Killer, and the song "Dead Babies." Perhaps you remember the lyrics? Sing along with the Reaper if you know this one: "Dead babies can't take care of themselves/Dead babies can't take things off the shelf."

Well, here's one magazine that can no longer take care of itself. Harris Publishing shut down their baby shopping magazine Bundle today after five issues.

Even the Reaper has to admire this feat from the under-the-radar Harris -- not only did they fail in the much hyped "shopping" category, but the Reaper can't remember the last time a baby magazine went under.

Perhaps like men and Cargo, mommies just don't want baby shopping magazines when they already get inundated with real baby catalogs in the mail, gifts from friends, and oh yes, the other five zillion parenting magazines.

So we are taking this "Bundle" down the dark river, while the Reaper puts on his DiePod for some more Alice Cooper: "No more Mr. Nice Guy/No more Mr. Cle-e-e-ean!"

Magazine Death Pool

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Outside Travel Issue

Posted by Chika On 11:42 AM 0 comments

Mt. Abu India by Carl Parkes

I just got back from a two week press trip to Arizona organized by SATW, which featured several travel writers and editors pontificating on the perils of travel writing in the modern age. The travel editor and former freelance travel writer who now oversees Arizona Highways, and Larry at the Dallas Morning News both had the same message for travel writers: get "chunky" and learn to love bullets in 500 words or less. I just wanted to hang myself in the nearest bathroom after hearing the doom and gloom outlook from both of these respected travel editors.

In other news, Outside magazine has posted some travel tidbits in "chunky" version (I think that means "bullets" rather than long, involved discourse) that is worth a gander, but don't expect any critical or meaningful insight. But do expect some clever and quick writing.

You can click the link at the bottom of each page to go to the next travel matter.

With 78 percent of U.S. travelers now using the Internet to plan their trips, you might assume guidebooks are on the wane. You'd be wrong. Sixty-eight percent of American travelers still turn to guidebooks for travel advice. "You can read your guidebook in the bathroom or on a train or on a ferry on the Congo River," notes Simone Andrus, whose Seattle travel store Wide World Books & Maps has seen guidebook sales rise by 10 percent since 2004.

When shopping for a guide, check the copyright page (you want something that's been updated more recently than, say, the tax code) and find one that focuses as narrowly as possible on your destination. Look for a personality that matches yours—but let go of any decade-old stereotypes. Books from Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, and Moon are still designed for adventurous travelers but now cater to those who'd rather not rough it at bedtime or mealtime. And guides from Fodor's and Frommer's have hipped up to appeal to a younger crowd, with colorful maps and graphics, plus advice on a broader range of attractions, from classic to quirky. Most important, remember that every guidebook is just that—a guide. Use it for context, consult it for planning, and know when to put it away. The best discoveries are those you make on your own.

Required Reading

"I take Graham Greene's THE QUIET AMERICAN everywhere. Whether I'm in Yemen or Saigon or Havana, it's an almost infallible guide to the perils of foreign wisdom, the resilience of native cultures, and the way we fall in love with places precisely because we can't understand or even handle them."—Pico Iyer, Travel Writer

Moving Words // Where Guidebooks Are Going

With Internet competition hot on their heels, guidebook publishers are constantly tweaking format—and focus—to keep up with travelers' needs. Here are the trends to watch. Scratch a Niche: Look for guides that cover themes, not specific regions, including The Traveling Marathoner (Fodor's, $28), Hip Hotels Atlas (Thames & Hudson, $50), and the new Take a Hike series (Moon Outdoors, $17). Undersize It: Mini-guides are hot. Perfect for quick trips, they zoom in on a destination, with fewer pages and a smaller, more packable size.

We like Insight Pocket Guides ($13–$14), 96-page books covering key sights, with handy foldout maps. Get Wired: DK's new e>>guides ($15), covering cities like San Francisco, Chicago, and Barcelona, come with passwords for access to exclusive online information, including hotel and restaurant updates. Radio-Free Planet: To increase their online presence, travel publishers are venturing into Internet radio.

Check out the new podcasts—free travel-related reports narrated by expert globe-trotters—at www.roughguides.com, www.lonelyplanet.com, and www.ricksteves.com. Go Deep: With the basics readily available online, guidebooks are amping up their historical and cultural information. Fodor's Compass American Guides ($21–$22) specialize in putting travel in context, with detailed maps and color photos.

Best of All: Top-ten lists and "best of" roundups, intended as shortcuts to the ultimate travel experiences, are also big this year. See Lonely Planet's Bluelist ($20), a guide to the travel trends of 2006, with 40 best-of categories like "most remote" and "best train trips," and National Geographic's The 10 Best of Everything: An Ultimate Guide for Travelers ($20).

Outside Magazine Link

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Laurie King Travel Writer Newsletter

Posted by Chika On 11:03 AM 0 comments

India by Carl Parkes

Just back from a two week press trip to Arizona, and realized that I haven't done any new posting to this blog is quite some time, so will pass along a very informative website and subscriber blog from Laurie King, based here in the Bay Area. Although many of the postings on her blog are oriented toward those travel writers living in the Bay Area, there's enough general content to make this a useful website for anyone active in the travel writing arena. So bookmark her website and subscribe to her weekly notices and updates.

Nice work, Laurie. See you down at the Monticello!

Laurie King Website

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The History of Travel Guidebooks

Posted by Chika On 1:47 PM 0 comments

Tony and Maureen 1973

I don't quite understand the posting policy of Publisher's Weekly, but it seems that some of their articles are posted on their website, while large parts of their site are off limits, unless you a paid subscriber, and Publisher's Weekly ain't cheap.

And so I was pleasantly surprised to find this PW article today about the history of travel guidebook publishing, with mentions of Bill Dalton and his adventurous days selling his Indonesia Handbook at the freak festival. It's the same orange guide I used on my first trip to Bali in 1979, or perhaps the first formal guide rather than a collection of notes, typed, and stapled.

Travel has changed radically since the days of the Victorian Grand Tour, when the privileged classes would pack their steamer trunks for European journeys that could stretch into years while the common folk contented themselves with a trip to the shore or to a town with a springs. Travel in our time has become much more democratic, global and fast. Two decades ago, says travel writer Rick Steves, Eurailpasses were guarded as carefully as passports. "People would do 17 countries. Now, it's the south of France, or Portugal, or the heel of Italy. People are more focused."

And taking shorter trips, says Avalon Travel publisher Bill Newlin. "They are valuing time over money, looking for ways to make educated decisions. People want to find something new, have stories to tell, but what that means has changed." Newlin and Steves are just the latest in a long line of travel book folk who have tried to keep up with the changing whims of travelers. The much-cherished Baedeker guides of the late 19th and early 20th centuries are collectors' items today, valued for the excellence of the writing and the romance that still clings to a world of empires and hat boxes. But the books themselves are obsolete in a world of cell service and time-shares. "The unknown is harder to find today," says Newlin, "but the craving for adventure survives." As does the determination of travel book publishers to remain relevant.

Indeed, all the major travel lines today—Fodor's, Frommer's, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Moon, Insight, Rick Steves, Michelin—started in response to a perceived need in the marketplace. Even Karl Baedeker felt that there were no books available at the time that filled the traveler's need in the precise way he saw it. Not a single publisher watching over today's once eponymous (for the most part) imprints said that the spirit of the founder had changed, though the scope and breadth of the offerings are far different from what they used to be.

Let's Go has more than 50 titles covering six continents; Rough Guides takes in more than 200 destinations. Fodor's lines encompass more than 14 different series, and Frommer's titles number more than 330. Michelin now offers about 200 different guidebook titles, while Lonely Planet's number exceeds 600.

When Eugene Fodor brought out his first book, in 1936, Baedeker's (published in Germany), Murray's Hand-Books (London), Michelin Guides (France) and Hachette's Blue Guides (also France) were preeminent. Baedeker's had a venerable place in the annals of travel, but Fodor perceived new needs for the tourists of his era: he wanted them to have up-to-date, practical information and to understand what he called "the human side" of the places they visited. He researched his first book, 1936... On the Continent, while working for a steamship line and writing freelance travel articles.

In the introduction Fodor reminded his readers that the rewards of travel derive from the interactions with people in the visited locales. "We have proceeded on the assumption that your thirst for historical knowledge is nothing like so great as your thirst for the beer of Pilsen or the slivovitsa of Belgrade," he wrote. In 1950 Fodor took his guides to the David McKay Company and published books on France, Switzerland and Italy. His guide to Great Britain and Ireland, compiled in a single book, evoked loud protests from the Irish and were subsequently issued as two distinct titles.

In large measure attracted by the Fodor franchise, Random House bought David McKay in 1986 and undertook a major overhaul of the guides. Despite considerable diversification, the books haven't deviated from Fodor's vision, says Fodor's publisher Tim Jarrell. "The experience of travel has changed, but why people travel and the motivation is still the same."

Fodor's dominated the travel market for roughly a decade, until an ex-OSS employee named Temple Fielding entered the arena in 1948 with a hardcover guide to Europe. A bit more high-tone than Fodor's, Fielding's Travel Guide to Europe had become, by the time a profile of the author appeared in Time magazine in 1969, a 1,485-page, 909,000-word primer weighing just over two pounds. The company existed as recently as 1997—Robert Young Pelton, author of Fielding's The World's Most Dangerous Places, bought the company name from Morrow in 1993 and published traditional guides for a while—but Pelton's books are now published by HarperCollins and few Fielding guides are still in print.

In 1957, Arthur Frommer, a young lawyer in the U.S. Army, wrote a slim travel guide for American GIs in Europe, then produced a civilian version that caught the popular imagination of the era: Europe on $5 a Day. The book ranked sights in order of importance and included budget travel suggestions. "Arthur showed that everyone could travel and had the right to travel," says Michael Spring, the publisher of Frommer's Travel Guides, now published by Wiley. "We've gone from one book to over 320 books, but the vision hasn't changed."

Frommer's idea was that by traveling cheap you'd get inside the culture. "You'd stay at a B&B and talk to the owners at the breakfast table and meet the other guests," says Spring. By 2004 Frommer's signature guide to Europe was up to "starting" at $85 a day, while the 2006 Paris guide starts at $90.

Frommer continued to self-publish his guides while practicing law and in 1977 he sold the business to S&S. Through a series of subsequent sales the books ended up at Wiley. By the time Spring came in as publisher, in the early '90s, "the books were safe, geriatric, schoolmarmy, for a generation that hadn't traveled much," he says. "We started from scratch and wrote for the active, curious savvy traveler." Some of these travelers happened to be well-heeled. "It's our feeling that money shouldn't be held against you. The issue in traveling isn't how expensive, but how special," Spring says.

As travel became easier—planes faster, fares cheaper—students started thronging charter flights to get a taste of Europe during summer vacations. The guides on the market, which were aimed at a middle-class crowd, didn't address their needs. Over the next decade, several young entrepreneurs—hippie idealists—wrote guides for this young, curious (and underfinanced) group.

The first to appear was Let's Go Europe, in 1960. The original was a mimeographed pamphlet put together by students at Harvard Student Agencies and handed out gratis to those who booked charter flights to Europe. Two years later the guide had grown to 124 pages and carried a $1 price tag. "The budget advice available at the time was staid," says Tom Mercer, editorial and marketing manager for Let's Go at St. Martin's, which has published the series since 1982. "The authors of Let's Go were the audience themselves, young, adventurous Americans starting to sow their oats."

Publisher's Weekly Link

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The Beatles

Posted by Chika On 4:33 PM 0 comments

The Beatles Hard Day's Night 1964

I was a pretty young kid when I first heard the Beatles on the radio station in Omaha in 1964, but it still stands out. The radio DJ came on and said something "we've got a new rock group from England called the Beatles, and we're now going to play four tunes from them, and invite listerners to call and vote their favorites: "She Loves You," "I Wanna Hold your Hand," "Please Be True" and another.

Anyone remember?

This was the launch of the Beatles. I watched the Beatles the following two weeks on Sunday evenings Ed Sullivan show, and it's true. The Beatles changed everything.

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The Future of Airline Travel

Posted by Chika On 3:38 PM 0 comments

New Airline Strategy for Transporting Bodies

International Airlines have just come up with a new method to pack more bodies into their aluminum coffins: strap bodies into vertical body bags, or perhaps the human horizontal body hotels in Tokyo? I have another suggestion. Six passenger levels based on how much you can afford. Body bags (cheap) to full-beds (pretty penny). Why must the budget-minded suffer while the ultra-rich get unreacheable perks? Let's have some mid-choices.

Some airlines are already doing this, such as ANA, EVA, and a few others to Asia, that offer some great deals on mid-level travel with comfort at mid-level prices. That's the solution.

One Day, That Economy Ticket May Buy You a Place to Stand
Chris Elliott
April 25, 2006


The airlines have come up with a new answer to an old question: How many passengers can be squeezed into economy class?

Airbus has been quietly pitching the standing-room-only option to Asian carriers, though none have agreed to it yet. Passengers in the standing section would be propped against a padded backboard, held in place with a harness, according to experts who have seen a proposal.

But even short of that option, carriers have been slipping another row or two of seats into coach by exploiting stronger, lighter materials developed by seat manufacturers that allow for slimmer seatbacks. The thinner seats theoretically could be used to give passengers more legroom but, in practice, the airlines have been keeping the amount of space between rows the same, to accommodate additional rows.

The result is an additional 6 seats on a typical Boeing 737, for a total of 156, and as many as 12 new seats on a Boeing 757, for a total of 200.

That such things are even being considered is a result of several factors. High fuel costs, for example, are making it difficult for carriers to turn a profit. The new seat technology alone, when used to add more places for passengers, can add millions in additional annual revenue. The new designs also reduce a seat's weight by up to 15 pounds, helping to hold down fuel consumption. A typical seat in economy class now weighs 74 to 82 pounds.

"There is clearly pressure on carriers to make the total passenger count as efficient as possible," said Howard Guy, a director for Design Q, a seating design consultant in England. "After all, the fewer seats that are put on board, the more expensive the seat price becomes. It's basic math."

Even as the airlines are slimming the seatbacks in coach, they are installing seats as thick and heavy as ever in first and business class — and going to great lengths to promote them. That is because each passenger in such a seat can generate several times the revenue of a coach traveler.

At the front of the cabin, the emphasis is on comfort and amenities like sophisticated entertainment systems. Some of the new seats even feature in-seat electronic massagers. And, of course, the airlines have installed lie-flat seats for their premium passengers on international routes.

Seating specialists say that all the publicity airlines devote to their premium seats diverts attention from what is happening in the back of the plane. In the main cabin, they say, manufacturers are under intense pressure to create more efficient seats.

"We make the seats thinner," said Alexander Pozzi, the director for research and development at Weber Aircraft, a seat manufacturer in Gainesville, Tex. "The airlines keep pitching them closer and closer together. We just try to make them as comfortable as we can."

There is one bit of good news in the thinner seats for coach class: They offer slightly more room between the armrests because the electronics are being moved to the seatbacks.

One of the first to use the thinner seats in coach was American Airlines, which refitted its economy-class section seven years ago with an early version made by the German manufacturer Recaro.

"Those seats were indeed thinner than the ones they replaced, allowing more knee and legroom," Tim Smith, a spokesman for American, said. American actually removed two rows in coach, adding about two inches of legroom, when it installed the new seats. It promoted the change with a campaign called "More Room Throughout Coach."

But two years later, to cut costs, American slid the seats closer together and ended its "More Room" program without fanfare. When the changes were completed last year, American said its "density modification program" had added five more seats to the economy-class section of its MD-80 narrow-body aircraft and brought the total seat count to 120 in the back of the plane. A document on an internal American Airlines Web site, which was briefly accessible to the public last week, estimated that the program would generate an additional $60 million a year for its MD-80 fleet

New York Times

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American Travelers Perception

Posted by Chika On 11:10 AM 0 comments

American Travelers in Patpong

Once again, the old and tired cliche about American travelers abroad has been brought up with several articles in magazines and on the web. The familiar story is that Americans abroad are a boorish lot, given to bad fashion and yelling across the restaurant. Yeah, well, who cares?

I don't. Americans are a very, very friendly group of people who yell and scream at almost anything, and welcome anybody and everybody into their party. It's America, and it's a celebration of life. American tourists are well loved throughout the world, and rank among the favorite nations along with Australia, New Zealand, and some other places on the European continent. And most people around this planet can easily tell the difference between an American tourist and the present political policies of the American government. In other words, nobody blames me for the idiocy of George Bush or his personal vendetta against Iraq.

Erik Olsen at Gadling has more:

Lots of folks are atwitter over the release of the "World Citizens Guide" - which we posted about - that seeks to help reduce the amount of ugliness Americans export within themselves when they head abroad. Only you can know exactly what your "AUE" (American Ugliness Export) quotient is, but my guess, esp. if you like fast food and Hawaiian shirts, is that it's pretty high.

The guide was underwritten/assembled by the Business for Diplomatic Action (BDA), a non-profit group funded by big American companies, who are saying the anti-Americanism is bad for business. It features some 16 etiquette tips on how Americans can help the country by not fulfilling stereotypes of themselves as brash, loud, annoying, fat, stupid, bossy philistines. Ed Gomez over at SF Gate examines the subject and finds many of these stereotypes sadly accurate. While, over at the UK Telegraph, Philip Sherwell probably has the best take on the subject, as he makes the point that it's not really American tourists who are the problem, it's more often the perceptions of American policy...although loud fat Americans don't help themselves much either.

So let me put the question out there? Are we fat, loud, bossy, annoying, etc.? Or is it just that people like to pick on the big guy? Or more, are people in general becoming more like us? I mean, have you ever seen German travelers? Let's get the debate started.

Gadling Link

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The Forgotten Book Advance

Posted by Chika On 10:28 AM 0 comments

Alice Dines

Did your publisher somehow miss a scheduled advance payment on your latest book? It happens more often than you might imagine, thanks to poor bookkeeping or selected memory. Writers must keep track of their contracts and payment schedules, and remind their publishers of their obligations, as shown today by an insightful article by Angela Hoy.

Dear Angela:

I think you have a great service, and now, as a fellow writer, I am asking your help.

I have a book contract. However, while I received the first part of my advance, I did not receive the second half. Nevertheless, the book is already for sale. Now, I have another manuscript that I submitted to the publisher, and he said it was too long, but, that he liked the writing and the work, so he broke it up into two works. He has indicated the second will be coming out on his next list. I am gratified to have such a reception, but, the second work has no written contract, I have not been paid the second part of my advance on the first, and there has been no discussion about money on the second. I do not know what to do. I know I need an agent, but, I am in a bind. My work is already sold! However, I need money to live as well! I have no "new" work to present to an agent.

Sincerely, D.

You need to immediately remind the publisher that you're still waiting for the second half of your advance. But, check your contract first to ensure there's not some clause in there you're not aware of.

From your note, it appears you haven't bugged him about the second half yet. Don't be afraid to. He may be unaware it hasn't gone out or he may simply have forgotten.

The fact that he hasn't even given you a contract on the new book, however, is quite troubling. Even if you have a relationship with a publisher, you should never, ever work without a contract. This, coupled with the missing second half of your advance, could either spell ignorance or laziness on behalf of the publisher, or it could mean he's purposely trying to rip you off.

Writers Weekly Link

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Stolen Books

Posted by Chika On 10:23 AM 0 comments

Alice with Question

Something to contemplate. I've seen photocopies of my books on the sidewalks of Saigon and Bangkok, and while not a serious problem, book authors and other travel writers need to be aware of the problem of piracy and how to combat the challenge.

What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content

Having been the target of copyright thieves, and working with writers, authors, and photographers on copyright protection and laws for over 25 years, I thought I’d talk a little about what to do when someone steals your content.

First, you noticed that I didn’t say “if” someone steals your content. That was on purpose. With the glut of information on the Internet, it’s now a matter of “when” not “if”.

The first step in learning about what you can do when someone steals your content is to know that it will happen, so the more prepared and informed you are, the better your chances of prevention and having a plan in place when they steal.

As the number of websites and blogs grow, especially splogs, the demand for content puts more pressure on website administrators, who may resort to stealing content in order to fill space on their sites and attract traffic. Website hijacking, as such an example, is on the rise. This is the blatant use of part or all of your site’s content on another site without permission. This is also a copyright violation and needs to be dealt with accordingly.

Lorelle Link

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Still the Freaky Goa

Posted by Chika On 9:36 AM 0 comments

Puri Sunrise by Carl Parkes

It's been a helluva long time since I visited Goa, but I've been hearing depressing stories for many years, that Goa had gone upscale and was now populated with group tourists who all stayed in five-star hotels. Good news this week from the travel section of the New York Times, which claims that hippie culture is alive and well in the former Portuguese colony. But only the Times could write a three-page article about Goa and never mentioned weed or mushrooms.

There ain't nothing like this in the real world. Come to Goa. Change your mind. Change your way. It's hard to imagine a better jingle for this sandy strip of India's western coast, a venerable Catholic-Hindu enclave where American hippies came to turn on, tune in and drop out in the late 1960's, and where globe-trotting spiritual seekers, party kids, flag-wavers of the counterculture and refugees from the real world have fled ever since.

It's a place where the palm trees bear a strange fruit —fliers for crystal therapy, Ayurvedic healing and rave parties — and every road seems to lead to an organic restaurant or massage clinic. At the yoga centers, postures are manipulated by top Indian and international instructors. In clubs, where trance music is the favored genre, D.J.'s carrying myriad passports provide the mix. Bodies receive needle-inked adornments at skin-art parlors; minds seek enlightenment, or at least expansion, at many meditation clinics.

New York Times Link

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Angkor Beer

Can you believe the travel section of this week's New York Times? Two articles about Asia, when they typically only do about one article per month. This story provides a sharp contrast to another story they published a few months ago about Sihanoukville, where the author apparently spent his vacation at some five-star resort and perhaps took a quick drive around the district.

This week's story is almost the complete opposite, though a better comparison would have been Sihanoukville to Ko Phangan.

THE "largest and wildest" full-moon party, promised the yellow flier taped to a phone booth on Khaosan Road in Bangkok. Another installment of Thailand's girls-gone-wild bacchanal on the island of Ko Phangan? Or its bigger brother, Ko Samui? Or maybe it was the newcomer Ko Phi Phi, a remote island that is luring younger partygoers in the post-tsunami boom.

Not quite. This particular moonlight spectacle, in fact, wouldn't even be in Thailand, but across the border, in Cambodia's budding seaside town, Sihanoukville. It is "just nine-and-a-half hours from Bangkok," according to the flier, the work of Cambodian entrepreneurs hoping to turn Sihanoukville into the latest party hot spot.

Like bohemians colonizing a sketchy up-and-coming neighborhood, European and Australian backpackers have been blazing trails through Cambodia steadily since the mid-1990's. Although the last of the Khmer Rouge traded their machetes for plowshares only eight years ago, this nation of 13 million is fast becoming a companion destination to Thailand — that is, another seemingly safe haven of lush landscapes and warm embraces for Westerners.

Nowhere is this more apparent than on the low-key but alluring beaches of Sihanoukville, where development is being modeled after Thailand's resorts. Along the touristy strip of sand known as Serendipity, several restaurants brazenly advertise "happy" pizza and "happy" pancakes, seasoned with a certain illicit herb. Nearby, Victory Hill is trying to become Cambodia's version of Soi Cowboy, one of Bangkok's more garish red-light districts.

New York Times Link

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Real Job Posting

Posted by Chika On 4:56 PM 0 comments

Engrish dot com

I think this job posting is real. But I'm not sure, so be careful and cautious. This is a real-world job, and not another travel writing pitch. Most websites looking for travel writing are just collecting fodder for their site, to then sell to advertisers for monthly payments. Don't fall for it-They say they will give away some fabulous cruise to Norway or Tahiti or Bermuda, so do send in your 2000 word travel essay about the most fabulous place you've ever stayed. They want all rights.

To sell more ads.

"do you wanna be a travel writer scam." Skip phonies. Buy a few books about being a travel writer. Write a dozen travel pieces, end them to 100 newspapers. That's all you need to do. A few newspapers will purchase your travel story for $150, and then the editor will remember your name, and that person will buy more of your stories in the future. Yes, it's that simple. Write a good story and mail it out to 100 newspapers.

Director of Internet Sales and Marketing
Publication or Company Chronicle Books
Industry Book Publishing
Salary
Benefits
Job Duration Full Time
Job Location San Francisco, CA USA


Job Requirements

The primary purpose of this position is to set and execute a strategic plan to increase Chronicle Books direct website sales and website outreach to end consumers to promote the website, the Chronicle Books brand and all Chronicle Books’ titles.

This position will also act as the primary strategic thinker and planner for how the company can use the web and other technology to increase sales and brand awareness.

This individual needs a thorough understanding of ecommerce sales, an understanding of the web and the technologies associated with it, and an ability to create and execute plans for growth.

WEB SALES

Oversee the plans and execution of our website sales to increase visitors, increase sales and build brand awareness and loyalty
· Oversee the Web order fulfillment system and the customer service process; make changes when necessary
· Create and implement programs and the calendar for all Web promotions to increase sales and increase visitors to site
· Develop ways to convert existing traffic to buyers.
· Monthly report to the company on site sales, site visitation, promotions and strategic plans
· Create and implement user surveys as needed
· Work with the Direct Sales task force to drive sales through the site

CONTENT

Oversee the overall creative direction of the site
· Work directly with website manager on the editorial calendar for books to be featured, promotions offered and ensure web is updated in a timely manner
· Ensure that content of site aligns properly with promotions and ideas surrounding ecommerce initiatives
· Design mini sites as needed for most important titles.
· Delegate and approve the creation of content for all three site “home pages” (books, kids, gifts)
· When necessary, oversee redesign of entire site or special areas.

ONLINE MARKETING

· Advocate, educate, and implement all online marketing strategies for the company. This person is the resident expert on all online and mobile marketing opportunities. Stay on top of market trends and find ways to implement them into our operations here.
· Work with marketing and publicity to create plans for all key titles, and for online marketing of Chronicle in general.

DEVELOPMENT

· Oversee the technical evolution of the site, add (or commission to have added) new functionality as needed.

DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER

· Partner with direct to consumer team to find ways to use the website as a way to increase sales and outreach to new consumers directly. This includes working on ways to use site for selling to end consumers, corporations, organizations, and through the Metreon retail store
· Oversee all web only promotions through these venues; including marketing collateral which is created
· Find creative ways to use the web to expand our current reach to direct consumers.

OTHER

Work directly with in house staff in operations, production, sales and marketing on how CB can use website as a tool to improve internal processes and communication

MANAGEMENT

· Supervise Website Manager

Prerequisites:

Knowledge of HTML, CSS, and some Flash. Experience managing an ecommerce site. Experience with Web marketing a must (banner ad campaigns, email newsletters, and Web promotions). Knowledge of Google AdWords a plus. Publishing experience a plus.

Must have experience managing a team with various abilities (from creative to technical). While it isn’t necessary for this person to be a programmer per se, it is essential for her/him to be well versed in what different technology can offer and how to manage a programmer to deliver. A keen eye for design is essential to keep in pace with the visual integrity of our books.

Most importantly, must have knowledge of and interest in our eclectic list, and be versatile enough to create Web marketing plans for everything from the kooki
About Our Company Chronicle Books, a San Francisco based publisher, was founded in 1966 and over the years has developed a reputation for award-winning, innovative books. The company continues to challenge conventional publishing wisdom, setting trends in both subject and format, maintaining a list that includes illustrated titles in design, art, architecture, photography, food, lifestyle and pop culture, as well as much-admired books for children and ancillary products through its gift division. Chronicle Books boasts best-selling titles that include The Beatles Anthology, Sylvia Long’s Hush Little Baby, The 52-Deck series, Olive, the Other Reindeer and The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook series. Chronicle Books’ objective is to create and distribute exceptional publishing that’s instantly recognizable for its spirit, creativity, and value.

Contact Ms. Renee Banks
Email Address jobs@chroniclebooks.com
Address 85 2nd street
6th floor
San Francisco, CA 94105 USA

Phone 415.537.4200
Fax 415.537.4450
Special Instructions Please include a cover letter with resume.

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Humor? From Gadling?

Posted by Chika On 9:40 AM 0 comments

Japanese Fans by Carl Parkes

The good folks at Gadling have gone all out today, with some half-dozen hilarious posts in honor of April Fools Day. I sense from these posts, that the fabulously paid Gadling authors are mostly frustrated humor writers, who would rather be working the opening monologue for Conan O'Brien, than ragging on about esoteric travel trivia. Fine work, and too bad this sort of opportunity only comes up once a year.

Fans of our America’s 43rd president will finally have something to rejoice about later this month when the new Bushland presidential theme park opens. Built atop the breeding grounds of the endangered Texas blind salamander, Bushland embraces the life and accomplishments of George W.

This wonderful family getaway has something for all ages; the Michael Moore Harpoon Toss, the Cheney Shooting Range, the Deficit Roller Coaster (which only goes up), and the Karl Rove Spinner (the opening of the Karl Rove Steamboat Cruise has been postponed until problematic leaks are fixed).

Gadling: Bushland to Open

From the same people who have brought you volumes about single topic esoterica, comes the newest, perhaps most important book: Foot Odor: The Complete History.

Author Mark Farklansky, whose books about Flour and Glue revealed the untold stories of these common products, has really outdone himself here with a mesmerizing account of where foot odor came from and its impact on world history.

Gadling: Foot Odor, A History

Pangaea is one of the more difficult places to reach on this planet, but also one of the most rewarding. I was therefore pleased to discover that Old World Travels has just announced a two-week tour of this fascinating region which leaves later this month. An April trip is perfect timing because springtime in Pangaea is indeed wonderful. Plants and animals are slowly blossoming to life and every day seems so very fresh and new. I’ve never been myself, but this is indeed the Old Country from where my ancestors, in one form or another, originally heralded.

Gadling: Springtime in Pangaea

Here's an odd one: The Nepalese government wants to make it easier, much easier, for people to climb towering Mount Everest. Turns out they are planning to build a working, electric escalator that will carry people from base camp to the summit in less than an hour. The engineering effort is being put in the hands of the Japanese, in a serious political snub to the Chinese who had also bid on the project. The proposed escalator will be approximately fifteen miles long and will rise and fall with the jagged gradations of the mountain. It will move approximately five miles an hour and will offer superb views of the surrounding Himalayas. There will be rest stops, as well, built into the structure, that will allow riders to stop for tea or snacks. For children who grow easily bored by gaping mountain vistas, they are planning to offer portable DVD players and a wide selection of films.

Gadling: Nepalese Plan Everescalator

Mark Burnett Productions has just announced a new travel themed reality show to be carried by FOX next season. The concept, tentatively titled Long Pigs, combines the successful themes of two other hit reality shows; Survivor and The Surreal Life. Long Pigs stars a cast of B-level celebrities who have to share a yurt in the barren Gobi desert with a tribe of Korowai cannibals from southeastern Papua for 40 days.

The cast will have to rely on finely honed outdoor skills to survive as the only food provided are salt and pepper, a barrel of wine reduction basting sauce, and a three day’s supply of Fig Newtons (the show is sponsored by the cookie company

Gadling: New Mark Burnett Reality Show

If you enjoy the outdoors and getting back to nature, you’re going to be downright feral over one of the hottest new trends in adventure travel. Forget expensive Gortex and metal ice axes, we’re talking pre-bronze age here. Yes, everyone is abuzz about the new hunter-gatherer parks that are sprouting up around the country, as well as in other parts of the world.

Gadling: Hunter-Gatherer Parks

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Newspapers with No Hot Links

Posted by Chika On 2:04 PM 0 comments

Yogyakarta Batik by Carl Parkes

Is it just me, or do newspapers seem to be shooting themselves in the foot with every passing day? You write a story about ten useful travel websites, and you don't even provide any hot links in your website? Hello, newspapers, there is this new thingie called the internet, and it survives and blooms off something called "links."

I can hardly believe this.


Every year, as more travelers use the Internet to plan and pay for their vacations, more players are trying to get a piece of the action.

In 2005, more than 64 million Americans bought or reserved an airline ticket, hotel room, rental car or package tour online, up nearly 20 million from 2004, according to the Travel Industry Association of America. With each leisure traveler spending an average of $1,288 online, real money is changing hands. We took a look at several dozen sites that have come online during the past year. Most weren't worth more than a cursory glance, but several broke new ground, fit a niche or at least accomplished what they set out to do.

Here are 10 sites worth checking out.

Arizona Central Link via Washington Post

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Lombok Cattle Traders by Carl Parkes

It sounds so good, but few people actually allow themselves to indulge in spontaneous travel, but Neil Woodburn at Gadling recently answered the call of impulse, with impressive results. Me? I'm going to Texas next month, northern Arizona in May, and perhaps Philadelphia in June. Nothing spontaneous.....it's all planned well in advance.

Spontaneous travel is rare in life, but when it occurs it is fabulously rewarding.

Case in point: Saturday at noon I was sitting at home in Los Angeles talking on the phone with my girlfriend who was at a conference in San Francisco. Over the course of a 15 minute conversation, I learned that my college team, UCLA, was playing in the Elite Eight in San Francisco (I had thought they were playing on the other side of the country). I also remembered that Gogol Bordello, after their Friday show in LA, was also playing in San Francisco Saturday night.

By 12:30 I had reservations on a 2:00 Southwest flight. I made it to the airport by 1:00, arrived in San Francisco at 3:30, caught a BART bus to the Oakland Sports Arena by 4:00 and, by tip-off, was sitting in a seat my girlfriend had procured from a scalper a mere two hours earlier.

After the game, which UCLA won, we headed out to dinner, and then to a club called Slim’s where we tipped the doorman $50 to let the two of us into the sold-out Gogol Bordello show. By 2 a.m. we were wiped out. A quick cab back to the very hip and cool, highly recommended Ian Schrager hotel Clift, and then it was night-night.

Gadling Link

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Oxford Dictionary FAQ

Posted by Chika On 4:23 PM 0 comments

Chappelle Burns His 50M Comedy Central Check

From Oxford Dictionaries, whatever the hell that might be, a collection of their most frequently asked questions. Might prove useful for writers such as myself, who have no idea what they are doing.

We have built a database of some of the questions sent in to the Oxford Word and Language Service team, so it is likely that if your question is a fairly broad one on grammar, usage, or words then it will be answered here. Simply choose a category and then browse the list of questions.

Ask Oxford Link

They may refute the "supposed disease," but I memorized pneumonultramiscroscopticsilicovolcaniosis early in my days, and I stand by my childhood challenges. It's a disease you get from inhaling volcanic ash.

Use it someday, and impress your friends

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Creative Airplane Seating

Posted by Chika On 3:57 PM 0 comments

Plane Subterfuge by Bjork

Tired of getting bumped from flights which are supposedly filled, when you know for sure there are plenty of empty seats, but the airlines computers are so screwed up they haven't a clue?

Me too.

Some young lady so desperately wanted to attend the recent movie/rock/SFSX week in Austin took matters into her own hands, with hilarious results. I'd say the gatekeepers should be disciplined, and she should be given a medal.

AUSTIN, Tx. -- A Chicago woman accused of stowing away on a plane to attend the South by Southwest Festival faces a federal charge.

Catherine "Cat" Chow, a 33-year-old artist, was on the standby list for a flight from St. Louis to Austin, booked through American Airlines. When she found out the flight was full, Chow snuck past gate agents, boarded the plane and hid in the bathroom, authorities said.

When a passenger knocked on the bathroom door, Chow took the man's seat. When his wife made her move, she took another seat. After she was forced to move again, a flight attendant discovered her, court documents said.

An agent with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force was called to the airport. Airport police also were waiting for Chow when the plane landed.

Chow told authorities she "knew what she did was wrong, but wanted to meet with her friends in Austin . . . to participate in the South by Southwest activities," documents said.

Airport police said they found marijuana and six antidepressant tablets without a prescription label. Chow was charged with boarding an airplane without permission, a federal crime, and two state misdemeanors, possession of marijuana and possession of a dangerous drug. Chow was being held in the Travis County jail on a $3,000 bail.

NBC5 Link

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Reasons to Live Abroad

Posted by Chika On 11:08 AM 0 comments

Vietnam Motos by Chuck

Checking my RSS links to blogs from Vietnam just brought up this outstanding article by a former San Francisan architect who found himself burned out in the U.S., and so took his Vietnamese wife back to Saigon, where he has reinvigorated his life. It's an insightful reflection on the reasons to leave it all behind, and start a new life in a new country. Do click the link to read the entire post, and find the connecting link to the story he recommends.

Approaching civilizations other than our own...

Preya has posted a very thought-provoking essay on her blog Dreaming of Hanoi (she currently lives in Colorado). This essay goes to the heart of why westerners choose to visit, live and work in Viet Nam. Please read her essay. She is very articulate in expressing her opinion that many westerners come to places like Viet Nam out of good intentions to see and experience new things, but often espouse condescending views towards the ongoing changes in these countries that are the choices of those people to improve their lives.

She sees westerners as wanting to preserve the innocence and simplicity of overseas life "for our viewing pleasure" to replace what we can no longer find at home. In so doing, westerners are using Asia as a means to the end of regaining what we have lost in the western world, treating Asia as an extension of the west rather than the unique place of Asians for Asians. I hope I have done Preya justice in this summary.

In her essay, though, she gets to the very core of my own reasons for relocating to Viet Nam. She states:

"Do not go overseas and treat the places you see and the people you meet as if their only purpose in life is to "spice up" your world and make your travels more interesting, or provide you with a place to unwind, discover yourself, etc."

Antidote to Burnout Link

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Doug Lansky Interview

Posted by Chika On 5:27 PM 0 comments

Doug Lansky

Doug Lansky is probably best known as the guy who writes the weekly travel column "Signspotting" syndicated in several dozen newspapers here in the U.S., but he's also the author of several books by Rough Guides that cover the fundamentals of planning a trip around the world. Doug currently lives in Sweden with his Swedish wife (duh), and is a full time columnist for the inflight magazine of Air Scandanavia, or whatever they call their airline. Here's an insightful interview with Doug posted last year at a website that specializes in vacation rentals, but has loads of background content on most anyplace in the world.

Interview: Doug Lansky
Author, Speaker and Travel Writer


By Nana Chen - After telling copy machines where to go, Doug Lansky packed his bags and took off saying goodbye to life as an intern at Late Night with David Letterman, "Spy Magazine," and "The New Yorker". That was in 1992. Much has changed since. After traveling around the world and becoming an expert at it, Doug Lansky has now penned and edited numerous award-winning bestselling travel books, including The Last Trout in Venice.

Currently working on three new titles, including the upcoming “Rough Guide to Travel Survival: The Essential Field Manual,” Doug Lansky gives lectures on world travel at almost every destination you can imagine. In addition, Lansky serves as the editor of Scanorama, the In-flight magazine of Scandinavian Airlines and is a regular contributor to several major newspapers and magazines. We were able to share a few words with him via email.

Nana: You've been traveling for nearly ten years now. May I ask why you started traveling? What event started it all?

Doug: I was in London studying for a semester and between the freezing rain and almost four hours per day on the Tube, I wasn't enjoying my travel experience much and was thinking I'd just head home. I figured I'd do a bit of Inter-Railing before heading home and maybe it was the change of weather when I arrived in Portugal or falling asleep on the trains or the excitement of getting a job selling carpets in Morocco -- probably all -- I fell profoundly in love with travel. After finishing university, I told myself I wanted to travel around the world before turning 25. After 2 1/2 years on the road, I was still as hooked as when I started.

Nana: How were you able to finance your travels when you started? I know a lot of people go on work holidays, teaching ESL in Korea or milking cows in Denmark. Please tell us what sort of jobs you've had on the road.

E-Margaux Link

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World Travel as College Credit

Posted by Chika On 3:30 PM 0 comments

Albert Hoffman as World Traveler

I've always supported the idea of world travel as a way for anybody and everybody to learn about the similarities between international cultures, and help spread the ideas of peace and prosperity through mutual understanding. Jon Carroll, our local columnist here in San Francisco, passes along a great idea: kids should be able to spend a year or more on the road and get college credit for their roadside education. Personally, I probably learned more about life by traveling than by the four years I spent pursuing a degree in Economics from the university, so I think everyone should hit the road for an extended period and open their eyes to the wonders of this world.

The wonderful Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times (who will, rumor has it, win the Pulitzer Prize this year, and good for him) has made a modest proposal. I could paraphrase it, but I'll just quote it:

"Traditionally, many young Britons, Irish, Australians and New Zealanders take a year to travel around the world on a shoestring, getting menial jobs when they run out of money. We should try to inculcate the custom of a 'gap year' in this country by offering university credit for such experiences.

"So here's my proposal: Universities should grant a semester's credit to any incoming freshman who has taken a gap year to travel around the world. In the longer term, universities should move to a three-year academic program, and require all students to live abroad for a fourth year. In that year, each student would ideally live for three months in each of four continents: Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe."

I endorse the idea without reservation. About 20 percent of Americans own passports (that's an informed guess -- despite what you've read, that figure is not readily available), and a somewhat smaller percentage actually use them. I think there are lots of reasons for that, including geography -- unlike Europeans, we have to travel quite a way just to find a border to cross.

But there's xenophobia too; we seem to be a fearful lot. People who don't speak English scare us; people who don't have a lot of money scare us; people who eat organ meats scare us. Things can look dire in photographs, more dire than they are in person. And anyway, dire is not by itself life-threatening. People who live in the worst slums are, by and large, alive at the end of every day. Christians traveling in Muslim countries are, similarly, healthy -- and well fed -- when the clock strikes 12.

Even when Americans do travel, they tend to travel in groups. There is a huge English-speaking tourist bubble in almost every large city, and many people never get outside it. They see the sights, but they don't see the country. (The citizens of another famously xenophobic country, Japan, likewise tend to travel in packs; until very recently, the solitary Japanese traveler was as a rare as a nuthatch in Nome.)

I taught on a high-end cruise once, and at each port of call the travelers were ushered off the boat to a pricey hotel restaurant, then taken to an equally pricey mall for an afternoon of shopping. I still remember hanging over the rail in Mumbai, watching porters struggle with huge ceramic elephants that were going to be carted up and brought back home. Progress: It is now less acceptable to bring back the pretty parts of dead elephants.

Jon Carroll at SF Chronicle Link

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Ferrari at 170 MPH

Posted by Chika On 3:28 PM 0 comments

Ferrari Crash PCH



Ferrari Ruins

More news about that amazing Ferrari crash last month on Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles.

Video May Hold Clues to PCH Wreck

L.A. County sheriff's officials say two men who crashed a rare Ferrari in Malibu last month may have been filming the incident.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's investigation into a mysterious crash that destroyed a rare $1-million Ferrari in Malibu last month is now focusing on a videotape that was purportedly shot from inside the vehicle at the time of the accident, according to sources close to the case.

The sources said that Ferrari owner Stefan Eriksson and the other man in the car, identified by authorities as Trevor Karney, had a video camera rolling as they raced on Pacific Coast Highway on the morning of Feb. 21 at speeds in excess of 162 mph.

Deputies who arrived at the scene did not recover any video equipment. But sources said detectives were later told that the high-speed driving was taped. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is under investigation.

The revelation is the latest twist in a crash that has prompted both an accident investigation and a probe by the Sheriff's Department's Homeland Security Division.

Although no one was injured in the crash, the investigation has generated significant attention because of the strange circumstances and the fact that it destroyed one of only 400 Enzo Ferraris ever made.

Eriksson, a former European video game executive, told deputies who arrived at the scene that he was not the driver and that another man, named Dietrich, was behind the wheel. Eriksson said Dietrich fled the scene.

But detectives have always been skeptical of his version of events. Investigators have taken a swab of Eriksson's saliva to match his DNA against blood found on the driver's side air bag of the Ferrari.

Eriksson also told deputies that he was a deputy commissioner of the police department of a tiny transit agency in the San Gabriel Valley.

A few minutes after the crash, two men arrived at the crash scene, identified themselves as homeland security officers and spoke to Eriksson at length before leaving.

Sheriff's Sgt. Phil Brooks said Wednesday that a few weeks before the accident, Eriksson was pulled over in West Hollywood without a driver's license.

At that time he told officers that he was a deputy police commissioner of the anti-terrorism unit of the San Gabriel Valley Transit Authority and showed a badge, Brooks said.

Before coming to the U.S., Eriksson lived in England. According to Noel Hogan, a British private investigator, formerly with Scotland Yard, Eriksson once told him that he was a police officer. Hogan had been trying to recover a Mercedes SLR worth more than $450,000 that had been reported stolen in England and which Eriksson had in his possession.

Officials at the transit agency, which provides transportation for the disabled and elderly from Monrovia, said Eriksson was given the title of deputy police commissioner after undergoing a background check and offering the agency free video security cameras for its five buses.

Eriksson left video game machine manufacturer Gizmondo last fall after a Swedish newspaper printed allegations of his criminal past.

L.A. Times Link

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