Los Cabos: Why You Should Absolutely Go and Where to Stay

Los Cabos: Why You Should Absolutely Go and Where to Stay

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If you’re looking for a warm place to spend winter break, Los Cabos should be on your radar. The lazy beachfront town is becoming safer and better than ever, with an ever-increasing number of high-end hotels and resorts and unique dining options sprouting up all the time. The coast is gorgeous and especially scenic, opportunities for outdoor recreation are plentiful, and Los Cabos is teeming with more culture than many of the more touristy parts of Mexico.

When looking for a destination for a warm weather trip, what’s not to love in Los Cabos?

Is Los Cabos Safe?

While the U.S. State Department warns that travel to Los Cabos and other areas of Mexico can be risky due to gang activity and violence, the fact remains that Los Cabos is striving to become better – and safer than ever. Here are some Los Cabos facts from the city’s tourism board:

  • The top six cities for international departures to Los Cabos include: Los Angeles, Dallas, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Diego, and Houston
  • 70 percent of Los Cabos guests are repeat visitors
  • International travel to Los Cabos is up 20 percent in 2017
  • Los Cabos tourism is currently growing at twice the pace of Mexico’s

Where to Stay in Los Cabos

If you’re heading to Los Cabos and you plan to pay for your hotel in cash, you’ll find a wide variety of hotel and condo options ranging from affordable and family-friendly in Los Cabos. According to Expedia, the average three-resort in Los Cabos only costs around $100 per night.
Fortunately, there are also plenty of hotels that belong in popular loyalty programs.

Hotels You Can Book with the Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express:

  • Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort – You can book this hotel for as little as 48,000 Hilton Honors points per night in June or July, although rates surge higher during winter.
  • Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton – Los Cabos – Believe it or not, free nights at this hotel start at just 17,000 points. You can upgrade to a two-room suite for 44,000 points per night:

Hotels You Can Book with the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card:

  • JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa – You can book this hotel for 40,000 Marriott points per night.
  • Fairfield Inn Los Cabos – Believe it or not, you can book this hotel for just 10,000 Marriott points per night!

Hotels You Can Book with the IHG Rewards Select Credit Card:

  • Holiday Inn Resort: Los Cabos All-Inclusive – While this hotel will set you back 35,000 IHG points per night, it offers an awesome bargain. That’s partially because it’s all-inclusive, meaning your food, drink, and entertainment are included. Better yet, two kids ages 12 and under stay free with adults – even if you pay with points.

Hotels You Can Book with the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card:

  • Sheraton Grand Los Cabos Hacienda Del Mar – This hotel will set you back just 12,000 – 16,000 points per night
  • Westin Los Cabos Resort, Villas, and Spa – You’ll need to fork over 20,000 starpoints for a free stay here.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for an affordable place to travel this winter, don’t forget about Los Cabos. It’s easy to get there with multiple airlines including Southwest, and hotels are downright affordable – both in cash and points.

And if you’re looking for an authentic Mexican experience that also feels like a vacation, Los Cabos offers food, fun, culture, and more.

 

Have you ever been to Los Cabos? Why or why not?

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October 27, 2017 at 04:02PM

Military and civil-aviation bosses are stepping up their efforts to recruit new pilots

Military and civil-aviation bosses are stepping up their efforts to recruit new pilots

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FOR MANY people, the Hollywood blockbuster “Top Gun” captures the allure of becoming a pilot. In it, fighter-pilot trainees don aviator sunglasses and flight suits, and zipp about the skies to a soaring 1980s soundtrack. But despite such pop-culture appeal, America’s Air Force is struggling to capture the imagination of would-be recruits. This year it will be short of around 900 new airmen.

To counter this, the Air Force is stepping up its efforts to recruit new cadets. This month they introduced a $35,000 signing-on bonus for newly hired military airmen, the first new incentive of its kinds since 1999. Commercial carriers, too, are trying to entice more newcomers with better financial rewards. The average pay for new pilots in that sector has nearly tripled from $20,000 to $59,000 in the past three years.

One of the main barriers for would-be pilots is training. To become a pilot requires an investment of $200,000, often more than student loans will cover. In addition trainees are required by law to fly 1,500 hours before being hired by a commercial airline. This delays the moment of fully paid employment and is another cost that student loans do not finance. The shortfall is most severely felt by regional carriers which experienced a steep hiring drop between 2014 and 2016.

Another part of the problem is that an aging workforce is coupled with a mandatory retirement age. Over the next ten years, 42% of civil-aviation pilots will have to retire at 65. Boeing estimates that 117,000 new pilots will have to be hired to offset this and accommodate the future growth of the industry.

Pilot shortfalls are already having an effect, particularly on regional carriers. Short-distance flights operated by regional airlines are often more expensive than longer routes run by well-staffed major carriers. For example, a quick check of flight prices shows that a five-hour trip from Seattle to New York is only $30 more expensive than a 50-minute jaunt from Seattle to Bellingham in Washington.

More concerning, however, are the increased service disruptions. Between 2013 and 2016, 23% of all American airports experienced a reduction of scheduled services of at least 20%, according to figures from OAG, a data provider. Much of this is because of pilot shortages, argues the Regional Airline Association, a trade group. Though the largest carriers have been less disrupted, regional airlines have been forced to cut flights to more-remote destinations.

Military leaders and commercial-airline bosses are already lobbying congress to alter the rules that govern flying. High on their wishlist are changes like student loans tailored for those pursuing a career in aviation and easier ways for pilots to clock up more flying hours. In the past being a pilot was considered a glamorous job. Though some of that appeal still lingers, today public policymakers just need to focus on making it financially feasible.

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October 27, 2017 at 04:00PM

The Time Virginia Woolf Wore Blackface

The Time Virginia Woolf Wore Blackface

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“On or about December 1910 human character changed,” Virginia Woolf
famously declared. Woolf not only helped bring about modernism; she
dared give it a start date. But she could have set that start date
earlier in the year. On February 7, 1910, Woolf and three other members
of the emerging Bloomsbury group, including Woolf’s brother Adrian
Stephen, played a hoax on the famed British battleship H.M.S.
Dreadnought by impersonating the emperor of Abyssinia and his retinue.
Donning blackface, fake beards, and turbans, the group managed to board
the ship as honored visitors—with two additional members pretending to
be their guides, essentially posing as themselves. The ringleader of the
half-dozen hoaxers, Horace de Vere Cole, wrote in a letter that came to
light more than a hundred years later, “I was so amused at being just
myself in a tall hat—I had no disguise whatever and talked in an
ordinary friendly way to everyone—the others talked nonsense. We had all
learned some Swahili: I said they were ‘jolly savages’ but that I didn’t
understand much of what they said.” “A rum lingo they speak,” one of the
Dreadnought’s junior officers grumbled under his breath, but the ship’s
officers, who happened to include a cousin of Woolf (then still named
Virginia Stephen), failed to recognize the blackface troupe as anything
but genuine. The crew toured the group around, welcoming them with a red
carpet and sending the retinue on their way in a carriage—right before their
beards fell off.

Soon after, the story of the hoax broke, causing much embarrassment for
the proud British Navy; some officers, including Woolf’s cousin, issued
threats against the perpetrators. Most who learned of the incident,
however, including the ship’s captain, thought it a fine prank. Woolf
and her husband, Leonard, later published “The ‘Dreadnought’ Hoax,” an
account written by her brother, at their Hogarth Press, in 1936. In it,
Stephen, who had played one of the guides, described the mind-set of the
hoaxers. “By the time we reached the Dreadnought,” he wrote, “the
expedition had become for me at any rate almost an affair of every day.
It was hardly a question any longer of a hoax. We were almost acting the
truth.”

Why did these future members of the modernist literary movement darken
their skin, speak “gibberish fluently,” pretending it was Swahili, and
board the primary guardian of the British fleet? Why show up at His
Majesty’s Ship, the very symbol of empire, masquerading as “black”—or at
least blackened—and, in the case of the future Virginia Woolf, as male?
Even as a burlesque, the Dreadnought hoax enacted a truth not just about
those the hoaxers fooled but about the hoaxers themselves.

By the time of the Dreadnought escapade, blackface was regularly used in
the United States among white ethnic immigrants, who once would have
been labelled less than white, as a way of signalling that they were
quintessentially American. As with blackface minstrelsy, begun in the
nineteenth century, the hoaxers’ donning of blackface indicated that
they could become something not just new but foreign, not just foreign
but American, and not just American but literally black. This view may
best be called exoticist—a way of both wanting the foreign and finding
it wanting. The exoticist not only takes in what Edward Said terms
Orientalism, conceiving the Orient as something against which the West
defines itself, but also connects these ideas across other formalized
kinds of exoticism. All are tied to desire. Exoticists rely on race
mainly to define themselves as well beyond it, playing foreign in
order to contend, or content themselves, that they belong. Nothing can
be more American than wearing blackface or redskin; nothing more British
than donning a dark beard and turban. While not always white, the
exoticist is always at home.

In boarding the most prominent vessel of the British fleet, an emblem of
its soon-to-fade empire, the “jolly savages” showed up the British
Empire while also making fun of an Abyssinia where royalty was only an
illusion. What the Dreadnoughts spoke was the language of the
hoax—elemental, bearded, gibberish as native tongue. Like the hoax, it
was contagious: one of the “Swahili” phrases they reportedly uttered,
“bunga-bunga,” would become “public catchwords for a time, and were
introduced as tags into music-hall songs and so forth,” Stephen wrote.
(Much later, the term was renewed by Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi, who called his sex parties Bunga Bunga parties, playing on a
common racist joke; the familiar exoticist combination of racism and sex
keeps on ticking.)

That the hoaxers referred to Abyssinia, not Ethiopia, also indicates
something about the worldview behind it. To pose as Abyssinian
royalty was to invoke the stuff of British literature, whether Samuel
Johnson’s “The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia” (1759) or
Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” (1798) (“In a vision I once saw: / It was an
Abyssinian maid, / And on her dulcimer she played, / Singing of Mount
Abora”). It was a place that was often spoken of but rarely seen. Yet
the Dreadnought hoax occurred just as Ethiopia was becoming a force in
the new world in both senses—while “Ethiopian” was cited as the lowest
of racial categories by pseudoscientists of the time, Ethiopianism was
also the name given to a burgeoning Pan-African movement that was then
at its height in America. Ethiopia became a symbolic home for the
progressive “New Negro,” with black writers invoking an Ethiopian
homeland the way the Harlem Renaissance would invoke Mother Africa soon
after. That the Dreadnought hoaxers misspelled the land as “Abbysinia”
in a telegram to the commander of the Home Fleet before they arrived, a
clue he surely should have caught, also indicates that the country being
conjured was only an idea—a backdrop, or a black one—an abyss.

The photographs of the Dreadnought hoax, our main means of knowing what
the cohort looked like, are as staged as the hoax itself. They were
taken in a studio and encapsulate the empire’s descent from Victorian to
Edwardian to soon-to-be-war-torn Britain—a parody of power. The whole
affair wouldn’t have worked as well as a hoax if it were completely
convincing; the fake beard must be obvious, if only after the fact. Just
as male-to-female drag doesn’t seek to transform its performer into an
actual woman but rather plays with the idea of femininity, especially
its enforced excesses, the dark makeup that the hoaxers wore proved
homage and parody in one. The hoax also honored an earlier prank, which
Stephen and Cole committed as students at Cambridge, in which they
pretended that one of them was the “Sultan of Zanzibar,” in blackface,
and paid a visit to the town mayor.

Might the Dreadnought hoax put us in mind of another group of white
folks who darkened their skins and boarded a ship to disrupt and mock
the British Empire a century or so before? The Boston Tea Party had
announced a revolution and also an American aesthetic of “redface,”
which was simultaneously stolen and native-born. The Dreadnought hoax
announced a change in human character as well as in the character of the
hoax itself. This change was predicated on race—or at least on its
pretense.

This is to say that the Dreadnought hoax managed something peculiarly American. For, while the blackamoor had been a tradition in British
culture at least since Shakespeare, the figure had proved so invisible
as to be tragic—a role trapped in dark skin or glimpsed in shadows at the corner of a painting’s frame. The Dreadnoughts’ blackface more resembled America’s, and its aspiration as the first national popular culture. If
blackface, from its start, in the eighteen-thirties, had been one of the
things that white Americans used to signal their nativeness, now the
Dreadnoughts used it to signal their foreignness—pretending to be
foreign powers while pretending to be themselves.

Blackface remains exoticist and offensive as a practice not just because
of its long tradition of being used to mock black selfhood, sexuality,
and speech, but because of its assertion that black people are merely
white people sullied by dark skin. Such a view was central to the
formation of the idea of race, with religion and so-called science
seeing the “Ethiopian” as degraded and devolved from whites. “Can the
Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do
good, that are accustomed to do evil,” a Bible verse, from Jeremiah,
says. Society’s conflation of the Ethiopian and evil, skin and
permanence, blackness and irredeemable nature, would find regular
justification in these words. Indeed, the Biblical Adam and Eve origin
story would often prove the only argument against the theory of blacks
being a separate species, even as chapter and verse were cited to
justify slavery, too.

Blackness, in the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries,
became seen as a mere disease, with negroes descended not from Adam or even
the fabled “mark of Cain” but degenerated from corrupted environment,
atavistic savagery, or worse. One prominent American Philosophical
Society member, writing to Thomas Jefferson, in 1797, suggested that the
resulting “black color (as it is called)” of those “known by the epithet
of negroes” was “Derived from the Leprosy.” (Jefferson didn’t exactly
disagree.) Might the Dreadnought hoaxers’ faked Ethiopia also be
referring, however obliquely, to the leopard’s spots, blackness an
epithet they could simply scrub off?

This is the second in a series of pieces adapted from “Bunk: The Rise
of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News
,” which will be published in November by Graywolf Press. The first piece
examined
race, the penny press, and the Moon Hoax of 1835*.

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October 27, 2017 at 03:50PM

Fighting Technology and Kombucha and Complacency with Protomartyr

Fighting Technology and Kombucha and Complacency with Protomartyr

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The Michigan post-punk band Protomartyr played a gig in Las Vegas on
Election Night in 2016. Like many Americans, the guys in the band woke
up the next morning depressed and hungry. Before hitting the road, they
stopped for breakfast at Whole Foods, where the lead singer, Joe Casey,
looked around. “It just struck me,” he said recently. “We were all in
this depressed mood going into Whole Foods and seeing people with big
smiles on their faces buying their very expensive groceries, they didn’t
seem like they had a care in the world.”

Casey writes lyrics about the lives of the working class and dystopian
visions from the heartland. His father had a job at the water-waste and
sewage department in Detroit, and Casey remembers the inequities that
separated the poverty-stricken inner city from the tony suburbs of
Grosse Pointe. “The line between them is just a block, but it’s stark in
the differences between the two cities,” he said. While crisscrossing
America on tour, Casey noticed the same disparity all over the country.
“You kind of wonder, why is this city so wealthy and the one next to it
is so poor, and how do they keep it that way?”

That morning at Whole Foods, after Donald Trump was elected President,
Casey saw a shopper buy an eight-dollar bottle of kombucha, and the
scene helped inspire the lyrics on the song “Don’t Go to Anacita,” off
Protomartyr’s new album, “Relatives In Descent.” Anacita is a fictional
coastal town created by Casey. He compares it to a very rich community
on the West Coast. “The liberal-minded here close their eyes and dream
of technology and kombucha,” Casey sings in his raspy, stiff-necked
voice. In the music video, vagrants scrub floors and are discarded as
they attempt to climb an endless Escher-like staircase. (It was directed
by Yoonha Park, and inspired by the Polish filmmaker Zbigniew
Rybczyński’s “Stairway to Lenin.”)

Casey said that the band had to pass Trump Tower while driving out of
Vegas that morning. “It’s been a really depressing year,” he said. “You
kind of want to talk about your feeling and what’s causing it, and know
that a lot of the problems that you’re talking about won’t stop once the
President is out of office.”

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October 27, 2017 at 03:00PM

App in the Air reveals AI-powered, voice-search enabled, augmented reality booking

App in the Air reveals AI-powered, voice-search enabled, augmented reality booking

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The developers behind App in the Air presented a live demo of its new artificial intelligence-powered, voice-search enabled, augmented reality  booking experience during Innovation Day at IATA’s World Passenger Summit in Barcelona this week.

From the stage, App in the Air founder and CTO, Sergey Pronin, gave a full preview of what it would be like to search for the best routes to your destination with the aid of its voice-query AI assistant, ARVis, filter flights by price, or schedule, or other preferences, tour the cabin of the aircraft with AR projections in real-life scale, and even check your luggage against an AR version that optimally fits in the aircraft bins.

It’s difficult to put into words just how much advanced technology the developers packed into this app, but fortunately there is a video:

The potential benefits of these search and compare features for airlines are worth noting. First, booking with App In the Air’s ARVis assistant would give airlines a real opportunity to highlight their cabin design in ways that flat images just can’t match. This “real-life” feel gives customers incentive to consider booking up to a different seat onboard.

Smart bags

The bag check feature would not only avoid problems with oversized baggage at check-in, or overstuffed aircraft bins, but would also give customers a clear visualisation of how much they can fit in their free hand luggage option. No doubt, for many passengers, knowing the allowed dimensions as written on the website is not the same as seeing what those dimensions represent in 3D. The smart assistant ARVis can advise customers directly when their bags won’t meet the dimension requirements, and sell-up an added baggage ancillary product in the booking engine.

But there is one major challenge to delivering the product, and it’s not entirely technological.While App in the Air is ready to offer the full ARVis experience, gathering the product data required to give customers a view of all of this is a different matter.

Pronin says that App In the Air plans to work with airlines directly to gather this information and populate it into the app. Allowing for time to get that done, App in the Air would release the feature on an airline-by-airline basis.

The baggage feature is easier to add right off the bat. Pronin tells us: “You just go to the airline website, you scrape it, it’s not really hard.”

He expects that having the additional booking channel option would incentivise airlines to share more cabin product data anyway, and initial customers may not have complex cabin data to populate.

Measured approach

“We’re not doing all airlines at once. We’re going to go one by one so with this approach we believe we can gather the information [directly from the airlines],” Pronin says.

To start, App in the Air is targeting this as a booking interface for low-cost carriers and is already in discussion with Eurowings and its parent Lufthansa Group about possible applications.

“Initially, this is mostly useful for the low fares airlines such as Ryanair or easyJet. It lets you know the luggage that will fit, and for them this is crucial. For most airlines there are more easy constraints on that.

“We have contact with Eurowings, we have established a partnership with them, initially for low-cost.

“We’re going to sell tickets. We’re going to go to booking in two months, and we would partner with [Lufthansa] to provide their tickets on our app, and they are willing to do so.

“It will be personalized booking because we have more than 3 million users and we process more than a million itineraries each month. We collect all of this data, and we think that we can make it a really personalized experience.”

Asked whether he is concerned that other travel wallet apps, such as  TripCase and TripIt, which are GDS products and already have close ties to airlines to obtain the data, will add the same features App in the Air demonstrated, Pronin says:

“The biggest difference is how fast and how far you go..how fast do you think they can innovate? How fast can they integrate..I don’t think they can do that in 24 hours like we do.”

He adds that these wallets are mainly focused on corporate customer needs, and that is not their target market either.

“I don’t think [TripCase and TripIt] are going to sell tickets. For corporates…you don’t really need this kind of stuff, because you get your ticket from the travel agent or the company and that’s it.”

NDC sets the standard

Pronin credits the IATA NDC program for what it takes to be an agile developer, on the scale of App in the Air, and to deliver these types of advancements so that they can come to market long before potential competitors are ready:

“Everyone can do that, if they want to. NDC really adds to that because you don’t need to spend a lot of time on integration. It’s a standard already for most major airlines.

“We only want to work on NDC, because working on NDC allows everyone to go really fast.”

 

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October 27, 2017 at 02:44PM

American’s Doug Parker Wants to Meet With NAACP About Racism Claims

American’s Doug Parker Wants to Meet With NAACP About Racism Claims

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American Airlines

American Airlines plane on July 13, 2017. CEO Doug Parker doesn’t understand the NAACP’s racism charges but said he wants to meet with the group to find out more. American Airlines

Skift Take: American CEO Doug Parker is saying all the right things about meeting with the NAACP and wanting to improve the airline’s race relations. He is obviously also concerned about the brand damage that the complaints could cause.

— Dennis Schaal

The CEO of American Airlines said Thursday he is looking forward to company representatives meeting with the NAACP to discuss the civil rights group’s charge that carrier has a culture of racial insensitivity.

The NAACP earlier this week warned African-Americans that if they fly on American, they may face discrimination or even safety issues.

CEO Doug Parker said his first reaction to the NAACP’s charge was, “How can that be true of us?” He described the airline as having “a diverse and open environment and organization.”

But he says he now sees a chance to improve the airline.

“Once you get past that, this is a fantastic opportunity because we want to get better,” Parker told reporters during a call to discuss the company’s latest financial results. “If the NAACP wants to talk to us and wants to help us get better, we are excited about that.”

The NAACP issued a “travel advisory” and cited four recent incidents where African-American passengers, including an NAACP official, believed they were mistreated because of their race.

Since the start of 2016, passengers flying on American have filed 29 complaints of racial discrimination with the federal government, the most against any U.S. carrier, followed by United Airlines with 17.

In 2015, when the type of discrimination was not identified in U.S. Department of Transportation reports, United had 14 complaints and American nine.

As of 2016, about 15 percent of American’s workers were African-American, according to figures provided by the company. That is higher than the percentage of African-Americans in the U.S. population — 13.3 percent, according to the Census Bureau.

American’s figures did not give racial breakdowns for different work groups. In aviation, African-Americans are notably under-represented in the cockpit — accounting for only about 3 percent of airline pilots, according to the Labor Department.

Parker was asked if he is concerned that the controversy with the NAACP could hurt American’s bookings.

“We haven’t seen anything, but that is not the point,” he said. “The work we’re doing … is not about whether or not it has a financial impact on our company.”

The NAACP’s “travel advisory” on Tuesday stopped short of calling for a boycott of American.

“We’re not telling people don’t do or to do, but we want people to have the necessary education to be informed about how they leverage their dollars,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson told C-SPAN.

___

Jesse J. Holland in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

This article was written by David Koenig from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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October 27, 2017 at 02:32PM

India Before Instagram in the Magnificent Photographs of Raghubir Singh

India Before Instagram in the Magnificent Photographs of Raghubir Singh

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In April of 1999, a month before he died unexpectedly, of a heart
attack, at the age of fifty-six, Raghubir Singh gave his last lecture,
at the International Center of Photography, in New York. By way of
introduction, his friend and fellow lensman Thomas Roma told the
audience, “To call Raghubir Singh a photographer of India is to call
Robert Frost a poet of New York, which is to say, it is a grossly
inadequate description.” As evidenced by the quietly magnificent show
“Modernism on the Ganges,” which opened this week at the Met Breuer,
Singh had an eye for the complex visual rhythms of life on the streets,
whether rural or urban, which rivalled that of his hero, Henri
Cartier-Bresson. I say that the exhibit is “quietly magnificent” because it’s an old-school
show of small-scale pictures. They draw you in with their intricacies,
none of which are the result of digital intervention.

Singh was born in 1942, in Jaipur, to a family of Rajput aristocrats,
whose fortunes reversed in the years after the partition of India and
Pakistan, in 1947. He became a photographer on his fourteenth birthday,
when his older brother gave him a camera that he’d picked up on a trip
to Hong Kong. Singh developed such an instant love for the medium that,
as he later wrote, “my heartbeat ran an umbilical cord to my camera.”
Around the same time, he discovered Cartier-Bresson, whose book
“Beautiful Jaipur” his parents owned. Singh never formally studied
photography—though he was in the high-school camera club—but, in
Cartier-Bresson, he found his teacher, nonetheless (and he met him in
person several years later).

Zaveri Bazaar and Jeweller’s Showroom, Bombay, Maharashtra, 1989.

Photograph © 2017 Succession Raghubir Singh

After dropping out of college, Singh fell into his career as a
photographer by accident. Hoping to follow in his brother’s footsteps in
the tea business, he moved to Calcutta but was turned down for
every job he applied to. Instead, he found work as a photojournalist for
Western publications, an occupation that came with a free supply of
color film, which wasn’t available in India until 1991, due to trade
restrictions. In 1967, one of his photographs graced the front cover of
the New York Times Magazine, accompanying an article on “Communism,
Kerala Style.” The same year, he shot what he considered his first
mature work as an
artist (we ran it
in the October 16th issue this year): a quartet of women caught in a
monsoon in Monghyr, Bihar, their drenched bodies assuming
near-sculptural mass as they huddle together in garments whose dark
greens and rich browns mirror the rain-soaked landscape around them.

Above all, Singh was a master of color—#nofilter avant la lettre.
Take his photograph “Villagers Visiting Jodhpur Enjoy Ice Sweets, Rajasthan,” from 1978. Five men
hunker down in the dirt, staring straight at Singh’s lens while holding
orange popsicles—eruptions of color in the mostly
white, brown, and gray scene, amplified by one yellow turban and one
turquoise shirt, which is echoed by a faded blue bench in the
background. Color photography, as I’ve written before, was
considered vulgar in
the West when Singh was coming of age as an artist. Even the great
Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray (with whom Singh had a close friendship)
made his early films in black-and-white, in the spirit of neorealism.
Singh had an interesting take: “The fundamental condition of the West is
one of guilt, linked to death—from which black is inseparable. The
fundamental condition of India, however, is the cycle of rebirth, in
which color is not just an essential element but also a deep inner
source, reaching into the subcontinent’s long and rich past.”

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October 27, 2017 at 02:04PM

Uber Adds Rider-Friendly Multiple Stop Option

Uber Adds Rider-Friendly Multiple Stop Option

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The changes continue to roll in for ride-sharing service Uber. Earlier this week, the company made some driver-friendly changes resulting in potentially more fees for riders. Now, the company announced it’s making a much-desired change to benefit riders — the option to make multiple stops on a trip.

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On Thursday, Uber announced that passengers will now be allowed to make up to three stops along your trip. Riders can manually add or remove stops to or from your itinerary from the Uber app. Stops can be added either when you’re requesting a ride or while you’re in the middle of a ride.

To add a stop, go to the “Where to?” field and select the “+” icon. Enter your stop information and the app will calculate the best route, as well as the fare. If you need to make changes to your itinerary, you can do so in real time. The driver’s app will show a change in directions, so there’s no need to inform the driver of your routing change.

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If you’re planning on making use of the multi-stop feature, be prepared to pay a bit more. Because Uber calculates its fares based on time and distance, and since stops will take up more time, expect to have a higher fare. In addition, the fare you get is calculated for a stop to take three minutes or less. If your stop takes more than three minutes, Uber says that your fare may change.

As of Friday morning, this multi-stop feature is available in most Uber cities. If you’re splitting a fare, you can do so even with multi-stop itineraries. However, you can’t split the fare by the cost of each stop — just by the total of the entire ride.

Overall, this is surely a welcome change for Uber passengers. Previously, multi-stop routing had to be communicated to the driver by the passenger, but now, it’s a much more seamless — and digitalized — experience. With this new feature, Uber joins the like of its direct competitor, Lyft, which already offers riders a multi-stop feature since 2016.

If you don’t yet have an Uber account, you can sign up now to get a $20 credit from TPG. With the Platinum Card from American Express, you can also get $200 in credits per year for Uber rides. In addition, on Wednesday, Uber and Barclaycard announced a new no-fee credit card, the Uber Visa Card. With it, you’ll earn 4% back on restaurants, takeout and bars, including UberEats, 3% back on airfare, hotel and vacation home rentals, 2% back on online purchases including Uber, online shopping and video and music streaming services and 1% back on all other purchases.

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October 27, 2017 at 01:35PM

tnoozLIVE@Arival: An interview with Gray Line CEO Brad Weber

tnoozLIVE@Arival: An interview with Gray Line CEO Brad Weber

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This is the first part in a series of articles spun out of tnoozLIVE@Arival, recorded live at the Arival in-destination event held at the LINQ in Las Vegas. More clips to come! To learn more about how to bring tnoozLIVE@ to your event, please email Kerry Cannon.

My favorite part of the inaugural tnoozLIVE@ was the depth and variety of guests. While it’s no easy feat to do a day-long lightning round of interviews, there’s always plenty to learn.

One of the standouts, as far as learning, was Brad Weber from Grayline. Admittedly, I am not a fan of bus tours. But Brad engaged me thoroughly on the topic, bringing some new considerations to mind. Most especially, the way that an international group can forge connections that you might not get going it alone.

We’ll be publishing more clips from tnoozLIVE@Arival periodically over the next weeks. The video clip is below, followed by the full transcript. The transcript has been lightly edited to account for the randomness of live shoots — not to mention any incoherence on my part after a long day of filming! 😹

I’m always grateful for constructive feedback. What do you think of this new tnoozLIVE@ product? Let me know! Also, if you want to know more about tnoozLIVE@, click here!

Brad: I’ve been CEO of Gray Line Worldwide for going on 17 years. Gray Line is a 100-year-old company. It was incorporated the way it is today back in 1928, the same corporate structure. Nothing’s changed since 1928. Obviously, the world’s going up around us and we already have a lot of things.

Nick: And it’s a pretty unique structure, there are different elements right. Explain that all to me, because I am sometimes confused [on the structure].

Brad: Yeah it’s a very interesting structure. We are not a franchise, which people think a lot. We’re actually a global licensing organization where we license our trademark to independent local tourism businesses so that you know they can run the business that they’ve grown up doing their entire life. Or if it’s a corporate entity, they can do that as well. Then we layer Gray Line on top of it. They have rights to use our trademark. They have rights to use our technology and all of our business development programs, but they also retain the ‘local-ness’ of their business.

Nick: So can they use other technologies if they want?

Brad: The great thing about our network is it’s all driven by this practice. It’s leveraging the network effect. It’s our best practices as an organization. We’ve learned a lot in the 100 years that we’ve been around. But yes, we do mandate certain technology for us to power our e-commerce platform.

Brad: But as a local business, you’re free to choose what works best for you. It’s very difficult to find a single solution that’s going to work globally with different currencies, different languages, different markets, different business needs. The profiles of our Independent Businesses are a little different depending on where they might be. So you can’t find a single solution.

Nick: And the e-commerce part is most important in the sense of distribution and the advantages of the brand.

Brad: Brand is everything.

Nick: And you guys are known, it’s all over. So if someone goes to the Gray Line website, it’s really one view for the customer. They don’t really necessarily know that they’re going out to an independent in New Orleans. For all intents and purposes, we have one entity, as far as consumers go.

Brad: That’s what the consumers have known since we’ve been founded. We literally invented the category of sightseeing back in 1910. So what we tell our guys is, you’re in a unique position. You are the inventor of this business. You have a responsibility to reinvent it every day because you know customers’ expectations change. @hat people want to see and do changes. But the core values of who we are and what we do has been the same always.

Nick: And it is interesting that it kind of grew up around you guys. So you’ve been waiting a hundred years for the Arival event to happen. It’s finally here! There’s now a conference for us!

Brad: We hold our own conference every year. We think we do a really good job. It’s really fun to see the whole industry come together. It’s time. Our industry deserves this. We are the reason people travel. Our business is at the heart of why people travel, so getting the recognition of people paying attention. Technology coming into the space like it never has before. It’s time.

Nick: And as far as the business changing, you said it kind of grew up around you. There are now bus tours, but now there are things like gourmet chef nights and all these kinds of things happening beyond the bus tour.

Brad: This is the big conversation in this space. The concept of the bus tour being something that’s not great is so wrong.

Nick: This is good because I just said earlier that I didn’t want to go on a bus tour. So let’s do this!

Brad: People talk to me all the time about peer-to-peer, that’s where it’s going, look what’s happening with Airbnb’s Trips. You know, it’s the millennials, it’s a different generation, they want different things. And it’s not true. It’s not true. The idea of being on a bus tour or a sightseeing tour is the absolute best way to see this nation.

Brad: Couple of reasons. Number one: you don’t have to worry about it. Think if, for example, you’re in Paris and you want to go out to Versailles. If you want to do that on your own, there’s a lot of things logistically, that you need to do before you can actually get to Versailles and enjoy it.

Or you can hang out with us. You’ll meet a group of people from all over the world, so you have the opportunity to build a community. There might be a couple from the U.S., a couple from New Orleans. There might be a group of guys from Spain or maybe an elderly couple from the U.K., maybe a few folks from Beijing…and who have an opportunity to see and experience something new with people from all over the world.

And that’s really what I like about Gray Line. We say we’re changing the world one tour at a time. So if we can do anything to bring people together, that make the world feel smaller, and to create less of an impact on that sites we’re visiting. I think that’s great.

We bring one busload of people, and we keep 50 cars from visiting that attraction.

Nick: And that’s generally the choices people are making: it’s like to rent a car, take a taxi, or do a bus tour?

Brad: I think people make a mistake and underestimate how hard doing certain things are. You and I can leave Vegas right now, hop in a car and go out to the Grand Canyon. And that sounds easy but it’s not the kind of experience you really want.

You don’t get to relax and watch a movie on the way there. You don’t get to have refreshments. You can’t have a beer while you’re there because you don’t want to drive back and you do really know where to go when you get there. You really have the entrance figured out, do you really know what the best places to see at the right times of the day. Or do you want to go with somebody that’s an expert, that’s been doing it for years, that could make that experience the best it can?

Nick: It’s a good pitch. I’m into it.

Brad: You should be into it.

Nick: I really think that that it’s about the guides right. We’ve been talking all day about the importance of not just the mode of transportation, but the guide.

Brad: Is it the guide or is it the content?

Nick: Tell me about this. Is it the guy delivering content that’s you know the guide is boring, or the content’s boring. Let’s talk about those two pieces because they don’t want him to just read a script because that’s not quite interesting.

Brad: It’s 2017. If I want to know anything about anything, all I have to do is reach in my pocket and I can find it. What you can’t find when you reach in your pocket for your phone is the story behind the place, or making it personal or making it local.

And that’s a real cool thing about Gray Line when we do use our live guides. These are local people. They live there. They’ve built their life around tourism. Most certainly, sustainable tourism, because if they don’t do it right tourism goes away. Nut they shop in the stores there. They send their kids to school there. They know the best roads, they know the best restaurants. These are people that are real locals that you get to spend your day with.

So if we’re delivering that content via a live guide, yes, we want all of the pertinent facts for what you’re going to see and what you’re going to do. But we really want to get into that, and behind it, and talk about the story of the place. The guides, the people that are there, we’re part of the local fabric of that community.

But guides aren’t the only way. And the thing that’s important to anybody that’s in this business is your content is your product. You know, our bus is not our product. Where we go is not the product. It’s how we deliver that experience is the product.

Nick: It does rethink it. Not just the mode of transportation.

Brad: It’s the whole experience and.

Nick: There were always probably guides, but back in back in early 1900s, a bus was crazy. The mode of transportation was actually probably part of the fun. And that’s why it’s fascinating because you have things like VR and there are new kinds of attractions. But eventually, no one’s going to want to go to a shop and try VR, because we will have it at home. But the content could matter. So his VR could be better.

Brad: Content is key. Everybody is worried about the platform and how you deliver it. We’re in the entertainment business. We’re all entertainers. We want people who have an experience, we want them to enjoy a day or an hour or three days or a week, however long they’re with us. But if our story and our content isn’t any good, then people are going to go somewhere else.

And so that’s core to who we are: making sure that our content is our product. It’s not our bus, it’s not our terminals. It’s not the people behind the scenes that are making it. They’re essential and without it you can’t do it. But when you’re in the middle of that experience if we’re not delivering good content, then we’re not doing our job.

Nick: And the great thing about having that brand that is globally known, as you deliver the great experience in one location it does translate to another. Not every company can do that.

Brad: Yeah but we’re not cookie cutter. We never want to be. That’s why we like how we’re organized. I want to make sure that if you’re in Boston, you’re going to have unique Boston experience. If you end up in Bali, you’re going to have unique Balinese experience. But it’s not going to be the same.

What ties them together is our global brand. So you know that the things that are probably important to you or should be important to you, that you know you’re in the hands of somebody that has insurance and that’s bonded and has the licenses and the permits. You know no matter where you are you’re with somebody that’s had to go through some sort of process to know that you’re safe.

Nick: Yeah absolutely. What about training? How does that work across all the different areas, to make sure that guides are where they need to be.

Brad: You have to you have to look at how we’re organized right. That’s really a local decision of the local business. But one of the things we strive to do, and we do this at our conference, we do it throughout the year, we have a Gray Line university that we run. And literally what we’re bringing to them is best practices.

We’ll literally hold our events in cities where we have showcase locations. We were recently in Iceland a year ago, we were in Miami this year. We want to take our own licensees to somewhere where another licensee is doing it 100% right. It’s amazing the power that that has.

You have a great experience with somebody that’s affiliated with you through the brand. You take that home and you integrate that in your business. We do provide things where, access to great training programs or access to great models or access to great content platforms and content creators, to augment what they know.

And what they know is what’s local. They have the local expertise. So if we can layer on top of that, such as ways to make it more entertaining, ways to make it more engaging, ways to make your guides better. That’s what we help them with. There’s no way I’m going to sit in Denver and say, “this is what you have to be talking about in Paris.”

Nick: That’s why I hate to use the word fragmentation. Tours and activities has to be fragmented. Because that’s the point: you can’t be in London and do something else. VR notwithstanding, it’s always a local thing. So there’s always going to be thousands of suppliers.

Brad: And I think that’s great.

Nick: Otherwise they would be boring. Like you said, if everything was the same then no one would go. How do you guys do testing of new approaches, new tours, like maybe smaller tours? How does that work? Is that really up to the local entity or do you encourage some testing of the routes.

Brad: Yeah it’s both. So again back to how we’re organized, I don’t get involved with somebody in Munich or in New York City saying she should go left here instead of going right. I don’t have that expertise. But what it’s all about is we do we pay a lot attention to changing consumer behavior.

We hear a lot about millennials, that they have they have different expectations than a Gen-Xer like me or a baby boomer or mature. So we pay a lot of attention and we give them that data. We just came off our conference that happened two weeks ago. So we talked a lot about that.

We talked a lot about the changing demographics. What are the ways people view different things. When you come to our conference, and it’s a conference of sightseeing companies, we’re talking about things like what do you watch on TV. And who’s creating that content? And why did you choose that show from that network?

So we try to we try to leverage learning from other industries and bring it to us, so that we are always at the top of our game in creating the best products. And accommodating whether it needs to be a big tour, whether it needs a more private tour or whether it needs to be a single one-on-one walking tour. We offer all those. Gray Line is not just about the bus.

Nick: That’s great, then it really keeps them fresh too because everyone can move at a different pace. Maybe some cities need to try new tours all the time and some can move slower.

Brad: Some markets are easier than others. Some markets have natural attractions. In others, you have to get more into the fabric of the community and go behind the scenes, because there’s always stuff.

I am constantly saying to our team that if we can’t find anything cool and unique about all of our destinations, then we’re in the wrong destinations. I guarantee you no matter where you go in the world there’s something really cool there that’s just waiting to be experienced.

Nick: How do you guys market that message? What are some of the strategies you use, at a corporate level? How do you keep engaging people with the Gray Line message?

Brad: Our strategy is really great because we’re able to leverage the power of our network. What we do is we have some targeted central messaging that we do. We have a big video program. We just did a whole seven-episode series called The Bucket Life and we won a couple of different awards.

Somebody presented today on Maslow’s hierarchy. We actually based the Bucket Life off of some of those tenets. We said, you know there’s a lot of things we do in our life where we’re just checking off lists. So what we suggest is there’s a better way to do it and live your life so you’re enriching yourself through experiences rather than collecting things.

So we went in-depth to a bunch of our different markets, and then we leverage that out on social media, leverage that through traditional media. We provide it to our licensees, that leverage it through their own channels.

Brad: So what we have the ability to do is create a central message and without a huge central spin, distribute it to our licensees and leverage that network and their relationships worldwide.

Nick: And how does that bubble up from them to you?

Brad: This is what I say all the time: If you’re looking to us in Denver to have the best ideas, then you’re looking in the wrong place. What we do is we take the best ideas from our licensees around the world, review them, analyze them. And if they’re great then what we do is we promote them throughout the network.

There may be a great idea coming out of Chicago Illinois that two weeks later is happening in the Galapagos because our guy there said that’s a fantastic idea. I need to integrate that here to make my experience better.

Nick: It’s a fascinating model.

Brad: It’s worked for a hundred years. It’s gonna work for another hundred!

Travel

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October 27, 2017 at 01:16PM

Free Flight Changes for NYC, D.C., Boston, Philly and More Sunday

Free Flight Changes for NYC, D.C., Boston, Philly and More Sunday

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Exactly five years after Sandy made landfall in the Northeast, the area is bracing for another tropical system to wreak havoc on travel. Sustained winds of 15-25 mph aren’t expected to do much damage, but gusts up to 50 mph are likely to impact air traffic, leading to lengthy delays and cancellations.

So far, just two airlines have issued travel waivers for the area for flights Sunday. These waivers allow travelers free changes and sometimes free cancellations. If you’re flying in or out of a covered area, you may be able to rebook travel for free, including rerouting through a different connecting airport and/or changing the dates of travel.

Here are the airports that are included in at least one of the waivers so far:

2017.10.27 weather waiver airports NE

Remember, if you can’t delay your itinerary, airlines aren’t going to be responsible for paying for your meals or hotels in the case of weather-related delays/cancellations. But some top cards have flight delay/cancellation insurance that can reimburse you for weather issues, including the Citi Prestige ($500 per passenger for 3+ hour delay), the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($500 per ticket for 6+ hour or overnight delay) and Chase Sapphire Preferred ($500 per ticket for 12+ hour or overnight delay).

As of this writing, here are the travel waivers covering travel this Sunday:

American Airlines

  • Travel dates: October 29
  • Airports affected: Albany, New York (ALB); Allentown, Pennsylvania (ABE); Baltimore, Maryland (BWI); Boston, Massachusetts (BOS); Burlington, Vermont (BTV); Hartford, Connecticut (BDL); Islip, New York (ISP); Manchester, New Hampshire (MHT); New Haven, Connecticut (HVN); New York Kennedy, New York (JFK); New York LaGuardia, New York (LGA); Newark, New Jersey (EWR); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PHL); Portland, Maine (PWM); Providence, Rhode Island (PVD); Salisbury / Ocean City, Maryland (SBY); Washington Dulles, Washington D.C. (IAD); Washington Reagan, Washington D.C. (DCA); White Plains / Westchester County, New York (HPN)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by October 26
  • Rebook travel anytime between October 27-November 1
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same cabin or pay the difference.

United Airlines

  • Travel date: October 29
  • Airports covered: Baltimore, MD (BWI); Boston, MA (BOS); Hartford, CT (BDL); New York/Newark, NJ (EWR); New York-Kennedy, NY (JFK); New York-LaGuardia, NY (LGA); Philadelphia, PA (PHL); Providence, RI (PVD); Washington, DC – Dulles (IAD); Washington-National, DC (DCA); White Plains, NY (HPN)
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before November 1, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​

As the time of publication, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit and Virgin America have not issued change fee waivers.

Featured image by Jan-Stefan Knick/EyeEm via Getty Images.

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October 27, 2017 at 01:07PM