News: Wilderness Safaris opens Bisate Lodge in Rwanda

News: Wilderness Safaris opens Bisate Lodge in Rwanda

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Wilderness Safaris has celebrated the opening of Bisate Lodge, situated next to the renowned Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Comprising just six spacious forest villas, Bisate offers a luxurious base from which to enjoy an extraordinary gorilla conservation experience and life-changing journey to this beautiful region.

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July 17, 2017 at 12:18PM

3 ways for hotel revenue managers to beat the competition

3 ways for hotel revenue managers to beat the competition

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The impact of competition is the biggest headache facing revenue managers tasked with creating pricing and distribution strategies, finds EyeforTravel’s latest report – Aggregating Data Streams for More Effective Revenue Management report. In fact, half of the revenue managers surveyed said that their competitors create difficulties when trying to set their own pricing strategy. Unforeseen events are the next biggest challenge for 43.8% of respondents, followed by attribution of the sales channel.

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July 17, 2017 at 11:52AM

News: Emirates and flydubai announce extensive new partnership

News: Emirates and flydubai announce extensive new partnership

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Emirates and flydubai have unveiled an extensive partnership which will see the two Dubai-owned airlines join forces to offer customers new travel options. Both airlines will continue to be managed independently, but will leverage each other’s network to scale up their operations and accelerate growth.

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July 17, 2017 at 11:36AM

News: Kate Adie to guest speak at Mr Fogg’s Residence

News: Kate Adie to guest speak at Mr Fogg’s Residence

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This July, as part of their renowned Explorer Series, Mr Fogg will welcome illustrious war correspondent, Kate Adie, into his humble Mayfair abode, Mr Fogg’s Residence.

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July 17, 2017 at 11:07AM

News: Sabre Corporation signs partnership with Batik Air

News: Sabre Corporation signs partnership with Batik Air

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Sabre Corporation has announced the first-ever global distribution system partnership with the Lion Group full service Indonesia-based airline subsidiary, Batik Air.

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July 17, 2017 at 10:50AM

News: RCL Cruises launches AirWaves to UK travel agents

News: RCL Cruises launches AirWaves to UK travel agents

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RCL Cruises, the UK subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises, has previewed a new technology platform to agents ahead of a comprehensive trial with over 350 travel partners.

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July 17, 2017 at 10:35AM

News: UNWTO: International tourist arrivals continue to boom

News: UNWTO: International tourist arrivals continue to boom

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International tourist arrivals worldwide grew by six per cent in January-April of 2017 compared to the same period last year, with business confidence reaching its highest levels in a decade. Sustained growth in most major destinations and a steady rebound in others drove results. Prospects for May-August 2017 remain high.

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July 17, 2017 at 10:29AM

News: Acquaforte set to open at Forte Village in October

News: Acquaforte set to open at Forte Village in October

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Acquaforte will open officially on October 1st in association with the Thalasso Research Centre at Milan University.

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July 17, 2017 at 10:06AM

This Week in Fiction: Cristina Henríquez on Immigration, Detention, and Missing Names

This Week in Fiction: Cristina Henríquez on Immigration, Detention, and Missing Names

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This week’s story, “Everything Is Far from Here,” opens as a woman has
just crossed the southern border into the United States, after walking
for three weeks. Her first feeling is one of relief. When did that
opening scene first come to you?

About a year ago, I was struggling with a new novel. Every day, I would
sit in front of the computer, determined to get something done, and I
just kept running into walls. I started writing by hand because I found
that was the only way I could produce anything, even haltingly. Partly,
it was a trick. It felt less official to be doodling around in a
notebook, jotting down anything that came to mind. I remember I was
sitting alone after dinner one night and I turned to a blank page and
wrote, “On the first day, there’s a sense of relief.” I don’t know where
that sentence came from. I never know. But it held some kind of promise.
I thought, O.K., what else happens on the first day? And why relief?
What has this character been through? And what happens that night? And
the next day? In that way, it became a story about the incremental
movement through time.

She has been separated from her son along the way, after the smugglers
escorting her group separated the women from the men and boys. Did you
know from the outset that this would happen?

When I’m writing the first draft of a story, I only really know a
sentence or two ahead of where I am. It’s like walking on a trail and
you have your eyes trained downward. I can see the stone I’m standing on
and where I’m going to step next, but I can’t see the whole path or even
long stretches of it. When I started, I only knew that I had this
character—my instinct was that she was a woman—and that she had been on
an arduous journey. And yet, when it occurred to me after another
paragraph or so that she had a son, I wasn’t surprised. That she’s been
separated from him—again, I don’t know. These things take shape based on
the most minute turns of instinct.

We know only that the woman speaks Spanish and has been forced to leave
her home because of threats of violence. But we never learn her name, or
what country she’s from. Why did you want to leave those details
unspoken?

Those two things—a person’s name and where they are from—are such strong
markers of identification. I’m interested in how, when we talk about
immigrants or refugees, one of the first things we tend to ask, and
sometimes the only thing we ask, is where they are from. As if that
tells us all we need to know. But it doesn’t, of course. A person is so
much more than where they are from. As for leaving her nameless, I was
thinking about people who make these journeys—people who drown at sea,
people whose remains are found in the desert—and we almost never learn
their names. But they had stories. They had acute, painful, hopeful,
ordinary, extraordinary experiences of being in this world. Knowing a
person’s name makes them feel more real to us, but I wanted to explore
the notion that even if you take that away a person is no less real.
Human beings are human beings, inhabiting the full reality of their own
lives, no matter how much or how little anyone else knows about them.

The story is somewhat elliptical in its telling, too. You use short
scenes and have pared back most descriptions to a minimum. Why did you
choose this structure and approach?

I love compression. I love evocation. Both of which are why I love short
fiction so much. There is something powerful to me about paring the
elements of a story down to this degree—like removing the flesh and the
muscle to reveal the angularity and starkness of the bones.

The woman is held in a detention center, and time seems to stand still
as she waits and hopes that her son will arrive. The center is, by and
large, relatively safe, but the overwhelming impression is how little
anyone cares for the detainees’ particular lives or experiences. How
important was it for you to convey that?

That’s the essential tension. On the one hand, there are people arriving
at the center who desperately need help, many of whom have risked their
lives to get it. On the other hand, it’s clear once they arrive that
they’re just part of the churn. And it’s not only the staff and the
protesters outside who don’t have much sympathy for them but the other
detainees as well. You get the sense that even they are so weary or so
demoralized or so self-interested that they can hardly summon any real
compassion for each other. On my worst days, I’m fearful that this is
the essential tension of life—that there is tremendous suffering among
so many of us and yet that, for a variety of reasons, there simply isn’t
an equal amount of compassion. On my better days I think, No, no, there
is kindness. There is goodness. The inexorable truth is that all of it
exists at once.

You published a novel in 2014, “The Book of Unknown Americans,” about a
Mexican family that has moved to the United States in the hope of
helping the teen-age daughter, who has been in an accident. The family’s
story is interspersed with the testimonials of other immigrants who have
also come to the United States in search of a better life. Has your
perspective on the novel changed at all since the new Administration
came into office in January?

In a way, I suppose that book feels more necessary now, if only as a
sort of antidote to the current poison in the atmosphere. But the themes
of the book—the lives of immigrants, ideas of belonging—were no less
important to me when I wrote it than they are now.

I mean, this Administration has imperilled so much of what I believe in
that it’s hard to keep track, and on immigration they’ve been an
abomination. As far as I can tell, they are operating from a place of
panic, and they’re doing their best to spread that like a contagion to
the general population. And the horrifying thing is that it’s working!
It’s bad enough to have one person stand up and vilify or rebuke an
entire group of people, but then to have a huge portion of the
electorate buy into it? To have so many people now believe that the word
“immigrant” is equivalent to “criminal”? To have so many people accept
the spurious idea that immigrants are out to get them? That’s depressing
as hell. But it should also convince us of the power of storytelling. If
the people in power are willing to spin that narrative then those of us
who believe differently should tell another.

The story closes with the woman still in the detention center. Have you
imagined a future for her?

I never imagine a future for my characters beyond the last word. At the
end of the story, I lay the banner down, and, if readers want to, they
will pick it up and stream it out into some future that they envision.
To me, that transfer of imaginative energy is one of the most magical
things about writing.

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July 17, 2017 at 10:05AM

A Water Tower Turned Music Venue

A Water Tower Turned Music Venue

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In 1976, the composer and sound artist Bruce Odland participated in an arts festival sponsored by the Colorado Chautauqua, which presented shows across the state. Odland’s contribution was to create a sonic collage portraying each place he visited. The last stop was a town called Rangely, in northwestern Colorado, on the high desert that extends into Utah. Odland was outside one day, making recordings of ambient sounds, when a pickup truck pulled up beside him. Two burly oil workers were inside. One asked, “Are you the sound guy?” Odland nodded. “Get in,” the worker said. Odland hesitated, then complied. They drove to a sixty-five-foot-tall water tank, on a hillside on the outskirts of town. Odland was told to crawl into it, through a drainage hole. He obeyed, now feeling distinctly uneasy. The guys instructed him to turn on his equipment, and then commenced throwing rocks at the tank and banging it with two-by-fours. Odland found himself engulfed in the most extraordinary noise he had ever heard: an endlessly booming, ringing roar. It was as if he were in the belfry of an industrial cathedral.

The Tank, as everyone calls it, still looms over Rangely in rusty majesty, looking a bit like Devils Tower. Late one afternoon in June, Odland welcomed me there. He’s a wavy-haired sixty-five-year-old, with the sunny manner of an undefeated hippie idealist. In recent years, he and others have renovated the Tank, turning it into a performance venue and a recording studio; it’s now called the Tank Center for Sonic Arts, and is outfitted with a proper door. “Go on, make some noise,” Odland told me. When my eyes had adjusted to the gloom—a few portals in the roof provide shafts of light during the day—I picked up a rubber-coated hammer and banged a pipe. The sound rang on and on: the reverberation in the space lasts up to forty seconds. But it’s not a cathedral-style resonance, which dissipates in space as it travels. Instead, sound seems to hang in the air, at once diffused and enriched. The combination of a parabolic floor, a high concave roof, and cylindrical walls elicits a dense mass of overtones from even a footfall or a cough. I softly hummed a note and heard pure harmonics spiralling around me, as if I had multiplied into several people who could sing.

A few minutes later, actual singers, in the form of the nine-person vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, arrived. They had come to the Tank to make a recording and give a concert. They specialize in contemporary music, and gained notice when one of their members, the composer Caroline Shaw, won a 2013 Pulitzer Prize for her piece “Partita for 8 Voices,” which she wrote for Roomful. The ensemble exploits a wide range of sounds, from ethereal harmonies to guttural cries and yelps. That evening, the singers laid down tracks and rehearsed for the concert, which would take place the following night. They knew in advance that the Tank would favor slower-moving, more static repertory. Quick chord shifts can create momentary chaos; to compensate, Roomful’s director, Brad Wells, slowed the tempo.

During a break, I went outside and found Odland looking nervously at the sky. “The weather was supposed to be clear,” he said. “But this red blob just popped up on the radar.” As lightning flashed and the wind picked up, he and several colleagues ran around, moving audio equipment to safety. I went back in, and the door clanged shut with a Mahlerian crash. Roomful of Teeth began to sing “my heart comes undone,” by the Baltimore-based composer Judah Adashi—a rapt meditation that draws elements from Björk’s song “Unravel.” A moment later, the storm broke. Gusts buffeting the exterior created an apocalyptic bass rumble; lashes of rain sounded like a hundred snare drums. The voices bobbed on the welter of noise, sometimes disappearing into it and sometimes riding above. As Adashi’s music subsided, the storm subsided in turn. In my experience, music has never seemed closer to nature.

Rangely is dominated by the oil business: Chevron operates a major crude-oil field in the vicinity. The Tank has stood in town for decades, although no one is quite sure where it came from. On its side are the words “Rio Grande,” which signify the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, but that line never reached Rangely. The best guess is that the Tank once stood in a railroad town somewhere to the south, providing water for steam locomotives. In the nineteen-sixties, an electric-power association purchased the structure and moved it to Rangely, planning to use it to store water to fight fires. Once it arrived, however, concerns arose that the hillside underneath it might collapse under the weight of so much water. So it stood unused, its ownership passing from one person to another. Eventually, a friend of Odland’s bought it, for ten dollars. Musicians ventured inside to play and record; teen-agers used it as a spooky party pad.

Odland was born in Milwaukee in 1952, and studied composition and conducting at Northwestern University. By the mid-seventies, he had detoured into experimental techniques, electronics, and non-Western instruments. His first public installation, “Sun Song,” incorporating sounds recorded at the Tank, was broadcast from the clock tower of a Denver high school in 1977. Since the eighties, he has been based in New York, and has worked with the Wooster Group, Laurie Anderson, and Peter Sellars, among others. In 2013, he formed a group called Friends of the Tank to preserve the structure, which was in danger of being demolished. More than a hundred thousand dollars was raised through Kickstarter campaigns. A team of volunteers worked to convert the space and bring it up to code; Odland learned welding in the process.

What Odland didn’t want was to create an artsy enclave that had no connection to the community around it. “This is the anti-Marfa,” he told me, referring to the art-world mecca in Texas, which has been gentrified beyond recognition. In Rangely, locals have embraced the scheme. Urie Trucking built an access road into the site. The W. C. Striegel pipeline company supplied raw materials that can be converted into percussion instruments. Giovanni’s Italian Grill created a special Tank pizza. Rangely is a conservative town—Trump voters greatly outnumber Clinton voters—but it has welcomed the incursion of avant-gardists bearing didgeridoos, and some of the most dedicated sonic tinkerers are locals. A military veteran finds peace playing violin in the Tank.

“People feel a genuine awe,” Odland told me. “They may ascribe it to the Tank, but I ascribe it to the awakening of the ears in a predominantly visual age. Our ears get so abused on a daily basis. Our modern society makes a bad offer to them. We don’t use the hearing sense the way we evolved to, as hunter-gatherers interacting with nature. In there, you feel the sound on the skin, you feel it in your gut. What people are in awe of is their own ability to hear properly.”

The next day was the summer solstice. The weather stayed clear for that evening’s Roomful of Teeth concert, the Tank’s most ambitious event to date. The maximum occupancy is forty-nine, but the gift of a set of speakers from Meyer Sound, the wonder-working Bay Area company, allowed for a vivid exterior broadcast. Tables were set up outside, with candles and refreshments. Inside, listeners sat in chairs against the wall. The crowd was a mix of Rangelyites and out-of-town Tank supporters; one couple had driven from Austin, Texas.

I talked to Samantha Wade, who grew up down the hill. She taught herself to sing in the space, and because overtones are so pronounced there she became more accustomed to the pure intervals of the natural harmonic series than to the equal-tempered Western system. She now holds the title of Tank assistant. “It’s deeply touching to see all this happen,” Wade told me. “Somehow, I always knew it would, but to see it physically manifest is pretty incredible.”

At the concert, Roomful of Teeth was joined by several guests: the composer, playwright, and actor Rinde Eckert, who is celebrated for his 2000 Off Broadway show “And God Created Great Whales”; the composer, singer, and violist Jessica Meyer; and the composer Michael Harrison, who employs just intonation—a tuning system that follows the contours of the natural harmonic series, and is therefore perfectly suited to the Tank. Eckert began with a kind of inaugural ritual, chanting while tapping a metal bowl with his fingers. Meyer’s fierce-edged playing activated the Tank’s awe-inspiring properties. Harrison’s glacially beautiful 2015 piece “Just Constellations” made the deepest connection to the place: as luminous chords accumulated, it was difficult to tell which pitches were coming from live singers and which were coming out of the walls.

Afterward, performers and listeners mingled, consuming Giovanni’s pizzas and trading impressions. “This is exactly the sound we have always been going for,” Wells told me. “It’s like a natural microphone in there.” Jesse Lewis, a brilliant young producer who was manning the studio, was delighted. “We have more than enough for an album,” he said. “I might even be able to extract something from the storm last night—I’ve never heard anything remotely like that.”

Estelí Gomez, a soprano in Roomful of Teeth, found herself buttonholed by two young Rangely critics: Caleb Wiley, who is ten, and Zane Wiley, who is seven. Elizabeth Robinson Wiley, the boys’ mother, edits a magazine called Home on the Rangely. Caleb said, “I’ve done sounds inside the Tank, but mostly simple sounds. I’ve never heard these, um, eerie, combined, terrestrial noises.” Zane chimed in: “The first two songs were O.K. for me, then it got super-scary.” Gomez asked, “But scary can be fun, right?” The boys nodded cautiously.

Caleb went on to speculate that the Tank had become a portal for the music of aliens: “This is their own type of eerie music that we haven’t discovered yet. So you’re, like, daring yourself to stay in this alien world.” Gomez hugged him. One road to the musical future now runs through Rangely. ♦

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July 17, 2017 at 10:05AM