Future Travel: LA to NYC In 45 Minutes By Tube!

Ever since people in covered wagons took six months to make it from the East Coast to California, they’ve been trying to make the journey a bit shorter. By train, the schedule is about 40 hours. Today, by passenger jet, it takes about four hours.

Now, a company named ET3 predicts that within a few decades, a way to do it by an underground vacuum tube system will take you coast-to-coast in just 3/4 of an hour! ET3 calls it the Evacuated Tube Transport, a 4,000 MPH train that’s blasted through by magnetic levitation.

The whole concept sounds like something a magician would conjure in a stage act, or a super big one of those old department store message suction tubes. The ET passenger system would be made up of a line of six-person capsules in rows within the tunnel vehicle.

Even more ambitious, when the tubes can be constructed to extend under oceans, a trip from California to China could happen in just two hours, and even less from New York to London! When it becomes an entire world network of tubes, it will certainly revolutionize long-distance transportation, as well as shipping, as never before.

Can you imagine telling your family you’re tubing to Beijing for Sunday brunch, and will be back home in time for dinner? And then tubing for a midnight snack in London?

Destination: Oriental treasures PDF Print E-mail

Hong Kong harbor

At the airport: Welcome home and hug a returning GI PDF Print E-mail

Soldiers with flag

Did you see the recent CNN video report about the hug lady in her hometown airport? She greets GIs returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with welcome words and some old-fashioned hugging. Also,when family members are there to welcome their GI home, she offers to take welcome home group photos with their cameras.

Although my Navy days are many decades behind me, I had a similar experience just a month ago. We were at San Diego airport, and I was standing outside a store waiting for my wife. A very pretty young girl came up, hugged me and said, “Thank you for your service to our country!”

While I was pleased with such sudden and lovely affection, at first I couldn’t figure how this girl knew I had served. Then I remembered. I was wearing a recent gift from my showbiz daughter. On a USO trip to perform for the troops in Iraq last year, she had brought back a present for me. It was a Navy blue cap with the words U.S. Navy and a CPO anchor symbol on it.

Next time you’re running through a busy airport and see a GI gal or guy in camo or regular uniform, take a few seconds to thank that admirable symbol of American freedom for service to our nation. A friendly hug could making your warm welcome even warmer.

Arctic Norway: Baby seal smiles for the camera PDF Print E-mail

Photographer and baby seal

Welcome to modern China and new capitalism PDF Print E-mail

Shanghai at night

Will China become the next combination of New York, Miami, Beverly Hills and Las Vegas? Major hotels, including Marriott and Hilton chains, are developing a string of literally hundreds of glitzy hotels throughout the nation.

Despite the recession in the United States and Europe, China’s economy is booming and the world’s largest nation is fast becoming the world’s richest.

The success of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, enormous growth of their world trade and significant upturn of tourism, have all added to the building hotel boom. Visitors to the two glitziest cities in China, Shanghai and Hong Kong, can see by the brightly-dressed people and modern skyscrapers that business and pleasure are booming. 

It seems the Chinese have finally dumped Communism and embraced capitalism. These days, instead of waving their little red Mao books, they’re waving their checkbooks.

For more information about visiting China, go to www.tourismchina.org and check out schedules and promotions with your favorite hometown and online travel agency.

Your fault you missed the boat? Don't expect cruise line to help PDF Print E-mail

Missed cruise

We love cruises and sail often. On every trip we’ve made, the ship’s crew always worked hard to please passengers, the prices were right and the food excellent. Entertainment was always first class, and the the cabin accommodations great. However, be aware that there’s one thing the cruise lines will not do to accommodate you.

If you miss your departure at home port or at any stop along the way for any reason that is out of control of the ship's sailings, the cruise line will not accept responsibility. They have tight schedules, and unless they’re delayed, they won’t refund your cruise fare if a taxi is late delivering you to the dock before sailing.   

Additionally, even if you miss your cruise because your airline screwed up, that's not the cruise line's problem. Ditto if your dog eats your ticket, your house burns down or any other combination of disasters happen to you.

Most simply put, if you sign up for a cruise, buy insurance. It won’t help you if you miss the sailing and you’re stranded in Acapulco or Athens, but at least you’ll get a refund and/or free passage on a future trip. Insurance costs from $50 to $150 per person per cruise, and worth the investment, because Murphy 's Law never takes a holiday.


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