Travel Newsstand for May 10-24, 2018
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Read all about it! We've all come to look for America--and Paul Simon. The new airport in Islamabad cost $1 billion but has had some missing pieces. There's never love lost when we're talking about Dallas airports. Famous chefs design airline menus. Best and worst railroad stations in Britain. A French town with no street names. And much more.
We've All Come to Look for America--and Paul Simon
It is difficult to overestimate Paul Simon's continuing impact on the American psyche and our lives on the road. Simon's breakout song, 1964's The Sound of Silence, was most recently a huge hit for the heavy-metal band Disturbed and a live television performance has garnered more than 77 million YouTube views. His moody and reflective 1972 song, America, was the anthem of Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign. Volkswagen even used America last year as the theme of an endearing, 90-second commercial about a cross-country family road trip. But what of Simon himself, the self-described "rock," "island," and, most memorably, "poor boy [whose] story's seldom told?" Former Los Angeles Times popular music critic Robert Hilburn has penned an authorized biography. Released this week, the book pierces Simon's "series of mysterious personae," says The Wall Street Journal. However, The Washington Post disagrees, saying Simon reveals nothing unexpected. For his part, Hilburn tells his former paper that Simon is "so focused" and "so into" his own musical world that he often comes across as a surly, somber churl. And an excerpt of Paul Simon--The Life, published in London's Daily Mail, reveals an often-depressed artist obsessed with his short physical stature and fed up with his on-again/off-again musical collaboration with childhood friend Art Garfunkel. Or maybe we should admit we don't know nothin' about nothin' about Simon, call him Al and go bouncing into Graceland.
A Billion-Dollar Airport and Plenty of Problems in Pakistan
New airports are important, right? And new airports in global capitals are even more impactful and significant, right? Then there is Islamabad, the woebegone capital of Pakistan. The ramshackle old airport, Benazir Bhutto International, was small, shared space with the military, had no boarding bridges and was simply unworthy of even a developing nation. Pakistan has solved the problem. Sorta. The new Islamabad International opened last week and ran smack into controversy. Opening was delayed because there was no drinking water or restrooms. There's still no bus service for passengers. Even when the access road opens to allow buses to reach the facility, 25 miles from the center of Islamabad, the state-run mass transit system does not want to run the buses. Since the airport opened, security forces already have recovered bullets, a cache of 200 capsules filled with heroin and kilograms of contraband. Meanwhile, The Washington Post notes "it gleams, it glistens, it positively glows." Yet the $1 billion facility in rural Punjab province was delayed for years and came in at double the budgeted price. And no one knows if the airport will help restore the nation's image--or when it will ever attract enough traffic to justify its current capacity of 9 million passengers.
Never Any Love Lost in Dallas When It Comes to Airports
Legend Airlines was never more than a curious footnote in the long, convoluted and litigious history of the airports in and around Dallas and Fort Worth. Launched in April, 2000, after three years of legal fights, Legend flew from Love Field to several big cities with DC-9s configured with 56 seats. (It needed the light loads to circumvent the bizarre Wright Amendment that once restricted airlines flying into or out of Love.) Legend lasted just eight months, brought down by the pre-9/11 recession and the predatory behavior of American Airlines. Yet the Dallas News reports this week the lawsuits are still flying. At issue? Whether the now-demolished Legend terminal at Love has any value, and if so, how much compensation should terminal owners be paid. By the way, I got so bored covering the ridiculous, multi-generational claims about Love Field, Dallas/Fort Worth and the Wright Amendment that I once fantasized about how and why DFW should be closed and Love Field retained as Dallas' primary airport. Neither American Airlines nor Southwest Airlines were amused--which I took as a compliment.
Tight Connections ...
Stationary Targets The best and worst rail stations in Britain? The best, according to an independent watchdog group, are the newly renovated stations such as London's King's Cross and St Pancras and Birmingham's New Street. Worst? Glasgow's Queen Street and the station serving Gatwick Airport.
What's in a Name? The medieval French village of Sarlat in Dordogne has never had street names. The anonymous nature of the narrow, cobbled alleys has never bothered the 10,000 residents or the postmen who somehow deliver mail. But French telecom companies say no street names, no high-speed Internet. So about 220 streets in Sarlat will get an official designation by the end of the month.
Flights of (Food) Fancy Stories about airline food are inherently dumb. As comedian David Brenner once said: You don't go to a diner for a flight, so why ask airlines to feed you? But the only thing dumber than a story about airline food is a puff piece about famous chefs who design airline menus. No matter how hard a chef tries, the food never comes out looking or tasting like the creation they conceived in a test kitchen. -- Joe Brancatelli
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