Frommer’s lists Top Destinations for 2010

Frommer’s has just released their list of what they think will be the top destinations for 2010. Culled from the suggestions of industry insiders and readers, the list covers every continent, meandering from India to Hawaii, Argentina to Vietnam. Along with listing each place, Frommer’s has also given reasons why each one should be on your list of destinations for the coming year.

How accurate is the list? Last year, the top destinations predicted for 2009 included Washington, DC; Cartagena, Colombia; Istanbul; Cape Town; and Berlin, all of which were popular with tourists, as they have been for several years. Including Berlin may have been a no-brainer. As the 20th anniversary of the falling of the Berlin Wall took place this year, of course the city would be well-visited. Other locations predicted to be hotspots have remained in relative obscurity. How many people do you know who went to Waiheke Island (New Zealand) or followed the Civil Rights Trail in Alabama?

2010’s list will probably be equally hit and miss when it comes to predicting the hot spots for the year. Included on the list is the Big Island of Hawaii, which I recently visited. Frommer’s says the Big Island has everything you need but still retains an untouched feel, and I completely agree.

But other destinations might not rise to the top of many travelers’ lists. Frommer’s says Mexico City will be big in 2010, but unfortunately the city may still suffer from the after-effects of swine flu paranoia. Cuba, another location on the list, isn’t open to Americans yet, but may see an increase in tourists from other countries. And lesser-known destinations, like Kerala, India; Tunisia; and the Isles of Scilly in England may see a boost in tourism thanks to the publicity they receive from the list.

** Be sure to check out Gadling’s picks for the top adventure destinations for 2010. **



Photo of the Day (11.14.09)

Nothing makes a more beautiful photo than rolling sand dunes at sunset. Having recently experienced the tranquil oasis of Huacachina in Peru, I now fully appreciate the dry, natural beauty of the world’s deserts.

This particular photo was taken in Tunisia but expert photographer kellinasf. The warm colors and grooved textures of the sand contrast so well with the cool blue sky. The grooved dune side in the left shadow also adds to the photo’s richness, don’t you think?

If you have some great travel shots you’d like to share, be sure to upload them to the Gadling pool on Flickr. We might just pick one as our Photo of the Day!

Tunisian pilot who prayed while crash landing a plane gets 10 years in jail

If I were a pilot landing a plane after the engines had conked out on me, I might pray. That doesn’t mean I’d take my hands off the controls and stop doing my part to aim for a safe landing, but perhaps there would be words beseeching a power bigger than myself for a dose of divine intervention. It couldn’t hurt. Right?

For the Tunisian pilot I read about in the, uttering a prayer out loud got him in hot water when his case went to court. Back in 2005, he crash-landed a Franco-Italian ATR 72 charter plane into the Mediterranean off the coast of Sicily after the engine stopped working because the wrong fuel gauge had been mistakenly installed by a mechanic. The fuel gauge was too small, thus the plane didn’t have enough fuel. As a piece of information to keep in mind, the smaller gauge looked the same as the larger gauge.

At the time of the crash, the pilot was considered a hero since everyone on board didn’t die. Twenty-three people survived. After the investigation and trial, the tides have turned. The Italian court has decided that the pilot should have tried to glide the plane to Palermo. The court thinks that if he had done this, the 16 who died would not have. His prayers meant that he stopped doing his job correctly.

I guess these people didn’t hear about the US Airways plane crash landing on the Hudson River after the pilot was told to try to make it to an airport. What’s intriguing about this latest case is that the Tunisian pilot is Muslim. Calling out to Allah doesn’t seem to translate all that well in Italian court.

The co-pilot, mechanic and other airline executives are also going to jail. The charges include manslaughter.

These women were NOT praying — though they did cause problems in the air. Click the images to find out what they did.

The Secret of Grain: An initmate look at Tunisian immigrants in France.

Here’s a heads up on a movie that one might easily miss. It most probably didn’t show up at a theater near you, unless you happen to live in a cosmopolitan city with an art house movie theater.

Last night I saw the 2007 film The Secret of Grain at a kick off reception for the Cleveland International Film Festival, and was transported to the immigrant community of Tunisians living in France.

This is a film filled with food, pathos and everyday life filled with the mundane and complexities. The camera comes in close to the subjects bringing the audience into scenes that are messy at times, exuberant, and sometimes devastating.

The dialog does a wonderful job of showing the interplay between immigrants and people who are native to a country–in this case France. It also shows how rough life can be, but how alike families are no matter which culture is influencing them.

The interplay between cultures as people move from their countries to make another country home makes for intriguing stories.

In a way, the story of The Secret of Grain reminds me of The Full Monty where the main character is fighting to stay afloat in fairly inhospitable circumstances. However, there’s a difference between the two. The Full Monty left me crowing with delight. The Secret of Grain left me wondering why life is so darned difficult due to no fault of one’s own.

One of the most valuable aspects of the film is that it shows a different angle of being Muslim. The more versions of stories we can see where the characters are Muslim, the more full and realistic the picture. The religion is an element of the story, but it’s not the story. Here’s a review by A.O Scott from The NY Times. By the way, The Secret of Grain is not showing at the festival, but it indicates the breadth of the types of films one might see and points to why festivals are important. Without festivals, where would such gems be seen?