If you’ve kept abreast of the news this week, you’ll know it’s been full of twists and turns. We leave you with this photo of the top of Lombard Street in San Francisco, California, in the hopes that things can straighten out a bit sometime soon.
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The political instability in Egypt is taking a heavy toll on the country’s ancient heritage.
Thieves have taken advantage of the chaotic situation to steal artifacts to sell on the illegal antiquities market, while vandals have been satisfied with simply destroying them.
Both groups recently struck at a museum in Mallawi, about 190 miles south of Cairo. When supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi held a protest in the museum’s garden, thieves took advantage of the police being distracted to break in and steal more than a thousand artifacts. When vandals saw the museum was open and unguarded, they rushed in and smashed up the place.
National Geographic has published some sobering pictures of the destruction. The museum has put up a Facebook page detailing what has been stolen in the hope that it will make it harder for the thieves to sell the artifacts.
Looting has been reported at numerous museums and archaeological sites around the country. Instability and lack of income from tourism also means many archaeological sites are suffering from neglect. There may be a political motivation for some of the thefts. Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram quotes Mokhtar Al-Kasabani, professor of Islamic Archaeology at Cairo University, as saying the thefts are to raise money for the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya. The Muslim Brotherhood is Morsi’s party, and Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya (Islamic Group) was allied with him when he was in power.
Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya claimed responsibility for a 1997 terrorist attack in Luxor that killed 62 people, mostly tourists. So it appears fundamentalists are destroying Egypt’s past in order to raise money to endanger its future.
Travel Win: Arkansas and Michael Dettlaff
Dettlaff, a 12-year old boy who was vacationing in Arkansas with his family, found a 5-carat diamond while exploring Crater of Diamonds State Park. Actually, it was 5.16-carats, if you want to get technical. What does that mean? Mining.com estimates this diamond could be worth $12,000 to $15,000, and the park allows visitors to keep whatever diamonds they find.
So young Dettlaff takes the cake for vacation win this week, though we have a feeling that Arkansas’ tourism numbers are also going to enjoy a nice little boost from this one as well.
Travel Fail: American Airlines and US Airways
Well that was a surprise. The merger between American Airlines and US Airways was challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice and a few states this week, causing the brakes to screech to a halt on the airline industry’s newest mega-consolidation.
This merger was going to be the solution to American Airlines’ bankruptcy issues, and was central to US Airways’ strategy for the coming years. Now it might be back to the drawing board.
Hanging out at Legoland might seem like child’s play (pun intended), but as with anything, there are some things to avoid. For example:
1. Building child-inappropriate structures.
2. Eating legos.
3. Stealing legos.
4. Pretending your an evil child-eating lego monster.
5. Getting the Lego pirates drunk.
6. Getting in a massive brawl while standing in line.
Obvious right? Maybe not. Last weekend at at Legoland Windsor in England a fight broke out between families. People yelled, punches were thrown and the families eventually were kicked out and banned for life. The reason? One onlooker said it might just have been because they were sick of standing in line.
Agitated because you’ve been standing in line for too long? Go buy another cotton candy instead of throwing a fit. Lesson learned.
After a training exercise went wrong, two U.S. fighter jets dropped four bombs into Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Thankfully, the bombs were unarmed. Although military officials are maintaining the 2,000-pound projectiles were dropped approximately 164 feet away from coral to “minimize possible damage to the reef,” the news is alarming considering just a few weeks ago the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) debated adding the Great Barrier Reef to its list of endangered sites. Perhaps the bombs will show up on a later version of Google Street View, which is now mapping marine life.