Featured Post

Monday, June 29, 2015

Laura Hits the New York Times

Well, well, well. I opened my New York Times on June 18 and discovered that my January CNN article on the prospects for tourism to Russia in 2015 served as the inspiration for this update. In fact, the NYT story starts off by quoting little ol' me.

If you can't read the fine print below, here's a link to the  New York Times supplement containing the story. It's on page 4.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Curio about Moxy, Vib and Other New Hotel Brands?

Here's my most recent story about the wacky monikers hotel companies are giving their new brands these days. Lodging Magazine even featured me on its June author bio page!

If you want to read the magazine on-line, visit www.lodgingmagazine.com. My article is on pages 20 and 21.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The collection of international Monopoly games has grown to 36 (32 different countries) since I last wrote about it. So, I thought I'd roll the dice and update the list, with a few explanatory notes in parentheses. Hope you don't get 'board'.

Those marked (Gift) were bought for me by lovely friends. I welcome other such (Gifts) anytime. But please note,  I only
collect national versions of Monopoly. No Star Wars-opoly or Sports-opoly or Metropolis-opoly, please. 

Most of my games are called Monopoly, or the translated version thereof. For example, the Italian game is Monopoli, while the Russian version is монополия. Unlicensed versions usually sport different names, such as Cambopoly or Property. But several knock-offs, particularly those purchased from Eastern European countries between 1989 and1999, have the official name, but not the official imprimatur of Hasbro.

1.     Argentina (Gift)
2.     Australia.     
3.     Austria
4.     Belgium
5a.   Brazil (Gift)
5b.   Brazil (Monopoly Junior)

Instead of Go to Jail, Cambopoly has a 
Go to Medical Clinic space. 
Coincidentally,  I bought this game immediately after 
being released from the
International SOSMedical Clinic
 in Phnom Penh,
6a.   Cambodia    (Cambopoly)
6b.   Cambodia    (Siem Reap/Property)
7.     Canada
8.     Denmark
9.     England
The game that started it all.
I bought the English version of
Monopoly while in graduate school there.

10.   Estonia
11.   France
12.   Germany
13.   Hungary
14.   Iceland (Island-opoly)
15.   Ireland
16.   Israel
17.   Italy
Italy's Monopoli, purchased
in the 1980s, used to have painted
wooden tokens including a candlestick and
a bottle of chianti.
Come romantico!

18.   Japan (Gift)
19a. Jordan (Mickey Mouse in Arabic version)  
19b. Jordan (Wild/National Park version)
20.   Lithuania
21.   The Netherlands
22.   New Zealand
23.   Poland (purchased for $1 in September, 1989)
24a. Romania (US caricature version)
24b. Romania (Bucharest version)

Note the caricatures of
U.S. presidents on the money of
this Romanian game.

25a. Russia
25b. Russia (travel size)

I couldn't find a Georgian game
in Tbilisi, so I had to settle
for purchasing a second
 Russian  монополия,  this one travel size.

26.   Singapore
27.   South Africa (purchased in Namibia)
28.   Sweden
29.   Switzerland
30.   Tunisia (bought in a Moroccan souk; realized it was from 
        Tunisia after getting home) 
31.   Turkey
32.   Yugoslavia (purchased in Dubrovnik, September, 1989)

Italic type indicates countries to which I have not traveled.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Nine Images...and a Radio Segment....Vietnam and Cambodia

Here's my recent Around the World Radio coverage of an AMAzing adventure on an AMAWaterways river cruise through Cambodia and Vietnam. Go to the May 28 show in the archives and play Track 4 for the entire segment.

Angkor Wat at dawn

The peaceful shot belies Cambodia's bloody past.

A Cambodian floating village

Everyday life on a Cambodian river


I was in Saigon, aka Ho Chi Minh City,
on the day of the 40th anniversary of
the reunification of Vietnam.

The next generation waves the red
flag, albeit without a lot of gusto.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam is a UNESCO
World  Heritage Site.

Sunset Ha Long Bay

More pictures are on display in an archive of the live stream of the May 28 show. It's available at http://www.atw.tv/ivideos.jsp. Go about 37 minutes into the show to catch the ten-minute segment. The images don't always match up with what I am saying, but you'll get the picture.