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Island of Lost Luggage

September 16th, 2013

If you are a frequent traveller as most international student recruiters are, you either have your stories of lost luggage or you travel in anxiety of gathering them.

Trakdot has now come up with what it proposes to remedy both dimensions.

According to its website, a small tracking device is inserted into the luggage and cellularly connected to send messages to your mobile phone as to the location of the luggage:

Trakdot™ employs newly patented micro-electronics and ground-based cellular telephone technologies to track and report its position on the ground even while inside metal containers, such as cars, hardened suitcases, and parked aircraft.

Whether the cost of the device (about $50), activation ($9), and annual subscription fee ($13) is worthwhile, might depend on your travel frequency, or perhaps as much, your lost luggage history, or anxiety.

Trakdot is a new service so it’s reliability has yet to pass a baseline of experience. But for the frequent traveller, it is a service that one ought to keep in mind.

Donuts in the desert. Tim Horton’s does Dubai.

June 13th, 2013

It’s one of the most famous names in all of Canada – Tim Horton’s. But the one-time donut and coffee shop tiny start-up, which became a Canadian stock exchange corporate powerhouse, is now reaching out across the globe. But don’t expect consumers around the world to know it’s “Made in Canada”.

“Timmy’s”, as adoring Canadians call it, had balked for years at expansion outside Canada. There was a small but unsuccessful foray into America, and a shop in Kandahar to serve Canadian troops in Afghanistan. But today, there are twenty Tim Horton’s in the United Arab Emirates with more coming. Plans call for more than two hundred stores in the Arabian gulf and Saudi Arabia. Timmy’s is going global.

So how do you sell Canadian coffee and donuts overseas ? First of all, don’t call it Canadian. Inside Tim Horton’s stores in Dubai there are large murals of the stereo-typical south American coffee-picking hombre. There’s not a single word about Canada, nor a maple leaf anywhere in sight.

Canadians take heart. It’s still the same coffee and donuts, and even if it doesn’t say “home”, it still tastes like it.

Internet cafe keyboard n Egnlsh ?

February 14th, 2013

Stuck in an internet café or with a hotel computer station with an English keyboard when you want French or Spanish when you need English?

It is important to get familiar with how to manipulate keyboard settings in different settings – yes you may be an inveterate Mac user, but when stuck in a Windows environment, can you survive and even thrive? One option to fall back upon is offered by the folks at Gate2home.

This site is splendid for its ease of use and its extraordinary gamut of languages. So, when your friend connects with you in Amharic, Turkish or Georgian, answering back in the same language is now an easy click away (you still need to know how to read and write in the other language, failing that, it’s back to Google Translate to help you blunder through in reply).


Duty Free, maybe – but scam free ?

October 23rd, 2012

It’s one of the most famous advertisements ever -”Don’t leave home without it” – but it seems not to apply to those wishing to purchase goods at New Delhi’s Airport Duty Free shops. It appears far more than anecdotal evidence what happens if you want to buy liquor, cigarettes, perfumes, etc upon arriving at India’s capital city’s gleaming new modern airport. Sure, there are plenty of folks waiting to help you pick out your bottles or boxes, but when you get to the cash to pay, and hand them your plastic – oops – it seems the machine can’t read your card. Relax. It’s not that your Visa, Mastercard or AMEX is not going to work while in India. Yes, you can still pay for your hotel rooms with credit. But at the Delhi Duty Free, credit cards won’t work. Strange ? Can you say “cash business” ?

More sad stories on India’s Jet Airways

October 16th, 2012

The once proud and quality airline continues to fall from its former blue skies of profits and positive public relations. How about the story of a Saint Mary’s University professor who lost his bag in transit and Jet Airways sent it to Bombay, Dhaka and then to Delhi. They refused to deliver it to his New Delhi hotel and insisted he come in the middle of the night to pick it up. The problem is, he was not allowed inside the Delhi airport, since he’s not a passenger. Five hours later (it already had been three days) he finally emerged with his bag, and a commitment like so many now – to never fly Jet again.

Flying in India? Up in the air.

March 12th, 2012

Once India’s two great success stories in the air – Jet and Kingfisher airlines – are in deep trouble. The private airlines are in debt, planes are grounded, pilots leaving – and with a myriad of flight cancellations, Indian air travel is resembling its ground transport – unreliable. If you going to India, check your schedule carefully. You may wish to build in additional time in case of delays or cancellations. Also consider two of the private upstart airlines which are doing fairly well: SpiceJet and Indigo.

Flying in India ? Pack light !

January 31st, 2012

India’s airline industry – once soaring at unprecedented heights – is crashing. They are running out of money. The public airlines have always been weighted down with huge overheads and poor staff. Now the once proud private airlines are so cash-strapped, they are begging the Indian government for bailouts. While they wait cap in hand, they are charging passengers for even a kilo in overweight baggage, trying to raise every rupee they can.

Warning !! Bitten at Taj hotel Hyderabad

December 14th, 2011

The hotel denied it, claiming it was “rust spots” on its mattress, but there can be no mistaking the damage done by bed bugs at the Taj Krishna in Hyderabad. The hotel hosted a recent global MBA Fair, and one Managing Director of a leading MBA program in Canada had the most nasty encounter with bed bugs, an experience no one ever wants, let alone to get it from a five-star hotel !

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