Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa – Photo by:Besir OZ

The Flight Deck

Our weekly travel dispatch from the Internet Wasteland


History Retold: They say that history is written by the victors (the same “they” that DJ Khaled talks about?). Sometimes, the story is more complicated than that:

“Even in the 1980s, it was a phrase that Christine Jerian Kharmandalian, a first-generation Armenian-American who comes from a family of genocide survivors, frequently heard growing up in the suburbs of Chicago. Her visits to a neighbor’s house always began with her friend’s dad turning to his wife and saying, “The starving Armenians are here! Make them a bologna sandwich.”

“I remember going home to ask my mom, ‘What does this mean?’” she says. For Kharmandalian, it was a confusing characterization. Far from buying processed slices of meat, and far from starving, her mother, both a home cook and a caterer, was preparing time-consuming delicacies from scratch, like basterma, a heavily spiced and air-cured beef Armenians were famed for in the “old country.” Taster: Rewriting the Story of the Starving Armenian

Tourist Sheep: Once in awhile, someone gets fed up. Fed up of the system, fed up of what they see in the world, and fed up enough to say something. Today, that man is Simon Parker. And he’s fed up of what he calls, tourist sheep. While P&T doesn’t necessarily agree with all his points, the sentiment is important. Travel should not be for the hashtags, or just because the picture would look great on your Instagram. Travel does not have to result in some radical changes to your “spirituality” or automatically change the way you see the world. Travel should be whatever YOU make it, free from the stereotypes of every single person that has traveled the path before you. So figure out what travel means to you, and find happiness in the means, not the ends of travel, even if those means don’t include hashtags. Telegraph: The social media echo chamber has created a generation of tourist sheep

A New Hope: “A celebration of local cuisine is sorely missing in South Africa. According to data collected by tourism agency Explore Sideways in 2017, South Africa’s food tourism industry has experienced steady growth over the last three years. Yet local cuisine is conspicuously absent. In tourism hotspots like Cape Town you can find representations of food culture from all around the globe, but with the exception of some Cape Malay offerings and one or two township restaurants, nothing quintessentially local. You’re also more likely to find food from Ethiopia or Senegal in cities around the world than South African-themed spots.

“If I say ‘South African cuisine,’ everyone nods, but nobody has a clue what that is!” says chef and entrepreneur Miles Khubeka, speaking at a panel with Mqwebu in Johannesburg recently. “There are nine provinces and 11 official languages. [But] what is official, as a South African cuisine?” In terms of the food scene, the world seems to oscillate between the competing commercial interests which regard international cuisines as the pinnacle of fine dining, and local food, which strikes at the heart of what many travelers are now searching for in an experience. Enter South Africa, a country built on the heritage of many people from around the world. But what food is distinctly South African? And does it deserve a shot on the world stage? Quartz: South Africa’s young chefs are trying to revive a food culture decimated by apartheid

The Man Who Hiked it All: Backpacker: Photographer Bart Smith, 58, has hiked nearly every mile of every National Scenic and National Historic Trail designated under the National Trails System Act. We caught up with him before his latest outing—a 3,700-mile trip on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail—to talk about the hiker mind, trail magic, and seeing the elephant.


The Business of Travel

Go Go Gadget: Casper is entering the world of travel! Well… sort of.  Basically, the company wants you to sleep better. And where do you sleep the worst? When you’re on travelling (some would even say on a plane or a train). So they’ve designed a pillow with that in mind. We aren’t in the recommendation business, but we are sending you the link for you to see for yourself (and hopefully gain some valuable hours on that overnight train to Moscow)

+Casper is also teaming up with American Airlines, initially for Premium Economy and up passengers slated in December

93 and Me: “The Highland and Islands Transport Partnership, or Hitrans, is considering creating a new “Scottish Islands Passport”, which would create a guide to the islands where travellers would earn a stamp for each island that they visit. The plan is inspired by Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, a route that takes travellers along the gorgeous and rugged coastline and has a similar passport on offer.” Scotland is experimenting, and, in what it hopes to be one of its best experiments, it wants travelers to experience “the country’s 93 inhabited islands”. Lonely Planet: Would you visit all of Scotland’s 93 inhabited islands?

Blah Blah Blah Internet of Things: In our semi-regular post of the travel industry using buzzwords to market their latest attempt at innovating, we have this entry: Can digital transformation make air travel easier?


Ready. Set. Watch

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If you have stories about tourist sheep, fluffy travel pillows or island hopping, feel free to forward them to info@planesplustrains.com. If you are a blogger, vlogger or even a jogger and you want us to highlight your content in further dispatches, feel free to send us a message as well.

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