Best Blogs of the Week & What in the World?

Tuesday
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Best Blogs of the Week

I read a lot of travel blogs every week. Every day, even. Since I’m constantly coming across good reads, I’ve decided to highlight some of the best and most interesting posts, photos, videos and general blogging gems from all over the web that I’ve discovered in the past week.

Though I try to read a diverse sampling of things, there’s no way that I can possibly get to it all. So, if you have an interesting post that you’d like me to check out and consider for next week, please let me know in the comments! Who knows? Maybe I’ll fall in love with it. At the very least, I’ll leave you my two cents in a comment.

What I’m Reading

City Spotlight — Brasov, Romania at Traveling Canucks

If you read my post last week about the 5 Places I Want to Visit that Mom and Dad Don’t Know About, then you know that Romania is pretty high up on my list. Brasov is a city I’ve heard a lot about, and so this post from Nicole and Cameron really caught my interest. Their photos are great, and reading this only doubles me desire to go there!

Travel Photography Ethics — When Shouldn’t You Take That Photo? at Chicky Bus

The issue of ethics when it comes to travel photography is an age-old one. There’s always debate going on about it, and it is therefore always a relevant topic. I like how Lisa approached this post, offering up different scenarios and asking if/when it would be appropriate to take a photo. She adds an interesting question at the end — does it matter who you are? Does a traveler have a different ethical code than a photojournalist? Food for thought.

Confronting Fears Abroad at Over Yonderlust

Erica admits that she’s afraid of a lot of things — a lot of things that perhaps travelers aren’t supposed to be afraid of. Needles… heights… bugs… But she realizes she’s going to have to face most (if not all) of these fears once she and Shaun set off on their RTW adventure. As far as I’m concerned, fears are natural. In fact, I think facing fears and overcoming them is part of what makes travel so rewarding. If there were no challenges to traveling, would it still be any fun?

5 Reasons I’m Leaving the Country to Travel at Caroline in the City

Some may call her crazy, but I say anyone who does is just a hater who should be ignored. Caroline is about to move to Australia, and uses this post to explain some of the reasons why right now is the right time for her to travel. Pretty inspiring stuff! I think Caroline is going to do some great things and have some great adventures Down Under.

Tips For Travelers From Travelers (part 1) and (part 2) at Travelocafe

We all love a good, advice-filled travel post, right? Laura decided to contact a bunch of bloggers to ask them to share some of their best travel tips, as well as what their travel plans are for the coming year. I like posts like this. And the fact that I’m featured in the second post doesn’t hurt, either!

What in the World?

Here’s a brief peek at what’s going on around the world this week:

Africa

On Friday, Tunisia‘s president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country for Saudi Arabia after a month of protests over unemployment and corruption that have so far left 78 civilians dead. Ben Ali had ruled the North African country for 23 years under what was basically one-party rule. On Monday, Tunisia took a step toward democracy, promising to release political prisoners and open its government to opposition parties that have long been shut out of power. But the old guard held onto key posts, angering protesters. Tourists stranded in Tunisia were still being evacuated on Monday.

The catalyst for the wave of protests in Tunisia was a 26-year-old unemployed man who set himself on fire last month. On Monday, protesters in Egypt, Mauritania and Algeria also set themselves on fire, in apparent copycat self-immolation attempts inspired by the act that helped trigger the uprising in Tunisia. The incidents, while isolated, reflect the growing despair among the public of many Arab regimes that are resisting reform.

Wal-Mart, on its quest to world domination, is well on its way to entering into Africa. Shareholders of South Africa‘s Massmart chain accepted Wal-Mart’s bid to buy 51 percent of their company, paving the way for Wal-Mart’s entry into the African continent.

The Caribbean

As Haiti tries to sort out its political crisis, a cholera epidemic, and the troubled recovery from a devastating earthquake, another wrench was thrown into the machine over the weekend when ex-dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier returned to the country. His return after nearly 25 years of forced exile was a complete surprise, leaving many to wonder if the once-feared dictator will prompt renewed conflict in the midst of a political stalemate. While many of the young in Haiti have no memory of his brutal regime, others fear that Duvalier’s return will bring back the extreme polarization and political violence of Haiti’s past.

Australia

Poor Australia is still soggy and flooding. The floods have now reached into the state of Victoria, and the death toll from Queenstown’s disaster stands at 30. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said this could be the country’s most expensive natural disaster ever.

The U.S.

In Arizona, Rep. Gabby Giffords is showing great signs of progress in her recovery after being shot in the head on Jan. 8 at a political event in Tucson. The congresswoman can move her arms and legs, and was taken off a ventilator over the weekend. Her husband said she smiled at him and gave him a neck rub, which doctors say is a good sign that she recognizes him. It still remains to be seen whether Giffords will be able to speak, as well as how long a road to recovery she has ahead of her.

Cruise News

Owing to Mexico‘s current reputation for harboring a lot of drug-related violence, big cruise lines are seeing a fading interest in cruises south of the border. Some of the industry’s largest cruise providors are pulling ships from California ports and giving them new home bases. The 2500-passenger Carnival Spirit is leaving San Diego and moving to Australia by April 2012. Royal Caribbean’s 3100-passenger Mariner of the Seas is abandoning the Port of Los Angeles and moving to Galveston, Texas. And the 2,348-passenger Norwegian Star will leave LA in May, bound for Tampa, Florida. In San Diego alone, where the Carnival Spirit took more than 60,000 passengers per year to destinations along the Mexican Riviera, the local economy stands to lose about $54 million a year when the ship leaves. The Port of Los Angeles will see about half its business sail away.

Ridiculous News of the Week

Starbucks lovers, rejoice! The popular coffee chain is rolling out a new, bigger cup. Called the Trenta, the cup will hold 31 ounces of iced beverages like coffee, tea and lemonade. Yup, that’s almost a quart’s worth of liquid, people. Drink up.

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Do you have a blog post you’d like me to consider for inclusion in Best Blogs of the Week for next week? Tell me about it in the comments!

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