New Border Crossing Rules Begin Jan. 31st


Beginning today, travelers crossing into the United States via land will be required to show identification documentation. Also effective January 31, 2008, U.S. and Canadian citizen children ages 18 and under will be expected to present a birth certificate issued by a federal, state, provincial, county or municipal authority. The Dept. of Homeland Security website includes an FAQ for travelers.

Calm Traffic = Cool City

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There are a lot of factors that make a city cool and pedestrian-friendly streets and neighborhoods is one of them. The public is invited to the City of Ann Arbor's annual Traffic Calming Informational Session on Wednesday, January 30, 2008, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall. Engineers, police and traffic consultants will be on hand to discuss the city's 10-step process to initiate traffic-calming procedures on streets in Tree Town. You can review the Traffic Calming Guidebook online or at the Downtown Branch Library.

Girl at Sea...romance, mystery and Italy!

Despite the semi-hoochie book cover this is a smart, thoughtful, adventurous tale about a 17 year old girl named Clio, on a whirlwind summer mystery trip with her eccentric father on a yacht in Italy. The cast of characters includes her dad's girlfriend, Julia an English researcher on a mysterious archealogical dive, her bubbly daughter, Elsa and Julia's very cute research assistant, Aidan. A centuries old mystery about a sunken ship, Pompeii, scuba diving, art supplies, jellyfish and tattoos all figure in this quirky good book. Maureen Johnson has done it again with Girl at Sea.

Explorers on the Moon

You thought Neil and Buzz were the first Explorers on the Moon? Actually, Tintin, his dog Snowy, Captain Haddock, and Professor Calculus made it there first. They're up to their same antics as they explore the moon and save the secrets of Syldavia's state of the art technology from espionage. Rumor has it that Steven Spielberg is teaming up with Peter Jackson for a Tintin movie to be released in 2009.

Want more moon exploration info? Apollo Mission documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, with never before seen footage, is now playing at the State Theater!

Canadian money - Not just for Monopoly anymore

Ever made fun of that weird-colored Canadian money? If you have, Canadians may be getting the last laugh. Yesterday, the loonie was worth as much as a U.S. dollar.

What does this mean for you? Well, if you're Canadian, it means that U.S. stuff is a lot cheaper. If you're from the United States and want some Canadian swag, though, you might not be so happy. It might even mean that Big Macs in Canada won't seem as cheap anymore.

Still wondering why you should care about Canadian money? Why not check out some of these books on exchange rates and other numbers economists worry about? Of course, maybe you'd just rather plan your next Canadian vacation, even if the prices are a bit higher.

Travel Europe with Rick Steves

Rick Steves could be considered a travel guru. He publishes travel guides, hosts a travel show, and writes an online column about travel. He even runs a tour company! Benefit from his advice and check out the library’s collection of books and DVDs. In particular, look for the DVDs that collect his series from 2000-2007 on such regions as France, Austria, England, Eastern Europe, and more. So, whether you want to research your next overseas trip or experience the world vicariously, Rick Steves is entertaining and informative.

Tin Can Tourists - They're back


It’s hard to believe that it’s once again time for the annual fall campout of the national RV club the Tin Can Tourists. It’s held in nearby Camp Dearborn just north of Ann Arbor in Milford Michigan. This year it’s Thursday, September 13th through Sunday 9-16-07. Open House and Flea Market is this Saturday 9-15-07, from 11 to 3 p.m. There’s a nominal park entrance fee $3?.

I can’t believe that I forgot to arrange to be off work on Saturday. Fortunately, I'll be able to go on Friday but I'll miss the Flea Market.

Itching for Iceland

Listening to Bjork's new album, Volta, and hearing her spine-tingling vocals over a variety of such charming music made me want to listen to more of the CDs I own by other Icelandic musicians. One of which is Sigur Ros. And listening to Sigur Ros reminded me of Iceland and its majestic landscapes, the midnight sun, the ocean, the magic in the air, and the smiling faces of the locals. Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands and The Rough Guide to Iceland are some great travel books on the land of fire and ice. If you haven't been to Iceland and don't plan on visiting, it's still worth a peek into some books (such as Iceland, Iceland- Enchantment of the Sea, Iceland- Cultures of the World) to experience the vast beauty the country has to offer. And there's always the beautiful Icelandic language which you can teach yourself.

Carnet De Voyage

Craig Thompson, Michigan born creator of Good-bye Chunky Rice and Blankets, has created a beautiful (but self-indulgent) account of his 2004 European publicity tour and side trip to Morocco. His drawings of trees are amazing! His opinion of his country of origin? Not so great. At one point while abroad he poses as a Canadian.

Why not create your own Carnet De Voyage? AADL has some great books to provide inspiration. Try Journeys and Journals: Five Centuries of Travel Writing and Claudia Nice's How to Keep a Sketchbook Journal.

1,000 Places to See in the U.S.A. & Canada Before You Die

Just when I thought I was making headway with Patricia Schultz's first bestseller, “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” (I have 982 places left to see), she releases a new book, “1,000 Places to See in the U.S.A & Canada Before You Die.”

This is a wonderfully written and well-organized book. Schultz does an excellent job balancing the well known with the unknown; the extravagant with the unextravgant; and the places that are easily accessible with those that are off the beaten path.

Even those who proclaim they know the U.S and Canada inside and out will have to add some “new” must-sees to their lists of “places to see”.

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