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Travel, tourism groups join up to keep travelers informed about Ebola

If there's any good news out on the Ebola virus, it's this: You can't catch the deadly Ebola virus by casual contact with an infected person.

To make sure you know this and other information, the World Health Organization and global tourism, airport and airline organizations have formed a task force to help contain the spread of the disease in western Africa and keep travelers updated about their health risks.

The newly created Travel and Transport Task Force members include the International Civil Aviation Organization, the World Tourism Organization, the Airports Council International, International Air Transport Assn. and the World Travel and Tourism Council.

"Affected countries are requested to conduct exit screening of all persons at international airports, seaports and major land crossings, for unexplained febrile illness consistent with potential Ebola infection," the task force said in a Monday statement.

"Any person with an illness consistent with [Ebola] should not be allowed...

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Erna's Elderberry House to mark Yosemite act's 150th year

There are many ways to celebrate the 150th year since the signing of the Yosemite Grant Act that led to the creation of the national park. You could climb Half Dome or stay in Yosemite Valley and marvel at the wonder of its waterfalls and granite peaks.

Erna's Elderberry House in Oakhurst, Calif., has something more elegant in mind. The restaurant, part of the swank Chateau du Sureau near the south entrance to the park, has concocted a special dinner open to all on Sept. 12.

The meal is inspired by one crafted for Abraham Lincoln's inauguration, a restaurant statement says. Why Lincoln? Well, he's the one who signed the act on June 30, 1864, that decreed Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove would be protected wild lands that "shall be held for public use, resort and recreation."

And Abe (well, someone impersonating him) will be at Erna's dinner table too to talk about the role he played in Yosemite's history.

Back to the dinner. It has been created by chef Jonathon Perkins and will...

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Light rail now links downtown Dallas with the international airport

Light-rail service now connects Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the nation’s fourth busiest, with downtown Dallas.

The new service, which began Monday, is available on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit  (DART) Orange Line.

This quick (average time to downtown is 50 minutes), environmentally friendly link has been part of the plan since DART began operations in 1996. Now business and leisure travelers can make the 14-mile trip from the light-rail station outside Terminal A to Dallas for $2.50. A day pass is available for $5.

Think of all the money you’ll save on cab, car rental, or parking fees. And the traffic hassles you’ll avoid? Priceless.

Info:  Dallas Area Rapid Transit, (214) 979-1111.

Follow us on Twitter at @latimestravel

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Hawaii: Maui's Jazzfest swings into action starting Sept. 4

 Well-known musicians, including Les McCann, will have toes tapping and hands clapping when they gather early next month in Lahaina for the Maui Jazz & Blues Festival.

The fourth annual festival,  set for the west Maui town that once was the center of the whaling industry, will run Sept. 4-7. The events will feature jazz, blues and Zydeco and some of the genres’ popular performers.

The Jazz and Blues Kickoff Concert on Sept. 4 gets the party started. From 5-7 p.m., Duke’s Beach House will host award-winning alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, among others. The event is free, but table reservations should be made by calling (808) 662-2900. 

Another free concert follows with the Sneak Peek from 6-8 p.m. on Sept. 5 at Hula Grill. The performers will include trombonist Steve Turre, a member of the “Saturday Night Live” band since 1984. Call (808) 667-6636 for table reservations. 

The main event on Sept. 6 runs from 5-9 p.m. oceanfront at the Royal Lahaina Resort . The lineup includes pianist...

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Huntington Gardens' stinky giant corpse flower expected to bloom soon

As Hollywood sequels go, "Stinky 5: Return of the Corpse Flower" is a lot more authentic than the usual box-office blockbusters. The super-stinky corpse flower whose giant bloom smells like rotting flesh will unleash a potent stench any day now at the Huntington Gardens in San Marino.

"In case you're taking notes ... the #CorpseFlower grew another 4.5 inches last night," @TheHuntington tweeted Sunday. "This could be a biggie!" Some members also received e-mails last week about the coming Big Stinker.

Amorphophallus titanum stands in a pot at the entrance to the Huntington's conservatory and is predicted to bloom sometime between Wednesday and Saturday, according to the gardens. The bloom watch began last week.

If it opens sooner, the Huntington, usually closed Tuesdays, may open for visitors who want to see and smell the mega fauna native to the tropical rainforests of Sumatra.

In the past, hundreds of visitors have flocked to the gardens to witness the spectacle firsthand. The plant...

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Oakland: It's Berry Gordy Day, a tribute to Motown Records' music man

They'll be dancing in the streets of Oakland on Monday (today) toasting Berry Gordy, the man who created Motown Records in Detroit. Alameda County invites the public to celebrate Berry Gordy Day in the East Bay with an event that features the legendary 84-year-old music mogul.

During the ceremony, Gordy will be presented with a proclamation on the plaza in front of Oakland City Hall at 11:30 a.m. Supervisor Keith Carson, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan are expected to attend.

Why Oakland? Well, for starters, Gordy came to the area last Friday for the opening of "Motown — The Musical" at the SHN Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco, which runs through Sept. 28.

But there's a musical connection too. A county statement says the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer wanted to "connect with the people of Oakland and the entire East Bay, where the Motown Sound has always had a home."

Indeed the man known for the Motown Sound promoted artists such as Diana Ross, Smokey...

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Web Buzz: UrbanBird creates a map from your travel photos

Tired of sharing your travel pics one by one? UrbanBird lets you upload your photos and makes a map of your vacation that includes geographical info you can share with your friends on Facebook during or after the trip.


What it does: Creates a map from the photos you've uploaded and captions them with dates, location, titles and descriptions.

What's hot: You can upload photos and have them instantly mapped and captioned. If you're creating a map while you're on a trip, click on the photo to get travel suggestions for similar attractions near you. The website is great for active travelers who want to share a visual journal at the end of an eventful day.

What's not: Make sure your camera is set to geotag your photos before you start snapping your vacation pics. The photos I took with my digital camera were not geotagged (and, therefore, could not be uploaded), but my smartphone photos were. It would be nice if I could upload any photo and add the location myself. The...

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Travel letters: Cedar Breaks' color? In the eyes of the beholder

Cedar Breaks? Get the color right

Though the focus of "A Stage for All" by Sherry Stern [Aug. 10] was on the summer theater in Cedar City, Utah, thank you for also mentioning nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument, where my parents and I camped and enjoyed exploring twice during our summer vacation loop trips throughout the West.

However, I do have to disagree with the description of Cedar Breaks. Stern speaks of it as "red and orange cliffs." Bryce Canyon National Park is more obvious reddish-orange in the coloring of the cliffs; Cedar Breaks' colors are more shrimp-pink. In fact, that's how I can tell whether I'm seeing a photo of Bryce Canyon or Cedar Breaks.

If someone asked me which I prefer, I'd say Cedar Breaks, because that region is forested and I'm a tree lover, having grown up in a camping/traveling family. Bryce Canyon is much more deserty.

Gail Noon

San Pedro


Would? It'd work

In the Aug. 10 Web Buzz ["Swapping Stories on"], Jen Leo asked: "Do you want to be a...

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Travel: Films and events



Hostelling International will conduct a workshop on safe and inexpensive travel through India.

When, where: 7 p.m. Tuesday at the REI store in Santa Monica, 402 Santa Monica Blvd.

Admission, info: Free. (310) 393-9913, Ext. 3104.




REI experts will discuss camping and hiking the rim-to-rim trails and other itineraries as well as packing the essentials.

When, where: 7 p.m. Thursday at the REI store in Tustin, 2962 El Camino Real.

Admission, info: Free. (714) 505-0205.


Please email announcements at least three weeks before the event to

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Foreign Briefing: Warnings issued for Mideast, Africa and Ebola

The U.S. State Department has issued several new warnings — none surprising but all important — as trouble plagues the Middle East and Africa.

Iraq: In an Aug. 10 warning, the agency warns travelers "against all but essential travel to Iraq."

Saudi Arabia: The Aug. 8 warning asks travelers to "consider the risks of traveling" to Saudi Arabia. It cites a July 4 border crossing attack by Al Qaeda and more threats to Saudi and U.S. interests.

Pakistan: Travelers are asked to defer all nonessential travel in the warning issued Aug. 8.

Nigeria: An Aug. 8 warning tells travelers to stay away from the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe and advises travelers to be aware of safety and health issues. Ebola has been reported in Nigeria.

Liberia: On Aug. 7, the State Department warning asks that travelers defer all but nonessential trips to Liberia because of Ebola.

Cameroon: The Aug. 6 warning cites security issues and tells travelers to stay out of the far north, where Boko Haram, a radical...

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Peru: Heading to Machu Picchu? Try this off-the-beaten-path trek

A trek to Machu Picchu is a must-do for many hikers, but routes to Peru's iconic mountaintop ruins are often congested with tourists.

Vaya Adventures is offering another way to reach the site, using less-traveled trails through Lares, a relatively untouristed region. Participants will meet in Lima before flying to Cuzco, where they will spend several days adjusting to the high altitude (11,200 feet) and exploring the Sacred Valley.

The trek begins on Day 4, with a six-hour hike (and a 3,000-foot elevation gain) to Cancha Cancha, a small village of stone houses below Pachacutec Pass, at 15,480 feet. After camping overnight, the trek heads for the pass, named for the famed Incan leader. After seven hours on the trail and a 2,000-feet elevation gain, guests will camp in Quiswarani, another traditional village.

Day 6 brings another six-hour trek; then, on Day 7, guests will begin a hike at the Urubamba River, heading uphill until reaching the last section of the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu...

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Travel deal: Eight-day Amsterdam river cruise starts at $1,585

If you're thinking about a European river cruise, it's not too early to start shopping. Premier River Cruises offers a savings of $1,000 per person on an eight-day tour of the Netherlands and Belgium for those who reserve a cabin by the end of the month.

Deal: The tour is operated by

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