Lufthansa, the German national airline, has become the sixth Western air carrier to offer service to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, with the introduction of once-a-week passenger and freight service from Frankfurt, Germany, to the former South Vietnamese capital.
Flights originating in Frankfurt will depart on Mondays and land the next day in Ho Chi Minh City, first stopping over in Singapore. Lufthansa has taken the step in response to the economic liberalization measures introduced by the Hanoi government, an airline spokesman said.
Other airlines with services to Ho Chi Minh City include Air France, Thai International, Philippine Airlines, Malaysian Airlines and Garuda. Thai International is the sole airline of a non-Communist country that also has landing rights in Hanoi.
The U.S. government forbids American travel agents from selling tickets for flights to Vietnam or on a Vietnamese airline, but agents can sell tickets to the home country of any of the above carriers, from which flights to Vietnam can legally be arranged.
According to airline industry officials, Vietnam plans to establish a new company, Air Saigon, to operate jointly with state-owned Air Vietnam, and also is seeking foreign capital to help expand the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City airports.
Travel Quiz: Which country was known to Victorian explorers as "The Pearl of Africa?" (Answer below.)
Creepy-Crawly: Georges Brossard has 250,000 bugs in his house, but people still come to visit.
Brossard is founder and owner of the Montreal Insectarium, a museum dedicated to creatures with six legs or eight. On view are insects--both dead and alive--from 88 countries, including such rarities as the giant cockroach of Madagascar and the Malaysian cicada, the biggest and loudest in the world.
Brossard's home also features a 25-foot-high butterfly aviary and an insect/spider breeding laboratory. There's even a special ident-a-bug service, for people who find something creepy and want to know what it is.
Exhibits are in French and English, as is the Insectarium's recorded message: (514) 872-8753.
Quick Fact: An earthquake occurs somewhere on earth every 30 seconds.
Traffic Flow: Those long traffic lines at the border between Italy and Austria are gone now that Italy has lifted its 12-day ban on commercial road traffic between the two countries.
The ban, imposed in retaliation for Austria's refusal to increase the number of monthly permits for Italian trucks, had caused major traffic problems along the border.
Sea Dreams: The British-registered Bank Line has brought another ship into its around-the-world service: the freighter Moraybank. The ship is scheduled to depart from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in early November, but Bank Line is offering a one-time chance for passengers to board the vessel, on Dec. 14 in Papeete, Tahiti. The ship will call at some remote and exotic destinations during the remainder of its voyage.
The Moraybank's itinerary includes Apia, Western Samoa; Suva and Lautoka, Fiji; Noumea, New Caledonia; Vila and Santos, Vanuata; Honiara, Solomon Islands; Lae, Rabaul and Kimbe, Papua New Guinea; Darwin, Australia, and Singapore, after which it will transit the Suez Canal and return to Rotterdam.
For more information, call Freighter World Cruises at (818) 449-3106.
Quick Fact: International travel to the United States will increase by 11% this year, with the country attracting a record 40 million visitors, according to the United States Travel and Tourism Administration.
On the Road Again: According to the U.S. Travel Data Center, Americans made an estimated 329 million trips of 100 miles or more from home during the past summer.
Nairobi Say No: The Kenyan government has changed its mind and decided not to permit passenger flights between Nairobi and Johannesburg, South Africa. The flights were to have begun in December after Kenya announced in October that it was lifting its air links embargo on South Africa.
The official Kenya News Agency reported Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi as saying that until apartheid was fully abolished and the international community had reviewed its stance on sanctions against South Africa, he would not allow air flights between the two countries.
Airline officials had been finalizing plans for a Kenya Airways flight to Johannesburg every Wednesday and a South African Airways flight to Nairobi every Saturday.
Quiz Answer: Uganda.