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NEWS, TIPS & BARGAINS | TRAVEL LOG

Warning issued on Bangkok

January 07, 2007|Vani Rangachar; Jane Engle; Catharine Hamm | Staff and wire reports

AFTER a series of New Year's holiday bombings in Bangkok, Thailand, the State Department issued a public announcement Tuesday advising Americans there to "remain indoors when possible, to avoid any large public gatherings and to exercise discretion when moving about" the capital.

Soldiers and police Tuesday patrolled the city, including bus and train stations and the international airport, the Associated Press reported.

Chiang Mai as well as popular beach resorts areas remained quiet, the State Department said.

Eight bombs exploded Dec. 31 and early on Jan. 1 across the Thai capital.

At least three people were killed and 38 were injured; no Americans were injured or killed, according to the State Department. Info: www.travel.state.gov.

-- Staff and wire reports

Old bones in Hemet

THERE'S a new reason to make a detour on your way to the desert cities, and it's an education for kids too: the Western Center for Archaeology & Paleontology in Hemet.

You can thank development of a new Metropolitan Water District reservoir for the 33,000-square-foot, $30-million museum. The agency's drilling at Diamond Lake uncovered fossils, tools used by early humans and artifacts, some more than 230,000 years old.

On exhibit are the bones of Ice Age mammals, including Max, a 10-foot tall, 13,000-year-old mammoth; and Little Stevie, a mastodon found in a wetland setting. Also on display: 9,000-year-old pottery found at the lake at the base of Diamond Mountain.

The museum, at 2345 Searl Parkway, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Admission is $8 for adults, $6.50 for seniors and $6 for ages 5 and up. Kids 4 and younger are free. Info: (951) 791-0033, www.westerncentermuseum.org.

-- Vani Rangachar

'Bare fares'

on the way?

UNITED Airlines is considering whether to charge extra for checked luggage, assigned seats or fee-free changes for certain low-fare passengers.

The "bare fare" concept was presented Dec. 12 at a Chicago investors' conference. "It's something we're just looking at," said United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski. If approved, the extra fees, applied to "low, leisure-type fares" or "really restricted" sale fares, could be implemented early this year.

-- Jane Engle

Tip sheet

IF you're gearing up for your winter cruise, here's a time-saver that's not widely known: On many Carnival cruises, you can carry your luggage off the ship. No more leaving it outside the door the night before, plus you'll be among the first groups off.

The program, which is called Self Assist, isn't new and isn't available in all ports, a Carnival spokesman said, but it is helping ships turn over faster in port. That means you may be able to embark sooner. And if you do, you also can carry your luggage on, which means no more waiting for delivery.

But you can't carry a giant steamer trunk; the luggage has to fit through an X-ray machine.

Info: (888) 227-6482, www.carnival.com.

-- Catharine Hamm

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