Posted by Tags: Brochures, Family Travel, Transat ‘Famili’ fun and EBB with Transat’s new kid-friendly brochure MONTREAL — Transat’s new Famili brochure, “the new reference for South and Florida vacations”, comes with an Book Early promotion with $100 deposits and the option for travellers to change their dates up to three hours before departure.Families booking a sun package (south or Florida), cruise package or flight by Sep. 30, also get free seat selection for all family members.The quirky ‘Famili’ spelling is meant to appeal to both the English-speaking and French-speaking markets, said Transat spokesperson Debbie Cabana.Air Transat’s conveniences include exclusive check-in counters to reduce the waiting time, priority boarding for families with young children and free transportation of baby equipment.The Famili brochure groups hotels into several family-oriented categories. ‘For the Little Ones’ resorts have baby and kids’ clubs, mini-shows and wading pools, and are ideal for vacations with children ages three and under. ‘Little Fish’ ages four to 11 will make a splash in hotels equipped with water games, an aqua park, pools with slides or fun-filled kids’ clubs, while ‘Cool for Teens’ resorts have a long list of entertainment options, activities designed especially for 12- to 16-year-olds, as well as double, triple, quadruple or adjoining rooms.More news: Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesTransat also offers ‘Waves of Fun’ hotels for watersports lovers, as well as a variety of resorts catering to single parents travelling with their children. The ‘Big Fun for Big Families’ and ‘Multi-Generational Vacations’ programs featuring adjoining or more spacious rooms and luxury suites cater to groups of five or more, or families travelling with grandparents.For families headed to Florida, Transat has multiple vacation options in the Sunshine State, including a wide array of packages, for discovering (or rediscovering) Walt Disney World.In addition to its all-inclusive and à la carte hotels this season, Transat has more home and apartment rentals in Florida and the South. In Cuba, travellers can choose to stay with a local family at a casa particular and immerse themselves into the culture.For flights, the Air Transat Kids Club is available to young fliers ages two to 11 and offers free standard seat selection, priority baggage delivery and automatic entry into the annual draw to win a one-week trip for four. Clients can register for Kids Club for free at airtransat.com. << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Monday, August 29, 2016 Travelweek Group
Tags: Crystal Cruises, Israel, Jordan, Oman Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Crystal Cruises heads back to Holy Land for the first time in 5 years Posted by LOS ANGELES — Crystal Cruises Chairman, President and CEO Edie Rodriguez will join passengers on the luxury cruise line’s first trip back to the Holy Land since 2012, as part of the 2017 ‘President’s Cruise’ aboard Crystal Symphony.The sailing departs Nov. 4 from Rome and features the Arabian Peninsula, with calls to Limassol, Cyprus; Haifa and Ashdod, Israel; a transit of the Suez Canal; Aqaba, Jordan; and Salalah and Muscat, Oman. Rodriguez and her husband Tom will join guests for festive receptions and parties on the 18-day voyage, as well as specially planned experiences ashore.“It is always a privilege to sail with members of the Crystal family and something to which I look forward each year,” says Rodriguez. “I am especially eager to experience this particular itinerary with our guests, and have the opportunity to explore Jordan.”Highlights include: the Rose City of Petra, where a special President’s shore excursion will take place; an overnight stay in Muscat in time for the Sultan’s extravagant birthday celebrations; adventurous archaeological expeditions; rock climbing; Indian Ocean scuba dives in Salalah; ‘Sky Tea’ at the opulent Burj Al Arab; and sunset at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.More news: Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthAll-inclusive cruise-only fares for the ‘Holy Land & Suez Canal’ voyage start at US$4,750 per person. Tuesday, December 13, 2016 Share
GDS access, international growth for LCC Flair Airlines Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Travelweek Group Friday, December 1, 2017 Tags: Amadeus, Flair Airlines KELOWNA — Flair Airlines has started distributing its content via Amadeus and says a Travelport connection is expected to be live by the end of January.The airline is also “planning to grow and start international flights” towards the end of March 2018, said Director of Passenger Sales and Marketing, Mirza Smajic. Flair is adding two new aircraft to its fleet at the beginning of the next year.Smajic said the low-cost carrier is also in ongoing negotiations with Sabre.Asked about commissions, Smajic said “We don’t give general commission. Commission is always subject of negotiations. We are however trying very hard to give low fares that will give agents space to add service fee.”With the new Amadeus connection tickets will be issued via BSP in Canada (and through ARC in the U.S.). In the rest of the world Flair Airlines tickets can be issued on Hahn Airlines ticket stock, he said.More news: War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upOne of Flair’s aircraft is getting a new look and will be done in few days, and “others are following right after that,” he added.Flair Airlines operates flights between Toronto, Kelowna, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Vancouver, Abbotsford with seven Boeing 737 aircraft.Agents looking to contact Flair Airlines are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.This past June Flair Air bought no-frills flight service NewLeaf. The Kelowna-based charter airline had provided the planes and crews for NewLeaf flights since it began operations in 2016.
Posted by Thursday, January 4, 2018 Travelweek Group $250 off per couple plus a Bonbon promo with Air Transat, Karisma Share MONTREAL — Transat is inviting travel agents to take advantage of its new special offer on Karisma Gourmet Inclusive hotels in the Riviera Maya.Clients who book the El Dorado Royale, the El Dorado Seaside Suites, the El Dorado Casitas or the Generations Riviera Maya and travel by Jan. 31, 2018 will receive an additional $250 air credit per couple.Travel agents will receive $15 Bonbon for each new individual bookings made at one of these hotels between Dec. 22, 2017 and Jan. 31, 2018 (for departures Jan. 3 – 31, 2018).For more information visit transat.com or Get Connected. Tags: Karisma Hotels & Reosrts, Transat << Previous PostNext Post >>
Share Tags: Disney, Tickets ORLANDO — Disney World has announced that it will be moving to date-based pricing for multi-day theme park tickets, effective Oct. 16, 2018.The updated policy builds on Disney’s date-based pricing for single-day theme park visits, introduced a few years ago.Tickets will now be priced differently depending on the day of visit. Each individual calendar day will be assigned a specific ticket price based on various factors like crowd levels. Single-day tickets will range from US$109 to $129.How it works is simple: an interactive calendar will show guests the highest and lowest ticket prices within a given month or year. Once a start date is selected, they will see a total ticket cost based on that start date.Guests will also have the option to upgrade their ticket with a ‘flexible start date’ for an added cost.If guests have already purchased tickets for a date after Oct. 16, or they’ve purchased tickets before Oct. 16 for a date after Oct. 16, their tickets and prices will not be affected. The new policy is not retroactive, reports The Disney Food Blog.More news: Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsAccording to Disney, “introducing date-based tickets and pricing will allow us to better distribute attendance throughout the year so that we can continue to improve and deliver a great experience.” Tuesday, September 25, 2018 Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Disney tweaks date-based pricing policy, starting Oct. 16 Posted by
Friday, October 19, 2018 TORONTO — Low-cost carrier Swoop is apologizing to travellers impacted by dozens of flight cancellations as it works to finalize its approval to fly to the U.S.“We have not yet received one final approval required to operate to the U.S. We anticipated having all regulatory approvals in place well in advance of our U.S. first flights. Unfortunately this is not the case,” says the carrier.Swoop first announced its new U.S. routes back in August. The 2018/19 winter lineup includes flights from Edmonton, Hamilton and Abbotsford to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa Bay.Flights between Edmonton and Las Vegas from Oct. 19 to 26 are minimally impacted as Swoop says it has leased an aircraft to operate the flights.However more than 50 flights out of Hamilton and Abbotsford have been cancelled, with passengers offered rebookings on WestJet. Coverage from consumer media outlets including CHCH in Hamilton and CityNews in Toronto includes interviews with impacted passengers.The full schedule to the U.S. isn’t expected to operate until at least Oct. 27.More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Here’s the list of cancellations:Flights between Abbotsford and Las Vegas on Oct. 21 and 25 (WO 802 and WO 705) and flights between Hamilton and Las Vegas on Oct. 26 (WO 800 and WO 701)Flights between Hamilton and Orlando on October 20 and 24 (WO 810 and WO 711)Flights between Hamilton and Tampa on October 20 and 24 (WO 808 and WO 709)Flights between Hamilton and Fort Lauderdale on October 26 (WO 820 and WO 719)As start-up hiccups go, it’s a doozy, and Swoop apologized for the disruption. “First and foremost, we’d like to apologize. We know how disruptive it is when travel doesn’t go as planned, and we’re sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment this has caused. We have set up a dedicated Travel Interruption support team who are reaching out directly to impacted travellers to offer rebooking options or full refunds.”Swoop adds that it is working to expedite its U.S. operations approvals and will provide regular updates directly to impacted travellers.More news: Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesSwoop launched June 20 with its domestic schedule, and followed up weeks later with the news about the new U.S. routes.Last month Swoop announced new Montego Bay flights ex YHM starting Dec. 16.Weeks later Swoop gave word that it was adding Mexico destinations too, with twice weekly service to Puerto Vallarta and three times weekly service to Cancun starting Jan. 8, 2019 and Jan. 14, 2019 out of Hamilton plus twice weekly service to Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan starting Jan. 12, 2019 and Jan. 20, 2019 from Abbotsford.Karen McIsaac, Swoop’s Sr. Advisor, Communications, said Swoop is reaching out directly to all affected travellers to acknowledge their situation and to either advise them of their new WestJet flight details or to provide rebooking and/or refund options. “We apologize to our travellers for this inconvenience and for the disappointment they have expressed.” << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Travelweek Group Swoop’s U.S. operations approval remains up in the air Share Tags: Cancellations, WestJet Swoop
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Tuesday imposed major new travel restrictions on visits to Cuba by U.S. citizens, banning stops by cruise ships and ending a heavily used form of educational travel as it seeks to further isolate the communist government. The Treasury Department announced that the U.S. will no longer allow cruises to Cuba or the group educational and cultural trips known as ‘people to people” travel to the island.Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the measures are a response to what it calls Cuba’s “destabilizing role” in the Western Hemisphere, including support for the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela. “This administration has made a strategic decision to reverse the loosening of sanctions and other restrictions on the Cuban regime,” Mnuchin said. “These actions will help to keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of Cuban military, intelligence, and security services.” Cruise ships have brought thousands of Americans to Cuba since the U.S. began restoring full diplomatic relations with the communist government in December 2014. More news: AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsAlong with the cruise ships, the U.S. will also now ban most private planes and boats from stopping in the island. The new restrictions take effect June 5, but the government will allow anyone who has already paid for the trip to go ahead with it. The new measures end cruise travel from the U.S. to Cuba, a highly successful new line of business for U.S. cruise lines that also has become the most popular way for American leisure travellers to visit the island. Cuban government figures show that 142,721 Americans arrived on cruise ships between Jan. 1 and April 30, more than the 114,832 who came by plane. The figures exclude Cuban-born Americans visiting family on the island. Commercial airline flights appear to be unaffected and travel for university groups, academic research, journalism and professional meetings will continue to be allowed. “It kills the people-to-people category, which is the most common way for the average American to travel to Cuba,” said Collin Laverty, head of Cuba Educational Travel, one of the largest Cuba travel companies in the U.S. More news: Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoThe new restrictions had been previewed by national security adviser John Bolton in an April speech in Miami to veterans of the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion but details of the changed were public until Tuesday. Treasury said the sanctions would take effect on Wednesday after they are published in the Federal Register. By: The Associated Press Tuesday, June 4, 2019 Trump administration halts cruises to Cuba under new rules Share << Previous PostNext Post >>
Parts of Guatuso and Alajuela, in north-central Costa Rica, are on alert this week after a series of jaguar attacks left 10 farm animals dead.The daily La Nación reported that Environment Ministry (MINAE) officials are now in the area. The officials verified that the attacks are due to one or multiple jaguars in the area, and have released a list of recommendations for farmers to protect their animals.MINAE told farmers not to harm the endangered jaguars while they search for a solution. This week officials set up motion-activated cameras to determine from where the cats are coming and how to protect cattle.Costa Rica historically has had problems with jaguar and farmer conflicts. The felines require a territory of 40 square miles of forest, an area that is becoming increasingly difficult to find. The destruction of their natural habitat combined with illegal hunting of their primary food sources has driven some jaguars onto farms to hunt cattle for food.The encounters often result in farmers illegally killing the big cats in order to protect their herds. In June, photos of two farmers posing with a jaguar pelt went viral, alarming the Costa Rican animal rights community. MINAE and nonprofit jaguar protection groups are now devising ways to help farmers safeguard their livestock, while also preserving the lives of the endangered cat species.According to Daniel Corrales, head of Costa Rica’s farmer-jaguar cohabitation project Panthera, farmers have a number of options that don’t involve killing the jaguar.“Our project teaches farms how to make simple changes to deter cats,” Corrales told The Tico Times. “Sometimes all it takes is moving the cows closer to the farmer’s home or building a fence.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Jaguar’s death by hunters alarms Costa Ricans In Costa Rica, the fight to save the hunted jaguars Costa Rican lawmakers weigh ban on hunting for sport Scientists use Calvin Klein cologne to lure reclusive Nicaraguan jaguars; what might it do for you?
On Thursday, President-elect Luis Guillermo Solís, 56, became Costa Rica’s 47th president.While Solís has never held elected office before, the president has a served in the Foreign Ministry of several administrations, including from 1986-1990, when he worked with former Foreign Minister Rodrigo Madrigal on the Central American peace plan. From 1994 to 1998 he was Costa Rica’s ambassador for Central American affairs.He also served as secretary general of the National Liberation Party, which he left in 2005, before joining the Citizen Action Party.Solís is a graduate of the University of Costa Rica and has a master’s in political science and sociology from Tulane University. With 30 years as an educator, the president has also taught at the University of Michigan, and the University of Florida.His unmarried partner, Mercedes Peñas Domingo, who is also a political scientist, has worked to strengthen local governments across Central America and will serve as First Lady.President Solís has six children, Mónica, Cristina, Beatriz, Diego, Ignacio and Inés.Recommended: Costa Rican presidential candidate Luis Guillermo Solís: ‘It’s not going to be business as usual’ Facebook Comments Related posts:President-elect Solís announces upcoming US trip to court investors Obama announces members of US delegation who will attend Luis Guillermo Solís inauguration Disinfecting government: The light of a new day dawning provides needed transparency for Costa Rica Costa Rica president off to a rough start, survey says
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit last Friday asking a federal court to stop the Obama administration from expediting the deportations of Central American immigrant families being held in a New Mexico detention center.The 60-page legal complaint, on behalf of seven women and three children at the facility in Artesia, New Mexico, alleges that the Department of Homeland Security has denied due process rights to the families as it seeks to deport the hundreds of undocumented immigrants being housed there.Lawyers representing the families said the Obama administration, which has sought to mount a response to an influx of tens of thousands of Central Americans across the southern border, has unlawfully altered long-standing policies that grant asylum protections to immigrants fleeing dangerous homelands.“The government has created a deportation mill and is sending families back to danger,” said Melissa Crow, legal director of the American Immigration Council, one of four organizations that filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Washington.“The inter-agency response to this unprecedented surge has been both humane and lawful,” said Carl Rusnok, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He declined to discuss the specific allegations in the lawsuit.The challenge could complicate the administration’s strategy to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants by returning as many as possible to their home nations and sending a stern message that more illegal migrants are not welcome in the United States.So far, 63,000 unaccompanied minors, and an additional 63,000 women and children, have been apprehended at the border, creating a humanitarian crisis and adding to already lengthy backlogs in immigration courts. Although the unaccompanied children have received the bulk of media attention over the summer, the administration’s treatment of the adults and their children — known as “family units” under DHS policy — has come under heightened scrutiny by civil rights groups.Advocates contend that the families are being denied legal representation and coerced by federal authorities into consenting to their removals. The lawsuit argues that the administration is applying more stringent asylum standards for immigrants than is specified under federal law.Unlike the unaccompanied children, who are placed with relatives or in shelters while awaiting their immigration court hearings, the families are held at more restrictive detention centers. A report last month from the DHS inspector general found unsanitary conditions at some of the facilities, along with residents and employees being exposed to communicable diseases such as chicken pox.President Barack Obama, facing pressure from both political parties to stem the flow of Central American immigrants, told immigration advocates in June that he believes those who do not have credible asylum claims must be sent home as a means of dissuading others from attempting the dangerous journey to the United States.In the coming weeks, Obama is expected to announce plans to use executive action to increase federal resources at the border to speed up the deportations of Central Americans while also offering deportation relief for up to several million undocumented immigrants who have lived in the country for many years.The advocates who filed suit Friday said that they disagreed with the president’s point of view.“U.S. law and our core values do not permit categorical prejudgment. And sending a deterrent message after having categorically prejudged a group of people is inhumane and is simply false and cynical,” said Cecillia Wang, immigrants’ rights project director of the American Civil Liberties Union.Nearly 300 women and children from the Artesia detention center have been deported, and more than 500 remain housed there, according to the Los Angeles Times.DHS officials have said the number of Central American immigrants entering the United States illegally dropped by half in July compared with the previous two months.© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Central American child migrant crisis ‘one of the greatest tragedies,’ says Costa Rica’s Solís US nation-building efforts should be in Central America, not Iraq and Afghanistan Nearly three quarters of US citizens think their country should shelter (not rush to deport) unaccompanied minors Mexico stops Central American migrants from climbing ‘Beast’ train
Related posts:Costa Ricans can’t stop scoring incredible goals against Manchester United WATCH: Keylor Navas saves another penalty kick La Sele announces 23-man roster for Copa América tournament Trio of Tico stars face off in suspenseful Champions League battle Facebook Comments Keylor Navas, Bryan Oviedo, Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell all starting today for their respective clubs. My heart is about to explode.— screw politics (@Badandy538_) September 23, 2014 https://vine.co/v/O7D9iMaXMF9Real Madrid needed Keylor Navas to make a save just four minutes into today’s match against La Liga opponent Elche. Navas got in front of a big free kick from captain Edu Albácar. Albácar prevailed against the Tico goalie 10 minutes later with a penalty kick.https://vine.co/v/O7DLFwZ5Tt2Navas actually got a hand on the penalty, but the blast was too powerful and carried into the goal. Teammate Cristiano Ronaldo has bailed Navas and Real Madrid out of an early hole with two goals (28′, 32′). Gareth Bale also scored (20′) as Real Madrid leads 3-1 at halftime. (UPDATE: Ronaldo finished with a FOUR goals. Real Madrid won easily 5-1. Navas finished with three saves in his debut.)Costa Rica’s World Cup hero made his first official start for the legendary Spanish club. He started a 2-1 loss in a friendly against Fiorentina in August. And to begin the La Liga season, Spain national team keeper Iker Casillas was named Real Madrid’s starter.But Real Madrid has a middling 2-2 record, partially due to some weak performances by Casillas. He was booed by his own fans in a recent loss 2-1 to rival Atlético Madrid. On Tuesday, Casillas was benched to give Navas a chance to prove his worth.Navas is not the own Costa Rican given a starting role today. On what we shall dub Tico Tuesday, four Costa Ricans are making their first starts this afternoon for European clubs. In addition to Navas, Bryan Ruiz (Fulham), Joel Campbell (Arsenal) and Bryan Oviedo (Everton) are all making their debuts for their respective English clubs. Júnior Díaz also is in the starting line-up for Germany’s Mainz 05, although this is the defender’s first start of the season.UPDATE 2: Ruiz scores (16′) in his return to Fulham. The Whites won 2-1 over Doncaster to advance to the fourth round of the Capital One Cup.In more Capital One Cup action, Campbell’s Arsenal squad fell 2-1 to Southampton. Oviedo — starting for Everton for the first time since breaking his leg last January — played until the 58th minute in a 3-0 loss to Swansea.Here’s a replay of Ruiz’s goal.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThEAFg7ILPc
Seventy years ago, Costa Rica was a very different place: The army still existed. Women could not vote. Races were segregated. The unstable government was spiraling toward civil war. Before 1948 and the rise ofJosé Figueres Ferrer, Costa Rica’s future was uncertain, and the nation could easily have become a dictatorship like others in Latin America.The National Museum recently opened a curious new exhibition, “Conquistas Sociales en Costa Rica.” While “conquista” in this context can be translated most accurately as “achievement,” visitors will appreciate the victorious tone the exhibit gives to Costa Rica’s conquests of injustice and inequality. Arranged as a timeline that covers three white walls, “Conquista” chronicles the founding of trade unions, the forming of a new government, and numerous cultural advances.The exhibit is festooned with banners depicting many male faces – the men who shaped Costa Rica into a progressive, modern nation – but among them is Carmen Lyra, best known as author of the “Tía Panchita” stories. Lyra’s presence here is fascating: Not only is she a rare female face in Costa Rican history, but she was also a socialist rebel who first translated “The Communist Manifesto” into Spanish and criticized both the despotic regime of Federico Tinoco (1917-1919) and abusive foreign corporations. Lyra died in exile in 1949, just as her beloved country was beginning its transformation into the Costa Rica we know today. Robert Isenberg/The Tico TimesOverall, the exhibit is one long pat on the back, and Costa Ricans should feel proud to browse this bright room. Like last year’s “Vivamos la Democracía,” the curators have turned a dry civics lesson into something engaging. “Conquista” is not as visually compelling as “Vivamos”; a chronological list of events can only look so interesting, no matter how important those events might be.Amateur historians should get a kick out of the videos in the back of the gallery, which play in an endless rotation. Here you can watch archival footage from the early to mid-20th century, films of street parades, major speeches, and televised announcements. It’s always nice to catch a glimpse of the old Costa Rica, not just before Pizza Hut but also before high rises and automobiles. Robert Isenberg/The Tico TimesAcross the vestibule, you’ll also find “Diquís: Joyería de Autor” (“Diquís: Masters’ Jewelry”), a collection of handmade articles inspired by the indigenous Diquís people. The artists are part of a group called Colectivo ¿Por Qué No? (The Why Not Collective), whose members decided to use Pre-Columbian designs as a springboard for their own works. (The Diquís are most famous for sculpting the mysterious stone spheres that now symbolize indigenous Costa Rica.) The display will mostly appeal to jewelers and jewerly fans, who will appreciate the effort and creativity required to sculpt such designs. Between the Central Bank Museums and the Jade Museum, downtown San José pretty much overflows with precious stones and metals of Mesoamerican fashion, and there is no shortage of body ornamentation in the tiendas and streets of Costa Rica. But it is nice to see modern artists getting excited about ancient forms. The Diquís themselves may have died out 500 years ago, but heritage burns as long as modern people stoke its fire.“Conquistas Sociales” and “Diquís” continue through Oct. 31 at the National Museum, downtown San José. Tue.-Sat., 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Sun., 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ₡1,500 ($3). Info: National Museum website. Facebook Comments Related posts:Photo exhibit documents Costa Rican diversity Art City Tour offers free admission to city’s museums TEOR/éTica offers different views of urban life National Museum exhibit celebrates 75 years of Spanish photojournalism
Related posts:Meet Sarai González, the inspiring Tica in Bomba Estéreo’s “Soy Yo” video 5 questions for blues musician Steve Arvey 10 reasons to check out the first-ever Coca Cola Fest Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica Huba Antonio Watson Webley, Costa Rica’s double platinum lyricist and rapper, took time out of his busy schedule with the release of his first solo EP, called “LP,” to sit down and talk to me about his musical influences while growing up in San José.Born on September 24, 1971 at Hospital México, Watson describes highly racialized upbringing in San José that has informed the consciousness in his music today. Part of a large family of Afro-Costa Ricans with origins in Limón and Jamaica, Watson and his twin sister, Helga, quickly learned to defend themselves in a San José that was not always welcoming to people of African descent.Watson admits that as a child, he was always fighting because he was constantly taunted and bullied by classmates who called him ‘Cocorí,” referencing the controversial Costa Rican children’s book by Joaquín Gutiérrez. “Cocorí,” until recently a mandatory part of elementary-school curricula, portrays a “Sambo”-like Black boy who speaks to animals and seeks the approval of a little blonde girl.In order to counteract the negativity of those childhood spaces, Watson’s extended AfroCosta Rican family was a balm to him – especially the loving support of his parents. His mother, a natural storyteller, always cooked the most delicious foods as the family gathered every Sunday for their traditional lunch. Antonio, Watson’s godfather and his dad’s best friend, would often be present with jokes and worldly advice. Conversations around the dinner table was a fluid slip-and-slide of English and Spanish, providing the foundations for Watson’s bilingual mastery in his music.Admittedly, Watson’s greatest influence was his father, an accountant who studied at the University of Costa Rica (UCR), but was born in Limón. One of the things most salient in Watson’s memory was his father’s daily practice of reading and studying, not only within his area of accounting but also broadly in literature of the Black diaspora. Watson grew up reading “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and watching the show “Roots” with his father, which promoted hours of discussion about global black consciousness.Every fifteen days or so, the family would visit Watson’s maternal grandparents in San Juan, Limón. He spent every Christmas and New Year’s there; the highlights of that time as a child were receiving new clothes and his grandmother’s cooking (he admits that she spoiled him with her fantastic meals). Though his grandmother was a Jehovah’s Witness, his parents were Catholic; even with the mash-up of religions, family was always together and everyone was called primo or tía/tío.Growing up, Watson knew very clearly what he wanted to become: a scientist who specialized in making robots! His dreams were full of taking things apart and putting them back together, focusing on how to make his imaginary robots better and better. He was also famed for his million-questions approach to life, with his dad as the patient recipient of most of them. While his older siblings were listening to his Rod Stewart record, a gift from an auntie, Watson was in a corner reading books and manuals about computers that his father would bring from work.His “fall” into music was serendipitous. Once morning, when he was 10 years old and preparing for school, he heard a song on the radio: a Billboard Top 100 which had someone rapping over music. He thought that it was a mistake, that the DJ at the radio station was speaking quickly over the music. The evening routine at the Watson family home was that his dad, upon arriving home, would go into his home office to study. If he put on music, Huba knew that was an invitation to go and spend time with him. That particular night, he burst into his dad’s office after hearing him play the same song from the radio that morning, which turned out to be “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang (1980), the signature song of the hip-hop movement.That was all it took for Watson to become hooked on rap and breakdancing, although the kids in his San José school could not relate. He felt that he was in the wrong time and place, as the world he lived in was disconnected from his Afrocentric understandings. The artist at his mic. (Courtesy of Huba Watson)When he began attending Monterey High School, his world changed: there were several other Afro-Costa Ricans who were already into hip hop and welcomed him into their world. His best friend from Limón would send him VHS tapes of BET rap videos so he and his friends could learn the lyrics. With friends Alex Curling and Patrick Skipton, Watson began to participate in local talent shows in San José. During visits to Limón, Watson would show off his advance b-boying/breakdancing skills. There was a bigger audience there that was already entrenched in the world of hip hop.Watson was only 18 when he wrote his first rap. He was invited one day to a high-school talent show that very night; he wrote some lyrics, gave some parts to his friends, and spent hours that afternoon practicing with them. Watson combined rapping and reggae in a style now called reggaeton.The group was a total hit that evening at the contest. Later that night at home, while washing the dishes, Watson admitted to himself that he loved rap; he found that he could convey a message, and so began his musical journey that has lasted 27 years. His first underground rap groups were HWE1 and VCR.In 1996, Watson, already a well-established rapper, was part of the band Ragga by Roots which sold double platinum, making the group arguably the biggest seller in the history of Costa Rica. They had five songs on the radio and won Song of the Year in 1997 for “Sentimientos.” Their music was a mix of English and Spanish. He went onto work with other bands, including Moonlight Dub.Watson says he gets his voice from his mother. Rapping is a way for him to address the injustices that he has faced and that he sees in the world. In September 2016, Watson completed a dream that he has had for 23 years – his solo EP which he released on tour in Argentina with Moonlight Dub. With the release of the EP, called “LP,” he participated in a round table with local MCs in Argentina talking about the future of hip hop and how to make the movement positive for the society through its messages.There are six songs on the EP with two interludes, all a precursor for the full album, “Lado B,” which is being released in Costa Rica in 2017. The Costa Rican release of “LP” took place on Nov. 25 at El Sótano in San José; the album can be purchased online at resistencia.subversive.com. This is the first time Watson is using 90% Spanish, and most of the songs are not in the raspy voice he is most famous for. The entire album is a play on words that challenges stereotypical notions of blackness; Watson’s goal is to tell the “black side of the story.”Watson’s creativity is sparked by his intellectual excellence as a voracious and conscious reader. His stance on justice, collaboration, respect and knowledge contribute to his being one of the most important creative voices in Costa Rica today.Read more from Natasha Gordon-Chipembere here.Natasha Gordon-Chipembere holds a PhD in English. She is a writer, professor and founder of the Tengo Sed Writers Retreats. In June 2014, she moved to Heredia, Costa Rica with her family from New York. She may be reached at email@example.com. Her column “Musings from an Afro-Costa Rican” is published monthly. Facebook Comments
President Carlos Alvarado asked this week to postpone a discussion about abortion rights, warning legislators that it will polarize the country and distract from other important issues, like the country’s fiscal situation and growing insecurity.Alvarado broached the subject on Thursday when the evangelical National Restoration Party (PRN) presented a plan to equate abortion sentences to those for murder, which carry a prison sentence of up to 30 years.Feminist and human rights organizations also requested that the government enact current legislation that permits abortion when the mother’s life is at risk.It’s the only circumstance in Costa Rican legislation in which abortion is legal. Alvarado is trying to pass tax reform through Congress. Approval of much-needed reforms is an achievement that has eluded that past four presidential administrations.“I understand that my mandate is to solve Costa Rica’s biggest problems; that’s why I’m here,” Alvarado said. He cited citizen safety, infrastructure, job creation, and the fiscal deficit, which currently stands at 6.2 percent of GDP, as priorities for his government.Alvarado also called on representatives of different sectors from around the country to work together to fix the country’s problems. He noted that his campaign pledged to enfoce existing regulations on abortion, but said there will be a better time to do it later in his presidency. Facebook Comments Therapeutic abortion: a Costa Rican right ensnared in doubts and fears Related posts:Abortion and politics on the campaign trail Abortion in Latin America: four women’s voices Activists Hope Court Reverses Abortion Ban Women’s March events planned across Costa Rica Saturday
New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Like other Egyptians, they are now savoring the prospect of having their voice heard as the country begins voting on Wednesday for a new president, the first since the ouster last year of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.The overwhelming concern for many of them is to stop any Islamist candidate from winning. Many of Egypt’s Christian minority _ about 20 percent of the population of 85 million _ are worried that if the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood candidate wins and moved to implement Islamic law, they will suffer greater discrimination.As a result, many are turning to the most anti-Islamist candidate on the slate of 13 hopefuls _ Ahmed Shafiq, a former air force commander who was Mubarak’s last prime minister.Anwar Rizk, a garbage collector in the neighborhood, says he’s backing Shafiq because “I fear the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis,” referring to a movement of ultraconservative Islamists. “We have Muslims living here as our brothers in very good conditions, but I fear the Muslim Brotherhood because they are only after their own good.”His fellow resident, Iskandar Shafiq _ no relation to the candidate _ agrees and is also impressed by the candidate’s strongman image. Comments Share Top Stories Associated PressCAIRO (AP) – Election fever has even come to Cairo’s Garbage City, the sprawling neighborhood built on _ and living from _ the waste of the Egyptian capital.The tens of thousands of impoverished residents of the district are almost all Christians. For generations, they have collected the garbage from the city of nearly 20 million; they sort it then recycle and sell what they can. Their homes are built in and around piles of the refuse, where their livestock graze. “Honestly we are going to elect Ahmed Shafiq because he is the one that can provide safety and security,” he said. “We feel this man is a politician like no other and frankly we have always known this man as a politician.”Along with Shafiq, the other front-runners in the contest are former foreign minister Amr Moussa; the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi; and a moderate Islamist, Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh, who has gained support from some liberals for his more open views. A leftist, Hamdeen Sabahi, has also gained ground among those who want neither an Islamist nor a former regime figure. Though few Christians are likely to vote for the Brotherhood’s Morsi, the community’s vote could be divided among the others.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Sponsored Stories
5 ways to recognize low testosterone Clinton spoke Thursday in Denmark a day after Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak (EH’-hud bah-RAHK’) said Israel cannot wait forever to reach accord. Barak said if a deal proves impossible, the Jewish state could consider a “provisional arrangement or even unilateral action.”But Clinton argues that Israel and the Palestinians now have a “new opening” for progress.And she praises Israel’s decision to return the bodies of 91 militants, including suicide bombers, as a confidence-building measure.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Sponsored Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Comments Share Check your body, save your life More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Associated PressCOPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says unilateral action isn’t a substitute for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on a two-state solution.Clinton says talks are the “only route” for a peace settlement. And she says prospects have improved with the emergence of a new Israeli coalition government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (neh-ten-YAH’-hoo). Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates
ErrorOK ErrorOKThe center has told prosecutors that a man named Laszlo Csatary living in Budapest is believed to be the same Laszlo Csatary who was police chief in 1941 in the Slovakian city of Kosice, then part of Hungary, where he played a “key role” in the deportation of 300 Jews to Ukraine, where they were killed.Csatary, who the center says would now be 97 years old, is also suspected of helping to organize the 1944 deportation of some 15,700 Jews to Auschwitz.A group of students held a protest Monday at an apartment building in Budapest where Csatary is thought to have lived until recently, while the opposition Socialist Party called on Chief Prosecutor Peter Polt to indict him for war crimes.Csatary was nowhere to be seen, and officials have not provided any information as to his whereabouts.In April, a man named Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary was placed at the top of the Wiesenthal Center’s list of its most wanted war crimes suspects.Csizsik-Csatary had been convicted in absentia for war crimes in Hungary in 1948 and sentenced to death. He arrived in Nova Scotia the following year, became a Canadian citizen in 1955 and worked as an art dealer in Montreal.In October 1997, Canadian authorities said the 82-year-old had left the country, apparently bound for Europe, before they had the chance to decide his fate in a deportation hearing. His citizenship had been revoked in August and the deportation order was based on his obtaining citizenship through “false representation or fraud or knowingly concealing material circumstances.” Check your body, save your life Deborah Abisror of the European Union of Jewish Students said she was disappointed that they were not able to find Csatary.“He’s not here, obviously,” she said. “He shouldn’t move anymore. He just should confront what he did. Maybe just to say sorry.”Zuroff said that thousands of Nazi collaborators from Eastern Europe made their way to English-speaking countries after World War II, lying about their wartime past to gain refugee status.Rabbi Slomo Koves, of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation, said that members were “pretty shocked that somebody like this is living in Budapest … and living between us.”“But I think it is also in a way some relief that there are still organizations that do these jobs and that find these people,” he said.___Robert Jablon contributed to this report from Los Angeles(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories Zuroff, the center’s self-described chief Nazi hunter, said a paid informant had provided the information last September that Csatary was living in Hungary and apparently had done so since leaving Canada in the 1990s.“His information has been super-reliable,” although he will not receive any money unless Csizsik-Csatary is convicted and punished, Zuroff said Monday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.He declined to name the informant, or say how much he would receive.Some 40 protesters gathered at the Budapest apartment building Monday, among them members of the European Union of Jewish Students. They formed a line by binding their wrists to each other with tape and shouted “Never again!” One of the protesters put a crossed out swastika sticker on the door of the second floor apartment where Csatary is thought to have lived.“We came here because we want the Hungarian organs of justice to start a process against this war criminal,” said Krisztian Szilberhar, a young lawyer who participated in the protest. “He is responsible for the death of many innocent people.”Considering Csatary’s age, “it would be enough justice if they declared him guilty and he had to continue to live here,” Szilberhar said. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 0 Comments Share More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Associated PressBUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) – Hungary said Monday it is investigating whether a Holocaust-era war criminal has been living in the capital, Budapest, as international and domestic groups clamored for him to be placed on trial.Budapest prosecutors said in a statement that they were investigating a case based on information received from Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office, but did not name the suspect. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family
Quick workouts for men 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Comments Share Top Stories Jamaican scam artists often use disposable cellphones to cheat mostly elderly Americans out of their savings by enticing them to transfer money to claim winnings from a phony lottery.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) – Western Union has set a money transfer limit of $400 in a northern Jamaican parish that is the hotbed for a multimillion-dollar lottery scam that targets mostly elderly Americans.Company spokesman Daniel Diaz said Wednesday that Western Union has imposed the tighter controls on outlets in St. James parish, which includes the resort city of Montego Bay.The money transfer company shut down its locations in the Jamaican parish earlier this month while it conducted a systems review. Diaz says it has restored service to three locations in the parish now that the new transfer limits have been imposed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix
Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day However, the poll indicates that the combined tally for the ruling conservative coalition of the Homeland Union and the Liberal Movement could reach 25 percent, giving them a chance to form the next government.Seventeen parties and one party union are vying 141 seats in Parliament, though only about six are expected to pass the 5 percent threshold.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments Share VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) – An exit poll shows that Lithuania’s ruling conservative coalition is poised to muster 25 percent of the vote in Sunday’s parliamentary election and a populist party will finish first with nearly 20 percent.The poll by the BNS news agency and the RAIT market research company shows the Labor Party winning the election, and the opposition Social Democrats coming in second with 17.8 percent. Sponsored Stories
Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Comments Share Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How men can have a healthy 2019 Top Stories How do cataracts affect your vision? Hamas, an armed group sworn to Israel’s destruction, moved its headquarters to Syria in the late 1990s. But relations have soured since Syria’s violent suppression of the uprising that began in March 2011.Hamas leaders are now based in Qatar, Egypt and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The difference between men and women when it comes to pain GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – A spokesman for Hamas says the Syrian government has sealed its offices in Damascus, finalizing the break between the Islamic militant group and its former patron.Spokesman Ayman Taha said on Tuesday that the move had been expected after Hamas openly switched sides to support the armed rebellion against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.Taha says Monday’s move by Damascus was “a result of our siding with the Syrian people in their just struggle.” Taha spoke from Cairo.