"BUT WE HAVE REALLY NICE WHISTLES"
My first reaction to the news that the security guards at Montego Bay airport don't carry guns was utter shock. Gobsmacked, my British friends might say.
After I thought about it, I figured, okay, the private security folks don't carry weapons and maybe that's not bad. I mean, you can almost imagine the scene: "Hey, buddy, that bottle of skin lotion is 105 ml - put it in your suitcase or it's lights out."
But isn't there ANYONE at one of the busiest tourist hubs in Jamaica who's prepared to respond properly to a terrorist attack? It seems hard to believe the local or national police don't have an office or a detachment at the main airports. So perhaps the comment about private security folks not being armed is a red herring.
Here in Toronto, the Peel Regional Police have a detachment at Pearson Airport. Their website says the airport division "consists of uniform, tactical, and plain clothes officers." It also notes that the unit "in consultation with the G.T.A.A., Transport Canada, the R.C.M.P. and other law enforcement agencies, continually monitors threat assessments and available intelligence information and as a result may from time to time deploy personnel to counter known threats.
"If necessary, police resources may be deployed to prevent crime, keep the peace and protect the public during events attracting large crowds and media attention; such as: the travel of celebrities and professional sporting teams, visits by internationally protected persons, public rallies and labour disputes."
Just thought you'd like to know.
WEST JET "CARE-ANTEE"
We could've done without the bad pun, and that's saying something from a guy who used to work in the sports department here at the Star. But good on the folks at West Jet for seizing the opportunity to publish large ads in today's papers that tout their service promises.
The ads talk about their two free bag policy, freee snacks and refreshments, "the youngest all-jet fleet in North America" and, of course, "smiles and thank you's."
Air Canada tried to rustle up some friendly chat with its employees a few months back, with the head honcho sending out an "everyone smile at the customer" memo. Not sure it ever went anywhere, although I've never had a major problem with any Air Canada attendants myself.
Okay, now it's my turn for the bad pun. But it's interesting to note how many good stories are being written these days out of Istanbul, which has for centuries sat at a real crossroads and has an amazing mix of cultures.
I was there briefly in 1988 or so, when Toronto Olympic bidders went to an International Olympic Committee meeting to lobby for the 1996 Summer Games. As I recall, that didn't work out so well, but it was cool to see the Blue Mosque and take a ferry ride from Europe to Asia.
Check my monthly travel magazine review at thestar.com/travel for more details on what folks are saying about Istanbul these days. There's also information on the highest point in Ontario (not on top of Stephen Harper's ego, all rumours to the contrary) and several notes of praise for the new Shangri-La Hotel out in Vancouver. Not to mention a weird note that links King Kong to Paul McCartney.