Comealong Travel Centers Offers Quality Holidays for Seniors

Comealong Travel Club, a leading charter tour company based in Australia, has expanded its wide selection of quality charter and tour services to include special accommodations for travelers of advancing age.

“Seniors enjoy traveling just as much as young adults and families. However, many choose to forego extensive travel, even though they have reached the point in their lives that they have both the time and the money to enjoy it, because there is a lack of tours and charters available that cater to their interests. The truth is, being a senior often means that your travel choices are limited. This is why Comealong Travel Centers has decided to fill the void for seniors and offer a senior’s only travel club and newsletter that caters specifically to the travel needs and interests of our older customers. If you have wanted to see the sights in Australia, there is no better company to book your Seniors Coach Tours with than Comealong’s Travel Club,” says the president of Comealong Travel Club president.

Comealong Travel Club has designed several different Australian tours specifically for its senior members that allows them to become fully immersed in the sights and sounds of Australia. The Tasmania Top to Toe Tour gives seniors the opportunity to spend 14 fun filled days in Tasmania. In addition, there are tours that offer other exciting adventures such as 9 days at Kangaroo Island or 7 days at the beautiful Gold Coast of Australia. “Regardless of the regions our senior members want to see, there is a Comealong Tour that will take them there.” The main benefit to the senior tours offered by Comealong is not so much the locations they offer, but the structure of the tour itself. Each tour is designed to progress at a slower pace, allowing senior members the opportunity to enjoy the experience at their own pace rather than trying to pack in many different attractions at a more hectic pace.

In addition to their seniors-only tours, Comealong Travel Club also offers a newsletter than offers a wealth of information regarding each of the tours as well as keeping members abreast on the latest goings-on in specific regions.

The senior charters available through Comealong Travel Club offers additional benefits to those that are offered to all customers. “At Comealong Travel Club, we understand that our senior members may have special needs in order to be able to travel safely. We strive to ensure that each of these needs are met professionally and with sensitivity. We have always been known for offering outstanding customer service and we take pride in carrying that tradition on to our senior members. The safety and enjoyment of each of our travelers is our number one concern,” says the president of Comealong’s Travel Center.

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Holographic staff and no lost luggage: How you’ll travel in 2024

(CNN) — A driverless taxi is waiting for you outside your house.

Cruising through the city, you arrive safely at the airport where you drop off your luggage while ordering a coffee.

Check-in is then a matter of just a few seconds, thanks to facial recognition software, while distant biometric scanning allows you to avoid long security queues.

Walking past interactive shopping windows, yoga studios and outdoor green terraces, you arrive at the departure hall, a bright uplifting space dotted with paintings by the French impressionist masters.

After having a look around, holographic airport staff guide you to your boarding gate.

You soon find yourself aboard sitting in your body morphing seat that is fully-equipped with all the movies from your favorite director.

No, this is not science fiction. Instead, this is how your airport travel experience will be in just 10 years from now– according to Skyscanner.

The travel booking site released Monday the second part of its “Future of Travel” report which looks at what travel journeys will look like in 2024.

Compiled by a team of 56 experts and futurologists from the travel and tech industries, the study predicts that future travel journey “will be almost unrecognizable from the often time consuming and stressful experience of 2014.”

In 10 years’ time airports will be intelligent spaces that will allow travelers to enjoy an automated and stress free journey.

Emerging technologies will transform airlines into virtual hubs where passengers will be able to create their own havens to suit their personal preferences.

“Airports and flights will no longer be the price we pay to travel but instead will signify the start of our holidays where travelers can relax and create the perfect space to suit their needs whether they’re flying for business or leisure,” says Filip Filipov, Skyscanner’s Head of B2B.

Here, based on Skyscanner’s predictions, CNN’s On The Move presents the top three things you can expect to experience at the airport and while flying in 2024.

1. Self-service check-in, scanning sensors and digital bag tags

Future travelers will take complete control of their journey, which will be free of check-in desks and long queues.

Biometric check-in software will eliminate the need for boarding passes and passport checks, while X-ray machines will also become a thing of the past thanks to sensors capable of scanning big groups from a large distance.

Digital luggage tags pre-set with flight details and destination information will allow passengers to track their bags in real time throughout their trip.

“You’d be able to see where your bag is at all time,” says Filipov, “and when it is arriving.”

2. Art, yoga and waterfalls

Once past security, out go the blunt and dull and in come the cool and splendor.

The soulless departure lounges and mundane transit areas of today will be replaced by uplifting, comfortable lounges filled with paintings and sculptures. If you don’t feel like delving into the world of art, amenities ranging from rooftop swimming pools and 3D cinemas to gyms and open-air parks will offer a pleasant distraction before boarding your flight.

Similarly, virtual shopping walls will replace duty free stores, with passengers able to order goods with a simple verbal command. “You will be able to select the goods that you’d like to buy and have them delivered to your home potentially when you’re back from vacation,” says Filipov.

3. ‘Your home in the air’

In cabin smart lighting will make jetlag a thing of the past, while seats that mold to the passengers’ body shape will come with pre-loaded films and music according to their tastes.

A mix between a mobile living room and a virtual office, the seating will also allow travelers to hold 3D chats with their family, friends or business contacts through Skype hologram systems.

“That seat will become your home, in a way, in the air,” says Filipov. “It will actually be tailored to you, not in terms of how it looks and how it feels but rather the multimedia that goes with it.”

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Disappointment over cost of travel visa for expatriates living in East Africa

Reactions were swift to come in when news spread over the weekend that expatriates living in any of the three countries of Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya will still have to pay travel visa fees in order to be able to visit any of the neighboring countries – a disappointing state of affairs. This is surely not the way to keep a significant number of travelers within the region, as expats in large numbers visit countries which do not require a visa from them like the UAE, the Seychelles, or South Africa.

At a cost of US$100 per visa, the period of validity is now extended to 6 months. This does not matter much, however, for those who only wish to spend their local leave for instance at the beaches of Mombasa and not travel several times to and from one of the neighboring countries.

Tourism stakeholders have long argued that such a visa should be given for free for expatriates holding a work or residence permit, but it is now clear that the issue of revenue trumped the need to truly make the region an open area for tourist exchanges.

While officials tried to spin a positive effect into this latest announcement, tourism operators and in particular travel agents were less hopeful as they had expected that the need for a costly visa, setting a family of four back by US$200 under the old regime and US$400 under the new regime, would be shelved.

“The doubts you expressed here before were justified. If my clients now pay 100 dollars each for a visa, even if it is valid for half a year, and they only need it once a year when they have their local leave, they will keep that money in their pockets and continue to fly to Dubai or to Jo’burg or to the Seychelles,” said a travel agent in Kampala before adding, “If they really want more expats here to go to Mombasa, with all the hullaballoo going on there, they must give them a free entry, because what we now read is a weak compromise which will serve little purpose. There will not be much uptake for that, perhaps business people regularly flying from Entebbe to Nairobi or Kigali but not for the target this was aimed for – families going for a beach holiday. They never listen!”

Is change which brings no change really change? After all, duly-registered expats pay taxes and deserve some better consideration. The spirit of an open, and as the promoters say, “Borderless Borders East Africa,” here at least, is not very visible.

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Travel agents tapping into private home rentals

Consumer mindset about where to rest a tired head when traveling is changing, thanks in part to marketing and the publicity generated by Airbnb, the online room- and home-listing site, and vacation rental mega-sites like HomeAway.

Not surprisingly, the travel agent channel is finding ways to cash in on this new attitude.

“For some, staying at a hotel will become an unusual experience, and staying in a home will be the norm,” predicted industry analyst Henry Harteveldt.

Vacation rentals, he said — typically second homes offered for short-term rent by their owners — are benefiting from the buzz generated by collaborative-economy companies in general, and especially by Airbnb and HomeAway.

The number of Americans who stayed in a private home, apartment or condominium for leisure-travel purposes jumped 86% last year, according to PhoCusWright. And
HomeAway, a business-to-consumer site that gets some business from travel agents, said its own research revealed that unaided awareness of vacation rentals nearly doubled between 2009 and 2013.

Supply is increasing even faster. HomeAway, for example, launched in 2006 with 60,000 listings in 90 countries and now has a million listings in 190 countries.

“There’s a big pile of demand and a big pile of supply,” said Steve Caron, vice president of vacation rentals with Tourico Holidays.

Vacation home sales are skyrocketing, experiencing 47% growth since 2011, according to HomeAway. And the 2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey by the National Association of Realtors revealed that 89% of those newly acquired second homes will be available on the vacation rental market within a year.

That spells opportunity, and several distribution channels, including travel agents, are cashing in on that growth.

Three major vacation rental providers who have long worked with agents are reporting double- and triple-digit increases in travel agent bookings. Travel Impressions’ Villa Experience, for example, saw 100% growth year over year in 2012-2013 and is forecasting 50% growth this year.

Villas of Distinction said that as of early May, travel agent bookings and revenue were up by double digits.

Steve Lassman, Villas of Distinction’s vice president and general manager, said the company saw “significant growth in the past year from agencies that are outside of these traditional luxury travel agencies.”

The West Indies Management Co. (Wimco) also saw double-digit revenue growth, according to President and CEO Stiles Bennet.

This has long been a highly fragmented and idiosyncratic segment, but several companies are bringing to the marketplace new distribution technologies that enable them to target travel agents.

“From a historical perspective, this is an industry that has not been very connected to either consumers or travel agents,” said Julian Castelli, CEO of VacationRoost, which works with agents and has partnered with Apple Vacations since 2011.

That has changed. In the past two or three years, vacation rental property management companies have invested in property management systems, Castelli said.

His company and others, including BookingPal, Tourico and FlipKey, to name a few, have invested in technology platforms that integrate with these systems.

As a result, they have the ability to showcase a property’s unique aspects with scores of photos, text, maps, floor plans and more.

In fact, these technology platforms are bringing hotel-like distribution to the vacation-rental industry, including real-time inventory and booking.

VacationRoost recently acquired LeisureLink, which provides vacation-rental content, mostly condos, to the GDSs. With the LeisureLink acquisition, VacationRoost offers a total of 200,000 properties, 60% of which are online, either in the GDSs or on

Another player, BookingPal, which has an inventory of 163,000 properties available in real time, operates an agent portal and is working to secure GDS connectivity.

Tourico Holidays’ Book by the Door technology provides agents with high-resolution photos of properties, direct connections to property managers’ calendars and real-time pricing for 20,000 properties, with plans to add 15,000 to 20,000 more in the next quarter.

Wyndham Vacation Rentals has 103,000 vacation rentals with real-time booking.

All these companies vet the properties they book and arrange for staff to visit them. Some have people on location doing inspections.

Yet, despite improved connectivity, quality control remains key for this market, especially for travel agents.

“Guaranteeing the quality of what you’re buying is hell,” said Mike Estill, COO of the Western Association of Travel Agencies.

In addition, established players rely heavily on the human touch. Villas of Distinction, Travel Impressions and Wimco have a robust online presence rich with enticing photos of villas, maps, interactive floor plans and detailed descriptions of properties.

They have availability but usually book only over the phone because, Lassman said, booking a villa is a “very consultative process.”

Other players in this sector are also providing human backup. Tourico, for example, maintains three res centers staffed by experts. VacationRoost describes the destination experts in its call centers as the “travel agent’s travel agent.”

Most of the vacation-rental distributors working with travel agents contract for inventory only with professional vacation rental companies with which they are familiar and that have established track records. They tend not to work with individual owners.

“Most of these providers [distributors] have performance or satisfaction guarantees,” said Ben Edwards, president of the Vacation Rental Managers Association. In addition, he said, they are working with association members, who subscribe to a code of ethics and service standards.

Most distributors pay commissions, which can add up to thousands of dollars in some instances. Others, including Tourico, give net pricing, enabling agents to add in service fees and thus control their own margins.

Many pay commissions on other elements of the trip, such as tours, ski rentals, ski lift tickets and ground transportation.

Follow Kate Rice on Twitter @krtravelweekly. 

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Ramadan began: Should western tourists still travel to Islamic countries?

Tourists from all over the world travel to Islamic countries including the UAE, Egypt, Oman, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia. With the begin of Ramadan little is changing for western tourists traveling to most countries. Of course in some regions less frequented by tourists tips given here may not apply, but in General the Ramadan season is as good of a month as any month to travel and enjoy the beaches, the culture and the people of Muslim countries.

Ramadan is the holy month of the year in the Muslim calendar, the one when the Muslims stop eating, drinking and getting sex from the dawn until the sunset. It’s also the month when the Muslims pray more hoping getting more benediction and being closer to Allah.This month started for most regions last night.

Ramadan commemorates the revelation of the Quran to Mohammed and is celebrated for the whole of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, the dates according to the western calendar become earlier by about 11 days each year.

What happens?
The most noticeable feature of Ramadan is that faithful Moslems, do not let anything pass between their lips or into any other part of their bodies between sunrise and sunset for the whole month. That includes not only water and food but also anything else, such as a cigarette. Some people are exempt, including people who are sick, nursing mothers and young children. Older children fast for half the day.

At sunset the faithful wait to hear confirmation from the local mosque that the sun has set and then take their first food and drink (‘Iftar’) since before sunrise. This meal is often taken communally in the street, accompanied by singing, lanterns, and other decorations.

Effect on tourism
During Ramadan, some commercial timetables may be adjusted to allow more time for prayer and reflection. Together with the fasting of the faithful, this can affect normal local lifestyles and can reduce restaurant and bar facilities slightly.

This may make some people avoid going to Islamic countries during Ramadan, but really it shouldn’t. In practice it doesn’t make a huge amount of difference to normal routines in most countries.

Tourists sites will be open as normal in most countries. Very few restaurants or refreshment stalls frequented by tourists may close for a while during the day to allow time for prayer, and at sunset for Iftar.

Train timetables are the same. The taxi-buses continue to run. Private hire drivers continue to work. They do not usually stop for Iftar, but you may notice them listening out for the signal from the mosque and breaking open a lunchbox or taking a few snack items, typically dates. You could invite the taxi driver to stop for Iftar if you like, but most will keep going.

Hotels will operate as normal. Tourists and guest usually will not notice any difference in most hotel operations.

Food and drink will continue to be served. The only exception is that alcohol will be harder to come by and strict moslems will not serve it at all. This does not tend to affect drinks at hotels, but in smaller restaurants you may have to order a non-alcoholic drink.

Smoking by tourists is not restricted any more during Ramadan than it is at other times of the year.

Commercial places, such as shops and banks, may keep different hours to allow time for prayer and for breaking the fast at sunset. You can usually complete all your banking and shopping but the hours of opening may be more limited. The time when you are most likely to find banks and shops closed and services unavailable is around noon, for the main prayers of the day, and at sunset, for Iftar.

At the end of the month of Ramadan (Eid al-Fitr) there is a feast and a great deal of partying.

Should you change your own behavior?
Tourists are not expected to observe Ramadan. You can eat, drink, smoke and do all other normal tourist things at the sites, in the town and everywhere else as normal, although alcohol may be a little more difficult to find outside the hotels.

Out of respect to local people, some tourists would not to be too blatant about eating or drinking in public places during Ramadan, or smoking in a taxi, where the driver may be a smoker who is denying himself during the day, but really that is a matter for the individual.

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Time Travel From Ancient Mythology to Modern Science

The universe is full of mysteries that challenge our current knowledge. In “Beyond Science” Epoch Times collects stories about these strange phenomena to stimulate the imagination and open up previously undreamed of possibilities. Are they true? You decide.

Time travelling and time machines have been a topic of science fiction and countless movies for many decades. In fact, it appears that the possibility to travel in time, either into the future or into the past, has appealed to the imagination of mankind for centuries.  While many may think it is absurd to believe that we could travel back or forwards in time, some of the world’s most brilliant scientists have investigated whether it could one day be made a reality.

Albert Einstein for example, concluded in his later years that the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously, and most are familiar with his well-known concept of relativity. That is, that time is relative and not absolute as Newton claimed. With the proper technology, such as a very fast spaceship, one person is able to experience several days while another person simultaneously experiences only a few hours or minutes. Yet the wisdom of Einstein’s convictions had very little impact on cosmology or science in general. The majority of physicists have been slow to give up the ordinary assumptions we make about time.

However, if time travel really was possible, one can hardly contemplate what this may mean for humanity for whoever has the power to move through time, has the power to modify history. While this may sound attractive, it would be impossible to know the consequences of any alteration of past events, and how this would affect the future.


Time Travel in Ancient Mythology

Time Travel Legend
Portrait of Urashima Tarō, part of a Japanese legend involving time travel, painted by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (Wikimedia Commons)

If we look into ancient texts we can find a number of references to time travelling. In Hindu mythology, there is the story of King Raivata Kakudmi who travels to meet the creator Brahma. Even if this trip didn’t last long, when Kakudmi returned back to Earth, 108 yugas had passed on Earth, and it is thought that each yuga represents about 4 million years. The explanation Brahma gave to Kakudmi is that time runs differently in different planes of existence. Similarly, we have references in the Quran about the cave of Al-Kahf. The story refers to a group of young Christian people, who in 250 AD tried to escape persecution and retreated, under God’s guidance, to a cave where God put them to sleep. They woke up 309 years later. This story coincides with the Christian story of the seven sleepers, with a few differences.

Another story comes from the Japanese legend of Urashima Taro. Urashima Taro was an individual who was said to visit the underwater palace of the Dragon God Ryujin. He stayed there for three days, but when he returned to the surface, 300 years had passed. In the Buddhist text, Pali Canon, it is written that in the heaven of the thirty Devas (the place of the Gods), time passes at a different pace where one hundred Earth years count as a single day for them. And there are many more references.


Scientific Research

Probably the most well-known story of accidental time travel is the Philadelphia experiment which allegedly took place in 1943 with the purpose of cloaking a ship and making it invisible to enemies’ radar. However, it was said that the experiment went terribly wrong – the ship not only vanished completely from Philadelphia but it was teleported to Norfolk and went back in time for 10 seconds. When the ship appeared again some crew members were physically fused to bulkheads, others developed mental disorders, a few disappeared completely, and some reported travelling into the future and back. Allegedly, Nikola Tesla, who was the director of Engineering and Research at Radio Company of America at the time, was involved in the experiment by making all the necessary calculations and drawings and also providing the generators (however he wasn’t alive when the experiment took place, he died a few months before the experiment took place).

In 1960, we have another interesting case report of scientist Pellegrino Ernetti, who claimed that he developed a machine that would enable someone to see in the past, the Chronivisor. His theory was that anything that happens leaves an energy mark that can never be destroyed (something like the mystical Akashic Records). So he allegedly developed this machine that could detect, magnify and convert this energy into an image – something like a TV showing what happened in the past.

In the 1980s, there are reports of another controversial experiment, the Montauk project, which again allegedly experimented with time travel among other things. Whether the Philadelphia and Montauk experiments actually took place is still under debate. However, it is common sense to assume that the military would definitely be interested in the possibility of time travel and would engage in extensive research on the subject.

Moving on, in 2004, Marlin Pohlman applied for a patent for a method of gravity distortion and time displacement. Marlin Pohlman is a scientist, engineer, and member of Mensa with a Bachelor, MBA and PhD.  And only last year, Wasfi Alshdaifat filed another patent for a space compression and time dilation machine that could be used for time travel.

Physicist Professor Ronald Lawrence Mallett of the University of Connecticut, is working on the concept of time travel, based on Einstein’s theory of relativity, and is absolutely convinced that time travelling is feasible. He predicts that human time travel will be possible in our century.  Particle physicist Brian Cox agrees that time travel is possible but only in one direction. 

We have the mysterious story of Ali Razeqi, managing director of the Iranian Centre for Strategic Inventions, who claimed that he developed a device that can see anywhere from 3 to 5 years in the future. His initial story disappeared from the internet a few hours after it was published.

In theory, time travel is possible, even if it is difficult to comprehend. Has the research cited above brought us closer towards making time travel a reality? If so, we can only hope that the technology does not get into the wrong hands. 

Republished with permission from Ancient Origins. Read the original

*Image of an old astronomical clock via Shutterstock

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Know Your Lore: The time-travel fallacy of Warlords

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You’re playing the game, you’re fighting the bosses, you know the how — but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Ever since the announcement of Warlords of Draenor, most players — including myself, to a degree — have been under the assumption that this is an expansion involving time-travel of some sort. Sure, supposedly we as players aren’t traveling in time, but Garrosh Hellscream did so, to an alternate version of Draenor whose history he presumably changed. Now instead of invading Azeroth as we’re accustomed to, this altered version of Draenor and its Iron Horde are attempting to invade the here and now.

Only there’s one key thing we’ve been missing — this isn’t time travel. Not in the slightest. After playing on beta for a mere few hours, what Blizzard is doing is something entirely different. While we’ve been focusing on time travel and how this would affect our future, Blizzard has been quietly putting together a story with some far-reaching, drastic implications that may very well take everything we know about World of Warcraft, stand it on end, and knock it over with one well-placed blow.

Spoiler Alert: The following column contains a couple of fairly large spoilers for Warlords of Draenor. If you are avoiding expansion information and discussion, do not continue.

Back to the Future

The moment Warlords was announced, players jumped pretty hard onto the time-travel aspect of the expansion, attempting to puzzle out exactly what Blizzard meant by “this isn’t time-travel.” The running theory most players have gone with is as follows: Garrosh Hellscream goes back in time. Garrosh stops his father and the rest of the orc clans from drinking the Blood of Mannoroth, thus saving them from demonic corruption. Garrosh says something to convince all the clans to unite together and build a Dark Portal — not to unleash an army under Legion command, but to unleash the Iron Horde. The Dark Portal is connected to our Azeroth, present-day, and that’s where our story begins.

As far as analogies go, this is perhaps closest to Back to the Future II. In that film, Marty travels to his own future with Doc and sees an aged Biff Tannen — who realizes that Doc and Marty have a time machine. Taking matters into his own hands, Biff hijacks the Delorean and takes a sports almanac from the future back to 1955 while Doc and Marty aren’t looking, giving his younger self the key to getting everything he ever wanted. When Doc and Marty return “home” to 1985, they return to an alternate version of their history in which Biff has everything — including Marty’s mother — and Marty’s father is dead. It’s pretty heavy.

Applying this scenario to Warlords, here we have our Biff: Garrosh Hellscream, who hasn’t traveled forward in the future, he’s just grown up, been betrayed by his own people, seen what the Horde he remembered from his childhood turned out to be — and he doesn’t like it. He happens upon a method of traveling in time via Kairoz the bronze dragon, and promptly peaces out for his past with the intent to save not only his father, but the rest of the Horde. Meanwhile we’re here in the present, when suddenly the Iron Horde comes busting out the Dark Portal.

But it’s not quite the right analogy — because if this were truly a Back to the Future style timeline, Thrall would suddenly cease to exist. Every orc in the Horde would suddenly cease to exist. In fact, the Horde itself would cease to exist, having never actually invaded. So we fall instead to “Garrosh made an alternate universe when he traveled back in time” — but as of playing the beta, that’s not right either. And I’ve got one screenshot, just one, that immediately proves it.

Rulkan, Kil’jaeden, and Ner’zhul

If you’ve ever read Rise of the Horde, you’re familiar with the name above. Rulkan is Ner’zhul’s mate, a woman of no particular distinction — she wasn’t a shaman, she wasn’t a leader. And in the original timeline, she wasn’t even alive. When Kil’jaeden arrived on Draenor, Rulkan had already passed away several years before, leaving Ner’zhul alone and vulnerable. So Kil’jaeden took the guise of Rulkan’s spirit when he first spoke to Ner’zhul, appearing to him in a dream and leading him down a path that would set orc against draenei and eventually lead to the corruption of the orcish race.

But Rulkan never died on this Draenor. She’s well and truly alive, having left the Shadowmoon Clan along with a scant handful of followers who didn’t really agree with what Ner’zhul was up to. She simply exists, when according to our history, she should not. Did Garrosh change her fate? No. Garrosh Hellscream didn’t prevent her death, when he traveled back in time — he had nothing to do with her or her fate at all. And she’s not the only outlier on Draenor.

In this world, Akama is no longer broken — but he’s also no longer a priest of Karabor. Instead, he’s both vindicator and Exarch, one of five Exarchs who lead the draenei in a council under Prophet Velen. Garrosh certainly didn’t give Akama either a promotion or a career change. There are others as well — familiar faces that are instantly recognizable to those that played through Burning Crusade or read the novels, but in unfamiliar roles that bear no resemblance to our history. So what gives? What did Garrosh Hellscream do, when he traveled back in time?

He didn’t do anything. He didn’t really travel back in time at all. Or rather, he did — but not as we conventionally think of it.

Star Trek

The more of beta I see — and I have admittedly seen very, very little of it so far — the more it is becoming blatantly clear that this isn’t a Back to the Future style of story. Maybe Garrosh thought he was traveling back in time, but he wasn’t — he’s on a different version of Draenor, in an alternate universe, by a method that bears far more resemblance to the 2009 Star Trek franchise reboot than Marty and Doc’s adventures in time. In Star Trek, a black hole sent both Spock and the Romulan Nero back in time. Once Nero arrived, he spent years just biding his time, waiting to find Spock and have his revenge. While he was at it, he killed James T. Kirk’s father, presumably setting off a chain of events that changed the history of Star Trek to the alternate universe presented.

Except Nero had nothing to do with the changes in Spock’s personality, the history of Scotty, McCoy, or any of the other original Enterprise members who bore very little resemblance to their original selves. So what we have here is simply this: an alternate universe. Sure, Nero traveled back in time, but he didn’t travel down his own timeline. When he came out of that black hole, he didn’t come out at some point in his own history, he came out in a universe that was in some ways similar to his own, but with a few significant differences. Killing Kirk’s father didn’t really cause a ripple or butterfly effect. It made Kirk an orphan, but it didn’t affect Nero’s future or the future of Romulus in the slightest.

In Warlords, we presumed that Garrosh Hellscream traveled back along our own history — going back to the days of Rise of the Horde. The small pieces we’ve seen in beta so far clearly indicate that this is absolutely not the case. Garrosh didn’t travel back in his own timeline. He popped out in some strange alternate universe of Draenor, one with clans that have familiar names, but different histories. One where his father certainly existed as leader of the Warsong, but the Ner’zhul appeared to have very little sway over the clans as a whole. One where the Legion may have appeared somehow, but not through the guise of Ner’zhul’s very much alive mate Rulkan. One where the Shadow Council exists, not as a cover for Gul’dan’s machinations of the Horde, but … for some other purpose that hasn’t actually been revealed just yet.


What does this mean for players? It means we can take every single piece of historical lore we’ve been presented with to date and throw it out the window, because those rules and that history simply don’t exist on Draenor. It means we are going in completely blind, and whatever preconceptions we had of how certain characters acted in our own universe no longer apply. It means we have free reign to do whatever the heck we want with this version of Draenor, because anything we do on this world will have absolutely no bearing at all on the history of our own. This Draenor does not, never has and never will grow up to be our Outland. It was never destined to be.

Did Garrosh Hellscream go back in time? Yes. But his arrival in the past bore no impact on our version of Azeroth, because that Draenor he arrived at with Kairoz wasn’t the Draenor he grew up on. He might not have actually existed on that Draenor at all — we still don’t know that, yet. The Frostwolves live in Frostfire Ridge, a cold northern expanse, a far cry from the green rolling hills described in Rise of the Horde — because this isn’t Rise of the Horde. It never was. It never will be. Which means Blizzard now has free reign to tell whatever story they want to, with no need to pay attention to anything that might have come before in Warcraft I or II — this isn’t Warcraft I or II. It never was. It’s a story that hasn’t been told yet.

We are going into a world where the only common thread between it and our own are the names of the people we are going to see. We should not expect them to act remotely like they did in our own version of history. Honestly, we shouldn’t expect anything at all, because what we appear to be getting, so far, is a strange, weird echo — a might-have-been tale. Will it impact our own universe? It might — but not in a way we can expect or predict. There is no predicting this expansion at all.

Which is honestly pretty exciting, when you think about it.

Kairoz and the nature of time

But that leads us to another question — why did Kairoz take Garrosh Hellscream to this alternate Draenor? Did he intend to visit our own history, but mess it up along the way? Why would Wrathion support Kairoz in doing this? Did Kairoz intend to simply drop off Hellscream and return to our own time, secure in the knowledge that the threat of the Horde and the atrocities committed in our own timeline would simply cease to be? What did Kairoz learn on the Timeless Isle, and was his meddling with Epoch Stones and Visions of Time actually useful?

According to War Crimes, Kairoz is presumably part of a group of bronze dragons who believe that history should be changed to make a better future. So did Kairoz expect that was what he was doing, when he helped Garrosh Hellscream escape? Did he actually know what he was doing with the device in War Crimes, or did he make a gigantic mistake? We don’t know the answers to these questions yet, because as of right now on the beta, Kairoz is nowhere to be seen.

But one thing is absolutely certain — if, on this alternate version of Draenor, we see anyone from Azeroth other than those who have traveled with us on our journey, they don’t belong there. Azeroth, however it might exist in this alternate universe, has no bearing on Draenor at all, and it’s most definitely not our home. In that case, it might be a far wiser, better idea to leave it alone — and instead focus on shutting down the Iron Horde so it can’t invade our world, and finding a way to get back home to when and where we belong.

Either way, our history as we know it? It’s exactly the same, and hasn’t changed a bit. Warlords of Draenor isn’t our Draenor — it’s a new world with new stories, exciting possibilities, several familiar names on people who might not be as familiar as we were expecting, and a story we simply can’t predict.

While you don’t need to have played the previous Warcraft games to enjoy World of Warcraft, a little history goes a long way toward making the game a lot more fun. Dig into even more of the lore and history behind the World of Warcraft in WoW Insider’s Guide to Warcraft Lore.

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

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Holiday travel could be slowed by 3 work zones

Nearly 238 years ago, the British subjects in America – enough of them to make it matter – were ready to put King George III’s head on a pike.

While colonial teens might have considered independence to be the keys to pop’s horse and buggy, the genuine article took years to achieve until King George’s forces departed in 1783.

Independence to American teens still are pop’s keys, but in stop-and-go traffic, particularly with a Fourth of July holiday destination gleaming from the GPS on your smart phone, many still want someone’s head on a pike.

We might have won independence from England, but not highway work zones.

On any given day, the Texas Department of Transportation has about 1,000 work zones across Texas. We can’t promise you construction-free highways but we can help you avoid highway “fizzles” that keep you from enjoying the sparkle in your Fourth of July travels.

With the exception of emergency road repairs, TxDOT does not have any scheduled holiday lane closures in the Beaumont area. TxDOT wants to keep the traffic moving.

Many holiday travelers will venture to unfamiliar territory and knowing where some construction projects are located may help you plan for a better drive.

In Southeast Texas, the Big Three projects are:

- The Neches River (Purple Heart Memorial) Bridge project. On a regular workday, the average, eastbound rush-hour traffic can slow to a crawl. Throw in some holiday traffic and you could see some long delays.

Interestingly, the eastbound slowdown is not because of daily lane closures. Instead, most of the delay comes from narrow travel lanes on the bridge and the high number of merging drivers between College and downtown Beaumont.

Westbound traffic from Orange County is not so much of a problem because there aren’t entrance ramps close to the bridge.

All traffic temporarily shares the westbound bridge as workers build a new eastbound bridge. Expect that to continue through the rest of the year and into early 2015. Afterward, it’s the same song with a different verse. All traffic will be shifted to the new eastbound bridge as workers build a new westbound bridge. The $58 million project is slated to be completed in 2016.

- Eastex Freeway ramp reversal. Road crews are inching their way northbound on a $27 million project to reduce congestion. Workers have widened some of the frontage roads between Interstate 10 and Texas 105 and are preparing to “punch” through the 11th Street overpass to extend a northbound frontage road and exit ramp to the Lucas Drive intersection.

Practically all work happens behind concrete barriers. Any lane closures take place at night. The narrow travel lanes and temporary 55 mph speed limit often slows traffic. If you are anywhere near Eastex this coming weekend, expect some delays, especially during fireworks time. Otherwise, your travels along this highway should be pretty easy.

- Cow Bayou swing bridge. Even Bridge City can’t escape road work. The $9.5 million Texas 87 swing bridge replacement project means the entire bridge is closed to traffic. The historic bridge is being renovated while still keeping its historical look. Eastbound traffic shares the westbound bridge. So be careful around the transition point at the foot of the bridge as traffic narrows and often slows.

It’s a red, white and blue weekend, but it’s also orange barrels and concrete barriers. The good news is that barring any emergency road work, don’t expect lane closures. Add that to your celebration of Independence Day.

Check to get your latest closures for all of Texas.

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Report: Asset forfeiture pays for police travel

Connecticut State Police

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A newspaper review of financial records by Connecticut police shows that money forfeited by convicted criminals such as drug dealers is used to buy police dogs, undercover vehicles, technology, fitness equipment and to pay for travel to events around the country.

Asset forfeiture funds for travel expenses are allowed for law enforcement. But Jonathan J. Einhorn, a former New Haven police commissioner and defense lawyer, told the New Haven Register it’s not appropriate.

“The state police have created a slush fund for vacations and travel, and that is just not the purpose,” he said. “It should be for more direct crime-fighting purposes. If I were a police officer, I would want a new bullet-proof vest for me, rather than send one of my buddies to South Carolina for a vacation.”

State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said travel money was used for police training at conferences. Training isn’t always available in Connecticut, and state police will spend three to five days at a conference in another state, he said.

“It is not the venue of pleasure and play. These are venues for education. We all learn from each other,” Vance said.

For example, officers at conferences could learn about a new strain of heroin in another part of the country before it migrates to Connecticut or how to dismantle a methamphetamine laboratory, he said.

The Register asked each police agency in Connecticut about the sums they received and how they spent it.

Of about $254,563 in forfeiture funds in the budget year ending in June 2013, state police reported using $4,735 for in-state travel and $34,261 for out-of-state travel.

Commissioner Dora B. Schriro of the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection said she is reviewing the agency to make sure the money is used the most efficiently, including the use of asset forfeiture funds for travel.

About 50 state police officials used forfeiture funds to attend conferences in California, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Virginia in the 2012-13 fiscal year.


Information from: New Haven Register,

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Travel safe on Independence Day

It is easy to get distracted when heading out of town to celebrate the Fourth of July but those distractions could cost a lot and end a vacation quickly.

“As we prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July, DPS urges Texans to do their part to help keep our roadways safe during the holiday, said DPS Director Steven McCraw in a release. “During the holiday, DPS troopers will be performing increased patrols aimed at protecting all travelers and removing dangerous drivers from the road.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety will increase patrols through July 7.

Troopers will be posted or patrolling in high risk locations and will focus on DWI’s at times when alcohol related crashes are most frequent.

According to the DPS, 2013 patrols during July 4 troopers made 1,124 DWI arrests, 720 fugitive arrests, 602 felony arrests, more than 2,400 seatbelt citations and approximately 15,700 speeding citations.

Drivers who wish to partake in the celebration but don’t have a sober driver can also take advantage of the website The site offers local cab company phone numbers, public transit numbers and routes, walking routes, and links to Facebook and Twitter to ask for assistance getting home.

AAA Texas is predicting a significant increase in traffic during the holiday this year. Doug Shupe, senior public affairs specialist with AAA, said it is directly tied to the economic upswing in the state.

“We are expecting an increase in travel this year. The forecast shows an increase a 2.9 percent from last year and the reason for that is people are feeling a little more confident about the economy,” said Shupe.  “Our forecast shows that 3 million Texans will be traveling by car and truck because it is still the most economical and convenient means for families to travel. Families have much more control over their schedule and budget traveling by motor vehicle.”

While drinking and driving is never a positive, Gene Powell, Texas Department of Transportation spokesman for the Odessa District said it is not the only thing that should be considered when heading out of town for the holiday.

“One of the first things to consider is if you’re making a long trip make sure you are well rested and have another driver,” Powell said. “Driving drowsy is just as dangerous as driving drunk or driving distracted so you have to be well rested.”

Powell also urges the traveling public to make sure that the vehicle is capable of making the trip and that everything is check before take off like, tires, windshield wipers, fluids and other necessary checks.

Shupe agreed and said that it is a vital part of safety when hitting the road.

“It is very important to make sure everyone is safely secured in the vehicle children as well as pets,” said Shupe. “You want to make sure you do an overall inspection of the vehicle before you head out to see if it is in good working order and that is not only going to help with fuel efficiency but also safety reasons.”

Another important aspect that Powell said TxDOT sees a lot is distracted driving which comes in many forms and should be avoided when heading out on vacation.

“People need to avoid distracted driving,” Powell said. “Do not talk on your cell phone while driving, don’t text, and don’t program the GPS. If you need to do those things pull over and do it safely.”

Its vacation and there is no need to be in a rush and avoid distractions, Shupe said while giving guidelines for holiday travel.

“Before you head out there on the road please don’t be distracted; put those cell phones and mobile devices away, obey the speed limit, watch out for other lanes and ahead of you,” Shupe said. “We know there will be a lot of traffic on the highways so take your time and don’t get in a rush. The priority should be to get everyone to the destination safely.”

Those leaving the Odessa area can also expect some delays in their travels as there is some construction on various roadways in the area.

According to, construction is taking place on state highway 158 south of Midland along with construction north of Midland on state highway 349.

In Odessa there is construction on US 385 and on parts of Interstate 20 and drivers are asked to use cautions when heading through those areas.

Last but not least Powell is asking for drivers to, “Use common courtesy for other drivers it goes along way. We can’t say these messages enough.”















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