Something to Declare
THE COLUMN THAT SAVES YOU MONEY
Saturday 04 September 1999
Later this month, British Airways' no-frills offshoot, Go, starts flying between London Stansted and Prague (pictured)
Go's appearance on the route has forced the Czech airline, CSA (0171- 255 1898), to lower its fare between the Czech capital and the Essex airport (which CSA spells "Stanstead"). If you book before Friday, and travel between 22 Sept and 30 Oct, the fare is pounds 107 - pounds 7 more than the lowest fare offered by Go, but worthwhile given the free meals and drinks on CSA. The other two airlines on the London-Prague route, British Airways and British Midland, have yet to respond.
Giveaway of the week
As the memories of holidays fade, schools can keep travel on the curriculum by requesting a free video called Looking Beyond the Brochure, which deals with the effects of tourism on host communities and the environment. Call Tourism Concern, 0171-753 3330.
Currency of the Week
The Colombian peso
It is said that every $100 bill in circulation in the United States bears traces of cocaine. Where, you might ask, does that leave the currency of the nation that is alleged still to provide the bulk of the world's supply of illicit white powder? Quite stable and unsullied, thank you.
The Colombian peso has behaved in a far more orderly fashion than the other leading South American currencies. The Peruvian, Argentinian and Venezuelan economies have endured some tricky times, with cash losing its face value as quickly as finance ministers were traded. But Colombia's financial affairs - said, by some, to be shored up by illegal and highly lucrative foreign earnings - have remained in good shape.
There is a strong link between the Colombian peso and the US dollar, which anchors the currency to the store of value closest to gold. To show Colombia's contribution to the latter, the 20,000 peso note shows an example of the exquisite Tayrona Indian jewellery that existed before Columbus. It also shows the world; only a cynic would suggest that this demonstrates the ambition of the nation's drug barons.
Destination of the Week Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh
Unlike some Millennium Commission-funded attractions, this new pounds 40m development has proved popular over the summer - so now could be the time to explore it in relative peace. Dynamic Earth explores the planet and man's relationship with it, with a multimedia approach summed up in this extract: "In the oceans and on land, we have a gene pool essential to the progress of evolution, from which all life responds to the dramatically changing fortunes of this dynamic earth." Visitors should not confuse this millennium project with the site opposite, which is where the new Scottish Parliament building is under contruction.
Dynamic Earth (0131-550 7800) opens 10am-6pm daily. Admission is pounds 5.95 for adults, pounds 3.50 for children or senior citizens, and pounds 16.50 for up to two adults and three children.
Warning of the week
What you see may not be what you get
The Advertising Standards Authority has slammed two travel companies for using misleading photographs to give a false idea of comfort. Central Trains had used an image "loosely based on new trains due to be introduced later this year", and was ticked off. The picture used in a Singapore Airlines ad showing how "Our First Class cabin has been restyled to give you more space than ever before" certainly showed plenty of space, not least because the central aisle of seats had been removed. "The advertisers asserted that normal industry practice was either to remove seating for photography or to show seats `in limbo'," says the ASA.
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