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This week: London


Museum Expands Its Take on First World War
BY ALLAN LYNCH Meridian Writers’ GroupLONDON—To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War (1914-1918), Britain and Europe will be awash in special events from 2014 through 2018. In total, 1,000 organizations in 28 countries will be involved. Among the lead organizations is London’s Imperial War Museum (IWM), housed in the former Bethlem Royal Hospital for the treatment of mental illness. Bethlem gave the world the concept of “bedlam,” which makes it a perversely suitable location for a war museum.read on...


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Tips from the latest guidebooks



Moon Handbooks Ecuador & the Galápagos Islands, 6th edition





THE FAMOUS PANAMA hat isn’t from Panama at all, says the sixth edition of Moon Handbooks Ecuador & the Galápagos Islands. It should “be called a Montecristi hat,” after the Ecuadorian town it was born in.

The guidebook explains that the mistake dates to 1906. U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt, visiting the then-under-construction Panama Canal, was photographed wearing an elegant, tight-weave, white-straw chapeau. “The president and his Panama hat,” read the photo caption. The name stuck.

The hat is made from the toquilla palms that grow around Montecristi, about 250 kilometres southwest of Quito, near the Pacific coast. You can buy it there (“one of the best places...is the home of José Chávez Franco [Rocafuerte 386]”), but the Panama hat capital is Cuenca, Ecuador’s third-largest city (pop. 331,000) and “arguably its most beautiful,” about 450 kilometres south of Quito in the southern highlands.

The guidebook has some suggestions of where to buy a hat in Cuenca:

• K. Dorfzaun (www.kdorfzaun.com) or Homero Ortega Padre e Hijos (www.homeroortega.com), both on Dávalos street.

• “One of the oldest and most renowned hatmakers in Cuena,” says the guidebook, “is octogenarian Alberto Pulla.” His shop is at Tarqui and Córdova.





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New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival


THE SECOND-biggest event on the New Orleans social calendar, after Mardi Gras, is the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, held over two weekends the end of April and the start of May. The 2015 dates are Friday 24 April to Sunday 26 April and Thursday 30 April to Sunday 3 May.

The festival started as a jazz weekend in 1969, but now covers a broad swathe of musical styles, as a partial list of this year’s headliners makes clear: Jimmy Cliff, Buddy Guy, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John (interpreting Louis Armstrong), Taj Mahal, Elton John, The Who, Jimmy Buffett, Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, Keith Urban, Lenny Kravitz and Chicago. Performances take place on five stages and in five tents at the Fair Grounds racecourse. Up to 100,000 attend.

Music is the main attraction , but food is also a strong lure: vendors come from all over the region to offer crawfish bread, cajun jumbalaya, hot sausage po-boy, pecan catfish meunière, alligator pie and deep-fried just about anything you can imagine.








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