TWO men have been arrested after a vigilant member of the public spotted them trying to steal fuel.
North Yorkshire Police say that shortly after 4pm yesterday (November 11) at a service station on the A19 near Thirsk, a member of the public spotted two men hastily filling up large plastic drums with fuel and leaving without paying.
A police spokesman said: “The member of public observed the direction of travel and quickly phoned 999. Police officers were already fuelled up and ready to go and immediately headed towards the area.
“The last lot of fuel was clearly not enough, as the suspects had pulled into a further petrol forecourt. Unfortunately for them police were around the corner and very quickly had their van boxed in. Officers found half a dozen containers of fuel inside the vehicle, some of which was leaking. The two men aged in their 30s were arrested on suspicion of theft.
“The fuel station from Thirsk contacted us to say that a van had made off without payment for £161.79 worth of fuel. The men have since both been interviewed and charged.
“Police would like to thank the member of public that called us on 999 for their swift action.”
Since late 2019, the world has been dealing with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and has been facing an overwhelming challenge of controlling the spread of the disease. In most countries in which there have been increased cases of COVID-19, local governments have implemented restrictions, such as lockdowns and social distancing, to slow the spread of the disease. Research has shown that such restrictions are imperative in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
In South Korea, public transportation systems are mainly made up of buses and urban rails. However, since the pandemic began, the demand for public transport has drastically dropped. To offer the safest possible environment on public transport, the government of South Korea has issued safety guidelines, including maintaining a safe distance from others, wearing face masks, traveling at off-peak times, and avoiding crowded spaces.
However, the use of public transport is still considered high risk due to the high transmissibility associated with COVID 19, and large numbers of people are asymptomatic. Thus, high levels of anxiety regarding public transport are justified, especially in those considered vulnerable. Several studies have shown that public transport is a significant source of transmission regarding the pandemic.
Close contact is typically considered the main route of transmission with COVID-19, which highlights the significance of asymptomatic individuals. Thus, it is vital to examine patterns of travel and the activities of infected individuals to protect the population better and control the spread of COVID-19.
In public transportation research, previous studies have utilized various frameworks or networks, such as Euclidean, Neural Network, and Reverse Logistics Network, to simulate the trip characteristics and travel patterns of passengers in public transportation. Another previous study used smart card data to examine the public transportation passenger encounter pattern with an Encounter Network.
In this study published in Science Advances, the authors extended this research by proposing a time-varying weighted Public Transportation Encounter Network that modeled the COVID-19 infectious process observed on public transport. The public transport trips analyzed in this study showed a repeated mobility pattern of regularity, which allowed for reproducible patterns. Therefore, the familiar stranger group (frequent encounters of public transportation users) was analyzed. The simulation performed displayed how public transportation users are frequently exposed to the virus on their trips.
Mask wearing is a recommended safety procedure in South Korea to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, it is mandatory in public places such as public transport. The authors tested the efficacy of the most common masks worn in South Korea by determining the number of concentrations and reduction rate before and after wearing the mask. The authors prepared a 5% TiO2 Gamble solution to mimic pulmonary fluids and viral particles and converted it to cough aerosols using a mist generator. The results from this procedure demonstrated that mask-wearing is as effective as maintaining two meters physical distance.
Large-scale events and mass gatherings can increase the spread of COVID-19 through travelers who attend such events and carry the virus to new areas. Also, in the case of large events, it can mean increased numbers and duration on public transport, which increases the number of public encounters, thus increasing the chance of COVID-19 transmission. The public encounter network demonstrated that variation in the demand for public transport based on time zone could significantly affect congestion levels. Therefore, the variation in congestion levels generated different encounter patterns in the public transportation network. Moreover, the authors of this study demonstrate that the duration of contact with infected citizens was closely related to congestion on public transport.
Close contact is typically the primary route of COVID-19 transmission, highlighting the danger associated with asymptomatic cases. A better understanding of patterns of travel may help in mitigating COVID-19 spread on public transport. The wearing of masks, while still a controversial topic, is mandatory on public transport in South Korea. The results from this study show that wearing a face mask may be as effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 as keeping a two-meter physical distance. Mass gatherings generally result in increased numbers on public transport, so safety precautions such as masks are vital in preventing an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Corporate ground transportation management platform Gett is
set to trade on the Nasdaq after signing a business combination agreement with
special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Rosecliff Acquisition Corp.
Upon closing the deal – expected to happen in the first half
of 2022 – the combined company will operate as Gett and will use the symbol
GETT for trading. The transaction reflects an implied valuation of $1 billion
for the company and will provide it with up to $253 million in gross proceeds
from Rosecliff’s trust account, with an additional $30 million in proceeds from
a private investment in public equity (PIPE) commitment from Rosecliff’s
sponsors and existing Gett shareholders.
Gett had reportedly been considering an IPO for the last two
years but has chosen to go down the SPAC route.
Gett started life in Tel Aviv in 2010 as ride-hailing firm
GetTaxi. The firm later rebranded itself as a corporate ground transportation
management platform. Currently headquartered in London, Gett employees more
than 800 people globally. It says its efforts are focused on solving challenges
in its field, where spending is estimated to exceed $100 billion globally. Its
cloud-based software offers rides from more than 1,700 transportation providers
such as Lyft, Ola and Cabify, including corporate fleets, ride-hailing
services, taxis and limousines. Clients can centrally manage their ground
transportation spend while travellers are provided with an optimised booking
Gett claims to serve more than a quarter of current Fortune
The agreement is a huge step forward in Gett’s global
expansion plans, with Rosecliff able to “create rapid inroads to new customer
opportunities” in the US, according to Rosecliff founder and CEO Michael
Gett founder and CEO Dave Waiser said the company’s business
model has helped it succeed as business travel returns following the pandemic. “With
an increasing shortage of drivers due to a Covid-induced market shock, it has
become more difficult in some markets to predictably and repeatedly find a car
with any single provider, especially on demand,” Waiser said in a statement. “Corporations
and their employees are looking for a more modern and highly reliable service
to manage the broadest array of vendors to optimise their ground transportation
for faster pickups and better price.”
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Traveling on public transport increases a person’s risk of getting exposed to COVID-19. To keep the commute safe, people are highly recommended to stay vigilant by applying the health protocols.
The National COVID-19 Task Force reminds the public to be disciplined in practicing key hygiene during the continuing pandemic. The Health Ministry and the Transportation Ministry have drafted a guideline for public traveling on mass transport.
As quoted from the Health Ministry’s page www.kemkes.go.id, the task force’s spokesperson Reisa Broto Asmoro outlines seven points of the guideline as follows:
1. Before traveling, make sure you are in good health. People who feel unwell are suggested to stay at home.
2. It is better to take public transport mode that limits the number of passengers.
3. Remember to always wear a face mask.
4. Clean hands with a hand sanitizer or wash them regularly to maintain hand hygiene.
5. Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth during the trip.
6. Discipline yourself by always maintaining a physical distance.
7. Wear a face shield as additional protection if the public transport has crowded passengers.
HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – New York State Police in Horseheads are searching for an individual and vehicle believed to be involved in the theft of a travel trailer, and are asking for public assistance in the search.
The theft took place on the evening hours of Oct. 23 on State Route 13, near the town of Veteran, N.Y.
The picture above shows possibly a GMC Sierra with no front bumper and a dark hood, the driver is also pictured in the photo.
The stolen travel trailer is a 2012 R-Vision Crossover Camper, color beige with brown decals. It is pictured below.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the State Police at 607-739-8797 or 585-398-4100.
It was right around the turn of the twentieth century that Texas discovered oil—and golf. The gushing wealth created by the former helped spread the “Royal and Ancient Game,” as the state’s golf association described it in its founding 1906 mission statement. What began in the private, linen-suited confines of country clubs in Beaumont, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Waco, has since grown to more than nine hundred courses, many of them open to the public, and many of those regarded among the best in the country. This list of nine (which will, of course, be updated by next month to include eighteen) represent the best of public golf across Texas. These courses are beautiful representatives of their respective regions, challenging for experienced players, not too daunting for beginners, and all at a great value. For new arrivals to Texas or to golf, and for experienced golfers seeking a fresh adventure, allow us to suggest some of our favorite courses around the state.
BlackHorse Golf Club
This 36-hole course is wedged inside the BlackHorse Ranch community, about 35 minutes northwest of downtown Houston. The ample homes that occasionally appear along the fairways give it a country-club feel, as do the steep greens fees for prime tee times. But you get your money’s worth at this beautiful Jacobsen-and-Hardy-designed course that’s an homage to the region’s wetlands. Even better, the choice of six tee boxes makes it accessible to even the humblest duffer.
Start with the more-forgiving North Course. Most of the holes are fairly straightforward. The course opens and closes with broad, rippling fairways that are forgiving, but only up to a point: the long, wispy rough can devour wayward balls.
The South Course makes up for its shorter length—7,191 yards from the tips compared to the North’s 7,301—with a more-demanding layout. Water is a constant companion: seven holes include water features running along most or all of their respective fairways, and a winding creek occasionally comes into play. The sixteenth and seventeenth holes are especially memorable. The former, a short par four, dares big hitters to drive over a beautiful marsh, and the following par three is effectively an island—a wooden bridge just above the waterline takes you from tee box to green. The spectacular wetland landscape provides more than enough consolation for any splashed shots.
The pro shop is well stocked, and Roper’s Grill offers comfortable indoor and outdoor seating where you can enjoy the Big Jake cheeseburger (named after the course designer), or a variety of sandwiches and generously portioned salads, along with beer, cocktails, or wine. —Josh Alvarez
Greens fees: $49 to $145. Fees include practice balls and golf cart.
Memorial Park Golf Course
Bayou City golfers should count themselves lucky, if not spoiled. It’s rare to have a municipal course that’s fun, meticulously maintained, conveniently located—fewer than six miles west of downtown—and affordable. (Non-Houston residents, by comparison, must surrender their wallets to play.) Don’t bother with the $16 cart fee; this course offers an easy, enjoyable walk, and regular rainfall often means you would have to confine the cart to the paths.
Renowned designer Tom Doak teamed up with four-time major-tournament winner Brooks Koepka to renovate the 85-year-old course, which reopened in 2019. It’s now one of the country’s few PGA-certified munis, and hosts the Houston Open. Mere mortals need not fear: while playing from the tips stretches the course to a whopping 7,432 yards, one tee box down reduces it to a manageable 6,553 yards that are appealing to both scratch golfer and hack alike.
Those who fear the sand will rejoice at seeing fewer than twenty bunkers during the round, but in exchange, players must carefully navigate grass hollows, deep ravines, and thick Bermuda grass that clutches balls when they miss the fairway. Make use of the double-decker driving range to get your iron distances nailed down, because the greens can be unkind to shots that might be serviceable elsewhere. A prime example is the par three number seven, which slopes right to left toward a bunker and front to back toward a ravine. A precise, soft shot to the front allows the ball to release and stop before trouble. After the round, head over to the Becks Prime located on-site and treat yourself to the Bill’s Burger or the bacon cheeseburger, which Texas Monthlyranked a top-ten burger in the state. —Josh Alvarez
Greens fees: $15 to $140.
“Brack,” as it’s lovingly known to locals, is regularly listed among the best public courses in the U.S., and for good reason. It’s a treasure, both for its rich history and the challenge it offers at an attractive price. Host of the Texas Open for many decades, the course was designed by the famed architect A. W. Tillinghast, whose resume includes such U.S. Open venues as Baltusrol and Winged Foot. Located just two miles north of the Alamo, Brackenridge opened in 1916 in a sparsely inhabited area where, according to a plaque, construction workers were menaced by “wolves, bears and other critters then native to the area.”
Measuring just 6,200 yards, the course plays longer, thanks to strategic placement of bunkers, trees, doglegs, ponds, and creeks. Many of the greens are narrow, elevated, and guarded by traps, including at the signature eighth, a lovely and wicked 188-yard par three. The greens sometimes suffer from extensive traffic, especially during dry periods. They’re best in the fall, when many San Antonians are drawn away from the links by football and hunting.
The pro shop offers a full range of ammo and armor, plus sandwiches and beer. Golfers can warm up at the Polo Field Golf Center’s driving range just a mile to the north. Many local golfers buy a membership that offers discounts on the city’s eight courses, including Brack. —Dan Goodgame
Greens fees: $24.50 to $62.
The Palmer Course at La Cantera
One of the most challenging and scenic golf properties in the San Antonio area, the Palmer is consistently ranked as one of the best resort courses in the U.S. Located twenty miles northwest of downtown, it sprawls along a hilly rim that overlooks much of the city. The course features dramatic elevation changes, which pose a special challenge when the wind is up. There are admirably few blind shots—at least if you stay in the fairway, which you need to do here. The rough can be punitive during wet spells or when it’s mowed taller before tournaments. On one such day, my foursome lost a half dozen balls on shots just a couple of yards off the fairway. The greens here are consistently true and are faster than most in the area.
Opened in 2001, the course was designed by the late, great Arnold Palmer, and measures about 6,900 yards from the tips. Beneath its many hills are streams and ponds, some fed by handsome man-made waterfalls, including on the signature fourth and eighteenth holes.
A driving range is available on site, as is a well-stocked pro shop and a handsome full-service restaurant and bar with commanding views of the course. Two great times to visit are in late October and early March, when pulses of monarch butterflies often migrate through the Palmer course on their way to and from their wintering grounds in Mexico. —Dan Goodgame
Greens fees: $59 to $159.
Grapevine Golf Course
In a state with so many fine, and even historic, parkland municipal courses, Grapevine stands out. One reason is that the great Byron Nelson influenced its design. Another is that the 27-hole property sits astride Grapevine Lake, giving the place an aura of intimacy and tranquility, most notably on the Pecan nine, where some holes play under and along the lake’s dam. Grapevine’s holes wander in every direction, and each is unique. A round here is a pleasant expedition, full of surprises and delight.
Grapevine represents, for the most part, a gentle test. That is not to say it’s easy. But it is, in the best sense, simple and sensible. Everything fits. Take the par-four fifth hole on the Pecan nine: 405 yards from an elevated tee, moving right to left toward a vaguely reverse-Redan green. It’s scenic, strategic, and, if you fancy, heroic. And, as on a handful of other holes on the Pecan and Mockingbird nines, you feel that you’re all alone with an alley of oaks. The affordability of the course is a bonus. —Kevin D. Robbins
Greens fees: $19 to $43.
The Rawls Course
If a mark of an outstanding golf course is its relationship and fidelity to its elements, The Rawls Course on the Llano Estacado just might be the most Texan course in the state. Designed by Tom Doak and opened in 2003, the acclaimed home course of the Texas Tech golf teams confronts players with two prominent features of northwest Texas: level land and a firing wind.
Doak rearranged more than 1.3 million cubic yards of topsoil to dimple the space with endless bumps and ripples. Tall, wispy grasses thrive in the rough between generous fairways, helping to define them amid the flat landscape. The result is a vexing and invigorating golf experience that summons the seaside links of Scotland. The wind that typically scrapes the High Plains can ratchet up the difficulty of keeping balls in position at Rawls. Low, running shots are the ticket here. The few Afghan pines on the course provide little shade or protection from the wind. There are just enough of them to serve as shot targets. Use them prudently to avoid the course’s rough and its 97 craggy bunkers.
The fourteenth hole, a 506-yard par-four, features a yawning fairway with a deep bunker standing sentry inside the left-to-right bend in the landing zone for tee shots. The approach plays slightly uphill to the most compelling green on Rawls (which is saying something, because they’re all inspiring). The front of the putting surface falls left into a hollow. A modest saddleback in the middle rises to a narrow plateau at the back, with two gaping bunkers on the left, and a generous bailout area on the right. Setting up a birdie putt here of any length is an achievement. And for most golfers, so is a bogey. —Kevin D. Robbins
Greens fees: $39 to $91.
Rockwood Golf Course
In 1933, John Bredemus, the mystical, Princeton-educated math professor turned course architect credited with the creation of Fort Worth’s Colonial Country Club, also fashioned eighteen holes along the West Fork of the Trinity River. That course, Rockwood, just five miles north of Colonial, served for decades as a decent municipal for those without the wherewithal to join a private club.
Then, in 2015, the city of Fort Worth paid Colligan Golf Design, which had restored the Brackenridge Park course in San Antonio, more than $5 million to revive Rockwood. Better money was never spent. Rockwood reopened in 2017. Everything was new: tees, greens, fairways, bunkers, and drainage. Yet the new design felt respectful of the old one.
A walk on Rockwood reminds us that an American municipal golf course from the 1930s can use modern technology—improved irrigation, better agronomy, finer sand—and still pay proper homage to its roots. While the bones of the original Rockwood remain strong, the Colligan restoration sharpened subtle play angles, whittled interesting landforms into the broad Rockwood fairways and planted new bunkers in strategic locations.
The tee of the lovely par-three eighth hole takes you to one of the highest points on the property. From there, you see downtown Fort Worth—and the 142 yards from the back tee to a massive green in the shape of an amorphous arrowhead, with a spacious false front just beyond a bunker that looks a lot closer to the green than it really is. The shortest hole at Rockwood, framed beautifully by its three balanced bunkers and two lone trees, is an ode to a time when length wasn’t all that mattered. (Pro tip: don’t leave it short.)
Rockwood is exactly what a classic municipal golf course should be: engaging, modest, seductive, and just plain fun. —Kevin D. Robbins
Greens fees: $11 to $45.
Falconhead Golf Club
Located on Austin’s fast-growing western edge, just half an hour from downtown, this course offers a challenging but fair Hill Country golf experience. Designed by architects at the PGA Tour Design Center, it takes advantage of the varying elevations found across the area’s natural rolling landscape. Note that there are five sets of tees that can stretch the course to 7,181 yards or shrink it to 5,170, affording a fun experience for players of most all levels.
The second hole, a par four, is ranked the toughest on the course, with its downhill/uphill layout. The front nine closes with a trio of fine holes: a par four that is drivable for those who can hit it long and straight, a scenic par three that features a tee shot to a cantilevered green that is slightly elevated and protected by a creek on its right side (pro tip: err to the left), and a long par five that climbs (and climbs and climbs), requiring a blind approach shot to a green that runs away from the fairway. The fun continues on the back nine.
Arrive early to take advantage of Falconhead’s practice facility, which includes a driving range, pitching area, and putting green. One row of practice mats is set beneath a shady canopy, and the range offers Toptracer mobile capabilities, so be sure to download the app. After your round, take advantage of Talon’s Bar and Grill, which features a lovely covered patio exposed to refreshing Hill Country breezes. —David Courtney
Greens fees: $39 to $89.
Vaaler Creek Golf Club
With beautiful vistas; meandering creeks; and winding fairways lined with plentiful live oak, cedar, and mesquite trees, Vaaler Creek epitomizes the best of Hill Country golf. The full eighteen-hole course opened in 2009, just six miles southeast of Blanco and about an hour’s drive from Austin and San Antonio. It serves as the centerpiece of the 1,100-acre Rockin’ J Ranch residential development, but much of the course rests amid secluded natural beauty with nary a home in sight—or in danger of errant shots.
Named for Jack Vaaler (an Army buddy of the development’s owner and a recognizable name in the San Antonio golf community), the course features well-kept MiniVerde greens, with Bermuda 419 and TifSport grasses throughout. The two nines form a figure eight laid out over gently rolling terrain that formerly served as ranchland. The clubhouse, small but functional, is located in a renovated 1860s ranch house—with a large added deck that is shaded by ancient oaks.
Vaaler presents just enough bunkering and water to keep any player’s attention, but even from the back tees, which stretch the course to 6,864 yards, Vaaler offers a pleasant round for most skill levels. The signature eighteenth is a par four featuring a severe dogleg that descends leftward down to a large pond. It leaves the golfer with a demanding shot over the water to a green that is protected on the backside by a large bunker. Here and on others of the greens, distance control is key. —David Courtney
California’s student population is highly diverse — less than a quarter of public K-12 students are white. Through ethnic studies courses, students can learn their own stories as well as those of their classmates, Newsom said.
“America is shaped by our shared history, much of it painful and etched with woeful injustice,” Newsom wrote in his signing message. “Students deserve to see themselves in their studies, and they must understand our nation’s full history if we expect them to one day build a more just society.”
What’s the new law exactly?
Assembly Bill 101 adds one semester of ethnic studies to the state’s high school graduation requirements.
This will introduce high schoolers to concepts that have typically been reserved for the collegiate level.
The specifics of what will be taught in high schools are up to local districts.
The nearly 900-page model curriculum approved by the California Department of Education this year includes dozens of sample lessons, such as “#BlackLivesMatter and Social Change,” “Chinese Railroad Workers” and “U.S. Housing Inequality: Redlining and Racial Housing Covenants.”
Whom does this affect?
The first high schoolers subject to the new mandate are those graduating in the 2029-30 academic year. Schools don’t have to begin offering ethnic studies courses until 2025.
The requirement applies to students at all California public schools, including charters. There are currently about 1.7 million public high school students in the state.
Is anyone else doing this?
Several districts in California have already added ethnic studies to their high school graduation requirements, including San Diego, San Francisco, Fresno and Los Angeles Unified school districts.
In 2017, Oregon passed a law ordering that ethnic studies concepts be integrated into existing social studies courses for K-12 students. The rule differs from California’s in that it doesn’t create a distinct course focused on ethnic studies.
Previous drafts of the state’s teaching guide were criticized as too left-leaning, filled with jargon and promoting “critical race theory,” an academic concept that argues racism is ingrained in American laws and government institutions.
There was also condemnation from Jewish groups, who felt the curriculum emphasized Palestinian oppression while barely mentioning the Holocaust, as well as other ethnic groups that felt excluded.
The final version of the state’s curriculum, approved this March, deleted references that offended Jewish groups while adding lessons about the experiences of Jews, Arabs and Sikhs in America, The Los Angeles Times reports. It also struck terms such as “cisheteropatriarchy” and “hxrstory,” as well as language connecting capitalism with oppression.
Yet critics remain. Some supporters of the original guidelines feel the scope should not have been expanded beyond the four ethnic groups that lived in America before Europeans arrived.
Others find the current version too radical still. Williamson M. Evers, a former assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education, told The Los Angeles Times that the model curriculum was “permeated” with content that made it “racially divisive and burdened by faddish ideology.”
As districts across the state figure out how to put into place this new mandate, the debate will undoubtedly continue.
Today’s travel tip comes from Barry Goldberg, a reader who lives in Durham, N.C.:
I’ve been coming to California for vacations for over 50 years now. Consistently, my wife and I love Point Reyes National Seashore. Walking on Drakes Beach, hiking up and down the stairs to the lighthouse on a clear day, the glimpse of tule elk in the northern part of the park are all magical experiences. We never get tired of this area.
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
Half Moon Bay, a coastal city south of San Francisco that has earned the title “The Pumpkin Capital,” has been hosting the competition for nearly half a century.
Here’s some fun back story from the article:
“Four-time Half Moon Bay Mayor Al Adreveno, 96, addressed the crowd to give a brief history of how the town cemented itself as the ‘pumpkin capital of the world.’
In the 1970s, Adreveno said he was introduced to the mayor of Circleville, Ohio, which also proclaimed itself the world pumpkin capital. The two cities challenged each other to a weigh-off, held in 1974 outside City Hall.
Half Moon Bay won — by one pound, he said.”
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya
Editor’s Note — Editor’s Note — CNN Travel series often carry sponsorship originating from the countries and regions we profile. However, CNN retains full editorial control over all of its reports. Read the policy.
(CNN) — Showers embellished with 24-carat gold tiles. Duvets filled with eiderdown harvested from abandoned duck nests in Iceland. Pillow menus. Thirty different types of marble. A ceiling made of 21,000 Swarovski crystals representing the Milky Way. These are just some of the luxuries that await at Dubai‘s Burj Al Arab, one of the world’s most exclusive hotels.
Up to now, if you weren’t a paying guest at the hotel or dining at one of its restaurants, your Burj Al Arab experience was likely confined to snapping photos of the structure from the adjacent public beach.
But from October 15 this year, the Burj Al Arab’s secretive doors are finally sliding open, with a new Inside Burj Al Arab experience promising to offer visitors a glimpse inside, and lift the veil on some of the UAE hotel’s intriguing stories.
For almost 22 years, the Burj al Arab has been standing proud on its own private island just off the Jumeirah seafront, instantly recognizable with its design modeled on the shape of a billowing sail.
Its cantilevered helipad, suspended 210 meters above the water, has played host to many headline-grabbing events over the years. Andre Agassi and Roger Federer knocked a tennis ball around in 2005. David Coulthard spun donuts in an F1 car in 2013.
In February 2021, with the world in lockdown, DJ David Guetta used it as the stage for his “United at Home” livestream event. And in August 2021, as part of Dubai Tourism’s glitzy new campaign, Hollywood duo Zac Efron and Jessica Alba skydived off it.
So why allow public access now? Andy Nicholson, general manager and experience director of Inside Burj Al Arab, points to 2021 being the 50th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates and the recent opening of Expo 2020 Dubai, the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East.
This year “the spotlight is really on Dubai, and it seems like the perfect time to open up one of the city’s icons to visitors,” he says. “It’s a glimpse of the original home of luxury in Dubai.”
So what exactly will visitors experience when they enter these rarefied spaces? Starting from a new welcome center, the 90-minute tour begins with a buggy ride over the 340-meter bridge that connects to the private island on which the hotel stands. But there’s a pit stop to make first.
“We noticed that most guests come and stand on the bridge to take photos of the hotel,” says Nicholson. A new platform has been created to let visitors have the perfect vantage point.
On arrival at the Burj Al Arab, after a traditional welcome with a sprinkle of rosewater by Emirati hosts, you enter the cavernous atrium — at 180 meters, the tallest in the world — and the tour proper begins.
Without the context of other skyscrapers flanking the building, it’s hard to grasp its scale, but at 321 meters in height it’s three meters shorter than the Eiffel Tower (including tip) and 60 meters shorter than the Empire State Building.
The atrium manages to feel modern and retro at the same time, an Arabian Nights-meets-Jetsons setting, with layer upon layer of curves and color shades that become lighter the closer they get to the sky. At the top of the escalators, that glide upwards past twin aquariums, a fountain dances to the rhythms of traditional Emirati dance before shooting a final plume, geyser-like, 42 meters up into the air.
A glass elevator speeds visitors up to the 25th floor (in real terms, the 50th — each suite in the hotel is spread over two floors) for the main event, a tour of the opulent Royal Suite, after which there’s time to explore the interactive Experience Suite, sipping Arabic coffee and learning trivia about the Burj Al Arab’s architecture and interiors, as well as the pivotal role the hotel played in the development of Dubai.
Original sketches by interior designer Khuan Chew are on display, as is the napkin on which British architect Tom Wright sketched the first draft of his proposed structure in October 1993.
Building an instantly recognizable icon
The Burj Al Arab is the result of the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. His brief for the building was simple — to create the most luxurious hotel in the world, a building that would become an icon for the city.
Prior to coming up with the now instantly recognizable shape, Wright considered various symbols of Dubai’s culture and history for inspiration. But he came to a clear conclusion — if the building was to become an icon of a city that was boldly looking to the future, it should not be rooted in the past. Rather, it should be moving forward, and thus the sail-shaped building was born.
It took five years to build the Burj Al Arab — two years to create the artificial island on which it stands, and three years to build the hotel itself. When originally announced, the location was considered an unusual choice by many due to the fact that it was around 15 kilometers from what was the center of Dubai at the time. But its seaside backdrop on Dubai’s loveliest beach is one of the reasons it has become such an icon.
The great indoors
The interior of the Burj Al Arab is perhaps even more jaw-dropping than the exterior. Sheikh Mohammed envisioned an aesthetic inspired by Arabic styles from across the Middle East and given a contemporary interpretation, and instructed designer Khuan Chew to push the boundaries of color and decoration. And push them she did, creating interiors that dazzle with a sense of the theatrical in a space that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
“Fun is something that we want to include in the Inside Burj Al Arab experience,” Nicholson explains. “The whole building is full of joy with its audacious design and colors, and the new tour picks up on that.”
Royal Suite butler Roman Sedev, dressed in a gold tailcoat and white gloves, fully embodies that sense of fun as he opens the doors to the suite with a flourish and a grin, welcoming the visitor into a space dominated by a central staircase covered in leopard-print carpet.
A superlative space
Whether it’s your personal style or not, the Royal Suite is nothing short of astonishing with its no-holds-barred exuberance. The highly polished yellow floor reflects the 24-carat gold ceiling, just part of the 1,790 square meters of the material used throughout the hotel. There’s a private lift to take you up to the second floor. And it’s on the second floor where things become even more “extra.”
“Khuan Chew called the dining room a ‘sunburst room,'” says Sedev, pointing to the trompe l’oeil blue sky ceiling dotted with fluffy clouds above a dining table set for 10, sitting on top of a carpet that’s like a burst of sunlight. Leopard print makes an appearance again on the high-backed velvet dining chairs, in the cushions in the adjacent majlis room, on the ottomans in the bedrooms, and in some of the carpets.
And it’s those carpets that really stop you in your tracks. The attention to detail and craftsmanship that goes into them is extraordinary, each one taking three months to make by hand. And this being the Burj Al Arab, a stain or fray is unthinkable. “We always have an extra one in storage so we can change it immediately if anything happens,” Nicholson explains.
Once your eyes adjust to the opulence, the details start to jump out. Golden falcon talons grip the door handles. Walls are covered in silk that appears to change color depending on where you stand, with hand-stitched ladybirds embroidered in more of that 24-carat gold. There’s a dedicated team of artisans who come and do repairs whenever needed.
A glimpse into an exclusive world
Now that the doors are open to visitors, is there a chance that the hotel’s guests might be a bit miffed to be sharing their space?
“Our atrium is the biggest in the world, and we definitely have space for everyone,” says Nicholson. Each group is limited to a maximum of 12 people, and most of the experience takes place on the 25th floor which is reserved exclusively for visitors to Inside Burj Al Arab. In-house guests can take the tour too. “This is a working hotel, open 365 days a year,” continues Nicholson, “and the new tour offers a glimpse behind the scenes, bringing to life 21 years of amazing stories about the hotel and its people.”
Visitors won’t be asked to vacate the premises immediately after the experience, either. A new outdoor lounge, Uma, has opened exclusively for Inside Burj Al Arab, and each of the hotel’s restaurants can be booked by non-guests.
You could also just go all out and book yourself in for the night, although with prices starting at around $1,500 a night, it’s about 14 times the cost of a tour.
Corica Park’s North Course promises to bring the goods, blending old-school with new-school.
Courtesy Corica Park
With golf enjoying an historic boom and tee times seemingly as scarce as aces, any increase in supply is a cause for celebration.
When that supply is at a top-notch, bargain-priced muni, in the heart of a congested, golf-mad region, well, consider us euphoric.
So it has been of late for Bay Area golfers dialed into the goings-on at Corica Park, a 45-hole facility just east of San Francisco that is fast becoming one of the country’s marquee municipal complexes, up there in the conversation with the multi-course likes of Bethpage State Park and Torrey Pines.
Already home to the recently redone South Course, a Rees Jones design that channels the spirit of an Australian Sandbelt layout, and a newly reworked nine-hole par-3 course that offers a similar style of golf, in miniature, Corica Park is about to unveil the latest phase of its property-wide renovations.
This coming Thursday, the front nine of the North Course opens for play.
Like the South Course prior to its overhaul, the North Course used to be pancake-flat, with little more than two feet of elevation change across its entire footprint. To kickstart the transformation, Greenway Golf, the golf management company that runs Corica Park, brought in a planet’s worth of sand (okay, 15,000 truckloads, if you want to be more literal), the prized leftovers from big-dig construction projects in San Francisco.
Then it set Marc Logan loose.
A 58-year-old Australian who began his career a half a lifetime ago on the turf-care team at Royal Melbourne, Logan is not a superintendent, a general contractor, or a course architect. He is all of the above, evidenced by the myriad roles he has played on the job.
Not only did he install the North’s new irrigation and drainage systems, along with other critical infrastructure. Logan also handled the agronomy and the redesign, sticking largely to the original routing while transforming every hole into a vastly improved version of its former self.
To anyone familiar with the old North layout, the result is unrecognizable, in a very welcome way.
Like its sibling, the South Course, the North is meant to play firm and fast, with bouncy, drought-resistant turf, but it’s not intended as a tribute to the Sandbelt. It draws clearer inspiration from Golden Age designs in this country and their antecedents across the pond.
Consider the fairways, which are wide but dramatic and strategic, with flat landing areas flanked by humps and hollows, and swatches of fescue guarding the margins. Though losing a ball is unlikely, finding the sweet slot can take some doing. It’s not matter of rearing back and blasting. Let a tee shot stray and you’re apt to be confronted with an awkward lie or a less-than-ideal line to your next target. Bunkers, though few, have steep, riveted faces. Sideways is often the only way out.
At a shade over 3,000 yards, this new nine isn’t long, but distance isn’t always the best defense. Nor is it the most interesting.
“So much of golf these days is about length, length, length, but that’s not what this is about here,” Logan says. “I’m not out to punish the player who hits it long and straight. But if you hit it long and crooked, you’re not going to have an advantage over the guy who knocks it shorter but takes the right line. I was trying to level out the playing field.”
In a cap-tip to the Golden Age giant CB MacDonald, Logan has enlivened the design with template-like holes. Template-like, he says, because they aren’t faithful replicas but renditions, relying on elements of iconic designs. While 4th hole is a par-3 you could fairly call Redan-ish, given its canted green and fronting bunker, the 5th, a par-5 with a gulley running through its putting surface, carries echoes of a Biarritz.
Logan will have even more of this in store (a double-plateau green; a postage stamp-like par-3) when he finishes work on the back nine next year. In his original plans, all 18 of the North were slated to be done by now, but then, of course, the pandemic intervened, sending golf participation through the roof even as it gummed up construction projects.
So, nine new holes it what Corica has for now, and that’s a whole lot better than nothing, especially nine holes as fine as these. No wonder the buzz around this week’s ribbon cutting.
“Be happy—play often,” reads the slogan on the North’s new scorecard. Words to live by.
Now, let’s see what the tee sheet allows.
This is part of our Muni Monday series, spotlighting stories from the world of city- and county-owned golf courses around the world. Got a muni story that needs telling? Send tips to Dylan Dethier or to email@example.com and follow Muni Mondays on Instagram.
A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.