USA to Spain

Jan and I are just back from a cruise to the Canary Islands, Morocco and Portugal.  This is the first of a number of posts about our trip.

From home (Iowa) we first flew to Chicago, pleasantly at a sane time of day.  No problems and enough layover  at O’Hare to allow us to have lunch.  Our flight to Madrid  left on time and there were no problems there either.  At Madrid, going through customs was a snap.  I wish things were that easy in the US.  The only difficulty was a long wait before our next flight to Tenerife.  Luckily we were able to spend the time in the comfortable Air Iberia VIP lounge.

The flight to Tenerife was a little late and the situation was complicated because the gate attendant only made announcements in Spanish.  Eventually we got on board and took off.  We had a nice lunch/dinner and the flight was just a couple of hours long.  While waiting for our luggage at the Tenerife airport we met some others who were going on the same cruise.

We were met by a cheerful cab driver who took us to the hotel and we settled in HotelBotanicorather quickly.  Had a great meal in the Thai restaurant right in the hotel.  We were not leaving for the ship until around noon the next day so we could sleep late and partially make up for our jet-lag.  The hotel was the Botanica, very nice with fabulous BotanicoGroundsgrounds including a small golf course, ponds with koi,  statues, fountains and beautiful flowers.

The process of boarding the ship was much improved over our previous cruises with WindStar.  Less paperwork and better organized.  It also helped that the ship was only half full Cabin(84 passengers of the maximum 148).  We settled into our cabin without a lot of trouble and went up Click for larger imagepool-side where they had buffet lunch set out for those on board while we waited to sail at 11pm.

We had dinner that evening with a couple of other passengers, two women from the UK.  They were traveling together, leaving Riggingtheir husbands behind to fend for themselves for the week.  After that we went up on deck and waited for the sailing.  When they raise the sails they always play the theme from “Chariots of Fire” by Vangelis.  At night it is particularly moving as they have the sails lighted and the ship really stands out in the dark.  Unfortunately the  weather did not cooperate and they did not raise the sails that evening.

Net Neutrality

I suppose that anyone who finds there way here has at least a basic understanding of the concept of Net Neutrality. If you don’t, the short definition is “All data on the Internet should be treated impartially, regardless of what its purpose is.”

Recently the FCC has proposed rules that would codify this principle.  This has set off a storm among the big ISP’s, telecom providers and various other organizations that want to control the internet to maximize their profits.

Senator John McCain has introduced a Senate bill, S 1836 (Cynically named The Internet Freedom Act of 2009) , which would block the FCC from implementing its proposed rules.  A similar bill, HR 3924 (Real Stimulus Act of 2009), was introduced in the House.

Both of these bills would result in large ISPs being able to block or slow down various kinds of Internet traffic for what ever reasons they choose.  If you value the Internet, you don’t want either of these bills to pass!

I urge everyone to write or call their Senators and Representative and ask them to oppose these bills.

In addition, you should request that your Representative support the House bill HR 3458 who’s purpose is: “To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to establish a national broadband policy, safeguard consumer rights, spur investment and innovation….”

The more letters, phone calls or emails they get, the more likely it will be that we can preserve a free and open Internet.  Do it today.