Surf's 'in' at the Dells
Wisconsin may be a thousand miles from an ocean, but surf's up at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells. An innovative surfing skill ride debuted at the African-themed resort's 125,000-square-foot indoor water park in May.
Operated by two 85-horsepower jet-propelled motors, the Surfari FlowRider, made by WaveLoch, propels 50,000 gallons of water per minute uphill to create a 5-foot wave. By day, riders can body-surf on boogie boards; after 6 p.m., they can surf upright on modified surfboards.
The resort also offers surfing lessons. The ride is the only one of its kind in an indoor water park, said Daylene Stroebe, Kalahari's general manager.
Resort guests have unlimited use of the water park; day passes are offered to nonguests for $40. Kalahari Resort, 1305 Kalahari Drive, Wisconsin Dells, Wis. 877-253-5466. www.kalahariresort.com.
Bangkok unlocks gridlock
Thailand's first-ever subway system opened in July, offering commuters and travelers alike a new way to avoid the famous Bangkok gridlock. Built at a cost of $2.5 billion, the MRTA has 18 stops spread over about 12 miles. It stretches from the Old Town surrounds of the Hualamphong train station through busy Sukhumvit, Phetchaburi, and Ratchadapisek roads before terminating in suburban Bang Sue.
Fares are a mere 34-87 cents, a bargain compared with the less extensive and more expensive SkyTrain (the trains link near Asoke). Stations are airy and industrial in appearance, with multiple exits and escalators. But the immediate measure of success is in the minutes saved by skirting the traffic-choked streets. Visiting business people can board at Silom Station and alight at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in some 6-8 minutes. Shoppers at the popular Chatuchak Weekend Market can catch a train underneath the 9,000-plus stalls and meet friends near Lumpini Park inside 30 minutes.