A cool tool can be any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or website that is tried and true. All reviews on this site are written by readers who have actually used the tool and others like it. Items can be either old or new as long as they are wonderful. We post things we like and ignore the rest. Suggestions for tools much better than what is recommended here are always wanted.
I’ve raved before about the Kindle Fire tablet, the best electronics bargain on the planet, and this week some versions are on the sale rack for Black Friday. The 10-inch version is going for $80 and the 8-inch one (better for reading Kindle books) is going for $60. See all the options, including ones for kids, at this link.
New Airport Near Siem Reap, Cambodia
Getting to Angkor Wat in Cambodia has never been half the fun and the one airline that flew there (from Thailand) had a complete monopoly on the route. Now a new larger airport is open, though it’s 35 miles from the ruins and town. This article in Radio Free Asia is much less chipper than most announcements, noting the trend of China building projects like this to spread their influence and the fact that visitor numbers have not recovered post-pandemic.
Shakira Gets a Tax Fine From Spain
The Spanish government just got 7.5 million euros richer thanks to a plea deal fine with Colombian pop star Shakira, who ponied up the cash (in addition to back taxes) to avoid going to jail for tax evasion. There’s a lesson in here for anyone looking at digital nomad visas in a country like Spain or Brazil where after 183 days, you’re on the hook for major taxes, even on foreign income. She maintains she never spent that long there and was touring, but she owned a family house so it was going to be tough to win the fight.
Two Reasons to Visit South America Now
As you’ve probably heard, the wacky candidate who wielded a chainsaw at rallies won the presidential election in Argentina. Get the popcorn ready for what’s to follow, but one promise he made was to dollarize the economy, so the bargain prices for travelers who arrive with dollars or euros now may not last if he manages to push it through their congress. Also, Brazil is reinstating a reciprocal visa fee in early January that’s going to mean a hefty increase in the vacation budget for Australians, Canadians, and Americans. The latter will owe $160 per person before leaving the airport.
* Correction - I was a little too excited about the current state of that bullet train that just opened on Java, Indonesia. It’s only going 1/3 of the way to Yogyakarta at this point, so you’ll need to change to a regular slow train for the rest of the journey. Thanks to the readers who caught the mistake.