By Lori Rackl www.blogs.suntimes.com
The ancient wonder of Machu Picchu and the newly debuted Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper, both were closed for two months, for very different reasons (flooding in one case, electrical issues in the other).
As of last weekend, both tourists hot spots on opposite sides of the world reopened:
Tourists are back at Machu Picchu, which reopened after a two-month closure due to floods that washed out the rail link to the mountaintop ruins.
But officials say the entire route is not expected to reopen until June. Until then, tourists can travel by bus from Cuzco to Piscachuco and from there by train to Machu Picchu Pueblo at the base of the ruins.
Peru’s No. 1 tourist site had been shut down since late January, when heavy rains disrupted the rail link from the city of Cuzco and trapped some 4,000 tourists, many of whom had to be rescued with helicopters.
Workers have now finished rehabilitating the last 17 miles of the tracks, though service has not been restored all the way to Cuzco.
The train is the only form of transportation to the fortress, though hardier tourists can also hike there along the steep Inca Trail.
Machu Picchu, nestled atop a verdant mountain in the Andes, averages 1,500 to 2,000 visitors a day. — AP
The observation deck of the world’s tallest skyscraper reopened Sunday in Dubai, two months after an elevator malfunction that left visitors trapped more than 120 stories above the ground forced it to close.
Dozens of tourists were lining up Sunday for tickets to take an elevator to the 124th floor of the half-mile-high Burj Khalifa, where the tower’s observation deck is located.
The deck was shut in February after an elevator packed with visitors got stuck between floors for 45 minutes before rescuers dropped a ladder into the shaft so those inside could crawl out. Two months later, it’s still unclear what caused the elevator to fail.
The accident proved a major embarrassment for Dubai, whose rulers hoped the Burj Khalifa, which officially opened in January, would be a major tourist draw and buoy the Gulf city-state as it struggles to revive its image as a cutting-edge Arab metropolis amid nagging questions about its financial health. — AP