Five years ago, I flew to England to see the grand opening of something improbable: an attraction called Dickens World. It promised to be an “authentic” re-creation of the London of Charles Dickens’s novels, complete with soot, pickpockets, cobblestones, gas lamps, animatronic Dickens characters and strategically placed chemical “smell pots” that would, when heated, emit odors of offal and rotting cabbage. ... Today Dickens World survives largely as a landlord, collecting rent from the Odeon movie theater next door and the restaurants (Pizza Hut, Subway, Chimichanga) that surround it. (previously)
In one of the strangest new bids to get tourism dollars, Yves Jégo, the current veep of France's Radical party and the former Overseas Secretary of State, has announced plans to start raising funds for a new theme park dedicated to Napoleon. [more inside]
The small village of Siem Reap, Cambodia has mushroomed since the 19th century French discovery of Angkor Wat. It is now Southeast Asia's most visited tourist destination, notably among South Koreans. In 2010, they accounted for 12% of foreign visitors to the region, ranking just below neighboring Vietnam. But the sprawling temples of Angkor may not be the first stop on every South Korean's itinerary.
On the frosty Korean Peninsula, relations between North and South are perennially tense. But here amid the balmy breezes of this Cambodian tourist town, Koreans from both sides of the border are enthusiastically fraternizing at the North Korean restaurant as if reunification were just days away [NYT].[more inside]
Meanwhile, 6th and Mission St is in the center of city. If you've ever walked it, it's like stepping into the another world, not a pleasant one either. On a rainy night, wandering into Tu Lan, it's famed Vietnamese restaurant, is the closest experience I can recommend to feeling like you're in Blade Runner in America. I work between 5th and 6th on Mission and have wondered and despised how such a place like this came to be. Here's an answer from someone that lives there, which really has me thinking.
Meet the contraption that wants to replace Central Park horses. NYCLASS and Ban HDC are two groups pushing for the change; the many unfortunate incidents involving carriage horses over the years (including one just today) have inspired a bill that would end the practice, and also a documentary about the treatment of the horses.
If you have spent anytime at all on the National Mall in Washington DC, you have no doubt seen the Tourmobile trolleys shuttling tourists around to the major attractions surrounding the National Mall. Some are now questioning the 40+ year old monopoly that the operator has held on tourist transportation on the Mall, especially in light of the National Park Service's refusal to open up bidding, or even allow more economical or environmentally friendly services to compete.
Chi-Com Comeback? July 1st is the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (Official English website). Since 1979, China has been on a course of economic reform, first initiated by Deng Xiaoping, who climbed from disgrace during the Cultural Revolution to lead China away from a communist economy. Now, however, with the anniversary of the Party coming up, at least in Chongqing, the fastest growing city on the planet which 32 million people call home, the East may once again be Red. [more inside]
So far this year there have been 118 cases of measles reported in the United States. [more inside]
Halló humans on the Inter-net. My name is Iceland. I am an island, full of mountains and glaciers and hot water and sheep and many nice Icelandic people, who like to make music, and who are sometimes cold. (Maybe you have seen me on your tele-visions, or your Inter-net.) I have heard that many humans use the Inter-net to make friends, and to talk about themselves. I decided to do this, too.
Iceland wants to be your friend. [more inside]
Iceland wants to be your friend. [more inside]
Phallus paintings and wood carvings were ubiquitous, like red chilies, all over Bhutan. But now they are fading as Bhutan undergoes prudish self-censorship They come in various sizes, color schemes and embellishments. Some have ribbons tied around them like jovial holiday presents. Others are coiled by daunting dragons. A few even have eyes. They typically feature hairy testicles, from the neatly trimmed to full-on Yeti-style. And, of course, all are fully erect. “Oh, golly,” said an elderly woman visiting from Seattle, when she stepped off the bus in the Punakha valley and found herself surrounded by an alarming concentration of penis imagery, set against a magnificent Himalayan backdrop. [more inside]
Do not be alarmed if South Africans announce that they were held up by robots.Aimed at warming the welcome for the 2012 Olympics tourist explosion, VisitBritain, has released a number of helpful tips on being social, internationally. Prepping for Serious Business? You can visit Executive Planet and learn all about being courteous across the world. And here are some reasonable solutions for your 112 gripes about the French (Previously). [more inside]
Locals vs. Tourists: Eric Fischer maps Flickr pictures taken by city locals (in blue) against those taken by tourists (in red).
Bali's "Kuta Cowboys" get unwanted attention. Bali draws plenty of older women seeking romance (see: Elizabeth Gilbert), and more often than not, they end up in the arms of "Kuta Cowboys" - tanned, muscled, swaggering local men who offer no-strings-attached intimacy to female tourists. [more inside]
"They come from nearby Florence or Siena by bus and carve "Edward Forever!" into the walls while laughing giddily." The small Italian town of Volterra struggles to retain its authenticity amidst New Moon Tours and dungeon shows. Pictures. "'Vampires don't have souls,' Boelen points out. 'But Volterra does.'" [more inside]
Tomorrow in Las Vegas, a mixed hotel/condominium called Vdara will open for business on the spot once occupied by the unlamented Boardwalk Hotel and Casino. It is the first stage of the CityCenter complex, the largest privately financed development in the United States, which has already cost $8.5 billion and six lives. Even before the recent debt-restructuring woes of 50% stakeholder Dubai World, there was concern over CityCenter's impact on the struggling local economy. (previously) [more inside]
You Are Not Going to be Famous. On Metatourism. How NOT to Raise a Chimp in Your Home: the Legacy of W. N. Kellogg. [more inside]
"The Cleveland Tourism Board gave me 14 million dollars about 8 months ago to make a promotional video to bring people to Cleveland. As usual, I waited till the last minute and I ended up having to shoot and edit it in about an hour yesterday afternoon. I probably should have invested more time."
The Motel in America. In a different America, where the novelty of driving cross-country and the charm of the highway strip drew droves of tourists--and their automobiles--from coast to coast in the name of exploration and recreation, motels provided a home away from home for weary travelers. While many of the great motels of the mid-twentieth century have disappeared from the national landscape, the linen postcards left behind in the Motel Morgue can give us a glimpse into what this era of American tourism and leisure looked like.
"The multi-million dollar casino will feature unique applications of The Beverly Hillbillies theme. Granny’s Shot Gun Weddin’ Chapel, Jethro’s All-You-Ken-Et Buffet, the Cement Pond, Granny’s White Lightnin’ Bar complete with rain & lightning ["The waitresses are dressed like Elly May but padded like Dolly Parton"], Elly May’s Buns (Bakery) [Link possibly NSFW], gourmet meals from Drysdales’ Fancy Eatin’ Fo Da Richins, Granny’s Vittles & Hog Jowls Coffee Shop, and an oil derrick are just a few of the many attractions … a project of Las Vegas standards will be created!" [more inside]
Visit beautiful Puntland! "You can find more or less everything in Puntland: mountains, wide beaches, clean lakes, deep forests, world-class historic monuments, and friendly people." Enjoy a traditional Somali breakfast over the daily paper. If you plan on an extended visit, consider taking a course at good ol' PSU.
"It's 1863 and Union soldiers have discovered a hidden valley filled with dinosaurs. Now the Yankees plan to use the dinosaurs as weapons of mass destruction against the South." Presenting Professor Cline's Dinosaur Kingdom at Natural Bridge VA. Providing fun for the whole family, this is "not your father's dinosaur park." [via] [more inside]
Now you must know and understand, O Best Beloved, that till that very week, and day, and hour, and minute, this 'satiable Elephant's Child had never seen a Crocodile
Thrill-seekers swim with crocodiles in Australia Tourists who want to get cozy with a crocodile climb into a clear acrylic cage, dubbed "the cage of death," which is about 145 mm (5.7 inches) thick and 2.8 meters (9.2 feet) high, wearing just a pair of swimming goggles and a swimsuit. [Pictures] [YouTubery] "I can understand how this might be attractive to tourists but has anyone considered the welfare of the crocodile?" [More about saltwater crocodiles] [more inside]
My New York : artists, writers, professionals, and New Yorkers of all stripes talk about what they look forward to seeing in the city this fall.
Martin Parr is a celebrated English photographer who has a reputation for being both preoccupied and inspired with notions of consumerism, foreign travel and tourism. Now you can actually go on holiday with him. The School of Life, a maverick cultural institution in London, is offering a weekend away with the sardonic snapper in the Isle of Wight. [more inside]
A View of America ― Aquariums, beaches, gardens, monuments, parks, zoos, etc. This site aims to describe American attractions that tourists may find interesting. Listings are sorted by state and by category. Also includes recipes, jokes, and puzzles. [more inside]
It's 1881. You're real estate speculator James Lafferty, and you've just bought a large parcel of empty, scrubby shoreside land just south of Atlantic City. Problem is, it's cut off from the AC streetcar line by a deep tidal creek. How do you entice potential buyers to make the trek over the inlet and look at your property? Build a giant elephant, of course. Capitalizing on the celebrity of P. T. Barnum's famous Jumbo, Lafferty built 65-foot tall Lucy the Elephant, the first of three giant elephants Lafferty built (followed by Cape May's Light of Asia and Coney Island's Elephantine Colossus). He even took out a patent on the very idea of buildings shaped like animals. Though threatened by decades of neglect and rot, the Save Lucy Committee began preservation efforts in 1970, moving her to her present site and giving her a complete restoration. [more inside]
Top Tourist Spots Americans Can’t Visit. Some will take this as a challenge.
Auroville Funded by Governments all over the world, the city of Auroville is an ongoing experiment 'whose stated purpose is to realize human unity in diversity' through yoga. Unfortunately, it seems the 'rule free' society has attracted some of the least welcome of humanity's outliers, namely child sex tourists. [more inside]
A Thailand teen who has had an online presence for ten years... is now doing three yearsin a Thai prison...and with the help of his former teacher is able to tell us about it.
In the town of Bomarzo in central Italy you will find Monster's Grove, a vast sculpture garden created in 1552 by Pier Orisini to be a unique & astonishing place. The scupltures are quite large, and some are carved directly into the bedrock; as the name might indicate, the subjects are mainly mythical creatures. For centuries, the stone was uncared for, and nature began to reclaim the art, until the 1970s when efforts began to preserve the pieces, and today it is a major tourist attraction, though still privately owned nearly five centuries in.
Norilsk is a big city in northern Siberia. On the permafrost. It was built by slave labor in the 1930s. Norilsk Nickle, a very profitable company, wants you to invest there. Some think it's a hell hole. Others think it was the downfall of the Soviet economy.
A nice set of photographic glass-plate transparencies depicting life in Japan ca. 1910. These "Yokohama photographs" were sold to foreign tourists between about 1868 and 1912. I found the Crafts and Trades section most interesting.
Poorism or Poverty Tourism is a growing trend among otherwise thrill-jaded first world tourists and is engendering a lively debate as to whether "poorists" are helping the impoverished areas they are guided through, or are merely gawking voyeurs.
Burmese Daze: In which the author submits to the pleasures of a transgender spirit possession festival in Burma. [Via Disinformation.]
Charles Phoenix's Disneyland Tour of Downtown Los Angeles... featuring Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. Feel like taking your own walking tour of Downtown? Here you go. But hey, why not stop and gorge yourself on a giant pancake breakfast at The Pantry first, just because? Open 24 hours a day, it hasn't closed since 1924 so the doors don't even have locks. Just like Disneyland!
Nothing To See Here A guide to "some of the world's lesser-signposted places to go - attractions that may not be all that attractive; coastal towns they forgot to close down; high streets that haven't been homogenised; oddities and one-offs."
Abashiri prison of the present which became famous completely by the movie "Abashiri extra area" is in the modern building rebuilt in the 59th year of Showa. The old building which has been used since Meiji is preserved as a "museum Abashiri prison" at the foot of the Mt tentozan .
It's border-smuggling re-packaged as a tourist experience. According to the New York Times, this is "one of Mexico’s more bizarre tourist attractions: a make-believe trip illegally crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States." Perhaps your fully-paid border simulation will soon include being shot at...
A Photosynth Tech Preview has been released from Microsoft Live Labs & University of Washington. While we discussed this project at length earlier this summer, it's now a public ( well, Win/IE only ) prototype with sample datasets, if you'd like to see it for yourself. Technical details for those interested.
Whale shot in front of tourists. What would you do if you were a tourist, eco or not, and you saw a whale being harvested right in front of you?
Kattenstoet, a triennial cat parade is this weekend in Ypres, Belguim. The festival culminates with Kattenworp, the hurling of kittens from the Cloth Hall Belfry, a continuation of Europe's long ambiguous history of fascination with the feline. [more inside]
The Incredible Aine Chambers has a website. Chock full of everything you need to know should you visit County Sligo, Ireland. Some are comparing her to Mahir - some folks commenting are taking the piss. But the fact is there is more energy and vitality in Aine's site than 100 blogs. Oh, and she's got video as well.
For the sake of the world's poor, we must keep the wealthy at home, writes George Monbiot, calling the aviation industry "the greatest future cause of global warming," and asserting that growing passenger numbers is "an utter, unparalleled disaster". The airline industry responds: Stop this war on tourism. "Would the unfolding Darfur tragedy be tolerated if the country had a thriving tourism industry? How much of the relief money for victims of the tsunami was raised because so many of us had visited the affected areas on holiday?"