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?"
Visit Somalia! Okay, so it has no government that is recognized by another country. It has a provisional parliament, though - but they usually opt to convene in another country's capital, over 600 miles away, out of fear. But hey, look at the bright side: They've got a minister of tourism, and he'll do his best to make sure you won't be kidnapped. No guarantees, though - it can still happen.
Terrorists not allowed in space (the FAA would like to regulate commercial space flights)
Katrina Tours! As has been widely reported, tours of the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina have begun. What motivates people to engage in "dark tourism"? Is it harmful or helpful to the region? Is it just plain creepy?
A vacation in Libya for Michael Totten, who confirms some things you might expect and uncovers a few you might not. Lonely Planet has some advice, or go straight to the source: libyaonline.com. Totten's blog has more.
Google Sight-Seeing Being seen from space isn't just for the Great Wall of China anymore. See Las Vegas, Area 51 and some impressive graffiti. (via)
Information for Disabled Travelers Travel may be a basic human right, but it's one that some find harder to exercise; from getting past clueless immigration officials to dealing with a constipated service dog on a cruise ship, tourism presents special challenges to the physically disabled. Fortunately, there's a wealth of information online, including accessibility info for Eurostar trains and specific airlines (the latter courtesy of The Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality), and first-hand accessibility reports from Global Access, Access-Able Travel Source, Rebecca's Travels, The World On Wheels and The Gimp On The Go.
First Contact: Is it ethical to charge people for the privilege of making "first contact" with nomadic hunter-gatherer groups when the situation of indigenous peoples is so dire? Are we still entranced by the idea of the "noble savage"?
A Manx Notebook. Many things related to the Isle of Man.
Terrorists strike tourists in Egypt...again. At least 30 people have been killed, 114 injured today when a truck bomb blew up the Hilton hotel in Taba, Egypt, a resort town in the Sinai. A concurrent explosion occurred nearby in Nuweiba, Egypt, and early casualty reports there are 4 dead, 40 wounded. The apparent target? The many Israeli families who were vacationing in the area, celebrating Simchas Torah. The less-apparent target? The $4 billion/year 7 million people/year Egyptian tourism industry, a crucial part of that country's economy. While this is not the first time that tourists from Israel have been singled out worldwide, it's also part of a decade-long pattern of mass-casualty terrorist attacks against tourists from multiple countries within Egypt. Keeping in mind that one of the most devastating economic after-effects of 9/11 was the blow it dealt to air travel and tourism worldwide, not to mention close calls and tragic events at famed tourist destinations, is tourism-terrorism going to become the wave of the future?
1001 Things To Hate About The Convention. Funny, and exhaustive, stuff from New York Press.
The Ice Hotel, a working 5,000 square metre hotel made entirely of 30,000 tons of snow and 4,000 tons of ice.
That most peculiar of spectacles the Fiesta de san Fermín (Running of the Bulls) seems to still exist and will be going ahead tomorrow. The event is held in parallel with Feria del Toro (the Bullfighting Fair); the run itself seems to be in the interests of transporting the bulls to the fair while getting them good and angry, confused, scared and weakened in the process. Being that the event is in honor of Saint Fermín, when the San Fermín church strikes 8am, the bulls are released and the runners get underway, trying to avoid them on their just under 1km trip. On arrival at the Plaza del Toro (Bullring) they are herded into corrals and later released so the crowd can watch the matadors kill them in traditional bullfighting fashion [wmv: 380k | 150k | 56k]. Of course, many people are not really so keen on this event; and it seems PETA will be holding one of their typically daft protests. Can't people just throw tomatoes at each other or something?
World's Largest Collection of World's Smallest Versions of World's Largest Things. If you need that explained, you're in luck. Consider it the ying to this thread's yang.
The Exorcist Experience: U.S. soldier pops The Exorcist into his portable DVD player and discovers that he's right there, where the opening scenes were filmed. Now the Army (and movie director William Friedkin) plan to back an Exorcist-themed tourist attraction. Admission will be $2 or $5 with a kabob lunch.
Guidelines for Low-Impact Tourism Along the Coast of Quintana Roo "Conserving the natural landscape and enhancing the scenic beauty of tourism development contributes to the high quality of coastal habitat, one of the area’s principal attractions." Warning: PDF format!
A Sightseer's Guide to Engineering. Engineering sights around the USA.
I have to travel the highways and byways of America by car and train a great deal, and its much more fun if you actually see America on the way. Two of my favorite sites for finding offbeat attractions and tasty eats are By The Way Magazine and Roadside America.
White house open to tours again to the public on September 16th-only by reservation that is. How do you get a reservation? Submit your full name, date of birth, social security number and a copy of a photo ID-to your member of Congress for a security "screening". Visit the house paid for by you.
Visit Madison, Indiana. Why? We're not New York City! Sure you can be opportunistic about selling gas masks if you're an internet entrepreneur, but what if you're a small town in Indiana and you want to cash in on fear of terrorism. Why, tout what you don't have, of course. "A safe place to visit...When you visit Madison you will discover that we have no tall buildings to fear, no nuclear power plants, airports or anything anyone would want to blow up."
Walk the Great Wall of China, or rather, take a virtual stroll through the use of a QTVR-esque java applet along a good stretch of the Wall that seems to be in pretty fair shape. For the vast majority of us that will never get there in person, this is an interesting close up.
Bridges and Tunnels of Allegheny County. They hold bridge conventions here in Pittsburgh because there are around 2000 bridges in and around the city. Take the tours to see some of them. My favorites: Westinghouse, Smithfield St., East St., Panther Hollow.
Backpack Nation has an interesting idea about helping out the third world.
The basic mission and strategy of Backpack Nation is to transform the world's dire political situation by sending individual travelers from the developed countries to serve as roving ambassadors to the world's less-wealthy countries.
"Live Large, Live Free!" Freedom Paradise is a new Mexican resort catering to large-size visiters. "There are a lot of people who put off vacations, saying, 'I'll buy that bikini when I lose 15 pounds.' We say, why wait to lose weight, when you can enjoy life now?"
Cheese rolling Of all the weird and wonderful things I've read about this week, this really takes the cheese.
How to Walk of Japan. Strange tourist attractions - some NSFW.
Hooters is coming to San Francisco Oh My, Hooters, The ultimate in crass disgusting guy-ness and un-PC-ness is finally coming to San Francisco-the utlimate in PC-ness and "new-age-king-of-guy-ness." Will San Francisco be able to handle it? Granted the self-professed "slightly tacky yet unrefined" Hooters IS going into Fisherman's Wharf, which is tacky tourist-central. But, "it's about so much more than...that..." you know.
The principality of Liechtenstein has thought of an innovative way of rasing tourism revenue: Rent the whole country! Liechtenstein, established by the Holy Roman Empire in 1719 and sovereign since 1806, is among the smallest nations on the planet. It boasts a population around 33,000 living in a nation around 0.9 times the size of Washington DC. Check out the Liechtensteinian homepage. (in German)
The long history of Iraq. Iraq has been ruled by a lot of regimes, ranging from Mesopotamian to British rule. It gained independence on 1932, and has since then seen more regime changes. According to their official site there still is tourism, but other sites have a more practical view of that. Altough it is not in my holiday plans this year it could be a very cultural rich destination in the future.
Jorlon khaan bain ve? The first stop in Oissubke's trip around the online world is the beautiful land of Mongolia. Take a moment to leave the America-centric (not that there's anything wrong with that!) Web and see what the internet looks like from someone else's eyes...
- Mongolia Online
- Mongolian Tourism Board
- Mongolia World
- Virtual Mongol
- Government of Mongolia
- National University of Mongolia
- Mongolia Today
- Gobi Business News
- Mongolian Student Network (nice!)
- Open Web Center
- Montsame News
- Liberal Women's Brain Pool
- Humane Person Center
- Bank of Mongolia
- MN Domain Name Registry
- Netcraft on Mongolia
- Mongolian script (hints of Tolkien?)
Somewhere in Australia, Black Mountain beckons the intrepid adventurer. Who knows what kind of dastardly creature(s) could be hiding in there! If you go there and come back alive, make sure you tell everyone about your experience.
Watch those Waterway in Florida says the U.S. Coast Guard. Possible terrorist threats include drawing or taking photographs of the shore, being near the shore for a long time, and under no circumstances would any law abiding citizen be doing something as daring and thoroughly terrorist-like as renting a boat.
Decline in Nudists Threatens Tourist Attraction. Listen people, when you don't go nude, you're letting the terrorists win.
Sneaky! Grr . . . A few months ago, while surfing for wreck diving info, I stumbled upon this page as a main link entitled Nightlife in the Philippines. Because it promotes outright trafficking of women, I made a ruckus and sent an email complaining about it to the site admin and our government's Department of Tourism. (Prostitution, BTW, is illegal in the Philippines.) Shortly afterwards, the site admin removed the main link. So how come it's still on the site via this page? I know Southeast Asia (the Philippines second only to Thailand, I think) has a rep for cheap beer and women, but I HATE the fact that many foreigners (like the owners of this shop,) feel that they can buy anything they want while on vacation in third world countries, and that it's alright to perpetuate the trafficking of Filipino women under the guise of tourism. Bah.
Coral Castle is the amazing labor of love built solely by Ed Leedskalnin, a man who claimed to have discovered the "secrets of the pyramids". Did he? We may never know, but this frail, tubercular, 100-pound man managed to quarry, transport, shape, and erect chunks of coral weighing up to 28 tons by himself, using only the simplest of tools. The castle also includes a nine-ton gate that is so perfectly balanced it can be opened by a child, and the world's largest valentine, which weighs in at an incredible 5,000 pounds.
Svalbard, the Arctic pearl. It appears Svalbard has a tourism industry, a pretty good FAQ, some cold weather, but not that cold, since the Gulf Stream terminates there(scroll down to map). The Polar bears are being studied for PCB accumulation, which strikes me as interesting, considering the location of Svalbard. Granted, it's not out of the way, like Franz Josef Land, but then they don't have Restaurant Nansen, do they?
It's not germ warfare... and it's not terrorism, but it is the strongest argument to put off that Hawaiian vacation this winter to date. Nothing like a little tropical disease to take the shine off of paradise. I wonder what else is passing underneath the radar with this whole war on terror thing.
Best of Manhattan 2001, the annual guide published by the New York Press might come in handy in case you are visiting New York City to boost our tourism industry. If you already live here, you may want to pick up a free copy on your way to the subway. New York's other free alternative weekly still has their Flash powered Best of NYC 2000 along side a depressing obit to NYC's dying night life on their site. Time Out New York's city guide, and the restaurant reviews in the best 100 and the 2001 Eating and Drinking Awards might come handy for weekend plans. And if you really want to see a hidden treasure of NYC, you may want to go see the Panorama of The City of New York, a 'living model of the City,' first built for the 1964 World's Fair, at the Queens Museum of Art.
When I grow up, I want to be a tank driver. Ever want to drive a WWII-era Russian tank? Drive less than 90-minutes from Minneapolis and you'll get your chance.
National Geographic Traveler has put together a list of 50 places in the world you should visit in your lifetime. I'm not as well traveled as I'd like to be, so I really don't know if these places are as impressive as they sound. Did they leave anything out, or does that just about cover it?
Do not pet the great white sharks while they're feeding. Do not climb onto a whale carcass with your child while the great whites are ripping it to shreds. This is very similar to a thread I posted here but the idea of tourist shark interaction fascinates me.
Rioting in Jamaica. This one hits very close to home, as it's where my family is from and where I partially grew up. While the immediate effect of people dying is terrible, the long term effects of this news on tourism (Jamaica's top industry) will probably be devastating to an already poor country.
"Survivor" meets "Star Trek". The next tourist in space may be a game-show winner. (Gad.)
One small step for man, one giant leap for Tito. It looks like the American millionaire is actually going to make it to space despite NASA objecting. The launch is scheduled for tomorrow.
Oh yeah, and he'll be held responsible if he breaks anything while he's up there.
Oh yeah, and he'll be held responsible if he breaks anything while he's up there.