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?"
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.