Destination: Connecticut

My Worst Hotel Rooms

My Worst Hotel Rooms Photo by Pear Biter via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Pear Biter via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Lists are in the air lately, so I decided to get in on the action. Herewith, my four worst hotel rooms, lifetime. I won’t name names, because I’m a gentleman. And also, because the parties in question might hunt me down and throw tiny bottles of shampoo at me.

Singapore: I was at the edge of Singapore’s Chinatown, which, as it turns out, is also the edge of Singapore’s red light district. Not that I caught on—I thought all the scantily-clad women peering out from cracked front doors were zealous about saving the environment and keeping that AC indoors. My hotel room here was easily the darkest I’ve ever stayed in: a deep red and purple color scheme lit by one dirty window overlooking an airshaft. The only outlet was in the middle of the wall above the bed. 

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Movie Tourists Haunting a Connecticut House

Movie Tourists Haunting a Connecticut House Publicity still for "The Haunting in Connecticut" via IGN
Publicity still for “The Haunting in Connecticut” via IGN

Hollywood’s latest big-screen horror story isn’t even in theaters yet, but The Haunting in Connecticut is already drawing visitors to the real-life suburban home that spawned the urban-legend-turned-movie—and its living residents are not pleased. “Most people are respectful. They stay on the road. They might take a picture,” homeowner Susan Trotta-Smith told the AP. “But we have had a few problems with people kind of rudely coming up to the door and scaring our kids, telling them the house is haunted.” Added a local police sergeant: “There are creatures looming in the night but not inside the house. They happen to be people who are trespassing on the property, looking in windows and that kind of stuff. People are going to be disappointed. There are no ghosts.”

The movie is based on stories about the house—a former funeral home—that went around the paranormal research community in the 1980s. It lands in theaters on Friday, but don’t expect a glimpse of the real deal; filming took place in Manitoba.


Are Travel Writers the Next Great Competitive Eaters?

matt gross Matt Gross. Photo by Jean Liu.
Matt Gross. Photo by Jean Liu.

I once wrote a story about taking a competitive eater out to three buffet lunches in as many days to see how much he could eat. At the Indian buffet, 400-pound Eric “Badlands” Booker (then the third-ranked competitive eater in the world) proved he was born to indulge. By the 12th trip up to the buffet (I’m not kidding), the restaurant manager pointed out the dessert options, a subtle suggestion that it was time to retire his fork for the day. “Just for that,” Badlands said to me, “I’m going up for more after I finish this plate!”

At the all-you-can-eat sushi the next day, he consumed so much food we had a crowd around our table watching as he put the plate to his mouth and scooped the fish with his chopsticks right down his throat. At the Brazilian steakhouse the final day, Badlands received handshakes form the waiters for his eating prowess.

But I didn’t really know gluttony until a recent outing with writer Matt Gross.

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Chris Doyle: The Art of Jumping on Beds and the ‘50,000 Beds’ Project

chris doyle Photo of Chris Doyle, courtesy of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

Forty-five artists shot videos and films in hotel rooms. Michael Yessis asks the man behind the effort what intrigues him about hotel rooms, as well as the seductiveness of jumping on hotel room beds.

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