Destination: Los Angeles
by Eva Holland | 04.09.09 | 10:29 AM ET
When I listed Fast & Furious as one of my travel movies to watch for in 2009, I have to admit that my tongue might have been straying towards my cheek. I certainly never expected that the movie—the fourth installment in a fading franchise—would smash box office records and enjoy the biggest April weekend opening ever. But with an unexpected $70 million (and counting) in the bank, I suppose the movie qualifies as a phenomenon of sorts. With that in mind, I decided to check it out and see if there were any vicarious travel thrills to be had in between all the lingering shots of hot (auto) bodies.
by Michael Yessis | 03.12.09 | 10:00 AM ET
- Utah may tear down the “Zion Curtain” and make it easier to get into bars. Will that boost the state’s tourism?
- See Europe ... in New York City.
- Kurt Andersen in Nicaragua: “[T]he country has become one of those Places on the Verge, discovered by cognoscenti but not yet overrun.”
- Yes, Los Angeles has a bike culture. Matthew Segal immerses himself.
- MetaFilter celebrates Baedeker travel guides—“the de facto travel guide for international men of leisure”—and how they served as a research tool for Thomas Pynchon.
- Man sues US Airways for $1 million after it allegedly lost his Xbox and gave him “an unconscionable runaround.”
- Man jumps into Niagara Falls and survives, only the third person ever to do so.
- Welcome, Big World Magazine.
- Finally, another U.S. Senator, another embarrassing airport incident. If only someone had caught Sen. David Vitter’s alleged outburst on video like Cathay Pacific caught the Airport Auntie.
by Eva Holland | 03.10.09 | 3:12 PM ET
Turns out, it really is a small world after all. Kylie Minogue has wrapped up filming for an upcoming Bollywood flick, “Blue,” making her one of the first big-name Western stars to land on a Mumbai sound stage. “I don’t feel that I’m necessarily at the forefront of a Hollywood-Bollywood crossover because I don’t consider myself Hollywood,” Minogue told the Telegraph. “But I do think this could be the start of something. The fact that I’m here shows it could be the start of something.”
Early signs suggest she’s right—Sylvester Stallone is set to do the Bollywood thing later this year. And—rumor has it!—Arnold Schwarzenegger will be joining him. Could the Bolly/Hollywood fusion become another wonder of our shrinking planet?
I’m all for it.
by Alexander Basek | 03.10.09 | 11:00 AM ET
The budget hotel chain with the best street cred—well, at least until Motel 6 finishes their system-wide renovations and ditches the Magic Fingers beds—is having a special limited-time sale each day this week. The names of the discounted properties are posted at noon eastern and remain on sale for a couple hours each day. And even if it’s not on sale, you could always stay at the fabulous Best Western in the Hollywood Hills for about $160 a night, one of L.A.‘s secretly good hotels. An added bonus: no fishtank models in the lobby!
by Michael Yessis | 03.04.09 | 8:18 AM ET
- The 50-person short list for Tourism Queensland’s “best job in the world” includes a man who staged a musical on an Ontario street and Geek Brief’s Cali Lewis.
- The Tsunami Museum commemorating the victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami is open in Indonesia.
- China plans to open its earthquake ruins to tourists.
- Interesting essay by Alexei Tsvetkov on leaving Prague: “In the end some people here will probably miss me, but not many, not too much, and not for long.” (via The Rumpus)
- Ryan Adams: Travel writer? BlackBook has his take on Hollywood. Here are his musical takes on New York and Jacksonville.
- “Narco-tours” are on the rise in Mexico.
- Independent Traveler lists 10 reasons you should travel now.
- Esquire lists the 59 best breakfast places in America.
- Are you an, uh, anal traveler? (via BootsnAll Today)
- How great is this: John Wray will be giving a reading from his new book Lowboy while traveling on a Brooklyn-bound L train next week. Details in this video.
by Michael Yessis | 02.26.09 | 9:38 AM ET
- New Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says yes to body scanners.
- World Hum contributor Tim Patterson chronicles the struggle of the Kachin people of Myanmar.
- USA Today looks at “what might be the most endangered airline in the USA.”
- NPR has an interview with the world-traveling ethnographers from The Linguists.
- Happy 450th birthday Pensacola, Florida.
- Matthew Polly goes to St. Petersburg, Russia, in Slate’s latest Well-Traveled.
- This map of literary St. Petersburg was created using lines from Russian writers about St. Petersburg. (Via The Book Bench)
- Daniel Fox aims to shoot more than 100,000 digital images from around the world for the Wild Image Project.
- The Freakonomics blog is in the midst of a six-part series about the facts and fiction of Los Angeles Transportation. I find it compelling, though maybe I’m just looking at the gray skies here in D.C., waiting for winter to end, daydreaming about my upcoming trip back home.
by Julia Ross | 02.25.09 | 2:43 PM ET
I’ve always envied the whole L.A. taco truck subculture; if I lived out there, I think I’d probably overdose on all the spicy goodness. Now that I’ve heard the story of the Kogi taco truck, I’m really jealous. Launched in November, the truck has gained an avid following for its fusion of Korean barbecue and traditional taco/burrito fare (imagine topping juicy carne asada with soy-sesame chili). But what’s really making news is the owners’ unusual marketing approach, which involves Tweeting the truck’s expected location a couple hours ahead of arrival, setting off a taco-minded flash mob.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the operation has become a “social networking juggernaut,” drawing between 300 and 800 people at each stop, with waits of up to two hours (Kogi staff play Japanese reggaeton to soothe the crowds). Even more interesting, it’s a bicoastal effort: Kogi’s public relations maven, Alice Shin, writes the Twitter feed and blogs about the truck’s doings all the way from New York. There’s a Flickr photostream, as well.
All I can say is: cool. I’d fly to the left coast just to check this out. Meantime, I think we need to send a certain World Hum coeditor up to L.A. on special assignment. Jim?
by Michael Yessis | 02.13.09 | 9:44 AM ET
- Continental flight 3407 crashed outside of Buffalo, New York. Fifty people died.
- Looks like the stimulus bill might contain some extra funding for a high-speed rail link between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
- How will the United States look after its economic tumble? It’s the cover story in the latest issue of The Atlantic.
- In Dubai, the economic climate has brought forth an exodus of expats.
- Don George writes that “the gifts of travel are precisely what we need in daunting times like these.”
- Tom O’Neill chronicles the journeys of three North Korean defectors through China, Laos and Thailand on the way to South Korea. (Via Passport)
- Brave New Traveler asks: When does budget travel become exploitation?
- Northwest Airlines says it will start serving peanuts again on its flights. Passengers worried about peanut allergies say they will start planning trips on airlines other than Northwest.
- Germany, the U.S. and China are among the countries fighting the international battle of Ferris wheels. The Great Orlando Wheel may have the best promo video ever.
by Rob Verger | 01.28.09 | 2:21 PM ET
This past Sunday was the 50th anniversary of “the first transcontinental commercial jet trip”: American Airlines Flight 2 on a Boeing 707 on January 25th, 1959. The New York Times has this great story.
An interesting detail from the piece: “The earlier flights were not just cushier but faster: 4 ½ hours eastbound and, because of headwinds, 5 ½ westbound. In today’s stacked-up skies, New York-to-Los Angeles flights typically take an hour longer in each direction—if they land on time.” The article also quotes an onboard correspondent for the L.A. Times who wrote of that original flight, “The shrinking effect of the jetliner upon geography distorted the earth’s face.” Beautiful. (Via Airline Biz Blog)
by Jim Benning | 01.13.09 | 9:09 AM ET
Jim Benning sifts through YouTube's accelerated videos to find the seven best
by Michael Yessis | 01.07.09 | 9:34 AM ET
- ReadyMade asked artists to “reimagine” Depression Era WPA posters. Open created a great one (pictured).
- McDnoald’s. Bucksstar Coffee. Pizza Huh. Is someone in China building a shopping mall filled with fake brands, or is it all just fake?
- Barack Obama: Restaurant critic. He loves his peach cobbler at Dixie Kitchen in Chicago.
- World Hum contributor David Farley talked travel with Arthur and Pauline Frommer.
- Voting begins on the New 7 Wonders of Nature. There are 261 nominees.
- An American tourist was stabbed outside a bar in Rome.
- Happy 50th birthday, Alaska.
- Farewell to the SS Catalina.
- Another farewell to the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Flinn.
- Jon Bowermaster started a two-month residency at Gadling, writing from Antarctica. He calls the continent “the beating heart of Planet Earth.”
- Why not measure the world’s countries by robot density? Here are the top 10. (Via Passport)
- This may be the least scenic hot tub in the world. I prefer this view.
by Jim Benning | 12.26.08 | 11:58 AM ET
- Air travelers will soon be able to buy carbon offsets from self-service kiosks inside San Francisco Airport.
- A British tourist volunteering at an archaeological dig in Jerusalem discovered hundreds of gold coins dating from the 7th century.
- More trouble in Venice: All that water is causing the Campanile on St. Marks Square to tilt.
- The French edition of Michelin restaurant guide gets a new editor and—gasp—she’s not French.
- Thailand’s tourism economy is enduring its worst slump in decades.
- World Hum contributor Doug Lansky put together an audio slideshow about a new hostel in Stockholm—it’s set inside a jumbo jet.
- A three part series on NPR looks at the rise of earthquake tourism in Sichuan.
- Gladiators could soon return to Rome’s Colloseum. Now that’s ultimate fighting.
- Thomas Friedman just flew from Hong Kong’s state-of-the-art airport to New York’s aging Kennedy. His conclusion: It’s time for the U.S. to reboot. Funny, I had the same feeling not long ago, only I was flying from London’s Heathrow to LAX.
by David Farley | 12.18.08 | 2:55 PM ET
David Sedaris put it best in Me Talk Pretty One Day when he recalled meeting his boyfriend and eventually settling in France: “I wound up in Normandy the same way my mother wound up in North Carolina: you meet a guy, relinquish a tiny bit of control, and the next thing you know, you’re eating a different part of the pig.”
It’s true—at least about the pig part: I once watched a sow get slaughtered in the Czech hinterlands and the first offerings turned out to be the beast’s brains, followed by its heart, its blood (as soup), and, finally, fried nuggets of pig fat. But I’d never encountered such parts on the menus of restaurants in the United States. That is, until now.
by Eva Holland | 12.17.08 | 3:52 PM ET
I’ve been thinking lately about the motivations behind movie tourism—not the “Wow, New Zealand sure looked beautiful in that elf movie” variety, but the literal, “X was filmed here” brand of movie-related travel. What is it that prompts people to run up the steps, Rocky-style, in Philadelphia, or to slide into a booth at New York’s Katz’s Deli and gigglingly declare, “I’ll have what she’s having”?
by Michael Yessis | 12.15.08 | 8:35 AM ET
Catch up on links from our redesign break:
- Brave New Traveler lists The 6 Characters You’ll Meet At Every Expat Bar.
- Recession travel: Trade depressed stock for Caribbean resort stays.
- TSA critic Jeffrey Goldberg sat for an interview with Stephen Colbert.