Promised Land Closed

Audio Slideshow  •  Doug Lansky  •  02.26.08 | 8:53 AM ET

Doug Lansky is editor of and the book Signspotting.

Photos by Peter Young, George Tolles, William Brown, Einar Rossaak, Ted Johnson, Scott Mason, Amy Stretmater, Patrick Kong, Storm Cunningham, Donald Haslett, Vance Stephenson, Caroline Martin, Josh Kaplan, David Anderson, Hugo Coelho and Camille Potts.

22 Comments for Promised Land Closed

jessica 02.26.08 | 2:50 PM ET

can you please tell me what this means

Claire Walter 02.27.08 | 8:22 PM ET

Oh, how I wish I could post images in the comment section. Among my favorites is a sign at Wat Po in Bangkok that said “Massage Toilet,” one word over the other and one arrow. Another is a ranch-style gate in Alaska that says “Dogsled Rides” on top and “No Dogs Allowed” on the side. A third is a fancy restaurant in Buenos Aires called “Petit Colon.”

I sure enjoyed Doug’s!

Claire @

John M. Edwards 02.28.08 | 5:17 AM ET

Hi Jessica:

If you want to make money as a restaurateur in the remote corners of the planet, put up a chalkboard sign and scratch a piece of chalk across it, like clip on nails.

Now if you really want to make a fortune, put up a sign saying “English Breakfasts!”

You are one hastily scraped chair away in the wrong eatery from sweet oblivion. Great, I have to eat orange soda and a sandwich just because the lazy staffers woke up early?

pam 03.03.08 | 10:46 PM ET

I gleefully snapped pics of the remote for the heat/air conditioning unit in our Hanoi hotel because the buttons on it said:


and a number of inscrutable commands. We. Could. Not. Stop. Laughing.

Matthew 03.10.08 | 12:59 PM ET

In the Beifang (Tianjin View) Hotel in Tanggu near Tianjin China is a room with the sign “Chessbeard Room”.

Dennis Slater 03.31.08 | 12:39 AM ET

My favorite of the many I have is a road sign that says “Intermittent Maintenance”.  It is on a road going west out of White Bird, ID.

Ace 04.04.08 | 11:56 AM ET

Mistakes are funny. Like your implication that the CIA center is named after our current president. Sorry, it was named after his father. I guess in your world a Yale and Harvard educated man who was also a fighter pilot is not an intelligent.  Or were you making fun of his father’s Yale education and his status as a fighter pilot as well?

You’re a funny guy.

Bjørn Clasen 04.21.08 | 12:49 PM ET

I am also a signspotter/collector. As a matter of fact, that almost all I care to photograph when travelling.

Pity that Doug got (not the idea of, but!) around to publishing a book on it before me…
Here’s a selection of some o’mines:

CJ Swanson 04.21.08 | 2:09 PM ET

My personal favorite is outside a church here in town “People Welcome”, but the gate is always closed over the driveway; except for Sunday morning. And why only people? Wouldn’t “curb your dog” work as well?

PSI Man 04.30.08 | 1:24 AM ET

Great signage!

Lauren Nicole 05.09.08 | 3:57 AM ET

In Nenana Alaska I recall a beautiful visual merging of two signs as you drove into town—one a Church Cross with message and the other a sign for a local Cafe.

Amazingly, quite a few people I met over the years knew of Nenana’s “Jesus Saves Cafe”... a mysterious locale only visible for about 50 feet !

Two If By Sea 05.10.08 | 3:51 AM ET

Sometimes, what’s NOT on the sign is the most amusing.  I attended college in the middle of nowhere, eastern Washington.  We made friends with Aviation Tec students, who would occasionally (no joke) fly in Taco Bell food.  Appropriately enough, for many years, the standard green sign (found along American highways advertising upcoming gas stations and restaurants, etc.) coming into town was headed with “Tourist Activities.”  The rest of the sign was blank.

Katie 05.14.08 | 8:04 AM ET

I’m not sure which was my favourite - either the restaurant in Egypt serving “Half-Grilled Chicken with Herpe” or the stall in Turkey selling “Genuine Fake Sunglasses”.

stfn 05.22.08 | 10:27 AM ET

Very interesting video.

Clyde Hill 06.12.08 | 10:58 PM ET

those are pretty odd actually

Iza 06.12.08 | 11:50 PM ET

Love the site:  In Bali you can get “smucked duck”, a local delicacy I imagine.  Keep them coming! Iza

Luxury Hotels 06.20.08 | 10:33 AM ET

Very funny. I love some of the translations of the korean signs in 2006 when they hosted the world cup.

Good video

bf2 hacks 07.28.08 | 11:46 PM ET

The one with all the bulletholes looks like the signs around my way lol

Hunde Krankenversicherung 08.20.08 | 6:58 PM ET

Sudden Gunfire is the best….
Wife: hey dear, did you remember to activate our insurance policy?
Hubby: Sure sweety, why?
Wife: That Sundden Gun Fire sign got me worried for a second.

Mary Childers 09.14.08 | 12:33 PM ET

The cafe was named “The Why Me Cafe”, but it went out of business.

Theresa Beard 09.24.08 | 6:07 PM ET

We have a feedstore/nursery in our town of 5000 (hometown of Jewel the singer) that has a sign every spring that states “Pick up chicks here”. Of course that;s baby chickens and ducks! So far as I know, anyway.  Theresa

cindy 09.25.08 | 8:12 PM ET

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