TRAVEL ODDS & ENDS
Weird, strange and simply bizarre travel tidbits
Duane Wells | July 28, 2008
Seattle�s crap is another man�s treasure?
File this one under the category of �Duh�.
After investing millions of tax payer dollars in five state-of-the-art self-cleaning toilet stalls, city officials have decided to scrap the unisex facilities because they attracted drug users and prostitutes, and were less cost-effective than regular public restrooms.
Now, city officials have gotten the bright idea to sell the high-tech toilets, which come complete with handsfree washing and drying ability and an emergency button that automatically dials 911, to the highest bidder on eBay.
The asking price? $89,000.
Nearly a hundred grand for a toilet that was once crawling with drug addicts and prostitutes engaged in all kinds of illicit activities? Why that�s a steal, is it not?
As of press time, there had been no bids on the used toilets.
Ho, Ho, Ho� Ha, Ha, Ha�
Is that Santa Claus in July?
That is probably a question on far too many folks' lips this week in Copenhagen, where the 51st World Santa Claus Congress is about to get under way.
That�s right. There�s a Santa Claus convention that attracts over 100 delegates from every continent, and it�s happened over fifty times before. Somebody call out for the padded wagons!
Over the course of three days, the Santa Claus wannabes will gather at a 425-year-old Danish amusement park and engage in activities that include a bicycle parade, Hula Hoop dancing and a dip in the Copenhagen harbor.
They will also get serious and debate questions about international taxation rules regarding presents, the size of official Santa spoons, the standardization of chimneys, moving the date of Christmas Eve along with the issue of when, exactly, presents should be delivered.
I suppose the elves will be holding their annual trade union negotiations next week as the Easter Bunnies gather somewhere in the world for their bi-annual strategic egg hunting summit� stay tuned.
Ciao Bella! No Snacking Allowed�
Unhand that calzone mister, or pay the consequences!
If you plan on visiting any of Rome�s famous monuments between now and the end of October, you�d better tuck into a nice big plate of pasta before you do. As of July 10, city officials in Rome have officially passed a ban on snacking too close to the historical city�s most visited tourist destinations.
The ban comes as officials say they want to preserve artistic treasures and decorum in a city. Um right� who knew a cappuccino could inflict so much damage?
And what�s the punishment for those caught munching in spite of the new no snacking ban? A whopping $80 fine.
Talk about an expensive snack! Why that�s enough to make someone lose their appetite altogether. Ouch!
Italy takes on take-out�
Let them eat pasta� and only pasta!
For a country known for its cuisine, Italy is growing increasingly persnickety about food these days.
In Lombardy, forces are at work to put the kibosh on the growing number of Chinese carry-out and Middle Eastern kebab joints operating in the region. Again, the cause for concern is centered around preserving traditions, which have up until now found most Italians enjoying a Mediterranean diet that includes pasta, fish, olive oil and red wine.
According to Reuters, the anti-immigrant Northern League called on the Lombardy regional council to allow cities to bar from their historic centers businesses that are "incompatible with the historical context."
Does that mean no McDonald�s?
What can I say? I guess traditions die hard, eh?
So next time you�re in Lombardy you might have to go underground to find some General Tso�s chicken or a decent falafel. Not that I�d ever understand why you�d want to do such a thing in Italy of all places. But to each his own.
Lesbians can keep Lesbos�
What�s in a name? A lot if you happen to be among a few disgruntled denizens of a certain island just off the Turkish coast popular with fans of the Greek poetess Sappho. Last month, three residents of the Aegean island of Lesbos brought a case aimed at banning the use of the word lesbian to describe gay women. In their complaint, the residents argued that using the term to describe gay women was an affront to their identity.
Well on July 18, an Athens court ruled not only that the word lesbian did not define the identity of the citizens of Lesbos, but ordered the plaintiffs to pay court costs of around $366.
My, my, my how the times they are a changin�!
Would it were that the judge had also slammed the plaintiffs with punitive damages for bringing such a silly lawsuit. I mean, it�s not like the term �lesbian� just gained prominence last month or anything. It�s been around for eons.
Did the news just get to Lesbos? Somehow, given the island�s �Sapphic� roots, I doubt it.
Lady Liberty and the farmer�
Of thee I sing�
Tom Pearcy, a British farmer in northern England, has used more than a million maize plants to cut a maze in the shape of the Statue of Liberty in a field near York.
Pearcy�s homage to the famous statue is 10 times the size of the original.
The farmer says he created the maze as part of an ongoing effort to bring more people to the countryside after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease damaged farmers' incomes.
Gee and I thought I was ever so clever for arranging all of my Skittles by color when I got bored. What a slacker I feel like now.
Until next time� Cheers! – Gay Link Content
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