Travel shorts from around the world offer perspective on what ‘s happening elsewhere:
Smart Mouth Vending Machines in Japan
If you’re traveling to Tokyo, a stop in the Shinagawa Station is now obligatory. That’s because East Japan Railway has installed smart vending machines that are a must-experience attraction. According to CNNgo, built-in cameras assess a person and offer a customized selection of beverages based on factors such as height, weight and build.
The svelte no doubt get offered diet drinks and healthy beverages while the obese American visitor cringes with shame as the machines belts out in a saccharin voice, “The 950 millileter Coke Classic™ for you, dear?”
Spartan Transport on Russian Airline
ABC News featured a story about what it called “Spartan transportation” on Russia’s Tartarstan Airlines Thursday. A last-minute plane swap left the airline 6 seats short. No problem for the airline. Airline staff instructed the seatless passengers to stand up for the duration of the five hour flight from Turkey to Russia, or wait for the next flight. When turbulence struck the plane, the passengers found themselves seated notwithstanding the lack of seats- on the plane’s floor.
Courting Disaster- Literally- in Ukraine
Of all the unlikely places to visit, tourists are flocking to the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history, the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant, new.com.au reported last week. 7500 tourists paid the equivalent of $160 each for a by-permit-only tour of the abandoned reactor site and city, still closed due to nuclear contamination. Before entering, the nuclear disaster tourists were warned not to touch anything or even put their personal property down during the visit. The exploded reactor and evacuated city were highlights of the tour.
Italy’s Tourism Minister Takes on “Bad Apple”
The Minister for Tourism in Italy Michela Vittoria Brambilla is threatening legal action after an Apple iTunes “What Country” app described Italy as “home of pizza the mafia and scooters,” breakingtravelnews reported. The app, created by Apalon of Belarus, mockingly depicts a road sign reading “Mafia Parking Only” to represent Italy. Other countries were similarly described by popular stereotype sound-bites, but Brambilla apparently found the “humorous” application not funny. The description of the iTunes app on Apple’s website bears as disclaimer that the app is not a travel guide and should not be taken seriously. Perhaps someone needs to mark that language with a highlighter and forward it to Brambilla.