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Copenhagen Travel / A Week in Copenhagen / Denmark Travel / Travel Tips / Europe Travel / Scandinavia Travel / Drug Travel / → All Tags
The view from atop the spire of the Church of Our Savior
Welcome to København! Often recognized as being one of the most environmentally-friendly cities in Europe with the best quality of life, Copenhagen is no-brainer. Sure it may be a tad expensive, but there's reason after reason for that. This week, Lilit Marcus will be sharing the must-hit spots, whether you have three days or over a week.
There’s more to Copenhagen than just the center of the city. Get thee to Christianshavn, the cool, Brooklyn-y borough of Copenhagen, for funky shops and cool cafes. This borough used to be its own town, and they still strongly cling to their hippie roots, especially in the town of Christiania...but we’ll get to that later.
There are of course many approaches to advertising in general, and to travel advertising in particular. The old conventional wisdom about adsdifferentiation differentiation boobs differentiationhas given way to a wide array of new techniques, many focused on social sharing and not a few of them enhanced by contests, games, and puzzles. Picking and choosing a smart combination of old and new is difficult, and companies will very often go for death or sex because those are easy ways to get attention.
And then there are the recent videos from travel aggregator Kayak. At the risk of falling into cliche, whatever their advertising people are smoking seems to be strong. Exceptionally strong. There's also the possibility that they're totally sober and somebody slipped something into our food. But someone in the production/consumption cycle of these ads is baked out of their minds.
TSA / Airport Security / Drug Travel / Crimes / DEN / → All Tags
Sometimes (most of the time) TSA agents make a point of being studiously straight-laced. That's more or less how we prefer our airport security officials, and we still reference this very matter-of-fact story from last year. Somebody was ejected from San Diego International Airport for refusing to choose between a full-body scan or a patdown. There's a job to be done; TSA agents intend to do that job; and they get sad and grumpy when you don't let them.
It's also worth noting that when TSA officials decide to show off their freestyle improv skills, things tend to go awry. Last October, a TSA agent searching journalist Jill Filipovic's checked baggage found a vibrator and left Filipovic a note encouraging her to "get her freak on." An angst-filled blogosphere firestorm immediately erupted and the agent was duly punished. We personally weren't really offended because we suspected that the note might be a failed attempt at being sassy.
Now a TSA agent has left another destined-to-go-viral note in another piece of checked luggage. We anticipate that, in contrast to the incident with Filipovic, the Internet will respond with something less than outrage.
Drug Travel / Amsterdam Travel / Holland Travel / Travel Bans / Tourists / Crimes / Travel News / Tourism / → All Tags
It's happening! That ban on selling marijuana to tourists and allowing them in Dutch pot cafesthe one Holland's been discussing since earlier this yearwill begin taking effect next year. And while "next year" seems like a far enough time away to not freak about this, may we remind you that next year is little more than a month-and-a-half away, and the ban hits January 1, 2012.
Don't go booking the first KLM direct to Amsterdam quite just yet, however. This first phase of the pot-for-tourists ban will only reach the southern parts of the countryLimburg, North-Brabant and Zeelandwhere drug tourism is more of a problem (the rest of Europe just comes across the border down there for a joint or two, you see). Maastricht has been trialling the program since October, actually. Regardless, officials promise to include Amsterdam and the rest of the country in the ban come January 2013.
Drug Travel / Holland Travel / Maastricht Travel / Amsterdam Travel / Tourists / Crimes / Netherlands Travel / → All Tags
We're not going to say "I told you so," but we kind of did back in May when Holland first announced plans to possibly close "coffee shops" to tourists after crime rose. Now, from this last Saturday, the hammer has dropped and foreign tourists are not permitted in the coffee shops of Holland's southernmost city of Maastricht.
There are exceptions: Germans and Belgians are still welcome, but no Americans or Italians or English or French or...we could continue but you get the point. And if you are German or Belgian, then be prepared to show your passport and allow the coffee shop to retain your identity information for up to two days, even if you're only in the shop to smoke weed for fifteen minutes.
Can you hear that? Stoners and wanna-be stoners everywhere are weeping and reaching for the nearest bag of Cheetos, to ease the sadness. Holland, home to Amsterdam and this, the weed-smoking capital of the world, will shut the doors of its cannabis cafes to tourists. By the end of the year, only Dutch residents will be able to enter pot-selling shops.
So if you were planning a trip to light up in Amsterdam, you'll have to find other means to get high. According to the Daily Mail, the new legislation is being called "tourism suicide," since it will cost the country millions of dollars each year in lost revenue.
Celeb Travel / Drug Travel / Sex Travel / Bahamas Travel / Private Jets / Charlie Sheen / → All Tags
So. Charlie Sheen owns a private jet. We'd of had no idea he did, except for today the big news is that he went and flew on it down to a "private tropical island near the Bahamas" to do his "rehab" with two porn stars and his soon-to-be ex-wife Brooke Mueller. Well, Brooke has already given up on Sheen and was spotted back at Miami Airport, while Sheen has talked his way into getting his whole showTwo and a Half Mencancelled for the rest of the season. Oh, and he also managed to have a little private jet photoshoot before setting off.
Here's hoping customs & immigration makes a full sweep of that jet whenever he returns from his tropical departure, because they don't allow you to go on private island rehab if you're in jail.
Politics Travel / Airport Security / TSA / Airports / Travel News / Full-Body Scanners / New Zealand Travel / New Zealand / Drug Travel / AKL / Airport News / → All Tags
The US TSA has been famously unconcerned with traveler frustration over airport nudey scanners. In Britain, if you opt out of a full-body scanner, you don't even get to fly. There are some ins-and-outs to how the policies got made and why they stay the way they are, but mostly it's that security officials know that Americans and Europeans don't care about invasive searches and scanners.
Things are a little different in New Zealand, where there's legislation explicitly forbidding "naked imaging" in airports. Maybe it's because the culture is slightly more infused with machismo, or maybe travelers over there just have less patience for security theater than we do. In any case the ban is now creating some problems because New Zealand airport authorities want to introduce more advanced scanners into security checkpoints. They're not really interested in the extra security provided by the machines, though, as much as they want to catch drug smugglers.
Airport Security / LHR / London Travel / Airports / Britain Travel / Drug Travel / Holiday Travel / Christmas Travel / → All Tags
Decisions at London's Heathrow airport sometimes get so inexplicably incompetent that they make us long for the famously exacting proficiency of the TSA. Worker strikes that legitimately threaten the medium-term economic viability of one of the world's financial hubs are just kind of a thing. When employees do show up for work, they're sometimes crippled by uniquely stupid regulations that grind travel to a halt for months at a time. And instead of fixing either the internal or external problems plaguing the facility, UK politicians have taken to complaining that airport officials don't have magical powers to control the weather.
Now news is coming out that airport security workers at Heathrow were short-staffed over Christmas and so were told - simply to speed things up - not "to actively seek to identify any passenger with internal concealments." In other words, they were told that time-consuming things like stopping drug mules and enforcing laws about the transportation of narcotics were just too much bother. Per the Daily Mail writeup on this stroke of genius, which went out to UK Border Agency officials on December 23rd, it "... would have allowed mules carrying Class A substances to stroll through the west London airport unhindered." There's a punchline here about how it was snowing in London over Christmas, but frankly we're too annoyed to make it.
Travel Bans / Drug Travel / Amsterdam Travel / Netherlands Travel / Travel News / Marijuana / → All Tags
A note to all those travelers (and gap year kids) who are hoping to spend the holidays and the turn to next year blazin' with legal marijuana in Amsterdam; your time for fun may be limited at the Dutch government looks to crack down on the sale of pot to tourists. It's all part of an effort to curb crime, reports Reuters, and also because the Netherlands just isnt' fond of their reputation as a hotspot for drug tourism and all the seediness that creates.
"The heart of the problem is crime and disturbances surrounding the sale. We have to go back to what it was meant for: local use for those who would like it," says Ivo Opstelten, the Minister of Public Safety and Justice.
Booze Travel / Drinking Travel / Road Trips / Drug Travel / Alcohol Travel / Four Loko / Drunk Travel / → All Tags
Four Loko is making state authorities go loco. The malted alcoholic drink, nicknamed "blackout in a can," has already been banned in Michigan, Washington, Oklahoma and Utah, and now New York is next to ban it. It was announced yesterday that shipments to New York stores will end at the beginning of next month, meaning that Four Loko fanatics will have to road trip outside of the state to score some.
To decide whether or not Four Loko is even worth the hype and worth the travel to buy some, we strolled into our local bodega this weekend and sampled three flavors of the fruity drink: Orange Blend, Watermelon and Cranberry Lemonade. Only a sip of each was enough; these things taste nasty and the obvious answer is no, they are not worth the hype or road tripping to buy them over state lines like they're illegal fireworks or something.
It might not be Amsterdam, but San Francisco is peppered with Cannabis Clinics...for medical purposes, of course. These are legitimate business in California and so why shouldn't they get listed like any other business ison Yelp? As a matter of fact they are, a discovery we recently made while digging deeper into our Yelp iPhone app, where a category specifically for "Cannabis Clinics/Evaluations resides.
Searching around us in New York it finds nothing, but going to the other side of the country changes all of that. What's more is that Yelp reviewers actually take reviewing their favorite Cannabis clinics seriously. We've even learned a new word from this category: "budtender."