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The airwaves are filled with travel shows featuring supposedly bold and daring adventurers visiting exotic countries and eating weird animal parts, but one western tourist has proven to have bigger coglioni than the lot of them. As the New York Times points out in a jaw-dropping story, Italian Luca Marchio was having a grand old time traveling alone through Iraq until his backpacking adventure was put to an end by Iraqi and U.S. authorities in Falluja.
Celeb Travel / The Hills / Heidi Montag / Spencer Pratt / Meghan McCain / Iraq / Iraq Travel / → All Tags
As if the country needs more disastrous American intervention, Heidi and Spencer are planning a trip to Iraq. The "singer" wants to get on-stage to entertain the troops, while we imagine Pratt will venture out on a shark fishing expedition.
In an interview with "Extra," Spencer declared:
I think Meghan McCain is helping organize Heidi and our Iraq trip. Her dad definitely has some pull with the military. I think she's going to put that together for us.
At least if she sends the reality couple overseas, Meghan won't have to meet up with them for lunch!
· Heidi and Spencer Plan Iraq Trip [People, via]
· "The Hills"-GOP Crossover Inches Closer to Scary Reality [Jaunted]
Sweden took in more than half of the world's Iraqi refugees last year, reports MSNBC. The Scandinavian nation offered asylum to 18,600 Iraqis in 2007, making it the most popular Western destination for people fleeing the war-torn country. Meanwhile, the main architect of the War in Iraq, the United States of America, has taken in just 3,000 Iraqi refugees since the fighting began.
Sharks / Fishing / Mancations / Iraq / Iraq Travel / → All Tags
Attention! A new force is threatening the sovereignty of Iraq, and it's very, very hungry. A man fishing in a canal near the southern city of Nassiriya caught a six-foot-long shark who somehow eluded barriers and swam up the Euphrates River into what is known as the cradle of civilization.
Some Iraqis believe the shark was planted by occupying American forces to scare the locals. But that doesn't answer the question of how the shark got to Nassiriya in the first place. If Iraq is a little exotic for you, visit our fishing map to find some more traditional spots for landing a big catch on your next trip.
Cold, rainy fall days make for the best museum visits. So over the next few weeks we're mapping the latest shows worth seeing--and a nearby spot to nurse your art hangover.
It's easy to hate on 20-something hedge fund dudes for their career successes, but we can't extend the same pessimism to Ashley Gilbertson, the 29-year-old photojournalist whose book chronicling the war in Iraq, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, will hit shelves in just a few weeks.
In honor of the book's release, from Thursday, October 18 to November 29, 10 life-sized photos and selected excerpts will hang on the walls of the hip Lower East Side space, GalleryBar. Selected images of the 2004 battle for Falluja, the early occupation and Iraq's recent national elections are examples of what you can expect.
After absorbing the realities of the world, grab one (or two, or three) of 39 beers at the newly-opened Spitzer's Corner at Ludlow and Rivington to ruminate on foreign policy and ponder how excited you are for the next presidential election.
[Photo: Ashley Gilbertson]
Celeb Travel / Iraq / Iraq Travel / Angelina Jolie / Brangelina / Super World Travelers / → All Tags
Remember when Senator John McCain told CNN Iraq was so safe he could walk through its neighborhoods--and then he did so with like 100 armed guards? Well, sir, Angelina Jolie has just upped the ante. The actress and Original Super World Traveler snuck off to a UN refugee camp in Iraq yesterday to talk to displaced people trying to gain admittance to Syria. As a goodwill ambassador she has also visited camps in Sierra Leone, Pakistan and Sudan's Darfur region.
Obviously Jolie had her bodyguard present, and probably other back-up support. But just wait till you see our "Angelina '08" bumper stickers! (As a Super World Traveler, she'll be a lock for our candidate travel map.)
The State Department's guidelines on Iraq travel note that terrorists are targeting civil aviation, vehicular travel within the country is very dangerous and that "the Embassy can provide only limited emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq."
Iraq / Expat Airways / Airlines / → All Tags
While budget U.S. carriers ban large bottles of fluid and European LCCs have draconian baggage restrictions, Expat prohibits its own citizens from boarding. It has a strict "Westerners only" policy, straight out of the Mein Kampf business practices handbook. In addition to Iraqis, Indians, Pakistanis and most other non-Westerners need not attempt to book a flight.
According to ABC, Ahmed al Musawi, a spokesman for the Iraqi Transportation Ministry, called Expat's flight restrictions ''immoral'' but said there are no federal laws in Iraq banning such actions. Go figure.
[Photo: ABC News]
Not that it's an obscure route or anything, but Austrian Airlines just announced that the company will finally start flights from Vienna to Iraq in December. The launch had previously been scheduled for March of 2006. The service includes a bi-weekly flight from Vienna to Erbil, in the Kurdistan region. So far, it looks like they'll be flying an Airbus A319 on the route. Using some sample dates in January, we pulled up a ticket price of 933.30 ($1201).
Iraqi Kurdistan announced plans for a new tourism campaign last month, so officials there should be tickled. Marketing representatives hired by the Kurdistan regional government noted to the press that "Westerners walk around freely and there is an active nightlife," and that while the region "might be close" to the war "in miles, it's a lot further from that in reality." Some think that the campaign was politically motivated rather than inspired by a genuine dedication to boosting tourism--Kurdistan has, after all, sought independence from Iraq in the past.
Drop those Euros at your own risk!
· Austrian Airlines to fly to northern Iraq as first European commercial carrier [IHT]
· Iraqi Kurdistan launches tourism campaign [USAT]
· Kurdistan - The Other Iraq [Official Site]