Category Archives: Destinations

Travel Destinations Humor

5 top countries for travelers hoping to avoid extradition

With tax season just over, now is the busiest time of the year for travel to the two-dozen countries that have no extradition treaty with the U.S. To help travelers on the run chose which country is right for them — whether for a life-time stay or just until a statue of limitations runs out — we’ve once again put together our top 5 under-the-radar picks for anyone hoping to avoid extradition.

Maldives

With predictions that a rising sea level may result in its disappearance by 2085, this Indian Ocean nation has more to worry about than what your back-story might be. So unless there’s a possibility that somebody is willing to trade you for a Russian arms dealer, you’ll pretty much be left alone. Come here for the sun, the beaches, and the high-end resorts so pricey that to afford them you practically have to have stolen a serious amount of something.

Many of the resorts, such as the Huvafen Fushi, have overwater bungalows with glass panels in the floors for viewing sea life, and, if necessary, a quick escape. Be careful, though, whenever counting large stacks of money in your room, as the panels often make it easy for passing snorkelers to view your life. For an American, the Maldives, despite its distance, is not a perfect home away from home. Talk of opening a string of international fast-food restaurants at the airport has so far come to nothing. And getting re-runs of Keeping Up with the Kardashians is sometimes difficult. But if you are here for the long stay, converting to Islam can help, as can being religious about applying SPF 50.

China

While there is a misperception that Western travelers with a criminal background are not welcome in China, the opposite is often true, especially if the travelers arrive bearing significant trade secrets. Even if you have nothing to barter, a population of 1.4 billion makes it easy to get lost in the crowd. And should you run afoul of Chinese authorities, a prison population that includes more than 6,000 foreign inmates means you will sometimes be able to barter in English for cigarettes. Americans will find much about China to remind them of home, including Subway (440 outlets) McDonalds (1,964 outlets), KFC (5,854 outlets), and the Great Wall (0 outlets).

United Arab Emirates

Whoever said money can’t buy happiness has never considered avoiding extradition by fleeing to the United Arab Emirates. In the UAE, money can buy a $1,223 cupcake, a $24,000 per night hotel suite, and an $8 million (diamond-studded) cell phone. Gold-plated SUV’s are not that rare, Lamborghini police cars are not unheard of. Still, the law is Islamic law, so don’t spend money on alcohol consumed outside of a bar, restaurant, or sporting venue, or anything that’s any fun at all during Ramadan.

Russia

A tall latte at Starbucks in Moscow costs twice what it does in New York City. And you can be riding in the back seat of a taxi one moment and in the trunk the next, on the way to have your vital organs removed for profit. But beyond those niggling kinds of concerns, Russia is just about ideal for anyone looking for a new identity to call their own. In Moscow, live quietly but comfortably in the luxury of such accommodations as the Ritz-Carlton, where your personal butler and his government minder will soon know your name.

Become familiar with Red Square, the Bolshoi Theatre, and Saint Basil’s Cathedral, whose distinctive domes are recognized worldwide as the inspiration for the American news organization, The Onion. At the Kremlin, pass a pleasant hour, perhaps with a small group of friends, contemplating the unauthorized removal of the 190-caret Orlov Diamond on display there. And if it becomes time to get out of town, what traveler doesn’t imagine a journey on the Trans Siberian Railway? Just make sure you ask for a round trip ticket.

Bhutan

For relieving the stress often associated with traveling to avoid extradition, there may be no better destination than Bhutan. One of three countries in the world with no diplomatic relations at all with the U.S. (Iran and North Korea are the other two) this Himalayan hideaway allows you to conduct your affairs with the assurance that the only place you are ever likely get snatched to is heaven. One of the highlights of a Bhutan stay is a visit to the sacred, and isolated, cliff-side Buddhist monastery of Taktshang, or the Tiger’s Nest.

Make the strenuous hike to the monastery from the town below in about three hours, where you will be rewarded with the discovery that no cameras, phones, or recording devices of any kind are allowed. Which for somebody hiding from the law is by itself almost worth the trip. A bonus is that the monks who live at the monastery often practice meditation that requires extended periods of silence, diminishing the chances that somebody will even accidentally give you away.

BobCarriesOn editor-in-chief Bob Payne is currently under audit.

Bigly travel story of the week: Six really great walls

                                                                                                        John Tenniel Illustration

Really great walls are taking on a growing role in the plans of many travelers. There’s talk, of course, of a really great wall going up along the U.S. Mexico border. And some Canadians have long thought there ought to be one along their border, too. But really great walls, as we are about to show you, have long been a bigly part of the travel experience.

 

Really great wall of china
                                                                                          BigStock/Severin.stalder Photo

The Really Great Wall of China

Stretching for some 5,500 miles, the remains of the Really Great Wall of China is an early example of how a massive barrier, many feet thick and even more high, is about as effective at keeping people on one side or the other as a stern lecture from a vice-principal is at keeping high school boys from spiking the punch at a homecoming dance.

The problem was that the Really Great Wall of China had some 1,387 miles of gaps so porous that they were thought to be responsible for the enormous success of Chinese take out. No doubt the gaps were responsible, too, for the rise of such popular ice cream flavors as “Mongol Madness.”

The Really Great Wall of China was most successful as a massive infrastructure project. At its height, wall construction put millions of Chinese to work, whether they wished to be or not. Cost over-runs were a problem though, largely because developers had not yet mastered working with such modern building materials as bull excrement.

Today, the most visited part of the wall, because of its easy access to Beijing, is the Badaling section. According to many critics, though, after fighting the crowds and hassling with the taxi drivers, visitors often come away feeling that it ought to be called the Just Ok Wall of China.

 

Really Great Berlin Wall
                                                                                                      BigStock/Hanohki Photo

The Really Great Berlin Wall

From 1961 through 1989 the story surrounding the Really Great Berlin Wall, was, according to leaders of the East German government, the most bigly example of fake news ever reported.

With photos to back up their claim, East German leaders insisted that the Really Great Berlin Wall had in no way been a barrier to keep East Berlin citizens escaping to the West. Instead, they said, the 27-mile long, 11.8-foot high concrete structure had been a really great example — probably one of the greatest examples ever – of government support of the arts.

The wall was meant to be a public venue on which Berlin’s young artists — really great young artists — could showcase their talent through such time-honored media as spray paint.

The extent to which the Berlin government was willing to encourage such artistic expression was made evident, officials said, by the 20 bunkers, 302 guard towers, and uncounted other measures erected to safeguard the artists against interference by fascist and other anti-socialist Western elements.

The Really Great Berlin Wall was demolished in 1990. But commemorative pieces are still for sale. In fact, some 3.6 tons of the original 2.5 tons of concrete used in the construction can currently be purchased on e-Bay.

 

Humpty Dumpty Really great wall
                                                                                                      John Tenniel Illustration

Humpty Dumpty’s Really Great Wall 

Although parts of Humpty Dumpty’s Really Great Wall may still exist, the inspiration for the classic English nursery rhyme is a matter of dispute.

In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, Humpty is depicted as an egg. Or — a reader could infer — someone with an ego as fragile as an egg.

In other interpretations, the clearly wobbly character has been a stand-in for any number of kings and other powerful public figures who, because of their overreach, end up taking such a great fall that not even all their horses and all their political advisors can put them together again.

There’s even an interpretation that holds wide sway, especially among pro-growth supporters, that Humpty Dumpty was a cannon that sat atop the wall surrounding the town of Colchester, England, during the English Civil War of 1642-51. Part of the wall still exists, but the story is that return fire from opposing forces so undermined its foundation that without sufficient infrastructure-funding most of it eventually came tumbling down.

One thing most interpreters agree on, though, is that the poem stands as a cautionary tale about the disaster that can befall anyone who uses a really great wall as a podium from which to draw attention to themselves.

 

Really Great Wall Street occupy
                                                                                             BigStock/Chris Cintron Photo

The Really Great Wall Street

Among Americans who don’t get their news from traditional outlets, Wall Street is perhaps best known for its recent history of standing up to occupiers and other foreigners.

What many people don’t know, however, is that Wall Street is actually named after a really great wall, one built to keep out pirates, Native Americans, non-European Union members and, according to some sources, radical Islamic terrorists.

The original wall was a wooden palisade built at the south end of Manhattan by the Dutch in the 1600’s. Fortunately for much of America’s current population, it did not serve as a barrier for immigrants of British stock, who were able to get visa waivers.

 

Really Great Wall Mart parking lot view.
                                                                                    Wiki.southpark.cc.com Illustration

The Really Great Wall-Mart

Wall-Mart is a really great American-owned retail store featured in an episode of the public affairs program South Park. The episode looks at what could happen in America if addiction treatment is not part of basic health care coverage.

The premise of the episode is that almost everyone in South Park is so addicted to Wall-Mart’s bargain prices that they stop shopping at other South Park businesses, putting the town into such a recessionary spiral that they are desperate to try anything that might make it really great again.

What they try is listening to a politician who promises that under his winning direction they will become the next state to benefit greatly from the legalization of marijuana. Too late, though, even the politician’s most ardent South Park supporters are faced with the reality that the town is in Colorado, where marijuana has already been legal for several years.

 

BobCarriesOn editor-in-chief Bob Payne sits on the wall on a great many issues.

 

5 coolest places in America: The Lawsuit

We learned today that BobCarriesOn.com is facing a lawsuit by an irate reader who blames us for the severe frostbite he suffered while visiting, allegedly at our recommendation, one of the places featured in a story we recently ran, “The 5 coolest places in America.”

The reader maintains the story should have warned that in none of the places were open-toed sandals appropriate winter footwear. We maintain that he, like far too many Internet users, must have read no further than the headline.

If you missed the story, below are the places we mentioned. Before making plans to visit any of them, please read the descriptions carefully.

Prospect Creek Camp, Alaska

A work settlement during the construction of the Alaska Pipeline, the now abandoned Prospect Creek Camp holds the record for the lowest temperature ever recorded in the United States: -80 degrees F, on January 21, 1971. Tourist attractions include the pipeline’s Pump Station 5, two still-fluttering airstrip windsocks, and what is believed to be one of the largest collections of pre-Internet pornography ever assembled.

Rogers Pass, Montana

Located in a remote wilderness area on the Continental Divide, Rogers Pass holds the record for the coldest temperature ever recorded in the lower 48 states: -70 degrees F, on January 20, 1954. Tourist attractions include one of the largest remaining concentrations of grizzly bears in the lower 48, and various garments belonging to previous visitors who attempted to outrun them.

Peter Sinks, Utah

A basin-shaped natural depression allegedly named for a man who would have done well to look elsewhere for a homestead site, Peter Sinks holds the record for the coldest temperature ever recorded in Utah: -69.3 degrees F, on February 1, 1985. Tourist attractions include various locations where it is speculated the would-be homesteader may have succumbed to the elements during his first and only winter at the Sinks.

Riverside Ranger Station, Montana

Pay attention here, because the town of Riverside, Wyoming, is sometimes listed as holding the record for the coldest temperature every recorded in Wyoming: -66 degrees F, on February 9, 1933. But according to the weather website wunderground.com, that temperature was actually recorded at the now non-existent Riverside Ranger Station, which in 1933 was located where the town of West Yellowstone, Montana, now stands. Tourist attractions in the Wyoming town, which has a population of 53, include anybody who can give directions to West Yellowstone, a gateway to Yellowstone National Park, eight hours away.

Maybell, Colorado

Vail and Steamboat may have their après ski scenes, but the coolest place in Colorado is Maybell, population 72, which is home to the lowest temperature ever recorded in the state: −61 degrees F, on February 1, 1985. Tourist attractions include the restaurant, the gas station, the general store, and, during the spring, a depth of horse poop today found in few other American communities.

Fourth-ranked travel attractions gain long-overdue recognition.

It is becoming clear that in an increasingly crowded world, fourth-place deserves more recognition than it has traditionally received. And nowhere is that more apparent than among travel attractions. To help set things right, below are some of the best of the fourth-ranked.

 

Fourth Tallest Hotel

Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

 

Talk about getting a bad break on location, the 1,014-foot Jumeirah Emirates Towers is not only just the world’s fourth-tallest hotel, it also fourth-ranked in Dubai alone. That city, with all its other travel attractions,  is home to seven of the world’s top ten tallest hotels, including the tallest, the 1,165-foot JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, which, it is worth noting, doesn’t serve as good a breakfast.

 

Fourth Longest Non-stop Flight

Abu Dhabi, UAE – Los Angeles

 

This Etihad Airways flight of 15 hours, 39 minutes is not only almost two hours shorter than what would be the record holder, from Dubai to Panama City, Panama, if the latter finally goes into service, it would allow passengers to disembark without having to ask themselves what in the world they are doing in Panama.

 

Fourth Most Expensive Theme Park

Universal Studios

Hollywood, California

 

Visitors in search of travel attractions who mistakenly end up at Universal Studios in California instead of the one in Florida, which is ranked as the world’s most expensive theme park, can plunk down their $90 one-day entrance fee at least knowing that they’ve saved $15 per ticket. A downside of Universal Studios Hollywood, though, is that there is no Margaritaville.

 

Fourth Tallest Fountain

Port Fountain

Karachi, Pakistan.

Although rising only 620 feet, or 233 feet less than the world’s highest, King Fahd’s Fountain in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, this pride of Pakistan can claim to be the only one of the world’s major fountains that was inoperable for a time because someone stole the parts that make it go.

 

Fourth Priciest Cocktail

The Winston, Club 23

Melbourne, Australia

 

At a mere $12,040, this Winston Churchill-inspired libation may not have the three 1-1.5 carat diamonds sitting at the bottom of it that accompanied the record-setting $50,000 cocktail served at Moscow’s Reka Restaurant in 2014. Not does it contain the scattering of rubies that gave a glow to the $40,000 drink the White Barn Inn in Kennebunk, Maine, created to celebrate their 40th anniversary. But unlike those glittery concoctions, The Winston does contain slugs of 1858 Croizet cognac, which goes for $157,000 a bottle, or $6,000 a shot. And you don’t have to worry about getting something stuck in your throat and realizing you’ve just made a very costly mistake.

 

Fourth Busiest U.S. National Park

Yellowstone National Park

 

Many people are surprised to learn that Yellowstone, one of our most iconic travel attractions, covering a vast wilderness area in parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, is not the busiest U.S. national park. That title goes to Great Smoky Mountains, whose nearly 10 million annual visitors number more than twice as many as second place Grand Canyon, in part, some say, because Great Smokey Mountain is one of the few national parks without an admission fee. Of course if the super volcano that sits below Yellowstone ever erupts neither of those more heavily visited parks will have nearly the view Yellowstone visitors will of two-thirds of American being engulfed in fire and ash.

 

Fourth Largest Hamburger

Ted Reader, Toronto

 

In 2010, Canadian Chef Ted Reader produced a world-record 590-pound hamburger at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square. We mention this only because Reader’s burger now ranks as the world’s fourth largest, with the champion, created at the Black Bear Casino Resort in Carlton, Minnesota, in 2012, weighing in at 2,014 pounds. Condiments on Reader’s burger included wheelbarrows full of lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, pickles, and onions, but, for health reasons, no bacon.

 

Six places to see in Detroit before you die

Should you unexpectedly find yourself in Detroit because of a diverted flight or a wrong turn off the interstate here’s a guide to every place you will want to see, quickly.

Detroit Metro Airport

Departures with Delta and Spirit Airlines help make Detroit Metro the 44th busiest airport in the world. Popular dining options are to go. Insider Tip: For overnight visitors, be aware that the onsite Westin Hotel does not routinely check for concealed weapons.

Amtrak Station Building

Wolverine Service transports rail passengers from Detroit’s Amtrak Station Building at 11 W Baltimore Ave, to Chicago’s Union Station. One-way fares are as low as $49, which travelers using the waiting room are advised to keep in their shoe until the ticket is purchased. Insider Tip: Do not make the sometimes-fatal mistake of confusing the Amtrak Station Building with the Michigan Central Station, which ceased to be a rail depot in 1988 when Amtrak halted service there.

Detroit Greyhound Station

Although the Detroit Greyhound Station is located in one of Detroit’s less upscale neighborhoods, fatal shootings at the station itself happen only occasionally. Visitors should not, however, arrive between the hours of midnight and 1:30 a.m. when the station is closed, but other neighborhood businesses are not. Insider Tip: Greyhound Express Service can have you in Los Angeles in as quickly as 2 days 6 hours, 35 minutes, not including delays due to traffic or having to remove disruptive passengers.

I-75 North

For visiting motorists this interstate highway, which travels through the heart of urban Detroit and north to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, can be surprisingly safe, as the congestion that often frustrates anyone hoping for a quick escape discourages carjackers. Insider Tip: Do be aware that due to Detroit’s economic condition congested highways are becoming less of a factor.

Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry Terminal

Visitors planning to make use of the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry are advised to arrive by truck. The ferry goes only five times a day, but in twenty minutes passengers are not only out of Detroit but also out of the U.S. Insider Tip: Overland travelers whose bags contain hazardous or radioactive materials will find this an especially convenient departure route, as all such materials are banned from the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

Detroit Police Department Central District Police Station

Visitor’s who have been the victim of a crime in the Detroit area should report to this station, conveniently located at Woodward Avenue and West Grand Blvd, where it is sometimes possible to get directions to any of the above-mentioned sites. Insider Tip: Be advised that the 11-year-long Federal monitoring of the Detroit Police Department is no longer in effect.

10 buildings most likely to baffle future archeologists

Some day, when archeologists and other scientists are pulling away the vines and trying to figure out the significance of some of the world’s most mysterious ancient buildings, here are the ten most likely to baffle them.

Luxor_Hotel

Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

Future generations, perhaps informed by the alien race that first created the Egyptian pyramids and later returned to take credit for them, will think they understand what the Luxor Hotel building is: a sanctuary for people who are happy to go without sunlight for a thousand years. But they’ll be as mystified as the aliens as to how it ended up in Las Vegas.

Giant Picnic basket

Longaberger Headquarters Building, Newark, Ohio

Scientists will spend untold centuries looking in the wrong place, in what was once known as the U.S. state of New Jersey, in search of evidence of a rumored race of human giants — giants grown so large from protein shakes and energy bars that the earth could no longer sustain them. The scientists will believe they have discovered proof of the elusive beings’ existence, though, in a place once known as Ohio, when they find the almost fully intact remains of a seven-story high picnic basket.

Dog Bark Park B&B

Dog Bark Park Inn, Cottonwood, Idaho

Created as a bed and breakfast accommodation, and described by its chainsaw wielding builder as the World’s Biggest Beagle, the Dog Bark Park Inn may someday be pointed to as a dire warning from the past about the risks of genetically modified pet food.

Dancing building

The Dancing House, Prague, Czech Republic

Originally nicknamed the Fred and Ginger House, this current Prague landmark building will look to the uninformed of future generations like a cross between an episode of the ancient classic “Dancing with the Stars” and the melted aftermath of a thermo-nuclear blast. Scholars will shake their heads knowingly, however, in recognition that all has been explained, when they discover that one of the designers was architect Frank Gehry.

Selfridges Birmingham

Selfridges Department Store, Birmingham, England

This building will be a tough one for future explorers of the past, because not even contemporary observers can find a reasonable explanation for why the scale-covered urban British structure known as Selfridges looks like it does. However, immunologists working only from old photographs may someday suggest that it could have been a giant mutant virus, capable of luring an earlier, more primitive race with the questionable promise of reasonably priced consumer goods.

Agbar Tower Baecelona

 

Agbar Tower, Barcelona, Spain

For most delvers into the mysteries of humankind’s past, what is now known as the Agbar Tower, or Torre Agbar, will be easily recognized, just as statues on Easter Island are today, as a boastfully oversize phallic symbol. Strengthening that assumption will be the discovery of ancient texts describing one of the 473-foot tower’s most striking features, its nocturnal illumination, unfortunately mistranslated as nocturnal emission.

upside down house

 

Upside-Down House, Trassenheide, Germany

As all records may soon be archived on electronic databases, followed by several millennia of no electricity, future generations will be unclear as to how the previous epoch of human history ended. Upside-down houses similar to this one, located in a small German seaside resort town, should suggest, though, that it ended badly.

Fish shaped building

Fish-shaped building, Hyderabad, India

Everyone in times-to-come will easily recognize this four-story piscatorial contrivance as one of many failed attempts to escape earth aboard a spacecraft. Who its specific passengers were meant to be, however, will remain a mystery until someone, probably part of an Indian National Monuments cleaning crew, notices a barely legible inscription at the base of the craft, just behind the anal fin, reading, “So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish Food.”

Aldar Building

Aldar headquarters, Abu Dhabi

Archeologists of the 31st Century will certainly find themselves trying to unravel the mystery of what we know today as the Aldar Headquarters Building, in Abu Dhabi. And while they may be perplexed as to why an earlier society would have felt the need to mint a coin that measured 361-feet in diameter, some as yet unborn historian will easily make a name for him or herself by hypothesizing the oversize piece of change to be representative of the moment in history when pickpocketing ceased to be a viable career path.

Gate of theOrient

 

The Gate of the Orient, Suzhou, China

Unless procreation, perhaps adjusting to a post-apocalyptic world, goes in a radical new direction over the coming millennia, people will no doubt still understand the meaning of “to get into someone’s pants.” What they won’t understand, as they contemplate the ruins of The Gate of the Orient building, in Suzhou, China, is why the pants had to be 990 feet tall.