Best Blogs of the Week & What in the World?

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Best Blogs of the Week

I read a lot of travel blogs every week. Every day, even. Since I'm constantly coming across good reads, I've decided to highlight some of the best and most interesting posts, photos, videos and general blogging gems from all over the web that I've discovered in the past week.

Though I try to read a diverse sampling of things, there's no way that I can possibly get to it all. So, if you have an interesting post that you'd like me to check out and consider for next week, please let me know in the comments! Who knows? Maybe I'll fall in love with it. At the very least, I'll leave you my two cents in a comment.

What I'm Reading

Burning Man — A Virgin's Tale at Travel Junkie Julia

Julia travels to the infamous Burning Man event in Nevada for the first time. She describes the weeklong event as such: “For one week, some 50,000 costume-clad visitors travel from all over the world to celebrate humanity, creativity, music, nudity, charity and chemically induced happiness celebrated to the beat of throbbing techno.” Sounds like my kind of party! My favorite part of this post, however, are the photos. They seem to capture the spirit of the event perfectly.

Movies That Created a Tourism Boom at As We Travel

This post over at As We Travel was especially interesting to me because of my love affair with New Zealand and “Lord of the Rings” (which is mentioned in this post). I find the subject of movie-induced tourism to be fascinating. I even wrote my undergrad thesis on NZ tourism and how the film industry has impacted it. As Sophia proves, this phenomenon happens all over the world after movies become international hits. The comments offer further examples of film-induced tourism.

Lessons of the Road #2 at No Place to Be

Poor Poi from No Place to Be recounts one recent hellish night he and his travel partner, Kirsty, had in Xiamen, China. The night included a mysterious rash and three different hotel/hostel rooms, but thankfully ended with a magical cream that solved everything. This certainly doesn't sound like a pleasant experience, but Poi is able to tell it with some humor. If anyone can help diagnose him, I'm sure he'd appreciate it.

Quantifying and Qualifying Bragging and Travel at Suzy Guese

Suzy examines how travelers often turn into braggers, and muses over travelers who try to quantify and qualify their travel feats and failures “as if they are prized trophies.” In the end, she decides that, “Experiences are rich no matter where you are,” and notes that, sometimes, you just have to bite your lip and keep quiet in order to stay grounded. A really great read with some good comments.

Meeting people abroad: embarrassed to be an American? at Lauren's Road Less Traveled

Lauren has just left the U.S. to study abroad in England. One of the things she's noticed in her first days in Europe is the type of response she gets when she tells foreigners that she's an American. It's no secret: Americans often make a bad name for themselves, and Lauren shares her frustrations at often automatically getting stereotyped when traveling abroad.

Drinking Beer Around the World — Part 4 at Traveling Canucks

Cam and Nicole — aka the Traveling Canucks — have been highlighting some of their favorite beer-drinking memories from around the world for a while now (this being their fourth installment in the series). While I'm not a beer drinker at all, I love this series. Not only do they rate each beer (and provide photos), but each is connected to a specific travel memory the couple shares, which I think is neat.

What in the World?

Check out what's going on around the world this week.

The U.S.

The oil well in the Gulf of Mexico that has been causing problems since April is dead. AT LAST! The final “kill” on the well was completed on Sunday, when crews pumped cement into the blown out well, sealing it off for good. I'm so glad to finally be able to write this. Unfortunately, though, the millions upon millions of gallons of oil that spewed into the Gulf will continue to wreak havoc for months — maybe even years — to come.

The FDA is currently deciding whether to approve genetically modified salmon for human consumption in the U.S. The fish, spawned from genetically engineered salmon eggs by a company called AquaBounty Technologies, would be the first genetically engineered animal approved in the U.S. for eating. The “Frankenfish” grow to full-sized fish in half the time that it takes regular salmon to reach maturity. … I'll take mine caught out of a river, thanks.

A government panel has announced that the recession ended in June 2009. … Apparently, nobody got the memo. But the good news is that most important officials agree that the country probably won't slide back into recession mode. Good to know.


North Korea‘s ruling party is planning the shindig to end all shindigs next week. On Sept. 28, the party will convene for its largest meeting in the past 30 years to pick new leadership. It's been rumored for weeks that leader Kim Jong Il will use this occasion to announce that his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, will be his successor. The real question is, will Kim Jong Un inherit his father's funny hair-do and wicked sense of style?


Mexico turned 200 last week! Happy belated birthday, Mexico!

The Middle-East

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a sales pitch for the West Bank on Monday, saying that the area is ripe for a “major joint marketing campaign” with Israel to promote tourism to the Holy Land. The peace process between Israel and Palestine is at a critical juncture right now, and Blair stressed that any future political agreements have to also be accompanied by economic growth. And what better way to begin than with a joint tourism campaign?

Just For Fun

A retired circus chimpanzee is drawing crowds to a zoo in Rio de Janeiro. But it's not for silly antics or high-flying feats. No, Jimmy the chimp draws crowds to watch him paint. The 26-year-old animal has been producing what the AP calls “surprisingly lovely paintings” each day for the past three weeks at the Niteroi Zoo. Jimmy was originally handed a paint brush and canvas when one of the zoo trainers noticed that the chimp wasn't interested in any of the toys the other primates were playing with. But be warned — if there are too many gawkers around his cage, Jimmy gets a little temperamental and refuses to paint. If you're in the area, go check him out!


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