Will You Be a Horrible Restaurant Customer This Holiday Season?

Hispanic waitress taking order
Getty Images

So you’ve finished your Thanksgiving dinner and you’re finally sick of turkey leftovers. It’s time to get out there and hit the great new restaurant that just opened in your hometown or wherever you’re spending the holidays. (FYI: Aol Travel knows the hot restaurants in cities around the U.S.)

Wherever you go, remember that there are appropriate ways to behave. And there are horrible ways to behave, as highlighted in this Montreal Gazette story by two Montreal-area restaurant servers. Among other things, they urge:

11. There actually is such a thing as a stupid question.

Examples:

Can I get the burger for cheaper if I don’t want onions?

Client: What beers do you have on tap?

Server: Guinness, Molson Ex, Rickard’s Red and Heineken.

Client: Do you have Samuel Adams?

Client: Why is our food taking so long?

Server: Because you ordered a steak well done and it’s only been six minutes.

12. Can you sing Happy Birthday?

Not for a $35 bill …

Read the rest of the story for 18 more ways to not be a horrible restaurant customer.

​Free Trip to Canada Comes with Drug-Mule Side Gig for Australian Couple

funny donkey
Shutterstock / Yiorgos GR

An unidentified Australian couple won a free week-long trip to Canada, complete with free luggage. When they returned Down Under, however, “a 72-year-old man and 64-year-old woman, approached customs officials in Perth, Australia, over concerns they had with their new bags,” the Huffington Post reports. (They most likely found the Canadians to be delightful, however, because everyone does.)

Upon investigation, the Australian Federal Police found 7.7 pounds of meth in each bag, worth about $7 million. There’s likely a Breaking Bad joke in there, but, sorry, didn’t watch it.

“The alleged con involved a Canadian-based website targeting elderly Australian couples with the potential to win the all-expenses paid trip,” according to Perth Now. Ok, so maybe not all Canadians are delightful.
“The AFP will allege their luggage was swapped while in Canada, with the couple having no clue they were then being duped into carrying the drugs home.”

No word as to what led these unwitting medical tourists to be concerned about their luggage.
Elderly Couple Used as Drug Mules After Winning Vacation

Guess Who Has The Most Intimidating Border Control Officials?

Border Control
Flickr, US Army

Do you ever feel nervous going through border control in a new country? How about when you return home? A study by IXP visas polled 1,000 travelers who had been to at least ten foreign countries; over 60% said they felt intimidated by border officials at some time, with the most intimidating vote going to American border control. The reasons sited for the nerves included “obvious weaponry on display,” a “lack of humor,” and a general “intimidating demeanor.”

The countries with the most intimidating border officials:

  1. USA: 22% (of respondents called border control officers intimidating)
  2. UAE: 12%
  3. Mexico: 9%
  4. Canada: 8%
  5. South Korea: 6%
  6. UK: 5%
  7. Israel: 5%
  8. Pakistan: 4%
  9. Venezuela: 4%
  10. Cuba: 3%

Have you felt intimidated entering (or re-entering) the U.S.? Which country has you most nervous at immigration?

Canadian Researchers Uncover Remains Of Tragic Arctic Expedition

Arctic
“Man Proposes, God Disposes” by Edwin Henry Landseer, 1864. Wikimedia Commons.

A few days ago we talked about the story of Dr. John Rae, a nearly forgotten Arctic explorer who in 1854 went in search of the missing Franklin Expedition. This was a Royal Navy expedition that set out in 1845 to find the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the frozen arctic north of Canada. Rae talked with the local Inuit people and heard the survivors had all died, some resorting to cannibalism before they succumbed to the elements. The public was so shocked that they turned their ire against Rae, whose career was all but ruined.

Now a Canadian research team is investigating the site to try to find out more about what happened. It’s known that the expedition involved two ships, the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror, and that they came to grief near King William Island in September 1846, where they got trapped in the ice hundreds of miles form the nearest town.

The crew tried walking out, but none made it more than 40 miles. All 129 officers and crew died.

A Canadian team, led by Parks Canada has made five expeditions to find traces of this tragedy. They’ve been focusing their efforts on King William Island, where this year they found some 200 artifacts and human bones. They also scanned 486 square kilometers of seafloor with sidescan sonar in the hopes of finding one of their ships preserved in the frigid waters, but they had no luck.

The artifacts have been brought back to a lab to be studied. They’ve already found evidence that some of the metal objects were reused by the local Inuit. The bones will be returned to the site and given a proper burial next year.

Arctic Explorer Gets Belated Recognition

arctic
Wikimedia Commons

When I took my family to the Orkney Islands of Scotland last year I saw this curious memorial in St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall. It’s for an Arctic explorer named John Rae. While the name struck a bell, I knew virtually nothing about him.

Most people don’t, and that’s a shame. Rae grew up in the rugged Orkney Islands in the 19th century. Although he trained as a doctor, the wilderness was his true love. He got work with the Hudson’s Bay Company, which owned large swatches of land in northern Canada and made millions off of the fur trade. Rae set off to Canada to work as a surgeon for the company, spending ten years at the remote outpost of Moose Factory.

Rae soon distinguished himself by spending large amounts of time with the Cree and Inuit, learning their languages and customs and gaining their respect for his ability to endure the tough conditions of the Canadians north.

When the Franklin Expedition, a Royal Navy group that was searching for the Northwest Passage connecting the Atlantic and Pacific, went missing in 1845, Rae was the man that was called upon to find them. He spent several years trying to track them down. In the course of his search he mapped many previously uncharted regions and found the Northwest Passage, the very thing the Franklin Expedition had failed to do.

In 1854 he learned from the Inuit that several years before, the last of the Franklin Expedition had died of starvation. The remaining survivors had resorted to cannibalism before they, too, succumbed. The site of the tragedy was deep in the back country and the Inuit refused to take him there.

When Rae filed his report, he was immediately criticized for not checking on the natives’ story himself and for daring to suggest that members of the Royal Navy would eat each other. His reputation was ruined. Even though another expedition did go to the site and concluded that there was strong evidence that the Franklin Expedition had resorted to cannibalism, the damage had been done. Rae died all but forgotten in 1893. Of all the great explorers from the Victorian era, he is the only one not to have been given a knighthood.

Now the Arctic explorer has been given some belated recognition with a new statue in Stromness, not far from where the local Hudson’s Bay Company office used to be. It was unveiled on the 200th anniversary of his birth.

You can learn more about the adventures of Dr. John Rae in this excellent article.