Call An Ice Cream Truck On Demand Today With Uber

Today is the hottest day yet in New York City’s latest heat wave, and the summer weather is no less forgiving in many other cities in the western hemisphere. To help beat the heat, car service app Uber is offering ice cream trucks on demand, today only from 11-5 p.m. in 33 cities worldwide. The stunt is to help promote the app’s expansion to new cities in the United States and in Australia, Europe and Singapore.

Demand is expected to be high and waits may be long, but if you want to try for a truck, download the Uber app and connect with your credit card info, request the ice cream app, and wait for one to show up in your area. Prices and ice cream treats vary, average is $25 for ice cream for five people. The full list of U.S. cities includes: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

New to Uber cities include Miami, Portland (OR), Houston, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Lyon, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, and Singapore. Incidentally, those are all cities where you can get a car and driver on demand anytime with Uber.

See all the details and get your ice cream on Uber’s blog.

Germany Building Memorial To Hitler’s Euthanasia Victims

Germany
Wikimedia Commons

The government of Germany has begun construction of a monument to remember the physically and mentally handicapped people killed by the Nazis.

While everyone knows about the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust, Hitler’s other victims are often forgotten. They include socialists, Communists, blacks, homosexuals, Gypsies and anyone else who didn’t fit the vision of a pure Aryan society.

Hitler started a program, known as Action T4, to eliminate the mentally and physically disabled in 1939. Surviving documents show at least 70,000 people were killed, but historians estimate the number may actually be as many as 200,000.

The BBC reports that construction is underway on a memorial to these victims next to the Berlin office where the program was managed. The memorial will be a 100-foot glass wall. The city already has monuments to the Jewish, Gypsy and homosexual victims of Hitler’s reign.

This Nazi-era advertisement is typical of the official attitude. It reads: “60000 RM (Reichsmark) this is what this person suffering from hereditary defects costs the Community of Germans during his lifetime. Fellow Citizen, that is your money, too. Read ‘New People.’ The monthly magazine of the Office for Race Politics of the NSDAP.”

Exhibition At Berlin Wall Shows World’s Fortified Borders

Berlin Wall
Wikimedia Commons

The Berlin Wall has been a symbol of oppression and tyranny ever since it went up. When it fell in 1989, the world rejoiced and many hoped we would now live in a world without barriers.

As a new exhibition at a remaining part of the wall shows, however, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.

“Wall on Wall” is a photographic exhibition by German photographer Kai Wiedenhoefer. He has traveled the world taking photographs of barriers between people and nations and his exhibition features giant posters of his images plastered on the Berlin Wall. Large-format photos of walls between North and South Korea, the U.S. and Mexico, and Israel and Palestine cover a long stretch of the Berlin Wall on the flip side of the popular East Side Gallery.

The photos also show walls within countries that divide populations, such as those in Belfast and Baghdad. On my recent trip to Iraq I saw many of these walls, designed to separate Shia and Sunni neighborhoods in an attempt to reduce sectarian violence. Like the Berlin Wall, they’ve become a blank canvas for Iraqi graffiti artists.

“Wall on Wall” runs until September 13.

Edvard Munch Exhibition Opens In Stuttgart

Edvard Munch
Copyright The Munch Museum/The Munch Ellingsen Group/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012

The Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, Germany, is celebrating the 150th birthday of Edvard Munch with a exhibition of their entire collection of his work, the first time the gallery has done so in more that 50 years.

Edvard Munch in Stuttgart: From the First Kiss until Death” showcases 60 works from all periods of the artist’s development. The highlight is the only surviving proof of Munch’s iconic print “The Scream.” The proof shows that Munch originally named it “Screaming.” Other works, both paintings and prints, show his enduring obsession with harsh emotions such as fear and jealousy, as well as his feelings towards women, who are often portrayed as demons or vampires like in this print titled “Vampir II.”

Munch had a close relationship with Stuttgart, often visiting the Staatsgalerie in order to promote his own work. The gallery has a long tradition of buying contemporary art and was thus able to build an impressive collection of Munch’s work.

“Edvard Munch in Stuttgart: From the First Kiss until Death” runs until October 6.

Heathrow Or Frankfurt: Two Of The World’s Worst Airports?

frankfurt airportAir travel can be a tribulation anywhere but traveling through the world’s mega-airports is never high on my list of fun things to do. Last week, I spent some time at Heathrow (in London) and at Frankfurt International airport – two of the world’s dozen busiest, and some would say best-avoided, airports. These temples of transit require travelers to demonstrate the patience of Job, the endurance of an ultra-marathon runner and a good sense of humor to roll with the inevitable hassles. But which airport is best avoided if you are transiting through Europe and have options – Heathrow or Frankfurt Airport?

I lived in the Balkans for a spell several years ago when I was in the Foreign Service, and the government would frequently route us through Frankfurt, which was rated the 11th busiest airport in the world last year, with just over 57 million passengers transiting it in 2012. Our usual rule of thumb was that if the layover time was less than two hours, we knew the chances of making the onward flight was about 50-50 if it was in the 60- to 90-minute range. Less than an hour? No chance, particularly if you checked bags and hoped to see them again.I do not enjoy flying. My preferred modes of transport are, in this order: train, boat, bike, car, plane and bus. And so, when my plane touches down on a runway after a long flight, I can’t wait to get off the plane. In Frankfurt, though, one can taxi for so long that it seems as though the pilot might be planning to drop you off in Salzburg. Planes taxi for what seems like forever and then you often have to schlep your things onto a bus and then shuttle into the terminal.

But I like to people watch at airports and on this score, Frankfurt is awfully good. There are mysterious looking women in niqabs and burkas; flashy-tracksuit wearing Russian mafiosos and their showy girlfriends, weighed down in gaudy jewelry and shopping bags; Africans in colorful robes carrying enormous plastic bags and suitcases sealed tight in cellophane wrapping; beer guzzling Germans and their worldly dogs; and plenty of backpackers about to wash back up on their parent’s doorsteps after spending their last rupees on a bag of mushrooms and Tibetan prayer flags in Katmandu.

I had a full two-hour layover in Frankfurt last week, en route from Chicago to London, but I just barely made my connection. (This was the only way I could redeem miles to get to London during Wimbledon.) In fairness, the flight touched down 15 minutes late and we taxied for an eternity, so I wasn’t in the terminal for two hours, but I felt like I walked about 5 miles and stood in I don’t know how many lines before I got to my gate just after boarding had begun for my connecting flight. I was soaked in sweat from hauling all my gear and suffering from that putrid, exhausted feeling you have after a sleepless night on a transatlantic flight.

Frankfurt has good rail links and some reasonably appealing shopping and dining options but it’s the kind of place where you want to allow a huge amount of time. And think twice about hauling a lot of carry-on baggage there.


I’ve traveled in and out of Heathrow, the world’s third busiest airport in 2012 with some 70 million passengers, many times over the years and I have just two nice things to say about it: you can access it via London’s tube and there are plenty of bookstores and newsstands. I wasn’t sure what terminal my flight was in and there are three tube stops – one for terminal 1, 2 and 3; and one each for terminals 4; and 5. I played the odds and got out at the 1/2/3 stop at 1:15 p.m. for a 3:30 p.m. flight.

I booked the flight with United and it had a UA flight number, so I followed the signs to terminal 1. It was about a 15-minute walk, made unpleasant for me only because I was hauling too much stuff, but alas, it turned out that I was on an Air Canada codeshare, and the Canucks are based in terminal 3. After another 15-minute walk, I was thrilled to walk right up to the counter and secure my boarding pass with no wait.

But my luck ran out going through security. I’ve been in longer lines before – much longer ones, in fact – but perhaps never a slower one. I can’t tell you precisely how long I was in line, because I wasn’t wearing a watch and was carrying a broken iPhone, but I think it took a good hour. My backpack was singled out for a search but there were three other bags to be inspected by one laconic young South Asian woman who moved as fast as one might walk down a gang-plank toward some waiting crocodiles.

Once I was deemed not to be a militant jihadist or suicidal crackpot, there was another long walk in store and then another line to, get this, approach the gate area. After showing our passports and boarding passes, we rounded the corner and joined another line to do the exact same thing again. And then I was stuck in the gate waiting area with no access to shops or restaurants. A fellow passenger told me it was 3:10, very nearly two hours after I’d stepped off the tube, and the business class passengers had already boarded our flight to Montreal. It was a 60-degree day but my shirt was soaked with perspiration. Travel can be an ordeal at times, and little did I know at that point that I still had a two-hour delay in Montreal in store, plus a nearly hour-long line to get a cab in Chicago.

The verdict? CNN rated Heathrow the third most hated airport in the world, behind just Paris-Charles de Gaulle and LAX on their list of 10 most hated airports, but left Frankfurt off the top 10. I’m with them; I’ll take Frankfurt over Heathrow but it’s close. Let’s say I would avoid Heathrow like the plague, whereas I’d only avoid Frankfurt like a curable venereal disease.