City Nicknames We’d Rather Not Hear

laundromatAs a native Californian, few things get on my nerves more than hearing the abbreviation, “Cali.” I don’t know why it irritates me so much, but I suspect it’s the knowing, insider-y tone that usually accompanies it. “Yeah, man, I just got back from a trip to Cali. It was hella cool.”

Aaargh. Also right up there is “Frisco.” Let me just tell you that Californians do not, ever, under any circumstances, refer to their state as “Cali,” nor “The City” as “Frisco.” San Francisco even famously had a laundromat called, “Don’t Call it Frisco.” I also dislike “Berzerkley,” “San Berdoo (San Bernadino)” and “The States (anyone in Hawaii referring to the Mainland).”

With these grating abbreviations in mind, I asked my Gadling colleagues what city nicknames bug them. The response was fast, furious and lengthy. Below, some highlights:

Anna Brones: Portlandia. Don’t even get me started.

Libby Zay: I personally hate “Hotlanta.” It’s also pretty annoying when people add “tucky” or “neck” as suffixes. As in, Fredneck, Maryland, or Brunstucky, instead of Brunswick, Ohio … I suppose Pennslytucky would be more of a geographic region.”

Author admission: Guilty as charged, Libby.

Kyle Ellison:Lost Wages,” for Las Vegas, and “N’awlins” for New Orleans.

Elizabeth Seward: It depends on the day whether or not these bug me. I wish I didn’t know so many. “Beantown”; “Chi-town”; “Sin City”; “Nasty Nati (Cinncinati)”, “C-town (Columbus)”; “SoBro (South Bronx, oy)”; “Marighetto (what locals call my hometown of Marietta)”; “City of Angeles”/”LaLaLand”/”Tinseltown”; “The Big Easy.”

Elizabeth, I promise to never refer to my hometown of Thousand Oaks as “Thousand Jokes” again.

McLean Robbins: “Naptown” for Annapolis and “The District” from anyone not a local to Washington, DC.

Meg Nesterov: Calling cities the Paris/Venice/X/ of the North/East, et al.

Sean McLachlan, resident history buff: Missouri is often called “Misery,” generally by outsiders from northern states and occasionally by frustrated Missourians. The term actually has old roots. The 18th century French settlers in Ste. Genevieve found the place so boggy and full of mosquitoes that they nicknamed it misère.

[Photo credit: Flickr user knitgrrldotcom]

Video Of The Day: Virtual Myanmar

Visualtraveling – Myanmar” from Patrik Wallner on Vimeo.

A few months ago, President Obama became the first US president to visit the Asian country of Myanmar. Although tourism has opened up in recent years and the country held elections for the first time in 2010, it remains a tightly controlled country that many Americans feel they don’t want to support with their travel dollars. No matter how you feel about visiting the former Burma, you can enjoy this stunning video by Patrik Wallner. With gorgeous portraits of the people and landscapes of Myanmar, it feels like a National Geographic photo shoot come to life.

See a video worthy of being featured as the Video of the Day? Leave a link in the comments below.

Other Countries A US President Has Never Visited

President

President Barack Obama will land in Myanmar (aka Burma) this week, a first-time visit for any President of the United States. Never mind that Myanmar is best known as a brutal dictatorship, not exactly in line with U.S. foreign policy. Disregard any political or geographically strategic reasons for befriending Myanmar. Today, this is all about the President being the first to visit Myanmar and the trip begs the question: “So are there other countries that no sitting U.S. President has ever visited?”

Out of the 190+ countries in the world, just 113 of them have been visited by a President of the United States, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Historian.

Countries not visited include close-by neighbor the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, St Kitts, St Lucia and assorted tiny island-nations. Understandable, we would probably view a visit to the harmless Seychelles as a taxpayer-paid vacation anyway.

On the continent of Africa, more nations have not been visited than have been by a U.S. President. Again, probably not a lot of strategic reasons to stop by.But some big-name countries we might think that some President, somewhere along the way, might have visited; not one has.

  • Monaco, the second smallest country/monarchy in the world and the most densely populated country in the world boasts the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino.
  • Algeria, in northern Africa, famous for its vast Sahara in the south..
  • Nepal- famous for eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains. No visit.

Armenia is a country one might think worthy of a trip by any standards. Bordered by Turkey to the west, Azerbaijan to the east, Georgia to the north and Iran to the south, Armenia does seem to have a strategic location. Still, no visit.

Presidential travel takes any given sitting head of the free world to countries all over the planet on visits of good will. Meeting face to face with world leaders, attending meetings and spreading good old American spirit around when they can, Presidents are a big ticket when they come to town, along with Air Force One and more as we see in this video


Oh, and that trip to Myanmar? While President Obama is the first U.S. President to visit, he’s not the first Obama. The president’s grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, was a cook in World War II for a British army captain stationed in what was then called Burma.

[Photo Credit: Flickr user 0ystercatcher]

See All 50 States In America, Legitimately, With A Twist Of Politics

50 states in america

Visiting the 50 states in America can be a life-long quest for some travelers. Others fall into it through frequent business travel. Many just realize that they have only a few states left and they will have visited all 50. But the criteria used to determine if a visit “counts” and gives one “I was there” rights is another matter.

The All Fifty Club is about as close as we can find to a governing, official organization charged with validating traveler claims of visiting all the states in America. They have some rules for scoring a win, requiring “that one should breathe the air and set foot on the ground. Thus driving through the state counts if you get out once, but airport layovers do not,” club founder Alicia Rovey said in an Associated Press report.

But many members have their own standards that include specific requirements for state visits to count. “Some do not count it unless they spend the night in that state or visit the state capital,” says Rovey. “More unique ones are sighting native birds of that state, playing a round of golf, donating blood in each state.”Not sure how many states you have visited? All Fifty Club has a fun interactive map on their website where visitors can quickly click on each state, adding each one visited to their total.

Not a politically oriented website, the All Fifty Club interactive map starts with all the states colored blue. Clicking on a state turns it red. Take a look and tell me you don’t think the Presidential candidates have a map like this that they play with on the road.

Struggling with the names and locations of all 50 states in America? This short video may help:



[Photo Credit: Flickr user Bugsy Sailor]

Big City Scavenger Hunt A Fun And Informative Quest

scavenger hunt

Remember scavenger hunts? The game where individuals or teams go out into the world to gather the items on predetermined list? Whoever gets them all first wins? Great.

In a unique twist on the game, UrbanQuest is a scavenger hunt in a great city that ends at a restaurant where reservations have been made. Along the way, “Questers” learn their way around the city in a fun and challenging way and everyone is a winner.

Held Amazing-Race style, groups of Questers download their clue package online then hit the streets to solve interesting puzzles that force teams to be resourceful. The final destination is a mystery restaurant where UrbanQuest has made a reservation for you. Timed to take about an hour and a half to complete, reservations are made for two hours after starting to allow some extra time for slow teams.

After buying a Quest online, it can be launched from your My Quests pages anytime. While the exact restaurant will be a surprise, you’ll pick a general category, just to be sure it is the kind of food the team will enjoy. Get stuck on a clue, see hints and answers on the included clue package that you printed off before starting.

In New York, for example, two Quests are offered. A Walk In The Park is a Quest in Central Park and another one sends Questers around Rockefeller Center. Each is priced at $28.99 per person + tax and the meal.

UrbanQuest is currently available in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, Indianpolis, Louisville, Baltimore, Boston, Princeton, Cincinnati, Portland, Philadelphia, Nashville and Seattle plus a number of Canadian cities and some international destinations with more cities on the way. UrbanQuest customers who have successfully completed a Quest are invited to be QuestTesters, trying out new Quests before they become available to the public

UrbanQuest looks to be great for dates, groups of friends, family outings or office team building and can be gifted via e-gift cards.



[Flickr photo by krandolph]