World’s First Remote Control Tourists Explore Melbourne, Australia



Imagine if you could taste-test of a city before taking the plunge and buying your airline ticket. You could watch a performance, grab a cup of coffee or visit a market in the destination –- all from the comfort of your home. Well that’s the idea behind a tourism campaign that’s aiming to lure visitors to the Australian state of Victoria. The state’s tourism board has chosen four people who they’ve dubbed “Remote Control Tourists” because you and I can tell them exactly what we’d like them to do -– and they’ll go out and do it.The four tourists are outfitted with cameras and microphones mounted to a helmet, and all the footage captured is streamed live online. The two male and two female tourists have been exploring the Victorian capital, Melbourne, based on viewer requests sent via social media. So far, they’ve visited popular tourist attractions such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Federation Square, but they’ve also taken part in activities like busking and hugging random strangers, following the wishes of audience members.

The campaign is designed to encourage young, tech-savvy travelers to visit Melbourne, which is known for its hip restaurants and shops and its vibrant culture. The remote controlled tourists have already acted upon thousands of tweets and messages and will continue to do so until the campaign ends on Sunday.

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.

Intrepid Travel Offering 20 Percent Off All Food-Centric Trips Through August 31

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Melbourne-based Intrepid Travel – known for its cultural and food-focused trips to remote corners of the planet – is now offering 20 percent off over 350 of their trips, including the newly-launched Food Adventures. The discount is good for all trips departing before August 31, 2013.

Last fall, Intrepid partnered up with The Perennial Plate, which documents these culinary adventures in bi-weekly video clips. If that’s not inspiration enough, check out these “Summer of Adventure” trips on offer: Northern Spain (Barcelona to San Sebastian), India (Delhi to Goa), and Vietnam (Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City).

The trips run from four to 14 days, and have been designed in collaboration with renowned chefs, cookbook authors and other food experts, including Susan Feniger and Tracey Lister. Trip prices include accommodation, ground transportation, a local guide, activities listed on the itinerary and, in many cases, cooking classes, meals with locals and trips to local markets.

[Photo credit: Intrepid Travel]

The Best Cities For Street Art Around The World

I’ve always loved a good art gallery but I know not everyone feels the same way. I get it. Looking at still life oil-on-canvases isn’t for everyone. But the good news is that some of the coolest art in the world isn’t locked away in stuffy art galleries or museums – there are plenty of creative paintings and murals on the sides of buildings, along fences and across public walls.

Graffiti has been around since ancient times but what has really changed is way the many people now perceive the public scribblings. From a mark of gang culture and vandalism to a political statement to genuine artistic expression, graffiti has evolved with the times and is now accepted as “street art” in cities all over the world. Here are a handful of places known for their vibrant street art culture across Europe, South America and The Pacific.

Valparaiso, Chile

This city located close to the Chilean capital is famous for the colorful houses and murals, which line its steeply hilled streets. The extreme incline between one part of town and the next created the need for lots and lots of staircases, many of which have now been turned into richly hued works of art.

Graffiti took off in this city back in the ’70s as a way to protest the Pinochet regime and was initially frowned upon but as the years progressed, the city decided to let the street art flourish. As a visitor to Valparaiso, you cannot only wander the colorful laneways, you can get your hands dirty too. The city runs tours where you can actually hit the streets and create some graffiti with the aid of local artists who help you design your own unique stencils.

London, England

London might be home to some of the most celebrated art galleries in the world, but the city is quickly making a name for itself as a street art hub as well. Parts of the city that were once rundown and off the tourist radar have now been regenerated and have become prime places to view colorful murals.

East End is one of the off-the-beaten-track neighborhoods where many street artists have flocked. While some of the artwork in the area is done furtively, a surprising number of artists are commissioned to put their mark on the city’s public spaces. A few artist’s work to keep an eye out for include “Stik,” so named because he draws stick men across the city; Christiaan Nagel, who leaves colorful sculpted mushrooms on the rooftops of buildings; and Pablo Delgado, who creates miniature “paste up” images all over East London.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is a street art lover’s paradise with both historical graffiti and a thriving present-day art scene to take in. Graffiti really took off here in the ’80s with those on the west side of the Berlin Wall expressing their beliefs and frustrations with the aid of spray cans. After the fall of the wall, graffiti spread throughout Berlin, and although large chunks of the wall are now gone, you can still see many murals left over from times past.

There are also a new crop of street artists that have made a name for themselves leaving their signature artwork on the sides of buildings across the city. While street art is technically illegal in Berlin, it’s such a draw card for visitors that the city still promotes it.

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne has long been Australia’s artistic capital and there’s as much to see out on the streets as there is in the galleries. Graffiti got its start here in the ’70s and ’80s and there has always been a heavy focus on what’s known as “stencil art.”

In more recent years, the street art has evolved to include other techniques, including street installations, woodblocking and reverse graffiti – a method, which involves carving an image out of dirt (like you might do on a car window). Over the past decade, Melbourne has also held a number of stencil festivals where the public can watch live demonstrations, listen to debate about graffiti, take part in workshops and more.

[Photo credits: Flickr users szeke, Gabriel White, bobaliciouslondon, Gianni Dominici, m.a.r.c.]

Flight Attendant Confesses Ups And Downs Of Job

An anonymous woman who said she is a 22-year-old flight attendant for a major airline urged Reddit users to ask her anything in an open forum over the weekend. The candid Q&A session turned into a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a flight attendant, including a tell all on the weird things passengers ask for, a discussion on how many people really try to join the mile high club and a confession about the kind of shenanigans that really happen between lonely crew members at outposts. Keep reading to learn more about the ups and downs of the job, including why you should be nice while on board a plane. Just be warned this post is most definitely NSFW (not safe for work).

Q: What is the most crazy request you have been asked by a passenger?

A: Crazy? Goodness.
  • A bag to spit in. I had to confirm several times the word spit
  • A lady with a neck brace “I need soft food I will have rice” (The menu items did not include rice even after explaining she kept ordering things that just didn’t exist)
  • Hot fried chips
  • Nappies
  • Ice cream
  • My number
  • On a Lagos flight a passenger told me he wanted to masturbate. I directed him to the on board toilet.
If it exists a passenger has asked me for it. They ask for EVERYTHING.

Q: What is the best thing about being a flight attendant?
A: Best thing? I feel obvious but new destinations, I get a small taste of EVERYTHING I love it so much, I get to see smell and taste so much. I meet friends all over the world and party like a rockstar everywhere I go because I know I wont be there for long.

Q: What is the pay like? Besides being able to travel all over the world, are there any other benefits, either monetary or otherwise?

A: About 38k US a year, free rent transport and bills, all I pay is internet and taxi. 90% off tickets.

Q: Are there as many people joining the mile high club in the bathroom as television portrays it?

A: Yes people try to join the mile high club. Let me tell you something, those toilets are FILTHY. Absolute FILTH. People shit in the sinks.
Moving on, I caught a lesbian couple in the toilets we had to get three crew to bang open the door and make them come out. She responded with[,] “We were trying to piss[.]”

A crew was fired for getting drunk while she was a passenger flying somewhere and joining a gentleman in the lavatory.

A women had TWO men going at it on a flight from Manchester. Crew opened the door on them and the female tried to assault the crew. When the men went to their connecting flight they were arrested. Not sure what happened to them!

Q: Do people really get bumped to first class if there is a conflict with another passenger?

A: With the question of bumping people yes we move people but generally not for conflict. A month ago on one of my flights economy was full and this gentleman had changed seats several times to accommodate couples, families etc who needed to change seats. He didnt care where he sat and was so gracious. So we moved him to business class. Lesson, be nice!

If you are ill (severely) you will usually be moved to business or first if there aren’t many people in those cabins to recuperate and lie down at the discretion of the seniors.

Q: What’s something a passenger has done that you’ve really appreciated, or was just really nice?

A: I’ve had passengers write comment cards about me, they get given to me via emails from my manager, which is so nice … i love them[.]

Q: When do you plan on settling down? This job doesn’t seem like the type where you can keep a stable relationship.

A: I know :( I hope it’s around 25 … I am 22 now and I love the job so I think two or so more years before I move back home and find love … I will never find a stable relationship in the industry, it is unstable. I want a stable relationship but I wont find it here[.]

Q: Since you fly so much, do you happen to have any sexual urges while in a different country? Do you get off to hooking up with passengers or do you go somewhere to get some?

A: Yep! I um see friends in outstations. I have had some encounters in Hong Kong and I have a few ‘friends’ in Dubai. It’s really hard and you get really lonely so you look for any guy to meet you after flights. All the crew sleep with each other in outstation. It’s a big problem, the cabin crew are desperate to sleep with pilots and senior crew. You have crew call you in the middle of the night in your room, especially pilots!

Q: How long do you stay in each city?

A: Usually 24-72 hours[.]

Q: What’s your favourite city in the world?

A: I cannot name one but I will try to do it region wise
1) Hong Kong (The most fun)
2) Vienna (Amazing food, people, scenery)
3) Moscow (Fascinating, so closed for so long)
4) Melbourne, Australia (Diverse, charming filled with character)
I find some redeeming quality in every city I visit.

Q: What are your thoughts on flight etiquette (e.g. when it’s okay to put your seat all the way back). Is there a classic faux pas we should know about?

A: Seat back if your legs are too long and when not eating. During the meal seats up and if you’re short, it’s not really necessarily. But otherwise seats up for everyone when eating, you can do whatever you want after service.

Q: I’d like to be a flight attendant to see what it’s like to travel and interact. Would I have to go through an exorbitant amount of training before I can work?

A: I did 7 weeks! So worth it… I felt so ready. The training is hard but it paid [off] for me[.]

Q: How do you adjust being in the air so often, and with different time zones and all that? When I fly from the US to Singapore, by the time of the end of the trip I want to actually throw up. Air gets so thin, and the airline food is pretty bad even on Singapore Airlines. I literally need to have a can of sprite when flying on long flights next to me once every hour, slowly sipping until the soda is done to keep sane.

A: You never really adjust. I just did three middle of the night flights and I can’t stay awake in the day, so I have been nocturnal for a week. Some things that I do to keep myself sane is as soon as I get on board I get a bottle of 1.5L water and make myself drink it all. Then I brew a big pot of mint tea after the service and make myself drink that throughout the flight too. Keeping hydrated is valuable to my sanity and mood. We have one trip that is four days long and you have 24 hours in each port but the whole flights are nighttime only. It is TORTURE. Key points 1) Stay hydrated 2) Stay rested (sleep whenever you are tired) 3) Eat smart (this means no business class cheese boards or first class caviar, stick to fresh food only) For me eating right is the hardest, you’re so tired you just want to SHOVE chocolate in your mouth. If I follow the above I am totally fine on board. On flights over 10 hours or so we get rest (sleep) in the crew bunks[.]

Q: What airline/flight benefits or perks do you get as a result of your job?

A: 90% [Off] Flights
Hotel discounts
Event discounts
Free tickets to events

For more adventures in the sky, be sure to follow our resident flight attendant, Heather Poole, in her “Galley Gossip” column.

Please note: These questions and answers have been edited slightly to fit an interview format.

[Photo credit: Flickr user laszlo-photo]