Pig in Australia Steals 18 Beers from Campers, Gets Drunk, Fights Cow

Craig ONeal, Flickr

Forget crocodiles and snakes, the real animal threat in Australia is wild pigs. At least if you’re camping.

At a campground in Western Australia over the weekend, a feral pig guzzled down 18 beers that had been left out improperly secured. And just like anyone 18 beers in at a rural dive bar, the pig got big-headed and decided to start a fight with a cow, resulting in the cow chasing the pig around a car.

“In the middle of the night these people camping opposite us heard a noise, so they got their torch out and shone it on the pig and there he was, scrunching away at their cans,” said a visitor.

The pig was later reported sleeping his hangover (and shame of trying to take down a cow?) off under a tree.

While feral pigs are considered an invasive pest in many parts of the country, it’s also a reminder to keep food and drink secured when camping. Just imagine if it had been a drunk kangaroo.

How Drunk Will Self-Service Make Cruises?

star5112, Flickr

Not only are cruises working on being more transparent and increasing your safety, they’re also committed to making sure a non-stop party is always within reach. We’re talking about self-service.

Not laundry silly; pouring your own drinks. Don’t worry, you’re not expected to replace the bartender, but on cruise lines like Norwegian, Carnival and and Celebrity Cruises you can now find wine dispensers.

Built on the idea that at home, if you’re in the mood for a drink you can just go pour yourself one, the dispensers allow travelers to get their own libations whenever they want to.There is of course no mention of how drinks are limited, which begs the question: how drunk are cruisers likely to get? That depends on how easy it is to use the dispensers. While wine dispensers are fairly simple for the general public to use, beer is another story. On Carnival, travelers have access to a tap that serves both Budweiser and Carnival’s own branded beer, but it’s helpful to have some experience pouring from an actual tap. No one likes a glass full of foam after all.

But once travelers have mastered the art of pouring from a tap, the possibilities of self-serve could actually be quite promising. In terms of wine, on Norwegian the wine dispensers allow passengers to sample small tastes of wine that otherwise would run up the bill. “The whole philosophy behind this with wine is pretty cool and on the beer side too when you start talking about craft beers, the idea of trying a small sampling. You could try two ounces of Opus One (the Bordeaux blend) and it’s not $200 per bottle,” Court told USA Today.

And when it comes to beer, what’s to stop cruise lines from serving artisan craft brews on tap? The future of cruise drinking is bright.

Peeing drunks ruining historic buildings in Chester, England

Chester, Chester Rows
The Chester Rows, a set of medieval buildings in downtown Chester, England, are under threat from drunks peeing on them.

This unique set of timber buildings are built atop Roman ruins and offer raised, covered walkways with shops behind them. Unfortunately, these hidden spaces are perfect for drunken louts to relieve themselves. Shopkeepers are complaining about the smell and urine seeping into their businesses. Also, the cleaning that’s required most weekends is wearing away at the fabric of the buildings.

Chester police caught 250 people peeing in public last year, although that’s only a fraction of the real number of incidents. I live part time in England and I can attest to the fact that it’s a problem in pretty much every city.

Councilor Hilarie McNae says the local government is working hard to raise awareness about the importance of preserving the city’s heritage. Sadly, Ms. McNae’s efforts will fall on deaf ears. Drunks who pee on medieval buildings after downing fourteen pints of lager are barely aware of anything and probably don’t care even when they’re sober.

Photo courtesy John Allan.

Babies and first class: why is this an issue?

babies first classEarlier this week, I saw a story about babies and first class air travel posted on Facebook. The Facebook poster asked our own Heather Poole (flight attendant, mother, and new book author!) for her thoughts on the story, and she replied, “I’m fine with babies in first class. Usually they just sleep.” Columnist Brett Snyder is a frequent flier and new dad wondering if he should use miles to upgrade his first flight with the baby. Reading the article and the many comments, I wonder: why is this (or really any story about babies and airplanes) a contentious issue?

Long before I even thought about having children, I thought the same about babies in first class that I thought about anyone in the front of the plane: must be nice for them. Sure, it might be a waste of money to give a premium seat to someone whose legs don’t touch the ground and who can’t enjoy the free Champagne, but it’s the parents’ choice to splurge on the ticket. If the parents are more comfortable, the kid might be happier and thus quiet — a win-win for everyone on the plane. Does the child “deserve” to sit up front? Perhaps not, but airplane seating has never been based on merit. To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, a passenger is a passenger, no matter how small.As the veteran of nearly 20 flights with an infant in Europe, the US and trans-Atlantic, I’ve been fortunate to fly a few times with my daughter in business class. While the roomy seats and meals make a 10 hour flight easier with a baby, more valuable is the ability to skip check-in and security lines, board the plane early, and spend layovers in a spacious lounge with a place to heat baby food or change a diaper. Some of those perks used to be standard for all passengers with small children, but have now gone the way of the hot meal in coach. Some airlines still make travel easier for parents: JetBlue is one of the only US-based airlines to allow you to gate-check a stroller of any size and check your first bag free (checking a bag becomes inevitable with a baby). Gulf Air offers free “Sky Nannies” on long-haul flights for young children, and Lufthansa offers a guide service (for a fee) to escort families traveling through their German hubs. Turkish Airlines (my most frequently-used airline while I live in Istanbul) always offers a “baby meal” and blocks off empty seats when possible to give us more room.

I’m also fortunate to have an easy baby who so far (knock on wood) has been very well behaved on every flight. This is in part very good luck, but also due to the fact that I watch her constantly and head off any signs of crying before they start. I’ll hold and feed her as often as it takes, even if it means I rarely rest anymore on a plane. Many of the same people who’ve given me “the look” when boarding with an infant have complimented me after on her behavior. Brett also notes in his article: “Don’t just sit there while your baby screams. Do everything you can to calm him and people will be more understanding.” This is good advice, but does it really need to be said?! I’d never dream of sitting by idly while my child disturbed other people and I’m embarrassed by any other parents who would consider such behavior acceptable. Still, I recognize that even with the most watchful parents, sometimes a cranky baby is unavoidable but I hope that when/if that day comes, my fellow passengers will see how hard I’m trying to make the flight easier for all of us. Better still, if I anticipate a difficult age for my baby to fly, I’ll look into alternative methods of travel (or postpone until an easier time).

If we are going to ban babies from first class, or even segregate them from adults on all flights, why stop there? Why not a separate flight for the armrest-hogs, the obese, the incessant talkers, or the drunk and belligerent? I’d like a plane full of only frequent flyers, who know not to use their cell phone after the door closes, who don’t rush the aisles the minute the wheels touch down, who don’t recline their seats during drink service or bring smelly food (or nail polish) onto the plane. Start flights for only considerate, experienced travelers and you will find me in the front of the plane, with my baby on my lap.

For more about (considerate) travel with a baby, read my past “Knocked Up Abroad” stories here.

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Study abroad, major in getting drunk

Your kids are getting wasted on your dime. Forget about the new cultures, unusual experiences and memories and lessons that will last well into a young person’s life. Instead, shots off some hottie’s very tight stomach are far more likely.

Researchers at the University of Washington found that students who study abroad are more likely to increase how much alcohol they drink – more than doubling their intake, on average College kids studying in Europe, Australia and New Zealand are the spots where imbibing increased most.

So, how could this possibly happen? According to the Associated Press, “Students reported drinking more when they perceived their fellow travelers were drinking more heavily, and those who planned to make drinking part of their cultural immersion did so.”

Of course, these programs provide a real opportunity for underage drinkers, which is why this group’s intake grew by 170 percent, compared to the average of 105 percent.

Fortunately, the study abroad experience is not transformative … at least not in this regard. On average, the students doubling their drinking while away from home came back and settled into a routine of three to five drinks a week.

[Via Gawker, photo by Mike Burns via Flickr]