This Might Be The Weirdest Thing Someone Tried to Smuggle Through An Airport

JTeale, Flickr and zane.hollingsworth, Flickr

A Chinese man hatched an ingenious plan to get his pet turtle through airport security: he disguised it as a hamburger. It looks like he discarded the normal meat that comes in a KFC burger, placed the turtle between the bun and then re-wrapped the “sandwich” before making his way through security.

Here’s what South China Morning Post reported:

As Li passed through airport security, X-ray screening machines detected a few “odd protrusions” sticking out of a KFC burger that the man had packed in his bag.

Airport staff determined that the protrusions looked suspiciously like turtle limbs, and asked to inspect Li’s luggage.

“There’s no turtle in there, just a hamburger,” Li reportedly insisted. “There’s nothing special to see inside.”

Li finally acquiesced to an inspection after repeated requests from airport staff, who uncovered the pet turtle hidden inside the burger. When asked why he had devised this strange idea, Li said that he had only wanted to travel together with his “beloved” turtle.

He didn’t make it through security with the reptile, but we have to hand it to him. His scheme is much more creative (and more humane) than the guy who stuffed a Chihuahua in his luggage and the guy who strapped lizards to his chest. And there’s always the people who have tried to smuggle monkeys under their shirts, in their hats or in their underwear. And in case you’re wondering about what happened to the turtle, Li was able to get a friend to care for it while he was away.

[via Grist.org]

Subway Workers In China Accidentally Demolish 3000-Year-Old Tombs

Guangzhou Subway
DruhScoff, Flickr

Workers installing a new subway line in Guangzhou, China’s third largest city, destroyed an ancient group of protected tombs by mistake during construction on the weekend. Some of the five tombs date back to the Shang Dynasty around 3,000 years ago.

The area, which had been set aside for further excavation and study, was intact on Friday night. When archaeologists returned to work on Saturday, the tombs had been obliterated.

The South China Morning Post reports that the group of tombs had been clearly marked and sealed off, and were of significant historical value. One of the metro project managers admitted that his workers had destroyed the group of tombs, but claimed the accidental destruction was due to a misunderstanding.

Representatives from the Guangzhou Archaeology Research Center contend it was impossible the construction workers could have missed the signs and plastic coverings marking the protected area.

This isn’t the first time ancient sites have been bulldozed in Guangzhou in recent times. Around 10 tombs have been destroyed during the construction of a new metro line. Numerous other historical buildings have been razed as well, usually without permission from authorities, as the city undergoes hurried expansion and development.

In part because of Guangzhou’s rapid development, more and more ancient sites have been discovered in recent years during surveying and excavation of new construction projects.

Ode to the expat newspaper

expat newspaperOne of my favorite things about traveling, in addition to foreign supermarkets, oddball museums, and miniature toiletries, is the local English-language expat newspaper. When I’m home in New York, I tend to get all my news online, either directly from news websites through specific searches or curated from friends’ links on social media (one of the best sources for news from US newspapers is Canadian NY1 anchorman and New Yorker favorite Pat Kiernan‘s site Pat’s Papers). Sorry US newspapers, I know I’m part of the problem. But while I’m traveling, I love to grab the local newspaper over hotel breakfast or in a coffeeshop and learn about local issues, news, and phenomena.Last month in Malaysia while reading the New Straits Times, I learned about how competitive the Chinese are at a kite flying festival and how southeast Asian children have to be taught to detect sour milk. The travel section reviewed a new hotel in Penang with a first impression of “adequate” and the Niexter insert written by Malaysian teenagers taught me all about malapropisms. A couple at our hotel told me they came to Penang after reading an article on the Hotel Penaga’s renovation from the paper in Kuala Lumpur.

It was from Istanbul’s Today’s Zaman that I learned about the excellent expat community and online forum I’ve become a part of in the last year, and I now have friends who have worked at Zaman and their competitor the Hurriyet Daily News. When I first visited Turkey in 2008, I recall reading an interesting editorial in one of the papers about how stealing things from airplanes like safety cards can cause delays, as the plane can’t take off without enough for everyone. The torn out article is long-gone, but I’ve retained the factoid and it keeps me honest on airplanes (though I’ve been tempted to take a souvenir from some eastern European airlines). When the Hurriyet turned 50 this year, writer Jennifer Hattam wrote a great piece on the particular challenges of not only translating the language of news, but the cultural specifics and background as well.

Expat news doesn’t only come in print form. I tweeted about expat news sources and read how writer Lisa Bergren relies on the BBC for news as well as comfort, and CJGuest recommends Al Jazeera from the Arabic world, the German Deutsche Welle, NHK from Japan, and Russia Today from the Russian Federation. Gadling’s own Grant Martin likes the South China Morning Post and the more western Sydney Morning Herald.The local English-language paper doesn’t always have the freshest content, the most stellar writing, or the coolest layout, but it provides an invaluable look into regional and national issues. Expat news can also provide a lens through which to see world news through local perspectives, and help us keep in touch with the sentiments and opinions in our home countries and cultures.

Gadling readers, do you have any favorite news sources abroad? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Photo courtesy Flickr user Ed Yourdon