Top Underwhelming Tourist Destinations – Do You Agree?

A new thread on reddit has tackled the world’s most “remarkably underwhelming” destinations. The thread captures reader comments from the self-proclaimed “front page of the Internet” website that allows readers to submit feedback to threads in a variety of categories. Here’s what readers are saying. Do you agree?

The Hollywood Walk Of Fame
“The Hollywood walk of fame is a dirty, tacky *!)P&%$! and has the highest concentration of even worse gift shops in the entire world.” – A-punk

The Mona Lisa at the Louvr
“It’s much smaller and less impressive than you might think.” – IAm_Fhqwhgads_AMA

“Honolulu reminds me of Detroit with palm trees. Waikiki Beach is just a 40ft deep strip of sand bordered on one side by the Pacific and the other by dozens of high-rise hotels. There are beautiful places in Hawaii, but those are not them.” – Panic_Azimuth

Plymouth Rock
“Plymouth Rock is about 1% as exciting as it sounds, it doesn’t sound very exciting.” – nicolewasnthere

The Alamo
“The Alamo for sure. I always thought that it was out in the desert, but it turns out it’s just in San Antonio…like 200 feet from a Motel 6.” –helloyesthisisblankThe White House
“The White House. It has got to be weird to basically live in a museum.” –eDgAR

Fisherman’s Wharf/ Pier 39

“It’s a mall built in the 1970s specifically to attract tourists. Its unwarranted popularity is made more infuriating by the extremely close proximity to some of the awesomest neighborhoods in the country, that loads of people never see.” –cralledode

Mount Rushmore

“I expected it to be grand and spectacular but it’s a lot smaller than I imagined. Still incredibly impressive for its detail, but a bit disappointing.” –Ctlewit

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. I have never felt the spirit of rock less than walking around in that place. It’s quite literally walking around in a library where there is no music and no fun allowed.” – B_F_C

[Image Credit: prayitno]

Better Know A Holiday: Showa Day

Formerly: The Emperor’s Birthday, Greenery Day

When? April 29

Public holiday in: Japan

Part of: Japan’s Golden Week, a series of four public holidays in the span of a week that sees offices closed, trains and planes packed and a mass exodus from the major cities like Tokyo.

Who died? Former Japanese Emperor Hirohito, posthumously referred to as Emperor Showa.

They changed his name? Showa refers to the era of Hirohito’s reign. After death, Japanese emperors were referred to by the name of the era during which they ruled. The Showa Emperor’s reign lasted from 1926 to 1989, the longest era in Japanese history. Showa can be translated as “enlightened peace.”

… wasn’t he the ruler during WWII? Hirohito chose the name “showa” for his era after returning from the post-WWI battlefields in France and witnessing the devastation there. His anti-war sentiment seems to have been legitimate, but he ended up reigning over a period of unprecedented military brutality. However, he also reigned over a period of unprecedented economic growth in the years after the war.

How is the holiday celebrated now? Officially it’s a time to reflect on the era of Hirohito’s reign, Japan’s turbulent past and subsequent recovery, and where the country is headed. In reality, as the start of Golden Week, it’s when most Japanese take off for a vacation.

Other ways to celebrate: Public lectures talking about Japan’s participation in the war, to pass on the memories to future generations.Why was it Greenery Day before? Until 1989, the April 29 holiday was still referred to as the Emperor’s Birthday. But when Hirohito died, the Emperor’s Birthday was necessarily moved to December, when his son and successor Akihito was born. Hirohito loved nature, so April 29 became Greenery Day, which allowed people to acknowledge Hirohito without expressly using his name. This actually isn’t the first time this has happened in Japan. The Meiji Emperor’s birthday was celebrated on November 3 until his death in 1912, and after November 3 became Culture Day.

What happened to Greenery Day then? In 2005, Japan passed a bill that turned April 29 into Showa Day. Greenery Day was moved to May 4.

This pissed off: China, South Korea, North Korea

Why? They see the holiday as honoring Hirohito, who reigned during an era of Japanese war crimes and occupation of their countries. Japan argues it that the holiday is a time to reflect on those turbulent times, not celebrate them.

What else is going on during Golden Week? Besides Greenery Day, there is also Constitution Memorial Day on May 3, which is meant to have people reflect on the Japanese government. May 5 is Children’s Day, a day to celebrate the happiness of being a kid. Traditionally, families fly carp-shaped flags to bring good luck to their boys. Girls don’t get any flags, fish-shaped or otherwise.

These aren’t really “party time” holidays, are they? Last time, we covered Songkran, Southeast Asia’s annual drunken water fight. This time, we have a series of holidays that encourage reflection on, chronologically, a nation’s past and future, man’s place in nature, the meaning of democracy, and the innocence of children. They are decidedly not party time holidays, but that’s hardly a bad thing. You can have a party anytime. But when’s the last time you thought about the importance of effective governance and the dictates of post-war economic recovery? That’s what I thought.

Check out more holidays around the world here

[Photo Credit: Flick user Summon Baka]

Naughty Place Names You Never Noticed In Your Atlas

If geography has always seemed like a rather boring subject to you, chances are you’ve just been looking at the wrong kind of maps. Because one man has put together an online atlas that provides hours of giggle-inducing, snigger-triggering, head-scratching fun.

Londoner Gary Gale created a website where he brings together hundreds of rude place names located across the globe. Towns, villages and streets with less than polite monikers have all been collected in the online project dubbed “Vaguely Rude Place Names of the World.”

Some of the names on the map will no doubt ring a bell – “Titicaca” in Bolivia and “Brest” in France are among the more infamous of the bunch. But there are plenty of other dubiously dubbed towns that will leave you wondering, “What were they thinking?” Here are a few hard-to-believe ones in the United States:Intercourse, PA

Climax, MI (There are actually several towns across the country with this rather popular name)

Wet Beaver Creek, AZ

Virginville, PA

Horneytown, NC

We can only imagine the embarrassment when spelling out a home address in one of these towns!

[Photo credit: screenshot from Vaguely Rude Place Names of the World]

Clever Travel Terms You Won’t Find In Any Dictionary

Whether it’s funny, bizarre, rude, confusing or downright inexplicable – there are some travel experiences that just leave you speechless.

If you’ve ever been at a loss for words to describe what you’ve seen or felt while on the road, you’re not alone. That’s why Lonely Planet has come up with its own mini dictionary of travel terms that don’t exist but should. Here are a few of our favorites:

The warm, fuzzy feeling one gets after a long, immensely satisfying trip.

below see level
When you’re seated directly below the drop-down movie screen on an airplane and the other screens are all too far away to view comfortably.

Someone who believes they have a revolutionary system for packing luggage and insists on explaining it to anyone who will listen.

Someone who tries to make themselves understood in a foreign country simply by speaking louder in their own tongue.fearenheit
Panic felt by Americans when attempting to comprehend temperatures in other countries.

overhead din
The disturbance caused by people trying to shove too-large bags into too-small compartments.

Of course, the Gadling team couldn’t resist adding a few terms of our own:

Pam Mandel: manventure/ mancation
A men’s-only getaway filled with manly activities like fly-fishing, hunting and motorcycle riding.

Grant Martin: gate lice
Passengers who hover near the airport gate prior to their boarding zone being called.

Travelers who spend more time talking about travel online rather than on the road.

Robin Whitney: pavlov’s attack dogs
Travelers who hear the ding chime of the post-landing “unfasten seat belt” light and instantly spring into action to aggressively crowd the aisle – even if there is no where to go for 15 minutes.

Chris Owen: tourons
Tourists that are not too smart

Reena Ganga: exstress baggage
The frantic rush to remove stuff from your bags at the check-in counter after being told your suitcase exceeds the weight limit.

scareport scanners
Fear of going through airport security scanners due to radiation concerns and privacy issues.

To read the rest of the Lonely Planet list, click here. And tell us, do you have any travel terms to add to the collection?

[Photo credit: Flickr user greeblie]

Lonely Planet’s Best Worst Pick-Up Lines For Travelers

“I hope you’re not a monk, because I’d love go Tibet with you.” Cue sound of detonating bomb.

Our friends at Lonely Planet recently compiled a list of the best worst travel-themed pick-up lines, via Twitter. The results are hilarious, as well as cringe-inducing. Some of our favorites:

“This may not be India, but since I saw you, I’ve felt like I’m in Lucknow.”

“You must be from Paris, because you’re driving me in Seine.”

“Hey girl, you’re looking Varanasi.”

“Would you allow me Dubai you a drink?”

“Did you overstay your visa? Because you’ve got ‘fine’ written all over you.”

We were always taught that puns are the lowest form of humor. But it seems there’s a time and a place for everything (we were also taught not to use cliches in our writing). Here’s hoping these come-ons give you the, uh, tools you need for a great Valentine’s Day. Good luck out there.

[Photo credit: Flickr user debaird™]