Germany’s Queens Hotel has its own theme song

Need to promote your hotel? Do it with a song – or a rap. Hanover’s Queens Hotel recently launched a new viral video aimed at driving traffic to the hotel’s website and Facebook page for QGD Hotel Management.

We don’t speak German, so we have no idea what they’re saying, but we can tell you that we’d want to visit this four-star city hotel, if solely to meet the Casanova chef, the nerdy conference room guy, the park ranger, and that man at the end making a very strange face over his glass of champagne.

We’ve got to give them props – this video obviously took some time to produce!

“Rule of 3” suffering in Thailand’s red light districts

The bar girls in Patpong, a destination for so-called “sex travelers,” have a basic rule: three inches (duh), three minutes (duh), 3,000 baht (that’s around $87).This year, they can add another “3” to it, one third. That’s roughly how far tourism revenues are expected to fall in Thailand this year. A projected 35 percent drop means less business and less income in what is largely recognized as one of the most disreputable parts of the world.

Recessions are felt at every level. One local bar girl took a pay cut from $232 a month to $174. She had little choice, as customers are scarce. Regular customers are trimming back on their carnal habits, and foreign guests have fallen by around 20 percent.

And, it’s not just Thailand.

The Czech Republic, which has a fairly accepting attitude toward prostitution – 14 percent of check men have admitted to this sort of frolic – has seen up to half of the brothels outside Prague close in the past year. There have been layoffs, as well … even in Nevada. The famous Mustang Ranch in Reno has had to lay of 30 percent (another “3”!) of its workforce, thanks to high-rollers who aren’t spending as liberally.

As with more traditional destinations, travel deals are emerging, such as $111 for as much as you can consume in an hour at one location in Hanover, Germany. A club in Berlin is a bit more generous, with $98 for six hours – in addition to access to the sauna, solarium and a (food) buffet.

I’ll pass on the “stimulus package” joke. Too easy.

German sweethearts hatch plan to elope to Africa

Amongst all the depressing stories in the world, this one brought a big smile to my face. It’s the story of 2 German kids, Mika and Anna-Lena, aged 7 and 6.

The two are very much in love, and decided to skip all the expensive and time consuming work involved with a big wedding and just elope to Africa.

On the first day of 2009, the kids left with Anna-Lena’s little sister, Anna-Bell and walked to the tram station.

Once they arrived at Hanover central train station, their plans were foiled by police who were probably a little suspicious of 3 young kids waiting for a train to the airport.

Once the police officer managed to convince the lovers that air travel requires a passport, real money and a plane ticket, they were given a tour of the police headquarters while they waited for their parents to come pick them up.

I’m hoping these lovers keep their plans intact, and manage to take that romantic trip when they reach a more responsible age.

(Via: Straits Times)

Cultural sensitivity and conference travel

My dentist told me all about her trip to Dubai for a dental conference when she was replacing a crown. Although my questioning capabilities were hampered by a few dentist gadgets, I wanted to get her impressions. It’s a habit. Whenever anyone tells me of a trip, I want the details.

Heading to a conference in Dubai was not like heading to a conference to many places. Before she arrived in Dubai, there was some cultural sensitivity training about how to dress as a female and how to talk with men. Since she couldn’t quite remember the details, and she wasn’t there for a long enough time to catch on to the nuances of the culture, she didn’t look up at the men at all. She figured that was the easiest tactic. Despite that, she enjoyed the experience and was happy she went.

Her details about discomfort with cultural differences reminded me of when my husband accompanied a delegation of employees of a battery company in Hsinchu, Taiwan to CeBIT trade show in Hanover, Germany. He sort of went along to help them with their English. They weren’t quite so interested in seeing Germany on their moments off since they wanted to eat instant noodles and pocket their per diem, so my husband went off to see some sights in Hanover his own.

The only time he really had to help the people he was sent to help out navigate the culture had to do with toilet paper use. In Taiwan you don’t put toilet paper in the toilet, you put it in a trash can. The plumbing can’t handle the paper, I was told. The guest house owner where they were staying pulled my husband aside, made a face, and asked him why people weren’t flushing the toilet paper but putting it in the “bin.” “Oh, I’ll take care of it,” my husband said. My husband told the leader to tell everyone else to not put their toilet paper in the trash anymore. Goodwill was redeemed with each flush afterward.