Migration junkies, unite.

Migration Information Source (migrationinformation.org) was started as a hobby by its an American-born editor, Kirin Kalia, 32, who describes herself to the NY Times as “half Dutch, half Indian, 100 percent American and total migration geek.”

The Source covers a wide range of migration topics: from giving advice to asylum seekers through listing the top migration issues facing the world today to focusing on Tajik construction workers in Russia, Latvian mushrooms pickers in Ireland, farmhands from Burkina Faso who pick Ghanaian crops and the Peruvians who take jobs left behind by Ecuadorean workers who have migrated to Spain.

There are about 200 million migrants in the world (probably a record in both relative and absolute terms) and more than 80 percent live outside the United States. I can’t wait ’til we live in a world where everybody is a migrant. It seems like it would eliminate a lot of issues. Go migrants!

Best hotel gyms in the US

Being a bit of a healthy living nut, I’m always a little bit excited by nice hotel gyms. Many hotels out there buy a used treadmill and a couple sets of mismatched weights and call it a gym, but a nice hotel will actually make the effort to replicate your gym at home. I’ve found that Fairmont Hotels (at least the Canadian ones) tend to have nice gyms, but they come with a pretty hefty price tag unfortunately.

Athletic Minded Traveler recently came out with a list of the top hotel gyms in the US. Here’s what made the cut:

  1. Houstonian in Houston)
  2. Renaissance ClubSport in Walnut Creek, CA
  3. Park Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia
  4. Four Seasons in San Francisco
  5. Embassy Suites Lakefront in Chicago
  6. Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine in La Jolla, CA
  7. Westin Atlanta Perimeter North in Atlanta
  8. Grand Hotel in Minneapolis
  9. Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO
  10. Venetian in Las Vegas

Want to know why they made the list? Click here for the full article.

The Onion explains Our Dumb World

To correspond with the release of their book Our Dumb World, the Onion has set up an online atlas to “reveal mind-expanding factoids about the lesser, conquerable nations of the Earth.” The atlas is loads of fun, just like most everything related to the Onion, and it is updated with new content every week. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the “Conan O’Brien Hates My Homeland” series, though the Onion’s atlas seems slightly (only slightly) less offensive.

On China: “With over 700 billion citizens manufactured since 1892, China is the world’s largest mass producer of Chinese.”

On Brazil: “Boasting some of the sexiest people ever to be stabbed repeatedly at night, Brazil is home to perhaps the most attractive victims of carjacking, robbery, and violent assault in the world.”

On Jordan: “From many years of regional conflicts to a recent shortage of natural resources, Jordan has had a long and troubled history. On the bright side, however, King Abdullah II made a very wise choice when he married Queen Rania.

So, so true.

Top 10 New Year’s Eve Destinations

If it’s the end of the year, that can mean only one thing: a storm of “Top 10” and “Best of…” lists are raining down upon us like so many bits of New Year’s confetti. Add one more to the list.

Yahoo Travel has announced its Top 10 Destinations for New Year’s Eve. Traditional favorites like New York, Las Vegas, and Paris make the list, places where you might need to take out a second mortgage to afford a hotel room. Yahoo’s rationale for choosing Las Vegas reads almost as if they’re trying to keep potential visitors out: “The showrooms are filled with entertainers including magician David Copperfield and The Doobie Brothers while nightclubs are hosting a list of celebrities such as Paris and Nicky Hilton and Britney Spears’ ex-husband Kevin Federline.” Kevin Federline! Where do I sign up!?

Also on the list is the more affordable, but slightly more out of the way, city of Manila, in the Philippines, where New Year’s celebrations are likely to be some of the rowdiest anywhere. As for me, I’ll be partyin’ it up in the world-famous metropolis of St. Louis, Missouri, where I’ll be coming up with my sure-to-be-short-lived New Year’s resolutions, and reflecting on all the ones from last year which were forgotten by January 5th. Anyone want to try to top that?

Tourism with the “real girlfriend experience”

I’ve talked about nudist tourism and debauchery tourism, now here’s another spin on hedonistic tourist packages. It seems that the market for “sex” when traveling is rapidly being replaced by the emerging market for “girlfriends” on the road.

Premiering tonight at 10pm (GMT) is the documentary “My Boyfriend The Sex Tourist” that explores the life of western men for whom “wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am” is not enough, resulting in the growth of “commercialized love” packages where they can have women at their beck-and-call, 24-hours a day. The film’s director Monica Garnsey, traveled to Venezuela and Thailand and spoke to women trapped in these professions; the 2-part documentary is through their eyes.

When I was in Thailand, I saw the sorry state of Thai women making a living from prostitution. I heard that it is not uncommon that they submit to more that just sex, under the illusion of being rescued by a foreigner who will fall in love and want to get married. I saw the promo of this film and it seems like a much “happier”(?) one than I imagined. I think it is very depressing.