If you have ever wondered what the general Berlin street aesthetic is like, filmmaker Christian Andersen wants to show you. Sun rays, busy street corners, gliding boats, quick-moving trains, urban street art, and the city’s lights at night all make appearances in this visceral video–among other Berlin staples, of course. Although I have never been to Berlin, I have been considering moving there for a short period of time based entirely off of the lovely things I have heard from trusted sources and the ever-deepening well of beautiful footage taken in the city, like this video, available online. Have you been to or lived in Berlin? Are you there right now? Do you feel like this Andersen’s work with this piece adequately captures the Berlin street aesthetic in under two minutes?
The travel and hospitality industry has tried so many ways to go green – from trying to wash fewer sheets and towels to using organic products in spas – that you might start to wonder if it’s running out of options. Well, if that is a concern, it’s probably time to look to the world’s oldest profession for some new ideas.
In Berlin, a brothel is ready to make you feel good for doing good. Clients of Maison d’Envie will receive discounts if the roll up to the front door via bike instead of car. There isn’t much parking in the neighborhood, laments Thomas Goetz, the bordello’s owner. So, he can free up some spaces for other businesses in this corner of what was once East Berlin, do his part to reduce carbon emissions and hopefully keep customers coming in the door despite the financial crisis.
Ride a bike instead of driving a car, and you get €5 (around $7.50) off the service you’re looking for. Currently, 45 minutes in a room (not necessarily for conversation, since prostitution is legal in Berlin) €70, but cyclists will see that fall to €65.
Walking, unfortunately, won’t get you the same perk. Goetz explains that he doesn’t have a way for customers to prove they didn’t drive and park nearby.
Can you think of a better way to save the planet?
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.
More than 11,000 exhibitors from 187 countries tried to make their mark at the 2009 ITB Berlin Travel Show. They showcased wines, highlighted unique local attractions and generally tried to show that they are the best places in the world for tourists to spend their hard-earned cash. Travel+Leisure tried to describe the industry’s hottest trends, but the article really came across as “here are a few cool things I noticed.” So, I took the coolest of the cool, below:
1. Get healthy
Plenty of destinations offer spas, yoga and fitness options – sometimes using them to theme an entire resort. But, that’s thinking small. Go all the way with medical tourism, and call those DDs your own in an overseas clinic. Before you develop visions of hacksaws and cigarettes over the operating table, some of these surgical getaways are in upscale facilities.
Hey, it’s up to you. Roll the dice.
2. Hearken back to the Cold War
Screw traditional cruise liners in favor of Soviet-era ships pushing down the Volga River. Praise Lenin, listen to a balalaika and drink Russian Standard vodka (quite good, actually). Lament how long it will take for the dictatorship of the proletariat to emerge.
3. Watch a new nation rise
Kosovo doesn’t have much to say for itself except that you should be patient, because the country’s just getting started. So, if you go there now, you’re getting in on the ground floor. Get to know the concierge. Tip him well. You’ll become a national hero.