Bronx Zoo cobra on the loose takes Manhattan…and Twitter

Bronx Zoo cobraOn Friday, an adolescent Egyptian cobra escaped from New York’s Bronx Zoo.

The reptile house closed immediately after her escape, and zookeepers are saying she could take weeks to come out of hiding. While we can’t vouch for the authenticity of the snake taking Manhattan, you can follow her adventures on Twitter, where @bronxzooscobra has been chronicling the travels of the errant snake with over 25,000 followers and counting. So where does a young snakess on the town go?

She first mused over a Broadway show, then taunted followers with her location in front of “the original” Ray’s Pizza (good luck checking all 46 locations claiming to be the first). After taking in the other wildlife at American Museum of Natural His(s)tory, she went downtown for a workout at Equinox Gym and a slither atop the High Line park. The Bronx Zoo cobra then tweeted about getting tickets for Jimmy Fallon before spotting Tina Fey at Rockefeller Center and heading back downtown to Wall Street. Despite asking for a vegan restaurant near Union Square, she ended up way uptown at Tom’s Restaurant from Seinfeld, where she may have found a hiding spot for the night in an unsuspecting apartment. Where will she go today?

Any New York travel tips for the cobress? Have you spotted any snakes, tweeting or just taking in the sights? While she is just 20 inches long, she is venomous, so watch your ankles!

Beyoncé’s Pimpin’ Private Tour Jet

What? You think Beyoncé has her own special private airplane with black velvet seat cushions and a bedazzled fuselage all covered in blingetty-bling (with a ring on it) and with bottles of Vitamin Water lined up like a rainbow in her mirrored mini-fridge? Well, she doesn’t. No doubt, girlfriend could afford it, but being the smart, sensible artist that she is, Beyoncé just chartered a plane from OpenSkies, the transatlantic all-business-class airline that flies nonstop between Washington, DC, New York City, and Paris.

Beyoncé and her entourage chartered the plane in February 2010 for the two-week South American leg of her recent “I AM… SASHA FIERCE” tour, beginning with a week of show dates in Brazil, followed by appearances in Argentina, Chile, Peru and finishing off with a last-stop carnival hurrah in Trinidad capital Port-of-Spain on February 18th. The Boeing 757-200 charter jet that carried her from gig to gig is compact but with long-range capacity and lots of luggage space for all those crazy stage sets and costume changes. The all-business-class layout offers two cabins, one with 24 BIZ BEDS (seats that convert into a 180° fully flat bed) and another 40 BIZ SEATS (which recline only to 140°). Of course, Beyoncé slept up front in one of the BIZ BEDS, while her hairdresser and makeup team were most likely hanging out in the back of the plane. Flight attendants reported that “Beyoncé’s really nice” but “not as tall as you think she is.” (Yeah, you already knew that.)

OpenSkies is known for its spectacular French gourmet meals (in spite of its affiliation with British Airways) but most suspect that 28-year old Beyoncé chose the airline for its signature color, which is vivid lavender (expressed inside the airplane’s lush interiors.)

So there it is. For all you Beyoncé fans who wonder how the Queen Bee travels from one sweaty stage to the next, that’s it.

New Zealander auctions off Paris Hilton’s boarding pass

A man flying from New Zealand to Fiji on August 12th found a little surprise at his business class seat. Slipped between the pages of his in-flight magazine was the boarding pass of celebutant Paris Hilton, who had traveled to Fiji a few days prior.

Rather than toss the pass, the man decided to put it up for sale on a New Zealand auction site. Despite his claim that is “certainly has no other value” aside from being an unusual bit of memorabilia, as it “doesn’t smell of her perfume, have anything to do with panties”, the bids started rolling in. The price increased, and the man decided to donate the proceeds of the sale to a local charity.

The auction closed Monday at NZ$710 (US$485). So how would Paris feel if she knew her boarding pass was being auctioned off? Well, she did know – she posted a link on twitter, calling the story “random”.

[via Jaunted]

Become a world famous traveler

Want to be a famous traveler? Gadling fave Christopher Elliott wrote “How to be a Youtube travel star,” which explains how you can turn your vacation videos into internet acclaim, but there are more ways to publicize your excursions. Several websites have popped up to help travel reporters connect with sources. Yes, we need you to help us write the stories you read. By helping us, you can become a celebrity in our community. Generally, all you have to do is register with a service and reply to the queries that resonate with you.

The process, regardless of which service you use, is pretty simple. You receive an e-mail or view a website with a list of stories travel reporters are writing. If one of them fits with your experiences, you reply with a brief e-mail explaining how you can help. The reporter may follow up with a phone call or e-mail (if additional information is necessary). Then, when the story runs, you have something to hang on the fridge.

I’ve worked with three of these services: MediaKitty, TravMedia and Help a Reporter. Each is interesting, and if they don’t have what interests you, you can always try citizen journalism.

MediaKitty is a complete travel media network, bringing sources, experts, publicists and reporters together to make sure that news has a chance of being reported. So, whether you are promoting a client or just have your own stories to tell, you can join this website and become a part of the action. There is a catch, however. Fame isn’t free. Unless you’re a reporter, expect to shell out a modest fee for this service.

TravMedia is mostly for professionals in the travel industry, such as publicists, hotel managers and reporters. So, if you are involved in the travel and hospitality industry and need a new place to push your press releases, for example, this is a great spot. It’s not necessarily a route to individual fame, but if you have a destination or travel company to promote, this is the place to do it.

Help a Reporter is a general service; it’s not limited to travel. But, the travel section usually has a few requests in it (I use it from time to time). The reporter explains what the story is, lists the publication in which it will run and provides any additional instructions. You reply to the reporter by e-mail with your “pitch.” If it fits, fame is only a few mouse-clicks away. I’m biased toward this service because the founder, Peter Shankman, got his start in the AOL newsroom, so he’s part of the extended family.

There’s always the “citizen journalism” option, as well. Go to a website such as or to start your own travel column. This gives you the chance to maintain control of your image (and your fame). Also, CNN’s iReport website gives you the chance to move from text to video, and the mother ship does pick up content from its citizen journalism subsidiary from time to time. Hell, nail the write story, and you may even find us linking to you.

Of course, the easiest way to let us know your travel news is to leave feedback on Gadling. If your story turns us on, you’ll hear from someone!

Who Have You Run Into On Your Travels?

Everyone reckons it’s a small world. Six degrees of separation and all that. To prove it, I want to find out from readers what famous faces they’ve chanced upon in their travels. Here’s my list.

  1. Actress Jane Fonda on a racing bike stopped at traffic lights in Toronto.
  2. Singer George Michael at a Wimpy burger bar in London.
  3. Actor Mandy Patinkin in the Air New Zealand lounge at LAX.
  4. Actor Matt Dillon at a screening of Scorcese’s Last Temptation of Christ in New York.
  5. Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti at the City Lights bookshop in San Francisco.

Thanks to scott92007 on Flickr for the pic of the world’s best bookshop.