Photo of the Day (04.24.10)

Between the ash cloud and the tragic plane crash that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski (amongst other news stories), the world’s attention has shifted away from Haiti. But, lest we think that the Caribbean nation has fully recovered from the devastating earthquake in January, Flickr user reminds us that there is still a long way to go to fully rebuild.

Back in January, America focused much of its attention on Haiti after the natural disaster. Since then, life has returned to “normal” here in the US and people have gone back to their day-to-day business. Meanwhile, the people of Haiti continue to struggle while putting together the shattered pieces of their lives.

You can still help by donating to the Red Cross. It’s as easy as texting “Haiti” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Even if you donated back in January, consider helping again. We appreciate you taking the time (and, yes, money) to help our friends in Haiti.

Have a picture that personalizes the news? Have you witnessed history? Submit your images to Gadling’s Flickr group right now and we might use it for a future Photo of the Day.

Utrecht tour guided by the homeless

If you really want to learn what happens on the streets of a city, you’re best off talking to someone who’s lived there. In the Dutch city of Utrecht, five people are about to become tour guides … five people who used to be homeless. Their training from the tourism bureau will help them with the more formal aspects of their duties, but it’s the time they lived in the streets that will make their perspectives interesting.

The tours, called “Utrecht Underground,” will begin on September 13, 2009. They’ll be 75 minutes long and cost a mere €5. In addition to the usual sights of the city, guests will get to see where their guides “used to sleep or do drugs.”

Japanese resident of Mexico City Airport relocates to new home

We’ve been following the story of Hiroshi Nohara for a couple of months now, the Japanese man who showed up at Mexico City‘s Benito Juarez airport last fall, put his bags down and effectively set up residence in the terminal. He wouldn’t explain why he was there or where he was going, but since his tourist visa was still valid, authorities had to let him stay.

Nohara, who had been living on food and clothing donations from visitors and local sponsors, had turned into a bit of a tourist attraction until he mysteriously disappeared from the airport a couple of weeks back, vanishing into a taxi with a woman who nobody knew.

Now, the Mexican newspaper Reforma has positively identified the woman only as “Oyuki,” who tells the media that she just wanted Nohara to have a warm bed to sleep in. Perhaps the woman, whose husband is currently working in Japan was just lonely.

With a new place to stay, Nohara is apparently now sporting a new, cleaned up look and leading a normal life. He probably needs to make himself presentable for meeting the movie producers.

Top 10 stupidest laws you could encounter abroad

Homeless at Heathrow wear floral shirts to blend in with tourists

As if London’s Heathrow airport needs another PR nightmare, after the fiasco with Terminal 5. The growing homeless population that has lived inside the terminal certainly doesn’t help Heathrow’s reputation as a pleasant, smooth airport.

Time magazine reports that at 3 Heathrow Airport, the scene of people sprawled across plastic benches in various poses of contortion looks vaguely familiar and vaguely odd.

“Each night, scores of London’s homeless men and women take advantage of modern travel delays by posing as stranded passengers in order to sleep in a warm and safe place. They play a cat-and-mouse game with police, often donning floral shirts, fanny packs and other travel accessories to blend in,” Time writes.

You could easily take this to perfection by adding a wheeled Samsonite carry-on, and, of course a paper cup from Starbucks. Seriously, what is it about floral shirts and fanny packs? Why are tourists so ridiculous?

Free Accommodation in Paris

If you are into mixing culture with adventure travel, Paris is the new hot location. Apparently, you can pitch your tent right on the banks of the Seine these days.

Friends who just honeymooned in Paris sent me this picture, actually a series of pictures. Look closely – yes, those are all tents of the homeless along the Seine.

This is what they said: “How on Earth can these folk camp around The Pompidou Center? At the shore of the Seine beneath the Musee D’Orsay? With dogs. Fires. Reading newspapers. Playing instruments with competence. One bloke in the Palais de Tokyo was charging his phone, playing Nintendo GameBoy, rolling smokes and sipping a six pack of Belgian blond beer. Is this a common phenomenon for…art galleries?”

Well, after a glasses of chilled Chablis, I guess you could call this a postmodern approach to housing. I hear that the views are great, but the service is so so. And, of course, it is always BYOB.