Gadling Take Five : Week of August 30-September 5

This week, as the Olympics ended, we welcomed blogger David Breisch to the Gadling fold. This was a busy week of diverse travel options, breakthroughs and oddities.

  • Jerry tuned us into what travel to a volcanic island is like with two separate posts. The first post, of his two part series “The Krakatau Journal: An island paradise that can kill you,’ and the second post, offer Jerry’s personal account of his trip to this volcanic island in Indonesia. He also details other volcanoes one can hit on an adventure vacation.
  • If you’re thinking that Hooters in Beijing is like Hooters in the U.S., like the big Os in the word “hOOt,” think again. As Josh, pointed out, the waitress costumes and build are not the same, even though it sounds like the food is. Josh’s story caught my eye because there was a knock-off Hooters in the town where I lived in Taiwan–except the name was wrong. The sign said, “Hooties.”
  • We can chalk one up for consumer complaints. As Grant reported, United Airlines has decided to nix the idea of charging people for meals on international flights. Who would ever have thought charging was a good idea is beyond me.
  • If you’re looking to bed down for the night in an unusual place, Scott has the answer. In his post “Spend the night in a Jumbo jet without leaving the ground,” he gives the scoop on the Jumbo Jet hostel that will open at the airport in Stockholm. As Scott says, you need to be a mile off the ground a mile to join the Mile High Club. Having adult fun in a jumbo jet on the ground is not the same thing.
  • For entertainment that is not particularly expensive, Meg’s post on the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia presents an idea that might be perfect for a fall weekend. The ticket price of the plays are reasonable and the Blue Ridge Mountains, where the theater is located, are stunning when the leaves change color.

Have a wonderful weekend. I hope there’s a festival near you. I hit the Popcorn Festival in Marion, Ohio today and am heading to the Honey Festival in Lithopolis tomorrow. Last week was the Sweet Corn Festival in Millersport.

Hooters in Beijing: Short Shorts and Moral Righteousness

Hooters is all about saving fabric. The minimalistic uniforms and the comely staff members who fill them are aimed at drawing mostly male customers. As the Georgia-based restaurant chain goes global, one would probably expect more of the same. But, the Hooters in Beijing is not all about buxom waitresses hawking chicken wings and fries.

How can that be? The very name “Hooters” suggests nothing other than said buxom staff members, right?

The typical tank top and short shorts are still worn by the female staff, but the goal is not to fill them out in the same manner as at stateside Hooters. A server at Beijing’s Hooters told a journalist from McClatchy (who was there ONLY for the chicken wings): “It’s more sexy in the U. S. Here, it’s more about being healthy, friendly, cute and having moral righteousness.”

Hey, who says moral righteousness can’t go with short shorts and chicken wings. By the way, Beijing’s Hooters also features the occasional dance number, preformed by the staff to appropriately kitschy music. Perhaps the brand has lost something in translation.

William Becker, Co-Founder of Motel 6, Dies

A few years back, a friend shared a secret with me that has changed the way I travel to Las Vegas. After spending weeks in advance of my second trip to Sin City searching through numerous cheap hotel websites to find the best deal, I asked this friend for advice — what’s the cheapest place to stay on or near Las Vegas Boulevard?

I’m a budget traveler, almost to a fault — partly by choice, partly by poverty, but mostly by nature. On family trips as a child, Dad would use coupons at Taco Bell. I mean really, can you get much cheaper than a $0.59 taco? I digress.

“Dude, just stay at the Motel 6,” my friend tells me (that’s how all Southern Californians talk, isn’t it?), “it’s right off the strip and cheap as hell!”

He was right. It was right off the strip, on Tropicana. I could throw a baseball and hit the MGM. The orange spandex-clad girls of the newly opened Hooters Hotel and Casino were tantalizingly close, almost too close. Cheap as hell, too — weekend rates were about $80 a night, compared to at least double that anywhere else on the strip. Since I found out about the Motel 6 on Tropicana, I I’ve stayed there every time I’ve been to Vegas. It’s small, sure — but clean. And man, is it cheap!

That’s my Motel 6 story. Rest in peace, Mr. Becker. We’ll leave the light on for ya.

[News via World Hum]

Hooters in the Holy Land

Next time you’re in Tel Aviv — tired from traveling, homesick, and looking for a little comfort food — you can sit back, relax, and experience some all-American hospitality, half-way around the globe. Hooters is opening its first location in Israel.

It’s a restaurant known, kind of, for its spicy chicken wings, but mostly for its servers — “Hooters Girls,” who bring you food and beer in low-cut blouses and short skirts. And, according to the man behind the move, Ofer Ahiraz, it can “suit the Israeli entertainment culture.”

“I strongly believe that the Hooters concept is something that Israelies are looking for,” says Ahiraz.

While there will probably be minor changes to meet Israeli tastes — such as keeping the restaurants away from large religious populations, and making all the food kosher — the restaurants will look a lot like the chain’s other locations across the U.S., China, Switzerland, Australia, Brazil and beyond.

Over the next two years the company plans to open additional restaurants in Colombia, Dubai, Guam, New Zealand and India.

So it’s official, the tackiest restaurant in the U.S. will now lead the way as America’s most ubiquitous cultural ambassador. Great.