Tourists aren’t always easy to deal with in a congested and dense city like NYC wherein most people get around by foot. But for most New Yorkers, the annoyances don’t go any further than a slow sidewalk commute. Two Times Square hotel concierges, however, have a deeper well of annoyances and amusements from tourists to draw from – and not only are they drawing from that well, they’re publishing from it, too. Their Tumblr blog, How May We Hate You, chronicles their most memorable interactions with tourists staying in Times Square. It’s a goldmine of laughable quotes from tourists. Enjoy.
Disrespect the locals a few too many times and they may decide to shun you from the local enclaves and relegate you to tacky tourist ghettos. Unfortunately, that may be exactly what’s in store for visitors headed to the Greek islands.
Locals there say they’ve had enough of debauched tourists who have been wreaking havoc in the otherwise beautiful and peaceful Mediterranean region. Their solution? Set up segregated tourist zones to keep the riffraff out.The drastic plan is under consideration after a recent spate of incidents involving bar brawls, rowdy behavior and the stabbing of a British teenager on the island of Crete. The Greek islands attract huge numbers of young pleasure-seekers who are eager to party, much to the unhappiness of locals. To get around the problem, they’re looking at establishing “tourist strips” far from town where foreigners can go wild without bothering anyone.
If the Greeks do agree on the plan, it’ll be a sad day for travelers who actually want to experience everything the islands have to offer. Visiting a city that’s split in half — with locals on one side and tourists on another — is not really visiting the city at all. Think of the tourist strip in Cancun, which is nothing like the real Mexico, or Times Square in New York, which is far from representative of the Big Apple. Do we really want all of our travels to feel like a trip to the Vegas Strip? If we want to continue having authentic travel experiences, it’s time to step up and treat the locals and their way of life with respect.
New Year’s Eve brings ball-dropping fun to thousands in New York’s Times Square and around the world via television and streaming video. New Year’s Day has its share of events too and marks the official end of 2012’s holiday season while opening the door to a unique chance to change ourselves, if only a little bit.
A brand new year is ahead of us. So, what will we do with it? Keep on doing what we have been doing? Start something new?
New Year’s resolutions commonly include strong initial efforts to live a healthier lifestyle by eating better and exercising more. It’s a time when household budgets are reviewed, long and short-term financial goals get a look and when travelers gaze ahead to what’s scheduled for 2013 and beyond.
No plans right now? A great way to help roll in the new year is by trying new and different things. That does not have to mean skydiving for the first time, a solo kayak adventure that pits us against nature or climbing a mountain. Something new and different, outside of our comfort zone, can be as close as a computer or just outside our back door.
Take a ride on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner
An easy way to get this whole “trying something different” ball rolling is by checking in with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner Dream Pass. Visiting the Dream Pass website, we first come to a 360-degree interactive experience on the flight deck. Continuing on to Boeing’s New Airplane website, we see the latest new airplane products and other innovations from Boeing.
Right about here would be a time to mention any one of a hundred new travel-related apps for our smartphones. Although there are plenty of them, that’s not our focus here. Not right now.
We can get very wrapped up in activities that require us to be inside without trying. Work, school, meetings, shopping, dining and other things we do are inside things. Walking outside, we might go in a different way to lunch, take a few minutes to consider the place we are at the moment and, if we really want to get into it, talk to a stranger. Go crazy; leave home with no phone or communication device, on purpose.What’s Important
It’s a recurring theme that comes out eventually whenever someone talks about travel. It may take a while to sort through the places we traveled to, highlighting iconic monuments, destinations and world-famous landmarks. But eventually, some of our most cherished travel memories come from interaction with people we meet along the way.
[Photo Credit- Flickr user Vermin Inc]
Many travelers have places to spend Christmas nailed down far in advance. Tradition may have us going back home to join with family and friends in an annual celebration. Airline tickets may have been purchased months ago, cashing in on the best rates. A place to stay is not an issue, we’ll take a sofa at one place or another, surrounded by those we care for.
Others don’t have such happy plans in place. Maybe economic concerns made advance planning impossible. Maybe the whole idea of gifting, taking time off work, getting there and other concerns have them stuck at home with no apparent way out. For those people, we have a list of happy places we can go, scattered around the United States, that offer an alternative to a “Bah Humbug” attitude at budget prices.
New York City
New Yorkers have celebrating Christmas down to a science and the city goes all out this time of year. Christmas trees, lights, Broadway shows or simply window-shopping make for a good time. Ride a horse-drawn carriage in Central Park (about $100), ice-skate at Rockefeller center ($20), or just stand in the middle of Times Square for a hefty dose of Christmas magic.
Odds are pretty good that we won’t see a white Christmas at this central Florida location but a stop by Christmas, Florida, can sure get us in the mood. About 20 miles east of Orlando, it’s Christmastime year-round here with Christmas trees and reindeer on display all the time. Not far is the Fort Christmas Historical Park, a replica of the original fort, built in 1837 during the Seminole Indian War and all the central Florida attractions, all dressed for the holidays.
How about zooming over snow covered hills for a new Christmas tradition? Connecticut’s Woodbury Ski Area lets us do just that on a zip line ($89 for four hours) or we can fly down a mountain in our own tube. The mountain has three zip line tracks, close to a mile of tubing trails, and over 20 different snow tubing courses. You can also enjoy the areas 12 courses or skiing, snowboarding and snow bikes that are lighted for night use.
Harbor Christmas Parades, California
Scattered around California, are a number of harbor, boat and yacht parades that may be just what your Christmas Grinch needs to get in the mood. San Diego Harbor’s Parade of Lights, the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Oakland’s Lighted Yacht Parade are free and host hundreds of lighted pleasure craft. The Huntington Harbor Cruise of Lights is a seasonal trip through the harbor’s waterways with views of decorated houses.
Christmas boat parades are not limited to California. Check this video for a look at Portland, Oregon’s Christmas Ship Parade:
Want to find some holiday events close to you? A national listing of all local Convention and Visitors Bureau’s might be a good place to start.
[Photo credit- Flickr user Tom Hilton]
Here’s a bit of nostalgia for all you old-time New Yorkers out there.
This mini-documentary on Times Square really captures my memories of it from the 1980s. Walking around there with my friends at night was a gritty, sleazy, surreal experience. Touts tried to sell you stolen watches or draw you into shell games or strip shows. Street preachers screamed at the crowd and were totally ignored. Lights flashed. Cars honked. People swore at one another or offered you drugs labeled under a bewildering variety of street names (anybody know what “rust” was?).
Despite this footage being a quarter of a century old, I recognize some of these places. The theater marquees are unforgettable, of course. There was one place where you could see a Kung Fu double feature for a dollar. That video arcade in the film was a favorite hangout of ours. We knew about the pickpockets and always watched out for one another. Still, it’s amazing we survived all those trips without ever having any serious trouble.
I haven’t been back to New York for 15 years. From what I’ve heard, it’s changed too much. Times Square has been turned into a touristy shopping mall, and throughout Manhattan many of the small shops, like those wonderful indie bookstores, have disappeared. I have lots of friends and fellow bloggers in New York who are always inviting me to come over. I’m not sure I ever will. I think I’ll just keep my memories of the trashy yet vibrant New York of my teens.