Stolen: A One-Mile Road In Russia

The unorthodox crime was allegedly committed by a 40-year-old Russian resident of Syktyvkar. The road had linked Parcheg with the Vychegda River before the mastermind carried in off in 82 reinforced concrete slabs.

How does one steal a road? NBC News reports:

Police uncovered the highway robbery when they pulled over a convoy of three heavy trucks carrying the slabs, which they said had been removed with a manipulator, an industrial machine that combines a bulldozer and a forklift.

The Interior Ministry valued the slabs at 200,000 rubles, or about $6,095.

The penalty for stealing a road in Russia? Up to two years in the pokey.

[via msnNOW]

Yes, These Are Real Travel Jobs

Sometimes it feels as though there is a whole world of jobs that no one tells you about when you’re growing up. You may have heard of jobs like dentist, shopkeeper or electrician, but what about positions like tequila butler, sunglass doctor or fish valet? Made up fantasy jobs? Nope. There are plenty of people out there working in travel jobs the rest of us can hardly believe they get paid to do.

NBC News rounded up a number of unusual things that people do for a living. Topping the list is a dog surfing instructor, a person — who as the title implies — teaches pooches how to perch on a board and ride the waves. Meanwhile a hotel in Memphis has employed a duckmaster, whose role it is to feed and train a flock of ducks that reside on the premises. Twice a day, the ducks strut their stuff during a duck march across the hotel grounds.Other surprising jobs included a guacamologist at a Dallas hotel whose primary purpose is to tickle the taste buds of guacamole enthusiasts, and a proposal coach who helps the romantically challenged pop the big question with style.

But these aren’t the only bizarre travel-related jobs out there. Here are a few more creative ways to earn a living that we rounded up.

Hotel Jester. A hotel in Vienna, Austria recently advertised for a modern-day court jester. The creative, musical employee’s job is to entertain guests.

Human Bed Warmer. Getting into a cold bed is not everyone’s cup of tea, which is why the Holiday Inn London Kensington has staff on hand to jump into your bed for five minutes to get it all toasty for you.

Bedtime Story Teller. The Andaz Hotel in London makes falling asleep child’s play with their story telling service. Their “reader in residence” soothes guests to sleep by reading to them or discussing literature.

Coconut Safety Engineer. The island of St. Thomas is full of coconut trees that could prove hazardous to shade-seeking travelers, so the Ritz Carlton hotel employs a specialist to shimmy up trees and retrieve dangerous coconuts.

What other surprising travel jobs have you come across?

People Do Weird Things With Their Passports

British travelers have been seeking replacements for damaged passports at a staggering rate, but the reasons why might defy logic.

According to the British Government, claims for emergency travel documents jumped 300 percent last year. As you might expect, some of those involved cases of IDs that had been lost or pick pocketed while traveling. But not everyone was a victim of crime — many travelers destroyed their passports as a result of reckless behavior. Storing their document in the freezer or using their passport as a coaster for their beer were two of the stranger reasons cited.

Getting a replacement passport can cost both time and money, especially if you have to cancel your flights while you wait. But some travelers are unfazed by the situation and have managed to find creative ways around the problem.In one instance, a British man had his passport tattooed onto his back during a backpacking trip to Australia. Surprisingly, the skin art was actually accepted as ID. Upon running out of money, the man managed to withdraw cash from an Aussie bank after removing his shirt to flash the teller his unusual passport.

Meanwhile, a Canadian man got into the United States using just an ipad. He had traveled several hours from his hometown of Montreal and only realized he had forgotten his passport as he neared the U.S. border. Taking a chance, he whipped out his ipad which held a scanned copy of his passport and amazingly, the official let him through.

And then there was the 9-year-old British girl who managed to pass through Turkish immigration after accidentally handing over a fake passport that belonged to her stuffed unicorn. Oblivious officials even stamped the toy passport as they waved her into the country.

Denver’s Inflatable Hovering Hotel Room Costs $50K

Have you ever wondered what a $50,000 a night hotel room would be like? Well, one hotel in Denver is giving travelers the chance to find out — though they might a little surprised by what they discover.

Expecting a heavenly mattress? Too bad, because all this pricy pad offers is an inflatable bed for your weary body. Dreaming of unwinding in a jacuzzi in your marble-clad bathroom? Sorry to burst your bubble but you’ll be doing your business in a chemical toilet instead.

Completely confused yet? Well, despite the lack of amenities, it turns out that people are willing to cough up wads of cash for the sake of novelty. In this case, The Curtis Hotel in Denver is offering a room that’s hoisted 22 feet up in the air, perched on top of a van. The room — which is entirely inflatable — is a temporary space that was designed as part an arts festival.This isn’t the first strange hotel room to be dreamed up by artists and designers. We found several other bizarre places to lay your head down for the night.

  • Weymouth Beach in England opened the world’s first hotel made entirely out of sand a few years ago. Guests were able to book a stay at the hotel for as little as $15 until the hotel was washed away by the ocean. Even the beds were made of sand, with hotel operators warning visitors that the sand “gets everywhere.”
  • At the Tubo Hotel in Mexico, travelers can make themselves at home in an old drain pipe. The recycled concrete pipes, which were previously used in sewers, are decked out with queen beds so you don’t actually have to feel like you’re sleeping in the gutter.
  • In Belgium last year, travelers could stay in a hotel room designed around the top of a 100-year-old clock tower. The room, which hovered 75 feet above the busy streets of Ghent, was designed to give guests an intimate perspective on the city’s history. With a massive clock right up against your bed, we’re guessing you don’t need to request a wake up call when you’re staying in this room.

Tell us, what’s the strangest hotel room you’ve slept in?

Eccentric England: The Headington Shark

Once again, I’m back in Oxford for my annual summer working holiday. I love this place. This quintessentially English city offers beautiful colleges, the world’s coolest museum, even the chance to bump into the Queen.

But all this pales in comparison to the sight of a giant shark crashing into a roof.

The Oxford suburb of Headington is a bit dull, so local resident Bill Heine at 2 New High Street decided to commission sculptor John Buckley to create a 25-foot shark to adorn his roof. It was put up on August 9, 1986, the 41st anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing. As Heine explained, “The shark was to express someone feeling totally impotent and ripping a hole in their roof out of a sense of impotence and anger and desperation … It is saying something about CND, nuclear power, Chernobyl and Nagasaki.”

The clipboard Nazis in the local council were not amused. They tried to have it removed as a pubic hazard. When their engineer said it was perfectly safe, they tried various other excuses. Much legal wrangling ensued.

Decades later, the naysayers are all gone and the shark is still there. It’s a much-loved local landmark, a modern folly. I see it every time I come in on the bus from London and enjoy pointing it out to newcomers. There’s even a Headington Shark Appreciation Society on Facebook with more than a thousand members. So if you’re coming to Oxford, pop on over and see the Headington Shark.