- Michael Clemmer at Compass9 hrs ago
The Japanese do love their robots. This well-camouflaged person is, ahem … adjusting a giant robot nightclub dancer. Yep, and for 50 bucks you can watch her “dance.”
Somehow, during a time when almost everyone (well, 99 percent of us) is concerned about money, a Japanese entrepreneur allegedly spent – are you ready? – $127.3 million dollars to build Located in Tokyo’s swinging Shinjuku Kabukicho district, it is the equivalent of “Chuck E. Cheese” for Japanese salarymen.
The menu is short on food items, but has lots of drinks, which is good because watching giant mecha “cabaret girls” maneuvered by bikini-clad real girls can make a man really thirsty. There are also bikini-clad “Army Girls,” “Motorbike Girls” and “Little Drummer Girls” all dancing to really loud music and flashing neon lights. “Konnichiwa darlin’, can I buy you a drink?’’
Photograph by e_impact.
- Bekah Wright at Compass10 hrs ago
Though most people think of cruises as large apartment-like ships navigating through tropical waters, there’s another form of cruise distinctive in its own right: a longship river cruise. With their smaller vessels, river cruises are more intimate and can get you closer to the areas you’re exploring. The one I chose for taking in various UNESCO World Heritage Sites and this year’s Christmas markets in the Netherlands, Germany and France: Viking River Cruises' Rhine Getaway aboard the new Viking Jarl.
Click on the image below for a photo gallery of sights along the Rhine River.
- Christy Karras at Compass13 hrs ago
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in a northern neighborhood of Mexico City, is the world’s most visited shrine to the Virgin Mary. The spot has been a major pilgrimage site for Catholics since December 1531, when a deeply religious church convert named Juan Diego spotted an apparition of the Virgin Mary on the Hill of Tepeyac.
The story goes that as proof of his claim, Juan Diego brought his bishop flowers that had miraculously bloomed on the dry, cactus-stubbled hilltop. When they opened the cloak he used to carry them to the bishop, they found Mary’s image embedded in the cloth. From then on, she was known as the Lady of Guadalupe, a name Juan Diego said she had requested.
Tepeyac had already long been a worship site — for the Aztec mother goddess Tonantzin — but the Spanish had destroyed that temple before Juan Diego’s miraculous sighting. Within days, he built a small chapel in the Lady of Guadalupe's honor.
- claudinezap at Compass3 days ago
They're the ancient ruins of an indigenous people. Or it's a tourist trap that's fake, fake, fake. The Manitou Cliff Dwellings have certainly stirred up debate on the Web. The truth lies somewhere in between, but we'll get to that in a moment.
The roadside attraction near Colorado Springs, Colo., was built to resemble ancient ruins of the Anasazi people. Thousands visit the 100-year-old tourist destination each year.
The story of how the replica Indian village got there is a good one.
In the late 1880s, Virginia McClurg, founder of the Colorado Cliff Dwellers Association, worried that some demolished cliff houses near Mesa Verde would be looted by vandals, since they the site was not designated as a historic preserve, notes Atlas Obscura. Before the 1906 Antiquities Act, the federal government did not get involved in protecting such sites.
- Michael Clemmer at Compass3 days ago
Muslims are called to prayer five times each day and no matter where, they turn toward Mecca, kneel and pray. In cities throughout the world the Adhan (call to worship) can be heard coming from loudspeakers at local mosques. Few mosques anywhere, however, are more beautiful than the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
With gold-tipped minarets and bold architecture that is a fusion of Arab, Persian, Mughal and Moorish, it is ranked as one of the world’s 25 top attractions.
Photograph by P. VanSchalkwyk
- Christy Karras at Compass3 days ago
London’s black cabs are some of the city’s most beloved icons, and for good reason. Drivers are required to pass a test showing they know the locations of not just streets but also hospitals, parks, theaters and other landmarks throughout the city — studying for it typically takes three years. Anyone who’s had to whip out a smart phone to help guide a confused taxi driver can appreciate what’s known as “The Knowledge.”
Motorized cabs first came on the scene in 1897, but they were far from the city’s first. London had horse-drawn black cabs for hire as early as the 1600s. They were called “hackney carriages” (still the official name for hired cars). As one black-cab website puts it: “The name comes from hacquenée, the French term for a general-purpose horse. It literally means ‘ambling nag.’”
- Michael Clemmer at Compass4 days ago
Photographer Jeremy Villasis writes that as he was leaving his hotel in Mandalay, Burma, he saw these boys laughing mightily at something. That something turned out to be another boy coming to join them. Foolishly, the boy made the mortifying mistake of arriving clean and wearing a traditional Burmese longyi (sort of a male skirt). Boys will be boys and soon the “Filthy Five” mobbed their dandy friend, applying some dirt and attempting to pull off his longyi.
Jeremy doesn’t say if the lad suddenly went into full “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” mode and got the last laugh… maybe in his dreams.
- Greg Keraghosian at Compass4 days ago
Party-friendly, local places dominated the top 10 travel searches on Yahoo in 2013. The most-searched travel destination this year was Las Vegas, with Myrtle Beach, S.C., at No. 2 and New Orleans at No. 3.
The rankings are based on hotel searches, which goes a long way toward explaining Vegas and its array of recognizable hotels. And we presume the hotels have to be real, so any searches for the Crystal Palace from “Breaking Bad” might not have counted for Albuquerque, N.M. (Although the site is a real motel called the Crossroads.) Speaking of TV shows, maybe Kenny Powers gave Myrtle a boost this year?
- Rosemary McClure at Compass4 days ago
What destinations will offer the best travel deals in 2014? Where will you be able to get more for your money? We analyzed current travel trends, taking into consideration major events that will affect air and hotel rates next year – such as the FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia — and put together a list of eight places that promise to give visitors more bang for their buck in 2014.
This emerging Central American destination is a budget hotspot that offers visitors a natural high with 18 volcanoes, rain and cloud forests, and world-class surfing. Called "the next Costa Rica," Nicaragua has many of the attributes visitors find in its southern neighbor but without the crowds, high prices and commercialism. Beset by a long revolution in the 1960s and '70s, Nicaragua has put that portion of its history behind it and is now considered the safest country in Central America.
- Kelly O'Mara at Compass4 days ago
The short-lived ban on alcohol ended Dec. 5, 1933, when the repeal of Prohibition was ratified.
The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, which had made the manufacture, sale or transportation of alcoholic beverages illegal. Prohibition took effect in 1920, after years of pressure by the temperance movement. But, it was widely considered a failure, with many people continuing to drink and most of the alcohol simply moving underground. Criminal empires flourished under Prohibition and by 1930 the law had lost most of its appeal. After the repeal, many states kept local laws, however, and Mississippi became the last dry state in 1966
Today, few places would consider banning alcohol completely, but many states and towns ban the sale of alcohol on certain days or at certain times. Eighteen states, such as Utah, have a monopoly over the selling of certain alcoholic beverages, typically stronger liquors. These laws can often be confusing for travelers when they go from wet counties to dry counties.