Posts from ‘June, 2008’

Vending machine cafes

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Ever wondered how you could order food in Japan when you can’t speak the language, well don’t worry the vending machine cafe’s are the place for you. There’s no need to go hungry ever again just pop your yen in the machine, select the item you would like for dinner from the photos and out pops a receipt ticket. Take this to the counter and presto your dish will be prepared in a mater of seconds in front of you- it’s that easy. There are plenty of vending machine restaurants around the major cities of Japan and they are amazingly cheap. For only a few hundred yen you can have a soup, rice and meat dish, salad and even a beer all ordered from the vending machine. Most of the restaurants serve ramen (which is noodles) or Gyudon which is a tasty meat stew and there is also a popular pepper steak franchise which serves sizzling plates of spicy steaks. The vending machine cafes are cheap, clean, and very tasty not forgetting the easiest way to order food in Japan. They are well worth a try. Read the rest of this entry »

Cold War Museum proposed for Checkpoint Charlie

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Berlin’s Checkpoint Charlie was the main crossing point for foreigners into East Berlin during the Cold War and has become the symbol of the war, with thousands of tourists flocking to the area to see the replica of the allied checkpoint building and the nearby privately run Checkpoint Charlie Museum (Haus am Checkpoint Charlie museum). according to this USAToday story a former East German minister is proposing a cold war museum be built an a vacant block of land near Checkpoint Charlie. The vacant lot near the checkpoint was where the East German checkpoint watchtower once stood but was torn down in 2000 to make way for new development that ultimately never happened. The watchtower was the last original part of the checkpoint that stood at the site. Read the rest of this entry »

Pandas for the Olympics

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The horrific earthquake that shook China on May 12 this year not only killed and destroyed the homes of thousands of people it did extensive damage to wildlife, in particular the Chinese’s most prized animal the giant panda. The Wolong Giant Panda Reserve was only 32km from the epicenter and it was badly damaged, five of the staff members were killed in the carnage, but fortunately 58 of the 60 panda’s have been found and are all safe, the other two it is hoped they have just escaped and will be found. The pandas have been moved to Beijing and they are going to go on display at the Beijing Zoo and will be on display until November. There were plans to move the panda’s to Beijing before the earthquake but now the need is more crucial. It is expected over 6 million people will visit the zoo for a look at the fury black and white bears during their stay. It is believed under 1600 pandas now live in the wild.

Explore your sences in Greece


YouTube direct

Today’s You Tube video is a very classy advertisement for Greece called Explore your Senses. With some magnificent imagery of some of Greece’s heritage and some very beautiful young people combined with a clever soundtrack this ad just makes you want to get on the first plane to Greece and head to their crystal clear blue waters or beautiful courtyards. The ad was produced by the EOT or the Greek National Tourist Organization last year. It was very successful in the USA and other countries. Tourism is one of the major lifeblood’s of Greece’s economy with over a billion euro of revenue generated every month. Over 16 million visitors visit the country every year, a number which has increased about 10% every year for the past few.

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Jesus dines on Guinea Pigs

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We did a story a few weeks ago on a restaurant in Dublin called the Guinea Pig Restaurant. We got quiet a bit of feedback from our visitors, but most of them read the story wrong, the Guinea Pig doesn’t serve the fury critters, they are a fish restaurant. But to the horror of those who left us a comment, we thought we would do a story about Peru today where they just love sinking their teeth into a succulent piece of roast guinea pig, in fact it is estimated that over 56 million of them are roasted every year. Guinea pigs are the perfect meal in Peru, they are easy to breed, very easy to raise and don’t require much space and they are pretty damm tasty too, being high in protein and low in cholesterol. The little rodent like creature has been on the menu for thousands of years. Today’s photo is a Spanish version of the Last Supper which was painted by Marcos Zapata, it shows Christ and his apostles ready to eat a guinea pig. The painting hangs in the Capilla del Triunfo Cathedral of Cuso Peru which was built in 1539.

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Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman & a giant mango

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You have probably noticed here at Tripandom love big things and on a recent road trip to central Queensland we have found another, this time a giant mango. The Big Mango is located at the Bowen Visitor’s Information Centre about 4 km south of Bowen. Built around 2002, the Big Mango celebrates Bowen as the home of  well what else the Bowen Mango. The upside down fiberglass fruit isn’t the only thing Bowen has to brag about, it is also the home of much of the filming of Baz Luhrmann’s $130 million dollar outback epic called Australia, which features Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. This 1940’s romantic period piece looks like becoming one of the biggest films ever to come out of Australia, if the hype and the big name stars are anything to gauge it by. It is expected the film will be released around November this year. We just wonder if Nicole and Hugh had their photo taken beside the Big Mango..our guess is they wouldn’t have been able to resist it. Read the rest of this entry »

Rockhampton – Australia’s beef capital

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The surrounding area of Rockhampton on the central coast of Queensland, Australia is home to an estimated three million head of cattle making the city Australia’s beef capital. The city has a rich heritage of beef farming and as you will see from the dozen’s of cattle statues and monuments throughout the city beef is what makes this city tick. Their pubs not only serve ice cold beer but some of the best beef burgers, and steaks found anywhere in the world. One of the most famous of the Rockhampton pubs is the Great Western Hotel which is home to a 3000 seat undercover rodeo stadium where champion riders test their skills against fiery eyed cattle. Just out of town at Gracemere is one of Australia’s biggest livestock markets and home to huge cattle sales on Fridays. Here some of the country’s finest cattle is auctioned to become dinner all around the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Fun with a GPS – View your trip in Google Earth

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GPS units are handy devices when traveling, you can even pick them up now for less than 200 bucks and it sure beats stuffing around with a range of paper maps. One other thing you can do with many of them is to record a tracklog and then copy that on to your PC and even import it into Google Earth to show off to your friends where you have been. If you want to know more on how to do this follow our brief tutorial after the jump. (Warning: computer tech content follows!)

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Getting pushy on Tokyo’s trains


YouTube direct

Tokyo is one of the largest cities in the world and being so big it has a pretty decent transport system. At times like the morning and afternoon rush hours the trains can become overcrowded, sometimes reaching over 200% capacity. Because of this station employees formally known as “passenger arrangement staff” but nick named “Oshiya” (Pusher in English) are stationed on the platform to direct passengers to empty carriages and to help them into crowded carriages. Watch the video above and you will see what we mean. If you also think there may be a chance of getting felt up while in the packed train well the Japanese have a plan for that as well with special carriages for woman only known as Josei Senyo Sharyo. These carriages will have a image of a woman on the door and often feature a pink stripe along side of them and were put in place as many woman felt uncomfortable in the packed carriages due to the amount of groping incidents (known as chikan).

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Hoegh Pet Casket Factory Tour

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We have had some weird attractions on Tripandom, but this one takes the cake. A factory tour of a pet casket manufacturer- how bizarre! Hoegh Pet Casket’s is in Gladstone, Michigan in the good old USA. They have been making coffins for pets since 1966 and now make 8 sizes and 21 styles fit for any dead pet. The caskets are made of a high impact styrene product and sell nearly 35,000 of them a year some even trimmed with lace and pillows. It’s not only dogs and cats who get buried in these beautiful caskets, ducks, pigs, rabbits, lizards you name it – there’s a casket for just about anything. They also sell a huge range of cremation urns and memorials. The Hoegh Pet Casket tours can be arranged Monday to Friday between 8 and 4, here you will not only see how the caskets are produced but visit their model cemetery

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