I speak for every true potato-loving mick on the planet when I say that St. Patrick’s Day is a genuine Irish holiday that’s been corrupted into Amateur Drunk Day by us filthy Americans. Nobody in Ireland really cared much about it until dumb American tourists started going over there every March, demanding green beer and tunelessly bellowing “Danny Boy” out of their vomit-encrusted cakeholes. St. Paddy’s Day is fake. It’s Kwanzaa for white people.
Jim Treacher, “No True Irishman Loves St. Patrick’s Day”, The Daily Caller, 2016-03-17.
March 17, 2017
June 20, 2016
A few days back, “Weirddave” posted a little account of his recent visit to L’Anse Aux Meadows:
You can fly into Gander, but it’s expensive AF and you’ll have to make a jillion connections and live in airports for 2 days. Driving from the US means taking I-95 as far as it goes, then transiting New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to North Sydney. There you get on a ferry for an 8 hour trip to Port Aux Basque. Do it overnight and splurge for a cabin (trust me on this). Even then, you can’t get into Port Aux Basque if it’s too windy (a not uncommon occurrence in the North Atlantic). Our ferry sailed in a circle off Port Aux Basque for 12 hours until it was calm enough to go in, costing us a whole day (you don’t drive at night in Newfoundland because the island is infested with moose and you’ll hit one). There is no WiFi on the ferry.
From Port Aux Basque it’s 699 kilometers to L’Anse Aux Meadow, 699 kilometers of 2 lane highway with lots of potholes. If you love scrub pine and birch, you’ll be in heaven. It’s very pretty, and Gros Morne National Park, which you’ll go through about halfway, is gorgeous. The drive is miserable when it’s raining, and it’s always raining in Newfoundland. As a bonus it was 2 degrees C today. After you’ve seen L’Anse Aux Meadow ( a day at most ) you have to do it all over again going the other way. The local hootch is a rum called Screech that aspires to be Val-U-Rite. On the plus side, the locals are friendly, if occasionally unintelligible, and I ate 6 lobsters in four days, so yum.
If you find yourself in Newfoundland, you must go to L’Anse Aux Meadow. If you’re thinking of going, my advice would be to take an RV and make it a leisurely trip across the Maritimes. Take 2 weeks off and really enjoy yourself.
May 29, 2016
The anonymous author visited New York City recently, having visited many other US cities, and recorded the disappointment of seeing the Big Apple in real life:
I expected NYC to be at least somewhat of a modern and shiny skyscraper city. The secret capital of the US – and – maybe the world. I expected something at least iconic.
Now when I landed at JFK moldy carpets and a worn down airport greeted me. I took the train to Manhattan that overpasses ghettos.
I could not believe how loud and shaky the subway was. The awful state of maintenance. How extremely dirty it is. How bad signs are placed. How counterintuitive everything is made.
Everything must have been great some decades ago but was never kept well. There was no good way to get from one part of the city to another. Taxis are stuck and the subway is disgusting. Buses are worse.
The smell. When I think of NYC I no longer think of lawyers in suits on a rooftop terrace. I think of the strong smell of death – of rotten rat meat.
The garbage. Everywhere. On the streets. I mean black sacks full of garbage to be picked up in few hours stinking and leaking.
How unimpressive 5th Av is. Or Times Square.
The skyline is really not so impressive or iconic if you have been to Hong Kong or other places.
I was amazed by the the awful German translations on the large signs of the 9/11 sight. I always thought that this was a place of big importance and that NYC would not use Google translator to greet the world when they are visiting to show respect.
You might think that I am exaggerating and describing things that one could look over. Maybe. But I am just trying to justify my disappointment.
H/T to Never Yet Melted for the link.
October 10, 2015
Published on 3 Oct 2015
Craft Brewery tourism is on the rise. Ontario Craft Breweries are opening throughout the province; eventually there will be one in every community. These breweries are a catalyst for economic growth. They have become sought-after tourist destinations, event venues, culinary centres.
September 21, 2015
I have never forgotten these visitors, or ceased to marvel at them, at how they have gone on from strength to strength, continuing to lighten our darkness, and to guide, counsel and instruct us. They are unquestionably one of the wonders of the age, and I shall treasure till I die as a blessed memory the spectacle of them travelling with radiant optimism through a famished countryside, wandering in happy bands about squalid, over-crowded towns, listening with unshakeable faith to the fatuous patter of carefully trained and indoctrinated guides, repeating like schoolchildren a multiplication table, the bogus statistics and mindless slogans endlessly intoned on them. There, I would think, an earnest office-holder in some local branch of the League of Nations Union, there a godly Quaker who had once had tea with Gandhi, there an inveigher against the Means Test and the Blasphemy Laws, there a staunch upholder of free speech and human rights, there an indomitable preventer of cruelty to animals, there scarred and worthy veterans of a hundred battles for truth, freedom, and justice – all, all chanting the praises of Stalin and his Dictatorship of the Proletariat. It was as though a vegetarian society had come outwith a passionate plea for cannibalism, or Hitler had been nominated posthumously for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Malcolm Muggeridge, Chronicles of Wasted Time, 2006.
July 12, 2015
From Baden, about which it need only be said that it is a pleasure resort singularly like other pleasure resorts of the same description, we started bicycling in earnest. We planned a ten days’ tour, which, while completing the Black Forest, should include a spin down the Donau-Thal, which for the twenty miles from Tuttlingen to Sigmaringen is, perhaps, the finest valley in Germany; the Danube stream here winding its narrow way past old-world unspoilt villages; past ancient monasteries, nestling in green pastures, where still the bare-footed and bare-headed friar, his rope girdle tight about his loins, shepherds, with crook in hand, his sheep upon the hill sides; through rocky woods; between sheer walls of cliff, whose every towering crag stands crowned with ruined fortress, church, or castle; together with a blick at the Vosges mountains, where half the population is bitterly pained if you speak to them in French, the other half being insulted when you address them in German, and the whole indignantly contemptuous at the first sound of English; a state of things that renders conversation with the stranger somewhat nervous work.
Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men on the Bummel, 1914.
June 24, 2015
Published on 22 Jun 2015
The Ceremonial Guard is one of Canada’s most recognizable military units. For over 50 years, the Changing of the Guard has been a top Ottawa attraction, having thrilled thousands of visitors on Parliament Hill, at Rideau Hall and at the National War Memorial. The Changing the Guard Ceremony will take place daily at 10 a.m. on Parliament Hill from June 28 to August 22, 2015.
March 7, 2015
Published on 3 Mar 2015
The capital of Nova Scotia attempts to attract tourism by embracing winter’s reality.
August 20, 2014
The entire state is oceanside, just like in the video. There are rumors of some vast, undiscovered bogs or swamps or mountains or something out west, but no one would ever go there. LL Bean is in Freeport, and you’re not allowed to be in Maine more than an hour’s drive from there. If we had police, they’d check. Bean’s used to have catalogs filled with shotguns and fishing poles, but now they only sell banana hammock bathing suits for Canadians that go to Old Orchard Beach and think it’s the Riviera, and button-down men’s shirts for ladies to wear.
Maine has various slogans. They used to call it Vacationland, but Mainers couldn’t help themselves, and got to reading the Vacationland road signs while driving to work in the office park in Westbrook, and forgot the signs were for people “From Away” — the charming soubriquet Mainers use when they want to call someone a Masshole, but the guy hasn’t paid his bill yet. Anyway, everyone in Maine went to Disneyworld at the same time, on the same bus, and there was no one left in Maine to direct the tourists from Massachusetts to the best places to icefish in June, or where to find all the huggable bull mooses in rutting season, or how to properly approach a black bear cub. Note: Always get between Mama bear and Baby bear. They love that.
“Maine: The Way Life Should Be,” was another one. It was less of an overt threat than New Hampshire’s motto, it’s true, but it left too much room for rumination on its meaning. I haven’t been to New Hampshire in a while, but if memory serves, their slogan is “Live Free, Or Else,” or something to that effect. Maine’s sounds friendlier, but its ambiguity rankles some. It’s never wise to get the tourists thinking. It smacked a bit of “Your life is bad, and you should feel bad, and we’re here to tell you so.”
Sippican, “Maine Is Totally Like This, Totally”, Sippican Cottage, 2014-02-26
July 10, 2014
How bad is the Argentinian economy right now? So bad that middle class Argentine tourists in Brazil eat at soup kitchens, according to the Wall Street Journal‘s Miriam Jordan:
The state-funded Citizen Restaurant in downtown Rio is accustomed to serving a balanced meal at an unbeatable price to about 5,000 poor residents of this city each day. During the World Cup, however, this cafeteria has been catering to another clientele as well: middle-class Argentines.
“We serve homeless people, drug addicts, blue-collar workers and retirees,” said Jose Barbosa, Rio de Janeiro state coordinator for food security. “This World Cup we have been welcoming Argentine soccer fans, too.”
With the value of the Argentine peso deeply eroded amid the country’s economic woes, many Argentines who have flocked here to root for their soccer team […] say they’re counting every Brazilian real they spend — and hunting for bargains. On Monday, dozens of Argentines lined up alongside Brazilians to buy lunch at the cafeteria, where a meal of black beans, white rice, salad and choice of meatballs or chicken sausage cost 1 real, or about 40 U.S. cents.
“Rio is very expensive — that’s why I am here,” said Fernando Castillo, a 24-year-old bartender from Buenos Aires. With gusto, he dug into his plate of food, which sat on a plastic-blue tray beside a cup of guava juice and a fresh orange for desert, both included in the price. “This is perfect,” he said, “especially at this price.”
“The generous portion keeps us filled all day,” added his cousin, Thomas Castillo.
To save on accommodations and flights, many Argentines drove to Brazil. In Rio, their campers and cars occupied prime beachfront parking spots until the city evicted them.
It then allowed them to park vehicles and pitch tents in a vast parking lot downtown that abuts the permanent bleachers where Rio’s samba schools perform during the annual carnival celebrations.
Word spread quickly at these parking lots that Citizen Restaurant, within walking distance of the Argentine encampment, offered good Brazilian fare at a bargain-basement price in a clean, safe environment. “It started with 10 of them one day, then 50 of them came and now we’re seeing about 200 Argentines each day,” said Ricardo Chaves, the eatery’s administrator.
June 16, 2014
June 26, 2013
John Pepall on the claimed 80,000 folks who’ve signed petitions to stop WalMart and Loblaws from moving near the historic area of Kensington Market:
What these people must be saying is that many people who now shop in the Kensington Market would, if the Walmart or Loblaw’s opened, choose to shop at them instead. And they want the City government to deny them that choice.
Just conceivably the petitions could be a kind of voluntary market survey, kindly warning Walmart and Loblaw’s that people won’t shop at their stores. That they will lose money because people prefer to shop at the Kensington Market. But plainly they are not. The petitioners call themselves the Friends of the Kensington Market and claim they are trying to Save the Kensington Market. The big corporations and their big stores are the baddies. And the retailers of Kensington Market are the good guys.
What are they up to then? If they are a statistically significant sample of people who regularly shop at the Kensington Market, they have nothing to worry about. Unless they own shares in Walmart or Loblaw’s. They will continue to shop in a thriving Kensington Market and Walmart and Loblaw’s will struggle and perhaps go away.
Might they? Just might they be people who already shop at the Loblaw’s on Christie or Whole Foods on Avenue Road and, perhaps, fashionable organic farmers’ markets and occasionally go down to Kensington Market for fine cheese or fish, or vintage clothing and a bite at one of its characterful restaurants?
If so, and at over eighty thousand and rising the petitioners must go way beyond the regular household shoppers in the Market, they are basically local tourists who want to restrict the shopping choices of those who live in the Kensington neighbourhood so that they can have a picturesque market to visit when they tire of the Distillery District or funky Queen Street West.
H/T to Colby Cosh for the link.
November 24, 2012
Kathy Shaidle reports on her recent trip to Israel:
Folks who say visiting Israel is like traveling back in time don’t know the half of it.
Say: Do you find yourself missing the 1970s — even though, like me, you vowed you never would?
That is: Do you miss litter, graffitti, off-leash dogs, free range cats, smoking on the beach, 13 TV channels, no wheelchair ramps — plus polyester everything?
Because if so, Israel is the 70s with cellphones! You’ll love it! Heck, the same war’s still going on!
Seriously: This shiksa just got back from her second trip to Israel — not a moment too soon, from the looks of things — and I’m here with the first of a series of articles that will go from macro to micro.
PJMedia’s own Barry Rubin literally wrote the book on Israel. I read it before I left and recommend it highly. But he’s a Jew who has lived there for years. I’m writing as a gentile two-time visitor.
To that end, I’ll start off with an overviews of major cities and regions in Israel, then drill down in the coming weeks, to cover specific attractions; define words that don’t mean what you (or more accurately, your dorky grad student nephew) think they mean (i.e., “check point,” “settlement,” “refugee camp”); then offer tips on food, language, manners and more.
July 10, 2012
From his weekend column:
Iceland managed to create three massive global banks. The economy itself is tiny: Iceland has the same population as Coventry, although arguably the scenery is better. That’s really not big enough to support a lot of globally competitive export industries. Iceland had three: fish, aluminium smelting and tourism. Four if you count Björk. Can you blame them if they fancied dabbling in something a bit sexier, such as investment banking?
Investment banking is sexier than Björk?
I don’t think investment banking even manages to be sexier than aluminium smelting these days, but eight or nine years ago it must have seemed like a great gig. So these Icelandic banks borrowed loads of cash and used it to buy pretty much anything they wanted. In particular, they bought from each other at rather ebullient levels, which made for substantial profits on paper. The whole thing was a classic bubble.
And when the flow of loans dried up?
The banks crashed and there was clearly nothing the government could do to save them – they were far too big. And the party came to a grinding halt.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense.
No. It’s hard to understand why anyone wanted to lend them the money, and just as hard to understand why they thought they could instantly learn the craft of global investment banking.
June 8, 2012
Terence Corcoran is too kind in his discussion of Toronto’s new ban on plastic bags:
In star-struck liberal green Los Angeles, it took a full-court press by environmental groups, major propaganda efforts, endorsement by the roll-over editorialists at the Los Angeles Times, and deployment of Hollywood stars, such as Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Peter Fonda, to work up the political steam needed to prompt L.A.’s city council to vote last month to ban plastic bags.
In starless Toronto, all it took was a bunch of dumb city councillors who suddenly decided — seemingly out of the blue — to stage a surprise vote.
“Ban the bags,” somebody said. “Good idea. Let’s vote!” Passed: 27 to 17.
No study, no research, no public review, no thought, no concept and no brains. What’s the environmental and fiscal impact of the ban? Nobody knows, although many people say the cost to both the city and the environment will be greater than the cost of using plastic bags.
As I think Adrian MacNair mentioned, one of the most likely outcomes is that people will end up buying less. It’s those little impulse buys that will be curtailed the most, as many folks — especially tourists — won’t have realized they need to bring their own carry bags.