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On a normal day, the small sidewalk on Wall Street between Broadway and Broad Street is crammed with tourists. People in suits cram hurriedly between them to get to their desks. Of course, there's the occasional television truck or nut holding a sign. When the market turns, however, the vibe in that part of town changes quickly. The tourists remain, but they're pushed around by the increase in activity, as New York's financial center seeks to cope with a massive loss of wealth.
There's nothing quite like visiting this part of New York City the day after a dive.
For those of you not keeping score at home, a dismal stock market day on Friday was followed by a worse one yesterday. The major indexes fell close to 7 percent – which stings. It really does. This led to a profound change the population of Wall and Broad today. Yes, the tourists were out in force (as usual). But, they had to share the streets.
Here's what it looked like:
Gallery: Wall Street: The day after the crash
Photos courtesy of Inside Investor Relations
It seems like an interesting business opportunity, given how interesting the hard-to-reach company is too many travelers. And, since it's so hard to do business with the regime, competition is unlikely to be stiff. The regulatory red tape, on the other hand, is a different story.
South Korea is saying that Korea Pyongyang Trading USA will need to get permission from the U.S. government in order to get the operation off the ground. The Dong-A Ilbo reports:
Interestingly, this comes even as official contacts between the two governments fell off, not to mention a "general cooling off in bilateral relations."
Of course, the visits weren't strictly recreational. A delegation of scientists came over from North Korea in February, with an economic delegation following in March. In June, 17 martial arts folks visited three states on the east coast.
Photo by yeowatzup via Flickr
I saw on PRNewser yesterday that travel and hospitality companies are using online monitoring tools to keep track of what you tweet and post while you're on vacation. This should come as no surprise, of course: it's standard practice in any business to monitor online customer behavior (how do think Amazon generates such awesome product recommendations for you?). What you may not realize is that this is an opportunity with endless potential for mischief.
So, you have the travel industry's ear ... what are you going to do with it? Here are five ideas for you:
What do you know about Air Koryo? Probably not much. The state-run airline for North Korea, it's the only realistic way you can fly into the country, unless you have some sort of crazy commando resources at your disposal. Of course, there's a lot you have to do before booking your ticket, and getting a visa can be quite difficult for Americans and other westerners. If you do make it through the red tape though, you'll find yourself with more options than you realized.
So, ready to book your trip to Arirang and sample the beer and pizza of the most reclusive nation on the planet? Here's what you need to know about the airline that will take you there:
Hitting the rails around Europe can be a blast, and I particularly enjoyed it in the so-called "Benelux" countries (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg). The scenery in the Netherlands was a bit thin, but the Belgian towns were incredibly cute, and it was fun to watch the Dutch signs yield to French as we approached the Luxembourg border.
And let's face it: any alternative to air travel is a welcome one.
While the trains were a bit slow, they did offer plenty of space, and the ride was comfortable. The only downside was dining: some had a cart that was pushed around periodically, but that was the best available. In other cases, there was nothing at all.
So, if you're going to hop the train to places like Amsterdam, Bruges, Brussels and Luxembourg, you're going to want to pack your own grub. You can always pick something up at the train station, but packaged sandwiches and snacks pale in comparison to what you can accomplish with a little planning.
You can do better!
Below, you'll find tips for giving yourself a better dining experience when you ride through Benelux:
Sometimes a food's name says everything you need to know about it. Tucked away in the museum part of Amsterdam, the Lunch Kiosk is a mobile operation intended to feed the tourists in need of some fast grub. I was in that spot on my visit earlier this month, and I do like to sample a hot dog wherever I go. It seemed like an opportunity I couldn't pass up.
At the Lunch Kiosk, the Chubby Hot Dog on the menu caught my attention immediately. How could it not? The big dog is wrapped in bacon and cheese, making it (what I thought would be) an artery-clogging delight. I had visions of Vancouver and Reykjavik, which made me salivate all the more. After waiting in line for what felt like an eternity, I placed my order and waited some more. I took this as a good sign, too. After all, immediate doesn't usually equate to culinary quality (not even with hot dogs).
When my order was up, I snatched it with excitement and headed over to the ketchup and mustard. The latter was particularly interesting, as Amsterdam tends to do mustard well (I do suggest smearing some on any of the local cheeses).
Choco-Story is a pretty wild place. Predictably, it calls Bruges home. After all, Belgium and chocolate go together like hot dogs and obesity. On my recent trip to Bruges, I heard about Choco-Story from the guy at the front desk of my hotel. Given that I like to nibble a bit of chocolate every now and then, it seemed worth a visit.
What I saw shocked me.
This isn't a museum in the conventional sense. The displays seem to have been designed from the tobacco industry playbook. The propaganda was extensive, and in a departure from the cigarette world, it wasn't shrouded effectively. Rather, insane innuendo was offered throughout the museum, and its true nature was painfully obvious. Had it been executed slightly better, the whole thing would have been funny. Alas, it was not.
So, if you're looking for some chocolate fun, Choco-Story will drive you absolutely nuts. Here are the top five ways this stop in Bruges will make your mind swirl:
Luxembourg is a tiny, interesting place. It probably isn't a destination in itself for most people, but it can be a great side trip from Paris, parts of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. If you can tack a few days onto your next vacation to that part of Europe, Luxembourg is a fun spot that you'd probably never visit otherwise.
Since your time in Luxembourg is likely to be short – and dependent upon other factors in your vacation – it can help to have a few ideas in mind before you hit the ground. You want to make the most of your experience, of course, while minimizing the aggravation that can come with going from Point A to Point B. Below, you'll find five tips for making your Luxembourg visit easier and more enjoyable.
Gallery: Views of Luxembourg
When you wander through Europe, you run into statues (literally, if you have your nose stuck in your guidebook). There are lots of 'em, and they're all old. Some are incredibly impressive: I still have a soft spot, of sorts, for Venus de Milo. Others, however, are utterly forgettable – vast collections of stone or metal that are important while falling short of stunning.
Visit Bruges, Belgium, and the rules change entirely.
Sure, there are plenty of statues, including a piece by Michaelangelo that somehow found its way out of Italy (this doesn't happen much, to be honest). The interesting stuff isn't sitting in churches or etched from stone. Rather, it's built from a distinctly Belgian medium: chocolate.
I'm not joking.
Spend a few minutes in Belgium, and you'll be bombarded by the sweet stuff (you'll even be encouraged to stick some up your nose). There's chocolate everywhere, and as I saw shortly after I hit the ground in Bruges, it's even on display.
The local chocolate museum, Choco-Story, is home to quite a few of them – unsurprising, really, given that the
Below, you'll find five interesting chocolate creations, along with some guesses at what may have inspired them. In some cases, it's a straight line from the real world to chocolate equivalent, but I will admit I stretched plausibility in a few places. Ultimately, the extent to which I may have fudged is up to you!