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Strange Travel News: Week of Nov. 3, 2008

Man Traps Arm in Train Toilet

Paris, France—A 26-year-old man aboard a high-speed TGV train got his arm stuck in the train’s toilet after attempting to recover his mobile phone. Emergency services removed the passenger with the bowl still lodged on his arm. Sounds like one powerful potty. Read more (BBC, 10/27/08).

Giant Smoochers Back in Sarasota

Sarasota, FL—The 26-foot-tall 3D interpretation of the famed Life magazine photograph of a WWII sailor kissing a nurse has returned to its Sarasota home after a year-long stint in San Diego. A private donor footed the bill for the triumphant return, but for the PDA pair to stay a citizen’s group will have to cough up $700,000. That’s one costly canoodle. Read more here, here, and here (WWSB ABC7, 10/21/08).

Arson Better than Wedding in Japan

Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan—Thirty-nine-year-old fiancé Tatsuhiko Kawata set fire to the Risonare hotel so he could get out of his impending marriage, which was to take place later that day on the property. What’s more, the would-be groom already had a wife. Maybe he was just trying to warm his cold feet?Read more here, and here (Metro, 10/27/08).

England has More Rats than People

York, England—English pest-control giant Rentokil estimates England’s rat population at 65 to 80 million, staggering compared to the human headcount of approximately 60 million. York’s pest population alone is up more the 200 percent over the past year. Experts blame excess food waste, but with tripe and black pudding on the menu, what’s a nation to do?Read more here, and here (The Daily Telegraph, 10/27/08).

Bus Driver Held at Gunpoint, Forced to Drive to Disney

Orlando, FL—An armed man aboard a Mears charter and airport transportation bus held the driver at gunpoint and demanded a ride to Disney World. The hijacker allegedly hid in the bathroom of the vehicle before forcing the driver to drop him at the theme park, which she did, unharmed. To be fair, it is very difficult to find a cheap cab. Read more (Fox35 Orlando, 10/25/08).

Bavarian Speed Muppet

Bayreuth, Bavaria—German police are looking for a chronic speeder in an Audi TT with British plates, who is also a muppet. Traffic cameras have photographed the speedster on multiple occasions, each time capturing only the passenger-side occupant—a furry muppet doll—as the English-configured car is adapted for left-side driving. Who said British humor doesn’t translate?Read more here, and here (The Daily Star, 10/27/08).

Poodle Delays Flights at Logan Airport

Boston, MA—After escaping her carrier during unloading, Choochy the poodle ran amok on the tarmac at Boston’s Logan Airport for 17 hours despite recovery attempts by both airport staff and state police. The petite white dog caused 20-minute delays for no fewer than eight flights. Logan’s Terror Alert is now a code fluffy. Read more (The Boston Globe, 10/27/08).

Sand Thieves Threaten Caribbean Beaches

San Juan, Puerto Rico—Late-night sand-stealing operations threaten the beauty and very existence of Caribbean destinations. According to environmental authorities, thieves are trucking away the precious round-grain sand for lucrative construction projects that use the resource in concrete finishing. The contraband sells for nearly $200 per cubic yard—that’s some serious sand-dollars. Read more (Associated Press, 10/26/08).

Crown Princess of Sweden Booed on Flight

New Delhi, India—Jet Airways apologized to the Crown Princess of Sweden following a botched flight from New Delhi. Airline representatives were late to meet the princess at the airport, and then led her to the incorrect gate. When the heiress found her plane, a Jet Airways employee informed the cabin that the princess was the cause for the delay, eliciting boos from passengers. Sounds like a royal mess. Read more (The Local, 10/27/08).

Woman Smuggles Bananas in Underwear at Sydney Airport

Sydney, Australia—An airport officer suspected a 56-year-old Czech woman of hiding contraband on her person and proceeded to find three baby banana plants tucked in the traveler’s underwear. The plants’ potential diseases pose a threat to Australia’s banana industry. A trial will be held to see if the evidence had been planted. Read more (News.com.au, 10/24/08).

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