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Strange Travel News: Week of Oct. 20, 2008

Beaver Tourism Threatens Retaining Walls

Martinez, CA—A family of eight beavers has made themselves at home after the town of Martinez redirected a local creek to prevent flooding. Drawing gawking crowds, the beavers are now local celebrities. However, the beavers may find themselves out of a home as their busy burrowing threatens dam-age to nearby retaining walls. Read full story.

Frustrated Passenger Hurls Foot Powder on Plane

Boston, MA—After his flight from Las Vegas to Boston was delayed, Arthur Nicholson, a passenger on a U.S. Airways plane, threw white foot powder around the cabin in protest of his poor treatment. Perhaps he hoped to solve the stinky service?Read full story.

Monkeys as Waiters in Japan

Tokyo, Japan—The Japanese tavern, Kayabukiya, employs two monkeys—Yat-chan and Fuku-chan. The pair wears official uniforms, offers hot towels to diners, and receives boiled soy beans as tips. Veteran waiter Yat-chan has even more responsibility: delivering bottles of beer and wine. With all the tourism attention, monkey-business is booming. Read full story.

Texting Elephants Save Crops in Kenya

Kenya—In an effort to keep elephants from the Ol Pejeta conservancy from raiding farmers’ crops, SIM cards on the pacaderms text rangers when the mammoth animals roam beyond the confines of the reserve. OMG LFNT TXTS R GR8!
Read full story.

Woman Checks Human Skull in Baggage

Tucson, AZ—Transportation Security Administration screeners found a human skull in a checked suitcase bound for Philadelphia. The owner, a passenger on the American Airlines flight, thought the skull—brought back from Japan by her military boyfriend—would make for the perfect Halloween decoration. Now that’s the holiday spirit! Read full story.

Inert Grenades Found in Luggage

New York, NY—A passenger flying JetBlue out of JFK Airport had two grenades nestled within shoes packed in his suitcase. After Transportation Security Administration officials deemed the explosives inert, they allowed the passenger to board the plane without any contact with the police. That’s water and nail clippers bad, grenades, excusable. Read full story.

Lost Penguins Fly South

Sao Paulo, Brazil—After almost 400 Magellanic penguins took a wrong turn and wound up on Brazil’s northern beaches, the Brazilian Air Force flew them to southern Brazil. Environmentalists hope that the older penguins can guide the group further south to their natural Patagonia home. The lost animals drew crowds at their departure, which looked like a black-tie event. Read full story.

Bunnies Invade Mandela Museum

Cape Town, South Africa—Authorities will temporarily close the Robben Island Museum—home to Nelson Mandela’s jail cell—in order to rid the historic site of a colony of bunnies that have taken over the property. The bunnies, though undeniably cute, have the potential to devastate the island’s vegetation. Hope there’s a hoppy ending. Read full story.

Artist’s Work Threatens Airline Security

New York, NY—Evan Roth is getting creative with his carry-on luggage. The artist recently launched a project in which metal plates, with stenciled messages cut out, are inserted into participants’ carry-on bags before their luggage is ex-rayed. The plates, with messages that read "nothing to see here" are then viewed by security personnel—with an almost guaranteed cavity search to follow. Read full story here and here

Transportation Security Administration Employee Sells Stolen Goods on eBay

Newark, NJ—Newark Liberty Airport TSA employee Pythias Brown was arrested after a CNN worker’s missing camera showed up on Brown’s ebay page. Police who raided Brown’s home found an estimated $200,000 worth of laptops, jewelry, and electronics including a camera stolen from an HBO employee valued at $47,000. Starting bid: felony charges. Read full story.

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