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Golf Cart Renaissance? The Thrill of Low-Speed Rail

railway

Here's a bucket-list trip for the kooky trainspotter in your life.

New Zealand–based tour operator Forgotten World Adventures invites folks to drive "rail carts" along the old Stratford to Okahukura Railway Line, which was originally built between 1901 and 1933, and which runs parallel to the Forgotten World Highway.

The "rail carts," however, are not velvet-draped sleepers from the glamorous heyday of rail travel. They're souped-up golf carts, imported from the U.S. (Georgia, to be exact). Their little steering wheels don't work now—probably a good thing—but you can still can stop and go with the pedals, all the better for enjoying the views, or posing for camera-toting rubberneckers.

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Bunny Fever (Sort of) Heading to India

Playboy Club

Are the bunnies going Bollywood? The first Playboy Club of India—a 22,000-square-foot hotspot set along Candolim Beach in north Goa—will open this December. Fun Playboy Club trivia: It's the first Playboy Club ever on a beach, and plans are for seven more clubs to pop up around the nation over the next three years.

But hold onto your fluffy tail: Given the nation's tough rules regarding decency, there will be some big things missing from this new Playboy Club. Like, the corset-based bunny outfit. Or any nudity, for that matter.

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Vegas Tip: Beware of Hot, $10,000 Chips

Vegas Casino Theft

We’ve always loved walking through a Vegas casino in the morning: the calm determination of the early-riser slot-machine lovers, armed with their large coffees, and the trickle of tousled, hungover, partiers squinting their way to the lobby to go find their cars.

It turns out that near dawn is also the perfect time to pull off a big heist. Las Vegas Police are looking for a Palmdale, Calif., man who allegedly took $1.6 million in chips at The Venetian casino on Oct. 10. He supposedly walked into the casino at about 6 a.m., and with no staff nearby, picked the lock on a cabinet full of chips and strolled away with his haul.

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Confessions of an Aspen Bellman

bellman

A veteran porter sheds light on working at a ritzy ski-town resort.

“A lot of people assume that we’re good for carrying luggage, and that’s it. But we know as much or more about where to eat and what to do as the front desk or concierge.”

“Some guests think we’re their personal assistants. They want us to get them groceries, swap their pillows, even drive them to the liquor store and wait for half an hour.”

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Obsession: Mini Meals

Re-ment

Penny-size pancakes, inch-high rice cookers, itty-bitty sushi. Re-ment—hyper-perfect plastic miniatures of foods and kitchen gadgets that I discovered in Tokyo’s legendary Kiddy Land toy store—embodies what I admire most about Japanese culture: a laser-like focus on detail, devoted to even the most mundane parts of life, and a near-religious obsession with cuteness. Re-ment is a spin on Cracker Jack: a toy comes in a small box with a token piece of candy, and you never know what you’re going to get (please, let it be the vintage toaster!). Some surprises even grown-ups can’t resist.

Jennifer Flowers is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Levi Brown

County in China Boasts Hot Tourist Attraction: Really Old Folks

elderly Chinese person

The terms "centenarian" and "cashing in" are rarely used in the same breath among tourism officials, but that may be changing—at least in a remote county in the Guangxi Zhuang region of China.

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Art as Take-Home Amenity: Man Tries to Lift Painting From Cruise Ship

Norwegian Star

We all know it's fine if you take home the soap or shampoo that you find in your hotel room or cruise-ship cabin. But what about that coffee mug? The bathrobe? Or...the decor in the lobby?

A Kentucky man has been fined $500 after he tried to disembark from the Norwegian Star with a giant painting that—well, was part of the permanent decor of the Norwegian Star.

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One Tepid Club Soda, Please: Woman Sues Southwest Over Hot Tea

201209-b-hot-tea-airline-lawsuitjpg

Southwest Airlines—which once upon a time, sprang earnestly from a place called Love Field—is inspiring more ill will again.

A Tennessee woman has filed an $800,000 suit against the airline—$300,000 for medical damages, and $500,000 in punitive damages—after she says she was scalded by hot water during a flight from Nashville to Houston.

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Sun, Sand, Closing Arguments: A New Attraction in the Maldives?

Maldives

Talk about spoiling the mood: If you’re going to the Maldives for a romantic getaway, the islands’ deposed president has a great suggestion for you: Settle into your hotel room, then watch his trial on TV.

Depending on whom you ask, Mohamed Nasheed either stepped down, or was ousted, from office earlier this year. Either way, he is now facing charges of abusing his power and will be tried by what he calls a “kangaroo court.”

The former prez says that tourists should know that some luxury resorts may have backed his coup after he had hoped to market the islands—which has long attracted both honeymooners and A-list guests such as Tom Cruise, Jennifer Aniston and Mick Jagger—to more middle-income travelers.

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Crocs on a Plane!

crocodile

Somebody in Australia may be getting the last laugh over airlines' lofty checked baggage fees.

After a recent Qantas Airways flight from Brisbane to Melbourne, cargo handlers got a wacky surprise while unloading the plane: a live crocodile had gotten loose amongst the baggage.

Sounds like a fabulous Samsonite commercial, doesn’t it? Croc jumps on bags, rifles through passengers’ belongings, snacks on undeclared vegemite stashed in luggage.

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