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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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Lost and Found in Europe: Chargers, Books, Legs

Hotel Lost and Found: artificial leg

It's no surprise that it's gotten so easy to buy a charger or adapter at the airport: travelers seem to misplace, forget or just shed the things like old gum wrappers.

Indeed, those dull-but-essential accessories accounted for 68 percent of the items left behind at Choice Hotels, according to a recent survey of the company's European hoteliers.

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Cat Burglar or Dupe? Chinese Tourist Swallows Diamond at Gem Expo

gem

Say what you want about the colorful geeks who go to ComiCon every year, but give them credit: You never hear about them trying to swallow light sabers on the sly.

That wasn't the case at Facets 2012, the latest of the famed Sri Lankan gem expo. Earlier this month, police arrested a seemingly jewel-loving Chinese tourist at the exhibition after he was suspected of swallowing a $13,000 diamond and replacing it in the display case with a fake gem.

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Seagull Films Sunset for Tourist

French tourist Nathalie Rollandin was shocked when a seagull swooped down and snatched her camera and her precious vacation photos. What she didn't realize was the bird was doing her a solid. It snagged her camera while recording and captured epic views of San Francisco Bay, and then genially set it down for her retrieval. Take a look at the footage caught by the mischievous bird above, and hope you're lucky enough to have a run-in with the bird on your next trip to San Francisco.


Kelsi Maree Borland is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Singapore’s New Pandas Travel in Luxurious Style

201209-b-singapore-pandasjpg
The last time you traveled to Singapore, was your plane temperature controlled? Were your meals specially prepared? Were the flight attendants attuned to your every need? Don't worry, me neither. But, for Kai Kai and Jia Jia, the pair of giant pandas that recently traveled to the Asian city-state to star in a new exhibit at River Safari, Asia's first animal theme park.

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Burning Hot New Trend? Tourists as Firefighters

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If Detroit is seeking to find the next craze in adventure travel, they are really missing the mark. The city commissioner, Don Austin, is thinking of charging visiting firefighters to spend the day doing what they do best: fight fires.

According to My Fox Detroit, the plan would be an extension of the city’s ride-along program, which has long been a main tourist attraction in Detroit. Firefighters from other towns, would get the opportunity to fight a real-life, big-city fire, for a small fee, of course. Risking one's life included.

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Psychics! The Newest Trend in Art

The Tate Modern's Undercurrent

No, this isn’t part of a gypsy-laden renaissance fair. London’s The Tate Modern recently opened its doors to six psychics for the opening weekend of Undercurrent, a festival at the new The Tanks gallery running through August 27th. Images of crystal balls and large warts may fill your head, but according The Guardian, the trained fortunetellers' accessories and setting are much less theatrical; they sat in plain wooden booths inviting museum-goers to interact. 

The art exhibit was part of Jon Fawcett’s EIR installation piece, which opened the 11-day-long show. Undercurrent’s remaining exhibits include Touch and Vision, which blasts museum-goers with music and records the effects, and Tweet Me Up!, a spontaneous photography collaboration via proverbial social media outlets. The combination of off-the-wall acts is something no one could foretell. Well, no one but the psychics that is.

Kelsi Maree Borland is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by iStockphoto

Berlin's Quirky (and Affordable) Huettenpalast Hotel

Huettenpalast Hotel, Berlin

Sometimes when you live checking in and out of hotel rooms, it can all become a blur, so when you stumble upon one that not only offers something innovative and fun, but also stays with you long after you leave, you take note. During a recent backpacking trip through Europe I checked into a quirky Berlin stay called Huettenpalast Hotel (Hobrechtstrasse 66; 49-030/3730-5806; from $59 per night). Those looking for something completely different and charming will definitely find it here as the place can only be described as an indoor campsite. Six wooden cabins and vintage caravans just large enough to fit a double bed are scattered inside an old vacuum cleaner factory for a "room within a room" experience. The sunny campsite contains various seating options, shared bathrooms and showers (don't worry, they're incredibly clean), and a center dining area where little baggies of croissants, apples, and drinks are hung on a painted tree for breakfast each morning.

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TODAY Show Video: Test Your Travel Trivia

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Think you’re well traveled? Find out by taking this fun, quick quiz. You may be surprised by the answers to these questions about popular destinations and travel references in pop culture.

#1 What is the most visited tourist attraction in the world?
A. Times Square
B. Disney World
C. The Colosseum
D. Eiffel Tower

Related: See all of the world’s most-visited tourist attractions

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