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Motor City

I’ve often wondered why so many Americans are obese when places like Wal-Mart and Target are so enormous that surely just walking from Electrical to Greeting Cards must burn off a few hundred calories.

And so I wasn’t particularly surprised when I read that some Las Vegas tourists–exhausted, evidently, by strolling from casino to buffet and back to casino again–are hiring motorized bikes to navigate the Strip.

Called “mobility scooters,” these controversial forms of transportation were originally intended for the elderly, infirm, or disabled–all people who should, without question, be able to use them to make their vacation a little easier. But for $40 a pop, perfectly able-bodied patrons are hiring their own mobility scooters to make that afternoon walk from the Luxor to the Bellagio, well, a drive.

After the Movie-Film…

Think of the popular travel writers publishing today and the names Bill Bryson and Pico Iyer come to mind. Soon enough, their books will sit on the shelves next to a new sort of travel book, written by a person who is wildly popular, but who does not actually exist.

Over the weekend, CNN reported that Borat, the fictional Kazakh reporter who recently made such a big hit at the box office, now has set his literary sights on dishing out travel advice. The book deal has already been signed with Flying Dolphin Press. Coming to the shelves in November, the book will be entitled “Borat: Touristic Guidings to Minor Nation of U.S. and A.” and “Borat: Touristic Guidings to Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” That’s two books in one. Nice!

Close Encounters of the Animal Kind

What’s a trip to Australia without seeing a koala or a trek in Peru without a llama? Sure, there are zoos and animal parks that bring giraffes to the Bronx and hippos to Cleveland, but, to me, there’s nothing like seeing animals in their natural habitats.

Like a lot of people in the Bay Area, I’ve been following the story of the humpback whales that have lost their way out of their natural habitat and into the waters near Sacramento. Everyone I know is really rooting for them to make their way back through the Golden Gate and to the ocean. To have whales come in such close proximity to the Governator’s office is a novelty, and the rescue effort is drawing large crowds of both locals and tourists alike.