Sidenotes: Facts and Thoughts Beyond Travel

Facts + Thoughts Beyond Travel

From the Republic of Catalonia to the State of Catatonia

Remember Catalonia, the land of yellow ribbons? The long-coveted Republic has turned into a “State of Catatonia” and continues to be ruled by an avatar in Madrid. The politicians who sacrificed the Community’s autonomy at the altar of independence are touring Europe and no new government is on the horizon.

Yet things work out, so to speak. The economy is back on track and tourism grows more than in the rest of Spain while pro-independence fervor fades. So you know what, dear Catalans? Pass the wine, fuck the government, I love you…

First Airlines VR Trip: Authentic Fakeness vs Fake Authenticity

A restaurant in Tokyo, Japan offers a VR (virtual reality) trip to New York, Paris, Rome, or Hawaii enhanced by “in-flight meals” themed around the destination.

With FIRST AIRLINES you can taste the experiences of aviation and world travel while on the ground.

Although sold as “real air experience”, it is indeed a great example of “authentic fakeness”, just while everybody seems to be looking for a much more digestible “fake authenticity”. Perhaps that is why a “virtual airline facility” disguised as a restaurant (…or is it the other way around?) appears almost revolutionary in its flamboyant and extravagant excess. But what about “authentic authenticity”? Well, nobody can make a profit, so there’s no point in talking about it.

Space Travel 40 Years Later: Close Encounters of the X Kind

Did you notice that most of the latest tech marvels contain an X in their name? Have we already come to a dead end? This picture surely raises some concerns.

Berlin Travel Festival 2018
Falcon Heavy Demo Mission: Spaceman in Driving Seat – Photo Courtesy: SpaceX @ Flickr

Forty years ago Carl Sagan put onboard the NASA Voyager spacecraft 2 golden phonograph records full of sounds and images from planet Earth. He said:

The NASA spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring civilizations in interstellar space, but the launching of this bottle into the cosmic ocean says something very hopeful about life on this planet.

What does the car with a mannequin inside say instead? Well, at least it should make us reflect on the trajectory we have followed in the last decades, leading us to question ourselves about what happened to that marvelous idea of progress.

The Berlin Travel Festival: People, Places, and Memories

During the official celebrations of tourist nonsense, a new 3-day event will debut in Berlin trying to promote a more forward-thinking vision. The Berlin Travel Festival seems the perfect chance to get ready for the spring travel season.

Berlin Travel Festival 2018
Berlin Travel Festival, March 9-11, 2018, Arena Berlin – Photo Courtesy: BTF

People, places, and memories. This is what travel is about. And with this in mind, we are creating a new kind of travel festival. It will be one part pop-up store for curious travelers. Another part trade fair for the travel world. A wunderkammer of sorts filled with unexpected treasures.

Divided into five areas – Ocean Life, Culture Journeys, Weekenders, Outdoor Escapes, and The Nest – the festival aims to offer thought-provoking concepts, destinations, experiences, and perspectives. Save the date: March 9-11, 2018.

How Is It that Panama Broke Up with Tourists?

Not long ago, Panama loved tourists (…and tax evaders, but that’s another story).

Now, the lunatic country is willing to welcome travelers, adventurers, culture seekers, trendsetters, birders, sun chasers, sloth lovers, enthusiasts, and the curious, but not tourists (which, BTW, have tripled in the last ten years).

Ok, the background music has slightly improved, local people look aged, and animals are far more… animals, but do you really notice much difference?

Walk, Eat, and Sleep with Muji in Shenzhen and Beijing, China

Successful brands sell a lifestyle and not just products. Japanese retailer Muji is no exception and, beginning this year, conveys its minimalist, quality aesthetic to travelers visiting Shenzhen and Beijing in China with two new hotels.

Muji Hotel Room in Shenzhen, China
Muji Hotel Room in Shenzhen, China – Photo Courtesy: Muji

Designed to reflect an “anti-gorgeous, anti-cheap concept”, the hotels meet this much-touted experiential travel trend that for Muji simply translates into: “walk as much as you can, wherever you can; eat well; sleep well; stay fit.” (Amen!) As usual, their “brandless quality” comes at a price (from $150 to $400 a night).