A judge in the Netherlands has upheld a new law to ban foreign tourists from entering cannabis cafes. While soft drugs are tolerated, there is growing concern at tourists visiting just for drugs, and foreign dealers selling illegally at home. The ban is due to start in three southern provinces next month, and go nationwide by the end of the year. A group of cafe owners argued at The Hague district court that the ban was discriminatory against foreigners. Under the new law, Dutch residents will still be allowed into the cafes, as long as they have valid identification, or possibly hold a new "weed pass", which is also being debated. There are about 700 coffee shops, as they are called, in the Netherlands. The cultivation and sale of soft drugs through them is decriminalised, although not legal; police generally tolerate possession of up to five grams of cannabis.
Tag Archives | Tourism
Backpacking tourists flock to La Paz, Bolivia’s Route 36 for long nights of cocaine and Jenga. Is this what your neighborhood dive bar would look like if hard drugs were legalized? The Guardian writes:
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The waiter arrives at the table, lowers the tray and places an empty black CD case in the middle of the table. Next to the CD case are two straws and two little black packets. He is so casual he might as well be delivering a sandwich and fries. And he has seen it all.
La Paz, Bolivia, at 3,900m above sea level – an altitude where even two flights of stairs makes your heart race like a hummingbird – is home to the most celebrated bar in all of South America: Route 36, the world’s first cocaine lounge. I sit back to take in the scene – table after table of chatty young backpackers, many of whom are taking a gap year, awaiting a new job or simply escaping the northern hemisphere for the delights of South America, which, for many it seems, include cocaine.
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The Andaman Trunk Road was ordered to be closed by India’s Supreme Court in 2002 but it still remains open and poses a high threat to the indigenous community who have a population of just 365.
‘Survival’, an organisation which campaigns for tribal people’s rights worldwide, has called for travellers to boycott the road which runs through the Andaman Islands, a destination growing in popularity among tourists.
Rules to protect the Jarawa reserve and its community are routinely broken and thousands of tourists — both Indian and international — travel along the road each month, making the reserve in effect, a human safari park.
The hunter-gatherer Jarawa, have only had friendly contact with outsiders since 1998 so there is a high risk of tourists passing on diseases to the community who have little immunity.
In 1999 and 2006, the Jarawa suffered an outbreak of measles, which historically has decimated many indigenous communities worldwide following outside contact.
Framing sites of mass tourism in our viewfinders, we create photographic souvenirs that are integral to the touristic experience. These products, coined “photograph-trophies” by Susan Sontag, separate our leisurely pleasures from the real everyday experiences of work and life.
Artist Corinne Vionnet begins with the most recognizable of images and creates something unearthly and unsettling — from Flickr and personal blogs, she culls thousands of tourists’ snapshots of a well-known landmark (such as the Taj Majal, below) and overlaps them into single composite, revealing the collective “tourists’ gaze” produced by the absurd behavior of millions of people endlessly taking the same photograph over and over. Via My Modern Met:
If you’re desperate for assistance in ending your life, Switzerland is your best bet, per this report from Bloomberg News:
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Switzerland is the destination of choice for people from abroad who want to die. The office of the country’s top legal official is pushing to change that.
While assisted suicide is permitted in the Netherlands, Belgium and the U.S. states of Oregon, Washington and Montana, only Switzerland allows doctors to help foreigners end their lives. More than 25 percent of the 380 assisted suicides in Switzerland during 2009 involved foreigners, most of whom died after drinking water laced with a lethal dose of barbiturates.
Former Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who was replaced by Simonetta Sommaruga in November, has proposed making the practice more difficult by demanding oversight by doctors who aren’t connected with one of the country’s four right-to-die organizations. Assisted suicide has been legal in Switzerland since 1942.
“Those Swiss politicians who want to change the rules on assisted suicide behave like moral apostles,” said Margrit Weibel, president of Zurich-based suicide organization Ex International.
Dante’s Inferno provides us with what is perhaps the most apt picture of tourism to date. More specifically, it is in the first layer of Hell, Limbo, that Dante depicts the circumstances that contextualize tourism and the individual who undertakes it, i.e. the tourist.
Like the unbaptized and virtuous Pagans whose torture is the inability to imagine something greater than their rational minds can conceive, the tourist never ventures beyond the predetermined image of the places they visit. The tourist deals only in images, whether it is the image of the Grand Canyon that was promised to him by the travel agent, or the image he must make of it (by snapping a picture) in order for it to become real. The tourist cannot know the mystery or grandeur of the Grand Canyon as it stretches across the horizon, she can only seen it in comparison to the image she was promised.… Read the rest
If you’d like to experience Amsterdam’s famous coffee shops, I suggest booking your flight soon. From Reuters:
The Dutch government said on Wednesday it wanted to ban tourists from buying cannabis in “coffee shops,” where hash is on sale legally, as part of a national crackdown on drug use.
The government, which took office last month, has agreed to limit the sale of cannabis to Dutch residents to curb crime linked to its production and trading.
The Netherlands has one of Europe’s most liberal soft drug policies and its coffee shops are a popular tourist attraction, especially in Amsterdam and border cities near Belgium and Germany.
But some cities near the border with Belgium have clamped down on drug tourism, and the Dutch minister for security and justice confirmed Wednesday a wider crackdown after coalition parties agreed to push for a ban in September.
[Continues at Reuters]
Virgin Galactic will offer suborbital rides if the SpaceShipTwo spaceliner is approved after tests. Virgin Galactic will be the first program that will allow private tourists to take a scenic trip to see the darkness of space. The first full-crewed flight proved successful on July 15, with more tests to follow, there is a confident possibility for the first commercial tour to be this fall. MSNBC reports:
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A private spaceship built to launch space tourists on suborbital joyrides could by flying on its own by this fall, Space.com has learned.
The SpaceShiftTwo spacecraft VSS Enterprise, which the space tourism company Virgin Galactic has been flying on test flights attached to a huge mothership, could make its first drop flights over California’s Mojave Desert for glide and landing tests.
“There’s a reasonable possibility that we could see the first drop flight in the fall, but as always, everything is predicated on thoroughness and safety,” Virgin Galactic’s commercial director Stephen Attenborough told Space.com in an e-mail.
Where Can I Get a Drink Here? Okay, this one is a bit on the light side, but I found it quite interesting as an illustration of the unintended consequences (sometimes really unintended) of introducing non-native species in foreign ecosystems. The video below shows alcoholic monkeys on the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean. They were brought there from West Africa 300 years ago by slave traders back when the island was a rum-producing colony, and apparently they developed a taste for alcohol from eating fermented sugarcane left in the fields. Nowadays, they satisfy their liquor habit by stealing drinks from tourists:
Roger Boyes writes for The Times:
Switzerland announced plans yesterday to crack down on “suicide tourism”, signalling that it might close the Dignitas clinic that has helped hundreds of terminally ill people to take their lives.
The plans — in the form of two draft Bills that will be offered for public debate — are likely to set off a rush of patients from Britain and elsewhere in Europe since Switzerland has become the main destination for those seeking assisted suicide.
Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, the Justice Minister, said that two options would be presented to parliament. Either clinics such as Dignitas and Exit, which deals chiefly with Swiss patients, will have to accept much stricter regulation or they will be closed down.
The tightening of the rules would require patients to present two medical opinions declaring their disease incurable, that death is expected within months and that they have made their decision of sound mind and fully aware of their options…