6 Days on a Container Ship

Today's awesomeness: excellent travel writing from Fred Scharmen, a man who spent six days aboard Dettifoss, a container ship. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel on a container ship, a sort of paid stowaway on a long, slow journey? Well, even if you haven't, I personally think about this a lot. Without further ado, here are some choice snippets from this engrossing travelogue:

The only break was when Goodman, the Second Officer, invited me to come visit the bridge: "That sign that says 'No Passengers- Restricted Access', don't pay attention to that." There I found only the Captain, standing steadily despite the horizon which was pitching from the top of the wraparound windows to the bottom, with jazz on the sound system. "Is this satellite radio?" I asked, reaching for a railing to grab onto. "No. It is a Danish Jazz station! Denmark is just over the horizon to the West!" He indicated a slightly darker patch of grey off the starboard side. "So it just takes one person to pilot the ship?" The cabin I was occupying was marked "pilot" over the door. "Yes. It is all done with computers!"

Yesterday my phone and I had an argument, it told me that if I couldn't remember the otherwise useless PIN code that came with my SIM card then it wouldn't tell me what time it was. At this point all I need the thing for is a clock, the minutes on the card are dead, and I don't plan on calling anyone from the North Sea, anyway. But the geniuses who invented this SIM card system decided that the phone, which is also a calculator, stopwatch and alarm clock, would become a paperweight if the user ever forgot the arbitrary four digit number that came with the last recharge he or she got, in whatever random Scandinavian country he or she was in, when the thing ran out of minutes last. I've been traveling for too long.

Later I'm drawing some more and when it starts to rain again, I move into my cabin to try to color the drawing of the harvester I had made. The Captain knocks on my door, he has the Frank Gehry movie. "I have brought you this movie! Probably you have already seen it!" I tell him that it's not likely, and thank him. "And also this!" the Phaidon book of 20th century art. "It has some of my favorite artists in it! And these!" two jazz CDs "For you to copy! On your computer if you wish!" I thank him and show him the drawing that I'm working on, he looks at it thoughtfully "It's not finished?" I tell him that I still need to finish painting it. "Yes. Well when it is finished, perhaps I will make you an offer for it!" "You know my wife and I, we have sold our little house!" he says, "And we have moved into Reykjavik, a flat in the city, in the Funkisstile!" "The what?" "The Funkisstile! You do not have this word?" "I know the Jungendstijl, but I've never heard of the Funkisstile, is it an Icelandicthing?" "No. Everywhere they have the Funkisstile! It is the boxy! The boxy style!" he points to the shippingcontainers outside the window and in my drawing. "We love it!" I tell him that the Dutch, too, are also very fond of the Funkisstile. "Yes. Well I do not wish to disturb you!" "Thank you for these, Captain, I will take good care of them." "Yes."

Read the rest for a look at more minutiae from Scharmen's trip.

Image courtesy of sevensixfive on Flickr.

(Via Kottke.org.)

Courtesy of Airpod
New Nap Pods—Complete with Alarm Clocks and Netflix—Set for A Trial Run at Airports This Summer
Courtesy of Airpod
Courtesy of Airpod

Sleepy travelers in Europe can soon be on the lookout for Airpods, self-contained capsules designed to help passengers relax in privacy.

For 15 euros per hour (roughly $18), travelers can charge their phones, store their luggage, and, yes, nap on a chair that reclines into a bed. The Airpods are also equipped with television screens and free streaming on Netflix, Travel + Leisure reports.

To keep things clean between uses, each Airpod uses LED lights to disinfect the space and a scent machine to manage any unfortunate odors.

The company's two Slovenian founders, Mihael Meolic and Grega Mrgole, expect to conduct a trial run of the service by placing 10 pods in EU airports late this summer. By early 2019, they expect to have 100 Airpods installed in airports around the world, though the company hasn't yet announced which EU airports will receive the first Airpods.

The company eventually plans to introduce an element of cryptocurrency to its service. Once 1000 Airpods are installed (which the company expects to happen by late 2019), customers can opt in to a "Partnership Program." With this program, participants can become sponsors of one specific Airpod unit and earn up to 80 percent of the profits it generates each month. The company's cryptocurrency—called an APOD token—is already on sale through the Airpod website.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

8 City Maps Rendered in the Styles of Famous Artists

Vincent van Gogh once famously said, "I dream my painting and I paint my dream." If at some point in his career he had dreamed up a map of Amsterdam, where he lived and derived much of his inspiration from, it may have looked something like the one below.

In a blog post from March, Credit Card Compare selected eight cities around the world and illustrated what their maps might look like if they had been created by the famous artists who have roots there.

The Andy Warhol-inspired map of New York City, for instance, is awash with primary colors, and the icons representing notable landmarks are rendered in his famous Pop Art style. Although Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh, he spent much of his career working in the Big Apple at his studio, dubbed "The Factory."

Another iconic and irreverent artist, Banksy, is the inspiration behind London's map. Considering that the public doesn't know Banksy's true identity, he remains something of an enigma. His street art, however, is recognizable around the world and commands exorbitant prices at auction. In an ode to urban art, clouds of spray paint and icons that are a bit rough around the edges adorn this map of England's capital.

For more art-inspired city maps, scroll through the photos below.

[h/t Credit Card Compare]


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