Animal Travel

Monkey See, Monkey Wait Tables

Each monkey is limited to working a maximum of two hours a day; the Monkey-Waiter Union is powerful like that.

Tweleve-year-old Yat-chan learned how to wait tables by spending time watching the staff at a sushi restaurant.

That would not be an especially noteworthy feat except for this: Yat-chan is a monkey, one of three who tend to customers at the Kayabukiya Tavern in Utsunomiya, Japan.

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Best of Spot Cool Stuff 2009: Animal Travel

Spot Cool Stuff loves the nexus between travel and animals, whether it is traveling to see animals or traveling with animals or traveling to hop into a bath next to an animal. We are such fans that we’ve created an entire animal travel category for our posts.

So what were our favorite animal travel articles of 2009?

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Lose Weight While Traveling:
Three Fun & Cool Trips

A vacation is a wonderful time to get away from the normal day-to-day. But you needn’t spend it sedentary and immobile, sipping cocktails and grazing at the buffet.

To combat vacation hangover and dreaded weight gain here are three fun trips that will challenge your mind and your body. You’ll return home from each of these trips in better shape than you left.

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The Cat Cafes of Tokyo

Japan’s capital city can be a tough place for a cat lovers to live. Small apartments, long work hours and restrictive housing codes make it difficult for Tokyoians (Tokyoites? Tokyoids?) to keep cats at home. No wonder then that the city is seeing an increasing number of cat cafes—lounges where the felineless can drink coffee and find some catisfaction. Tokyo has seven different cat cafes that we know of (and there are probably many more than that). Here’s a look at our three favorite:

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7 Amazing & Luxurious
South Africa Safari Lodges

Spot Cool Stuff loves a good safari lodge, one that’s inviting and is in tune with its natural surroundings. Somehow candlelit dinners are more romantic when they are on a wood deck overlooking a river with crocodiles and hippos. Cold drinks taste better when drunk while gazing out at lions and giraffes in the heat of the day. Beds are more comfortable when they double as a refuge in the middle of an animal-filled wilderness.

Spot Cool Stuff also loves South Africa, a wondrous country that has more diversity of culture and landscape than most people imagine.

So it was an easy decision to write up two posts that combine our twin passions for South Africa and safari lodges.

In this, the first of our two-part series, we check out seven luxurious safari lodges. If you’re looking for a resort to celebrate a special occasion (or if you have access to an expense account) consider a stay at one of these WOW-inducing digs that combine luxury with some of the best game viewing in Africa. In our next South Africa post we’ll focus on our favorite budget safari lodges. To stay updated on that (and all the other travel goings at Spot Cool Stuff), follow us on Twitter, join us on Facebook or subscribe to our RSS feed and get our travel posts delivered directly to your email inbox or to your RSS aggregator.

And with that, here’s to luxury in the middle of South African wilderness:

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Websites For Finding Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Pets can make absolutely wonderful travel companions. The process of finding pet-friendly accommodations, however, can be a less-than-wonderful experience. Fortunately there are several websites that specialize in helping your little Rover or Fluffy enjoy your vacation along with you.

Reviews of our favorites:

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The Guatemala Bat Cave

To make the final leg of the journey to Guatemala’s Lanquín Caves (Grutas de Lanquin) intrepid travelers have two options: The first is to walk the path along the banks of the Lanquín River. The second is to take float down the river on an inner tube to—and then into—the caves. Regardless of the mode of transport, if you arrive at the caves around dusk and you’ll witness an extraordinary event!

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The Safari B&B in Deepest, Darkest California

At night you fall asleep listening to the roar of lions and tigers through the canvas walls of your tent. In the morning you wake up to an elephant bringing you your breakfast, carried in a picnic basket he’s holding by his trunk.

It may seem like you are in Africa or in some brought-to-life children’s story. You are not. You are at the Vision Quest Ranch, an unusual B&B in Salinas, California, about an hour south of San Francisco.

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