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Strange Careers Within the Travel Industry

We all were shocked and concerned when we found out that US Airways flight 1549 was forced to land in New York’s Hudson River on January 15, 2009. Apparently geese were sucked into one or both of the airplane’s engines, causing the plane to go down. For quite some time now, airports and airline companies have known that birds can pose quite a threat to an airplanes engine, and many airports have come up with different ways to combat the issues.

For example, in Amsterdam at the Schipol Airport, a robotic hawk flies around scaring all of the birds away so that airplanes can safely take off and land. However, if you’d like an even stranger job within the travel industry, head on over to the Zurich Airport. Here, they employ three hunters to shoot down potentially damaging creatures. When we travel it’s easy to overlook these strange jobs that are necessary, but it is because of these jobs that we are able to travel safely.

Airport hunters are just one of the strangest jobs that you’ll find out there. Don’t be surprised if you feel that some of these other jobs are even stranger.

Many travel-industry jobs are all about keeping Mother Nature at bay.You’ll find jobs ranging from keeping pesky seagulls from invading the Four Seasons’ pool in Santa Barbara, to keeping pigeons from freckling monuments with their droppings in Italy, to keeping monkeys from stealing guests cookies in India.

“Monkey Men” are what they are called. These men are employed by a plush resort in India and spend their day chasing primates who are prone to stealing guests’ cookies. Who knows, maybe the monkey’s need a few extra cookies for their tea party on the other side of the resorts stone wall.

Coconut Safety Engineer

At the Ritz Carlton in St. Thomas Virgin Islands a man by the name of Shaka shimmies up the resorts palm trees, which tower between 20 to 60 feet high to pick ripe coconuts. There have been a few studies that have found that ripened falling coconuts can cause severe head injuries and even death, so it is up to Shaka to take care of the problem. As he climbs up the trees, he isn’t just putting on a show for the guests, he is helping to keep them safe. Onlookers may even get the chance to sample some fresh coconut when he cracks one open after his descent. Shaka also shares the fruits of his labors poolside at a sunset get together announced by the blowing of the conch shell.

Karaoke Taxi Drivers

In Helsinki, Finland, you’ll find Karaoke taxi drivers, who will entertain you as you ride along. No more are the days of shallow chitchat with your cab driver; here in these brightly colored Mercedes minivans, you’ll have the opportunity to join in the fun and sing a song of your own. These taxis seat from eight to thirteen riders and are equipped with 5,000 songs. These type of taxis are rare to find just waiting to be hailed on the street, no you’ll have to book in advance over the phone for this unique experience.

Sewer Guide

In Paris, smell-tolerant visitors can visit the Museum of the Sewers, which has been a hit since it first opened in the 19th century. Most often, sewer guides are ex-sewer workers, so they have developed a threshold for the aromatic hazards. The sewer museum has long been held as the underground masterpiece of Paris, where sewer lines correspond by name to the streets above. You may even have the chance to see pipes emptying from the corresponding homes. At only $6 for entrance,  you’ll have an interesting and memory building experience.

LEGO Professional Gluer

We all remember as kids building towers out of Legos, so the biggest draw for Lego fans is Miniland USA, which is where professional Lego engineers and gluers, erect models of the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Vegas strip. The team of Master Model Builders divvies up the responsibilities of designing, building, and maintaining the models. The group that maintains the models periodically go around and clean or add UV coating to the models, and the builders are the ones who painstakingly glue the bricks together based on the designer’s plans. At Miniland USA, the Master Model Builders have become their own exhibit, featuring a giant window on one side of their workshop. Here, you’ll have the chance to see the builders at work and discover how those intricate models are actually made.

Manners Police

In Venice, birds and their droppings on statues and monuments have been a thorn in the side of officials. Even though they have to watch over the bird population, these days there is an even bigger pest that needs monitoring. The manners police, who are referred to as “Volunteer Angels”, try to keep at bay uncouth tourists who may be traipsing around shirtless or who sit down in the middle of the sidewalk to eat a sandwich. These “angels” have been on duty for a couple of years to intervene in any flagrant pec-flashing or sandwich-eating. The volunteer crew is made up of 50 people, mainly locals and mainly women ranging in age from 20 to 60. Usually they’l give offenders a friendly warning, but if needs be, they will flag a traffic cop to fine the offenders. So, next time you visit Venice, make sure to keep your shirt on and do not eat a sandwich in the middle of the sidewalk.

These are just a few of the strange jobs found within the travel industry. With the bad economy and record unemployment, who knows, we may just see more people flocking to fill positions such as these. These days, if you can think up a potential job, it probably exists somewhere out there.