Random weirdness for the week of Oct. 15, 2019


Which of these is fake news: 1) A luxury “igloo” hotel at the North Pole for $105,000 a night, 2) a luxury “blimp” hotel at the North Pole for $80,000 a night or 3) a luxury portable hotel on a Svalbard glacier for a considerably lower price yet to be determined? Bang the box below to find the answer and many more misadventures from yet another wacky week.

As the picture above suggests, the blimp is real news, at least in the sense the airship exists and some folks have visions of selling high-priced trips aboard it from Svalbard to the top of the world beginning in 2023. The Swedish company OceanSky Cruises promises “a flying five-star hotel” with polar bears and whales lingering below during a 38-hour round-trip. While the company touts all the luxury on-board features and eco-friendly hybrid power, what caught our eye was the 92 mph maximum speed and fact passengers can open the windows because the airship flies at low altitudes. Um, instant frostbite and lawsuits, anyone? The press promos also note the journey’s guide is Robert Swann, the first person to walk on both the North and South Poles, which is indeed inspiring – if only because, since the 600,000-kroner price for flight is otherworldly for us, it motivated us to check out how we might become a housekeeper/cook/slave aboard the ship


Feeling flush: As wanna-be North Pole nocturnals, we can’t help thinking 1) how awesome it’d be to use the toilets in these instead of walking to some frozen pee-encrusted outhouse in our PJs and 2) how awful it must be for housekeeping to maintain those toilets every day with their frozen pee-encrusted equipment. Photo by Luxury Action.

Also not fake are the igloo hotels at the North Pole, which plenty of people who follow news of the north already know thanks to all the space-age photos making the media rounds the past few weeks. That and the irresistible lure for headline writers to come up with quips about northernmost/priciest/coolest hotel rooms on Earth. We suspect there’s more than a little fudging of the facts in the company’s claims (we’d bet money, if we had any, the igloos will be on some ice flow in the vicinity of the Pole rather than actually at 90 degrees north, for starters). But one thing they aren’t claiming that somehow is getting widely reported is the igloos will be placed on a glacier in Svalbard where they can be booked during the 11 months of the year they’re not at (or near) the Pole. It’s understandable that newsies not from the north would not grasp why such a thing is extremely unlikely – using a moving river of ice as the foundation of a luxury hotel seems like the kind of thing a really bad television drama might dream up – but since our cluelessness is about other things we did some actual reporting by contacting the head of the company who affirmed that, no, such nonsense isn’t in their plans…

Since we had cause just now to refer to The Spooky Show That Must Not Bee Named (yes, all the words are spelled as intended, to give a clue to the clueless), we might as well stick with freaky fiction by mentioning another surreal show has reached season three in the form of the podcast “The White Vault,” which has made the Digital Trends listicle of “best scary podcasts to listen to this Halloween.”  The show’s summary, according to the website: “If you’ve ever seen The Thing, then you know that scientists plus isolated research station equals horror. In White Vault, a team treks to Svalbard, Norway to make repairs at a remote monitoring station. The story is told in a found-footage format, with a cast of characters trying to figure out what’s going on — especially after they figure out they have bigger problems than a malfunctioning transmitter.” We won’t guess (or spoil) the success or failure of the ongoing (as long as the Patreon funds keep coming) quest, except to note the mystery presence seems to be appearing in live shows and other otherworldly happenings during non-Halloween periods.

Finally, for those preferring something other than a darkness-is-coming (very, very quickly…hee, hee, hee) storybook ending, we’ll toss out this tidbit about a princess who used Svalbard to save Norway. No, it’s not “Frozen 2” or any of the other fantasy fiction charming children in these chilling times. Although that’d make for a more interesting read in this space, since we’re merely referring to an odd item in High North News headlined “It Took A Swedish Princess to Place Norway on the Arctic Map.” Far from being a fairy tale, the setting is one of an infinite number of conferences to discuss Arctic issues, with Norway apparently abstaining in a huff because Iceland tends to dominate discussions at this particular event. So while the Norsk folks didn’t weigh in on how they’re dealing with climate change and such, “Norway was briefly mentioned in the opening speeches,” HNN noted. “It took a Swede to pull Norway into the Arctic. Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden mentioned her forefathers as well as their expeditions to Svalbard in her elegantly delivered opening speech. In that way, both Oscar II Land and the Nordenskiöld Land on Spitsbergen became part of the Arctic storytelling.” Not as thrilling as killer bees and vault villains. Well the tale is now stuck in your head, so live with the horror of that.