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Fete Accompli: Bulgari Launches It’s NEW Scent Mon Jasmin Noir. via NYT [#bulgari, #perfume]

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Fete Accompli | Bulgari’s Secret Garden

By EDWARD BARSAMIAN via [NYT]
  • Veronica Bulgari at the Bowery Hotel. Photographs by Patrick McMullan/PatrickMcMullan.com
  • Zani Gugelmann
  • Veronica Swanson Beard, Claiborne Swanson Frank, Veronica Miele Beard
  • Asia Baker and Sophie Pera
  • Jennifer Creel, Bettina Zilkha, Adelina Wong Ettelson and Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos
  • Matthew Settle and Celine Rattray
Full Screen 

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The Lower East Side of Manhattan isn’t typically known for its lush gardens and pastoral atmosphere, but last night Bulgari transformed the Bowery Hotel’s private dining room into a Mediterranean Eden. Jasmine with bursts of lemon provided the centerpieces of the table, but also the brand’s latest fragrance, Mon Jasmin Noir.

Guests like the “Gossip Girl” patriarch Matthew Settle, the sisters-in-law and designers Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard, and the documentarian Maggie Betts (whose film “The Carrier” is premiering next month at the Tribeca Film Festival) lingered over cocktails and tracks provided by Paul Sevigny, who looked Savile Row-ready in a navy suit. An English garden-like setting replete with rose trees and overstuffed settees and couches acted as the backdrop. Sprinkled among the boldface names were tables featuring the exotic and rich ingredients providing an olfactory overture, especially the dried wood and musky nougatine that blended sweet and savory, providing the ideal segue into dinner.

Dinner table décor from Lewis Miller furthered the oversaturated theme with a bounty of greens and textures bleeding off the walls, contrasting the dim lights and grand candelabra as luminous as the conversations. After the first course, Veronica Bulgari, resplendent in an amethyst, gold and diamond necklace from the brand’s new collection, spoke briefly about the scent before introducing the perfumer Olivier Polge. “Jasmine has an enveloping aura of femininity but never overwhelms the woman wearing it,” Bulgari said. The scent is ” mysterious, sensual and elegant without being overly aggressive.” The three-course meal concluded with custom confections from Audrey Dettmar of Home Run Ballerina integrating the fragrance’s notes and a gift bag containing the scent of the evening.

Tags: #ms.melanieperignon, #opuluxelifestyledesign, #bulgari, #perfume,



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When TV Ads Work: The Korean Air Commercial via [sellingtoconsumersblog]

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Perhaps you’ve seen the Korean Air TV advertisements that have been airing for some time in the U.S. Although I have not yet flown Korean Air, I’m ready to. The message in the advertisements have reached a tipping point with me, and their excellence in flight message has hit home in my psyche. Here’s the ad:

So how did I, a consumer and frequent business traveler, reach the point where I am ready to try Korean Air’s product? The right message at the right time. After dozens of mediocre experiences in flight, I want some excellence. I need some excellence.

From the first time I saw the Korean Air ads a couple years ago, I took notice. And with repeated viewing, their impact has Here’s why:

1. Understated elegance.

In an industry that has become decidedly unelegant almost all the time, the understated elegance of the ad’s production attracts attention. Wonderful chill music by Robert Matt, a simple message, and a relaxing vibe sucks the viewer in.

And I want one of those turquoise martini drinks.

The takeaway: In an era of marketing overstatement, be understated instead.

2. It’s different.

We might be familiar with seeing ads like this for fragrances or spas, but not for airlines. Watch this Continental Airlines ad. See how it’s style contrasts with Korean Air’s commercial.

Hear the frantic music? See the high-energy video? While everyone likes to fly on new planes (the key message of the Continental ad), Korean Air makes a statement simply because it’s different from typical business-as-usual airline advertisements. No splashy colors (merely predominant muted grays along with splashes of turquoise); no frantic panning and zooming of the image (gentle, dreamy visuals instead); no typical hyper-business voiceover (just a few words spoken in total, and with pleasing and calm speech)…these equal a “pay attention” vibe, and it works.

Can flying really be a sensual experience?

The takeaway: If you want to stand out, be different.

3.It has a simple message.

Airlines haven’t been talking much about excellence lately. It’s nice to see and hear, especially when a customer probably has visuals of recent airline crashes stored somewhere in their memory. “Excellence in flight” is digestible, it’s meaningful, and it resonates with viewers. I don’t know if it’s true, but the goal of marketing is not accuracy, it’s more revenue.

The takeaway: Messages with less are often more effective than messages with more.

Now, would a company in Seoul please hire me for a sales training project or speaking engagement so I can try out Korean Air? I need a little excellence in flight.

And I like kimchi.





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The List of The World’s Most Expensive Cities 2010 via [forbes and businessweek]

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The World’s Most Expensive Cities 2010

by Venessa Wong

provided by
bw_124x26.gif
For Americans overseas, exchange rates and cost-of-living
adjustments can make living overseas more expensive than back home.

New York ranks only No. 29

If you think $43 is too much to pay for lunch, you shouldn’t live in
Oslo. According to “ECA
International”
, a global human resources company, that’s how much an
average lunch costs in Norway’s capital. But Oslo is only the
second-most expensive city on ECA’s ranking of 399 global locations. And
while the price of an average lunch in Tokyo is a comparatively modest
$17.86, other costs, such as a $22 movie ticket and an $8.47 kilo of
rice, earn it the dubious honor as the world’s most expensive city.

ECA’s ranking is based on a basket of 128 goods that includes food,
daily goods, clothing, electronics, and entertainment, but not rent,
utilities, and school fees, which are not typically included in a
cost-of-living adjustment. ECA researchers and local partners gathered
prices in September 2009 and March 2010 for domestic and imported brands
that are internationally recognized—such as Kellogg’s cereal or
Sapporo beer. While lower-priced goods and services are available in
these markets, the study estimated the cost of supporting the standard
of living expected by expatriate employees, says Lee Quane, ECA’s
regional director for Asia. Some of the cities, such as Seoul and
Stockholm, jumped up in the ranking as the local currency strengthened
against the U.S. dollar. Quane says that while a slowdown in business
may tempt employers to scale back compensation, “recessions only last
so long” and retaining top talent in these places is critical to
companies’ success when the global economy recovers.
Source: “ECA International
1. Tokyo, Japan

dc.jpg

Rank in 2009: 2

Food: Lunch at a
restaurant:
$18
Can of beer from grocer:
$3.37
One kg of rice: $8.47
One dozen
eggs:
$3.78

Entertainment: Movie ticket:
$22

Appliances: Washing machine: $879

The strength of the yen has brought Tokyo back to the No. 1 spot on
ECA International’s ranking for the first time since 2005. In addition
to the costs above, rent for a two-bedroom apartment for expats is
typically more than $5,000 per month in Tokyo, according to data from
EuroCost International. While visitors need more pocket money here than
in any other city, the monthly consumer price index in Tokyo’s wards
has actually dropped year-on-year for 14 straight months as of May
2010, based on figures from Japan‘s statistics bureau.
2. Oslo, Norway

austin.jpg

Rank in 2009: 8

Food: Lunch at a
restaurant:
$43
Can of beer from grocer:
$4.71
One kg of rice: $5.66
One dozen
eggs:
$6.72

Entertainment: Movie ticket:
$16

Appliances: Washing machine: $880

Oslo rose above Copenhagen as the most expensive city in Europe when
the kroner strengthened against other currencies. ECA International
says an upward trend in oil prices, a short recession, and Norway’s
reputation as a safe haven for investors contributed to the kroner’s
rise.
3. Luanda, Angola

dallas.jpg

Rank in 2009: 1

Food: Lunch at a
restaurant:
$47
Can of beer from grocer:
$1.62
One kg of rice: $4.73
One dozen
eggs:
$4.75

Entertainment: Movie ticket:
$13

Appliances: Washing machine: $912

Angola’s capital slipped to third place this year as the kwanza
depreciated. Prices in Luanda have actually increased in the past year,
but currency changes offset any inflation, according to ECA
International. In addition to everyday goods, EuroCost International
estimates that the average expat pays more than $3,500 per month for a
two-bedroom flat in Luanda.
4. Nagoya, Japan

minn.jpg

Rank in 2009: 3

Food: Lunch at a
restaurant:
$19
Can of beer from grocer:
$3.08
One kg of rice: $9.14
One dozen
eggs:
$3.33

Entertainment: Movie ticket:
$20

Appliances: Washing machine: $621

Japan’s fourth most populous city, Nagoya is also among the country’s
most expensive. The city ranks No. 1 for the cost of rice: $9.14 per
kilogram, according to ECA International data. As Japan’s auto hub, the
Nagoya area is an important center of business: about 44 percent of
automobiles produced in Japan are made here, according to the Greater
Nagoya Initiative Center. Such companies as Toyota, Honda, Suzuki,
Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, and General Motors have headquarters,
manufacturing operations, or distribution points in the Nagoya region.
5. Yokohama, Japan

houston.jpg

Rank in 2009: 4

Food: Lunch at a
restaurant:
$17.39
Can of beer from grocer:
$3.26
One kg of rice: $6.54
One dozen
eggs:
$3.72

Entertainment: Movie ticket:
$19.50

Appliances: Washing machine: $630

About half an hour by commuter train from Tokyo, this port city has
active shipping, biotechnology, and semiconductor industries. Yokohama
is one of the world’s most expensive cities, but companies here enjoy
lower operating costs compared with the nearby capital. Nissan opened a
new headquarters in Yokohama this year and reportedly will sell its
office in Tokyo to cut costs.
6. Stavanger, Norway

dc.jpg

Rank in 2009: 14

Food: Lunch at a
restaurant:
$33
Can of beer from grocer:
$4.76
One kg of rice: $5.71
One dozen
eggs:
$6.34

Entertainment: Movie ticket:
$15.50

Appliances: Washing machine: $749

This small seaside city earned its riches from oil in the North Sea
and has become known as Norway’s petroleum capital. Stavangerexpats.com
says food expenses in Norway are about 50 percent higher than the EU
average: A can of soda is about $2.80, and a beer at a bar can be $12.
7. Kobe, Japan

austin.jpg

Rank in 2009: 6

Food: Lunch at a
restaurant:
$16
Can of beer from grocer:
$3.09
One kg of rice: $8.57
One dozen
eggs:
$2.81

Entertainment: Movie ticket:
$20

Appliances: Washing machine: $470

The city has one of Japan’s largest ports and has become home to many
heavy machinery, iron and steel, and food product companies. According
to the Japan External Trade Organization, 117 foreign and
foreign-affiliated companies have offices in Kobe. As the price of Kobe
beef, the style of high-grade meat named after the city, suggests,
food is costly here, as are other living expenses.
8. Copenhagen, Denmark

dallas.jpg

Rank in 2009: 7

Food: Lunch at
a restaurant:
$36
Can of beer from grocer:
$2.10
One kg of rice: $4.85
One dozen
eggs:
$6.99

Entertainment: Movie ticket:
$15

Appliances: Washing machine: $1,196

A 2009 “survey” of 73 international cities by UBS found that employees
in Copenhagen have the highest income. Places with higher salaries
often have higher prices, but residents here enjoy good living
standards overall. Some examples of the cost of living: Renting a DVD
costs about $8 per night, a pair of women’s jeans is more than $150,
and a one-way ticket on public transport costs about $3.70.
9. Geneva, Switzerland

minn.jpg

Rank in 2009: 9

Food: Lunch at a
restaurant:
$30
Can of beer from grocer:
$2.02
One kg of rice: $3.81
One dozen
eggs:
$7.64

Entertainment: Movie ticket:
$16

Appliances: Washing machine: $1,304

Geneva, home to many companies and U.N. organizations, is one of the
most expensive cities for food and household appliances. Food prices in
Switzerland are 45 percent more expensive than in the rest of Western
Europe, and the cost of electronics and appliances in Geneva is among
the highest worldwide, according to a 2009 UBS report.
10. Zurich, Switzerland

houston.jpg

Rank in 2009: 10

Food: Lunch at a
restaurant:
$25
Can of beer from grocer:
$2.01
One kg of rice: $3.36
One dozen
eggs:
$5.81

Entertainment: Movie ticket:
$16

Appliances: Washing machine: $974

Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, is the country’s main business
center and the headquarters city for many financial companies,
including UBS and Credit Suisse. Although Zurich had the greatest
number of company bankruptcies in Switzerland last year, according to
Dun & Bradstreet, the inflation rate started to increase again this
year after falling in 2009.
//

Click
here to see the full list of the World’s Most Expensive Cities 2010



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12 Brand NEW Cities: Out With the Old, and In With the NEW! via [msnbc and forbes]

Already seen Rome and Paris? Fresh, new cities are springing up

Image: Under construction

Christophe Archambault / AFP / Getty Images
The Myanmar
government relocated its capital to Naypyidaw, an undeveloped site more
than 200 miles north of its previous capital, Yangon, in 2005. The
city is still under construction, but already has a population of
nearly 1 million, which would make it Myanmar’s third-largest city.
By Oliver Chiang
– As you plan your
next big trip, centuries-old hot spots like Rome and Paris may come to
mind. But if you’ve been there and done that, you might want to check
out some new cities that have sprung up recently around the world. 

One trip you may want to start saving up for
now is a vacation to The Pearl in Qatar, a man-made island chain in the
shape of a string of pearls, billed as the “Riviera Arabia.” Situated
in a lagoon just offshore of Qatar’s capital city of Doha, this $2.5
billion project started development in 2003 and will eventually include
luxury villa apartments, three 5-star hotels,
beaches and marinas.

Though it won’t be finished until 2013 or
later, The Pearl already has a number of high-end retail shops and
restaurants, and holds regular performances by artists like Spanish
tenor Placido Domingo. And if, after visiting the islands, you find you
just can’t bear to leave, you may be in luck. The Pearl has a string
of nine private islands that will go up for sale in the
future–provided you can afford what will probably be exorbitant
property prices.



For an experience with less gild and a lot more grit, visit
Naypyidaw, the new capital of the Southeast Asian nation Myanmar,
especially if you enjoy being part of a good mystery. No one knows
exactly why the Myanmar government in 2005 suddenly relocated the
capital 200 miles north to Naypyidaw from Yangon. Nor does anyone know
the future plans for Naypyidaw, Burmese for “city of kings,” or how many
millions of dollars it must be costing the government to develop it.

But for the curious traveler, half the
adventure of Naypyidaw is getting there–the capital is tucked away in a
mountain jungle, an eight- to 10-hour drive along ox-cart roads. You
can also claim bragging rights to having been to one of the more
obscure capitals of the world, where few other travelers have gone
before. There aren’t many big tourist attractions in the city, but a
couple of note are the zoological gardens, with hundreds of animals,
including rare wallabies and white tigers, and the water park. The
Myanmar government says Naypyidaw has an estimated 1 million residents,
making it the country’s third-largest city.

If you’re looking for a new city somewhere in Northeast Asia,
consider South Korea‘s new Songdo International Business District. When
it is completed, likely in 2014, this $35 billion project will
encompass 1,500 acres and house around 65,000 residents. In addition,
Songdo will have an 18-hole championship golf course, which is
scheduled to host the 2012 PGA Championship Tour, an art museum, an opera house
and concert hall. Already completed is the 100-acre Central Park in the
middle of the city, as well as a number of residential and commercial
buildings.

Songdo is not only an entirely new city, it is
also an example of an “eco-city,” a term that describes the growing
trend of new cities with plans focusing on sustainability, using smart
technologies and strategic planning. Examples of Songdo’s
sustainability plans include an extensive public transportation system
and a centralized waste disposable system that uses a series of
pneumatic tubes.

Eco-cities like Songdo are more than just a nice idea; they are
expected to yield important lessons for future human habitats. By 2050
nearly 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, according to
the Population Division of the United Nations’ Department of Economic
and Social Affairs. As cities become home to the majority of the
world’s population, Songdo and others will become important testing
grounds for green technologies and new ways of city planning.

“The thinking is that by changing the way
cities are designed–the size of the buildings and streets — we can
fundamentally change the footprint of humans on the environment,” says
Karen Seto, an associate professor at Yale University in Urban
Environment. She also notes that there is much to be gained from
retrofitting old cities with new plans and technologies.

Other eco-city experts are excited about the new Masdar City,
located just outside Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
One of the major goals of this ambitious $22 billion project, which
broke ground in 2008, is to be a city with zero waste and zero carbon
emissions. To that end, Masdar will feature many urban uses of green
technologies. For instance, one of the solar technologies it is testing
is called “concentrated solar power,” a tracking system with mirrors
and lenses that focus sunlight on water to heat it so that it can power
steam generators. The new Masdar Institute of Science and Technology,
developed with the help of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
will also be home to research and development for sustainable
technologies.

“The cities of the past didn’t have to think about issues like climate change
and energy volatility,” says Warren Karlenzig, chief executive of urban
consultancy Common Current and a fellow of the Post Carbon Institute.
But cities of the future can’t afford to ignore such issues, says
Karlenzig, especially given the ever-increasing population.

Meanwhile, many of these brand new cities will
be completed or significantly developed within the next five to 10
years, when their implications for the future will be better
understood.

Says Karlenzig: “By the end of this decade,
we’re really going to be seeing what these cities are like, how they
operate and if they do make more sense than organically evolved
cities.”

In Pictures: 12 Brand New Cities

Courtesy of The Pearl

1. The Pearl, Qatar

Like Dubai’s Palm Islands, The Pearl is a man-made island, one that
spans 1.5 square miles in the shape of a string of pearls. Billed as the
“Riviera Arabia,” it will include luxury villa apartments and three
5-star hotels, as well as high-end retail shops and restaurants. This
$2.5 billion project is located in Doha’s West Bay Lagoon area. The
global recession has pushed back The Pearl’s completion date to 2013,
but it currently has a number of shops and activities open to tourists.

CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images

2.  Naypyidaw, Myanmar

In what was probably a political and strategic decision in 2005, the
Myanmar government relocated its capital to Naypyidaw, an undeveloped
site more than 200 miles north of its previous capital, Yangon.
Subsequently named Naypyidaw, or “city of kings,” the city is still
under construction, but already has a population of nearly 1 million,
which would make it Myanmar’s third-largest city. Some of the main
attractions to this sprawling 2.7-square mile city include its
zoological gardens and water park.

http://www.masdar.ae

3.  Masdar City, United Arab Emirates

Located just outside of Abu Dhabi, Masdar City broke ground in 2008
and is one of the most ambitious new eco-cities being built today. Zero
carbon and zero waste are atop this $22-billion project’s list of
goals, as well as the sole use of renewable energy sources, the
implementation of a mass transit system and the construction of the
Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. The city’s planners expect
the city to be completed over the next decade and to attract up to
50,000 residents.


http://www.songdo.com

4.  Songdo International Business District, South Korea

Once undeveloped mudflats 40 miles southwest of Seoul, Songdo is
becoming a smart urban center with an integrated network of utility,
transportation, real estate and recreation systems. This manmade island,
started in 2001, is a $35 billion project that will encompass 1,500
acres, house 65,000 residents and is slated for completion in 2014.
Green transportation systems and underground pneumatic tubes for garbage
collection are just a couple of the technologies being implemented for
Songdo. It currently has more than 100 buildings, including a
7,800-person apartment complex, a 100-acre central park and a Sheraton
hotel.

http://www.greendiary.com

5. Tianjin Eco-City, China

Though China is not exactly known for being eco-friendly, it does
have a number of eco-cities in the works, including the Tianjin Eco-City
in northeast China. This $22 billion project covers 11.5 square miles
and will include green public transportation systems and a power plant
fueled by organic waste. The first phase of the city is scheduled to be
finished by next year, with an animation center and a public housing
project with 500 affordable units. The entire project is expected to
take about 10 to 15 years to finish and will house around 350,000
people.

www/dholerasir.com

6.  Dholera, India

Located in the northwest part of India in Gujarat, Dholera is a new
project on what is now largely rural land, and it will be part of a
global manufacturing and trading hub. Dholera is also the first city in a
series of cities across a larger project, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial
Corridor (DMIC), a 93-mile stretch down the west coast of the
subcontinent. With the DMIC, the Indian government aims to double the
number of jobs in the region and quadruple its exports within just five
years.

Jeppe Wikstrom/Getty Images

7.  Hammarby Sjostad, Sweden

While not brand new, this once-polluted former industrial site just
south of Stockholm has risen from the ashes to become one of Europe’s
most eco-friendly towns. One of the most distinguishing features of the
lakeside town is its waste collection system: an extensive series of
hydraulic tubes that collects trash, recycling it to create electricity,
heat or compost.

Hammarby’s city plan also enables and encourages citizens to walk or
use public transportation rather than cars. Construction is ongoing,
but the town is expected to house some 35,000 people and be completed
by 2015.

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Close

8.  Sejong City, South Korea

Sejong City was originally proposed by the government as the location
for South Korea’s new capital in 2005. This year, however, the Korean
government is planning to turn Sejong City into a hub of renewable
energy and sustainability, education, science and business. This $14.6
billion project, 100 miles south of Seoul, is scheduled for completion
by 2020 and will house a population of 500,000. It will also be home to
the Korea Rare Isotope Accelerator and Basic Science Research
Institute, which will be finished by 2015.

qatar.energycity.com

Close

9.  Energy Cities: Qatar, Libya, Kazakhstan, India

The Energy City initiative is a series of cities being planned and
built across several countries, with the dual goals of being
energy-efficient and self-sustainable and also being business centers to
global and regional energy companies. The first Energy City, which
will be in Qatar, is scheduled for completion by 2012. The $2.6 billion
project will encompass an area of about a half a square mile and will
employ up to 20,000 people.


Andrew Butterton / Alamy

Close

10.  BedZED, U.K.

Beddington Zero Energy Development, or BedZED, is the U.K.’s largest
mixed-use sustainable community, located south of London in a town
called Wallington. The project was completed in 2002 and includes around
100 homes.

The BedZED community says it has reduced its energy use in heating by
81%, its car use by 64% and its water use by 58%. In addition, it
recycles about 60% of its waste.

Omar Salem/AFP/Getty Images

11.  King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia

King Abdullah Economic City, launched in 2005 by King Abdullah, is an
$80 billion project that will take up about 67 square miles along the
coast of the Red Sea. It will eventually have six main areas, including
an “educational zone” and central business district. Education and
research are some of the big themes behind the city, and the King
Abdullah University of Science and Technology will be built there. The
city is also part of a plan to diversify the oil-based economy of Saudi
Arabia, and to make it, among other things, a major industrial center
by 2020.

http://www.iskandarmalaysia.com.my/

12.  Iskandar, Malaysia

Established in 2006, Iskandar, Malaysia, is located on the southern
tip of Malaysia and encompasses an area of about one square mile. The
city was built to be a new metropolitan hub in the region, to attract
businesses as well as residents with planned communities and
environmentally friendly buildings. It includes five “flagship zones,”
including a financial district, technology park and port, and is
scheduled for completion by 2025.


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It’s An Awesome View From the Top: Rooftop Bars Around the World via [matadornights]

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|

The World’s 10 Best Rooftop Bars

by

Ross Borden

Below you’ll find descriptions, contact info and
photos from the world’s coolest rooftop nightlife.

photo by simonparisphotograph
y

1. Sirocco

Bangkok, Thailand

No night out in Bangkok is complete without a couple cocktails at Sirocco.
Perched on top of The Dome at State Tower, 64th floors above the hectic
streets of Bangkok, this sexy rooftop bar boasts 360 degree views of
the city with city lights in every direction, as far as the eye can
see. If you’re looking for a picturesque place to dine, they also serve
dinner.

The Dome at Sate Tower 1055 Silom Road, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500

photo by www.anotacionesviajeras.com

2. The Penthouse

Madrid, Spain

The Penthouse is an ultra-chic
rooftop bar owned by Rande Gerber, celeb nightlife entrepreneur and
husband of Cindy Crawford. It’s located on the roof of Hotel ME Madrid
Reina Victoria, in Plaza Santa Ana, and has a great view of central
Madrid. The crowd is dressed to kill, the waitresses are smoking hot the
drinks are pricey and the place is often frequented by Spanish
celebrities. Best to get here for happy hour, because although it’s open
till 3am, the line to get in is insane after midnight.

Hotel ME Madrid Reina Victoria / Plaza Santa Ana / Princesa, 27 /
Madrid Spain 28008 / Tel: (34) 91 5418200

photo by grantthai

3. Luna Bar

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

This super sexy rooftop and poolside bar is a hang out for the
twenties and thirties nightlife scene in Kuala Lumpur. It’s got a long
indoor bar with a chic design leading you out onto the breezy rooftop
for the best views of the lights of KL. For a romantic night out, be
sure to get there early to snag a private little enclave up against the
glass.

Menara PanGlobal 34th Floor / Jalan Punchak (off Jl P. Ramlee) /
Kuala Lumpur / Tel: +60-3-20262211

photo by spin
spin

4. Rooftop Bar

Melbourne, Australia

An ultra cool venue for music, cinema, or just sunny boozing, this
bar sits atop the Thai bar and restaurant, Cookie, on a six story 1920’s
building in central Melbourne.

Rooftop Bar / Curtin House, Level 3, 252 Swanston Street /
Melbourne, Australia

photo by OneDanShow

5. Gravity

Dublin, Ireland

Although not an open air bar, Gravity boasts an
unobstructed 360 degree view of Dublin. It’s got a swanky style and
comfortable seating right up against the glass to sit in while you enjoy
the view from the highest bar in Ireland.

Top of The Guinness Storehouse / St James’s Gate / Dublin 8,
Ireland / Tel: + 353 1 408 4800

photo by FoolishVanity

6. Top Floor Bar

London, United Kingdom

Looking for the perfect place to throw a swank party in London? The
Top Floor Bar, the final floor of the Gherkin, London’s newest
architectural darling, is available for private parties. The ultra
modern venue sits under the spectacular glass cone roof and has stunning
views of the city.

Top of the Gherkin / 30 St. Mary Axe /
London, United Kingdom

photo by silentway

7. Moon

Las Vegas, Nevada

The Palms teamed up with the Playboy Club giving revelers in Vegas a
sexy place to blow their money on the 53rd floor of the palms Hotel.
The sound system here is rockin’ and although it can be tough to get
in, it’s a great place to check out on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday
nights.

The Palms Hotel 53rd Floor / 4321 W Flamingo Rd / Las Vegas, NV
Tel (702) 940-7246

photo by jennywong

8. Captain Bar

Shanghai, China

This cool rooftop bar has a wide variety of cocktails and a great
view of The Bund and surrounding city lights. It’s usually a cool mix of
locals and travelers which makes for a diverse and thirsty crowd.

6/F, 37 Fuzhou Lu / People’s Square / Bund,Metro Line 2 Nanjing Dong Lu
Station / Shanghai, China

photo by Martin
Callum

9. Hudson Sky Terrace

New York, New York

This super chill rooftop bar has great service, amazing sangria and
everything else you could want on a hot New York afternoon. From an air
conditioned game room to a hammock with a view of the river, the Hudson
has you covered, but like many of NY rooftop hot spots, you must be a
guest in the hotel to enjoy it.

The Hudson Hotel / 356 W.
58th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves / Tel 212-554-6317

10. Condesa DF Rooftop Bar

Mexico City, Mexico

This is an awesome bar in an all-around cool hotel. The Condesa
DF
is decked out in extraordinary design, from the table cloths to
the couches. This super-chic hotel only has 40 rooms so make sure to
get a reservation, and make sure to hit its rooftop paradise for some
cocktails as the sun goes down over Mexico City.

Condesa DF
/ Avenida Veracruz 102 / Mexico City DF 06700 Mexico


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Etiquette 101: Smart Talk

by Boris Kachka

First Do No Harm…Every country has its subtle taboos and unspoken
codes, but when you get down to it, it’s what you say, not how you say
it, that really gets you in the door (or kicked out). Our guide to the
most dangerous topics around the world rates them according to our own
alert system, from highest to lowest risk, followed by a few safe
subjects that might put you back on solid ground.

Download a PDF version of Smart
Talk
THE MIDDLE EAST
In a part of the world where
nearly every facet of life has become wrapped up in politics and
religion, keeping things personal and avoiding the global is more than
just a way of being polite: For both tourists and residents, it can be a
coping strategy. Even naive attempts to find common ground (“You have
Christians too!”) can easily backfire. Not that residents from Morocco
to Israel to Jordan don’t love a good debate, but it might be a
life-and-death argument in which the opposing sides can’t even agree on
common premises. Entering with an open mind and a do-no-harm approach is
essential, and in many cases a focus on the simple things (friends,
food, family) can create an oasis of peaceful coexistence.

EGYPT
Absolutely verboten:
Anything having to do with the position of Jews in the world; you may
hear conspiracy theories.
Radioactive: The lack of
democracy in the country; the prevalence of corruption; and the threat
of religious resistance.
Definitely not: Suggesting
peace with Israel as a way to build bridges might lead to a backlash;
the truce is much less popular with the populace than it is with the
government.
Not a good idea: Terrorism and its
impact on stability and tourism.
Ill-advised: It’s
best to avoid bringing up the Coptic Christians—an underclass here—even
in terms of trying to find common ground.
Talk away!
The country’s cultural relics and historical importance—or simply steer
the conversation back to business. 

ISRAEL
Absolutely
verboten:
Israelis certainly discuss the Palestinian
“situation,” but a certain exhaustion has set in. Starting out with
accusations of ill treatment will not get you very far. Discussing it
even with Palestinians might lead to weary responses.
Radioactive:
Referring to the security fence under construction as “the wall” would
be considered a loaded statement.
Definitely not:
Any mention of racial divisions—not just between Israelis and
Palestinians but also between European and Middle Eastern Jews—should be
approached carefully, if at all.
Not a good idea:
The assumption that Israelis are religious, or questions about levels of
belief. There is a great deal of diversity of religious commitment as
well as some conflict between religious and secular Israelis.
Ill-advised:
Asking exactly how someone served in the army (foot soldiers versus
Intelligence Corps) might bring up class issues.
Talk away!
Israel as a thriving democracy; the quality and freshness of the food.

MOROCCO

Absolutely verboten: Any criticism of the king or
inquiries into the royal family.
Radioactive:
Homosexuality—many Moroccans will assert that it doesn’t exist here.
Definitely
not:
The fraught history of the Jews who used to live here,
which challenges the notion of Morocco as a tolerant place.
Not
a good idea:
Comparing the status of women in Morocco with
Western women, or even questions such as, “Why is your wife not coming
along?”
Ill-advised: The Israeli-Palestinian
conflict—not a great subject, but less charged than in other Middle
Eastern states.
Talk away! The fine cuisine; and
the peaceful and tolerant atmosphere.

JORDAN
Absolutely
verboten:
Honor killings, which have been in the news lately
and are a source of shame for many Jordanians (and you may not want to
engage the ones who approve).
Radioactive:
Criticizing Islam—the subject is just as sacrosanct here as in Egypt or
Saudi Arabia.
Definitely not: Saying anything
negative about the kingdom—which is illegal anyway.
Not a
good idea:
The Palestinian situation, but especially the
refugees in Jordan who don’t have full citizenship or sovereignty
(despite the fact that together with Iraqi refugees they outnumber
Jordanians).
Ill-advised: The historic treatment of
bedouins—although it’s fine to document their many past achievements
(slightly analogous to Native Americans in the United States).
Talk
away!
The country’s relatively high level of development; and
the queen’s beauty and good works.

SOUTH AFRICA

Absolutely verboten: Modern-day racism—people like
to think of themselves as having moved completely beyond the apartheid
era.
Radioactive: The situation in Zimbabwe; and
South Africa’s lack of intervention against Robert Mugabe.
Definitely
not:
Former president Thabo Mbeki‘s controversial (and
counterfactual) views on HIV and AIDS.
Not a good idea:
Corruption charges against Jacob Zuma; and general political
infighting.
Ill-advised: Criticisms of the
government’s performance in the post-apartheid era.
Talk
away!
Nelson Mandela; equal rights; and relative prosperity

Getting
Along in the Muslim World

No matter what brings you to the
Middle East, navigating the religious and political taboos requires
following a unique set of rules that apply more or less across the
region

ISLAM There are ways to discuss the
religion while in no way implying that it’s fallible. Lindsay and Wes
Heinlein, who served in Jordan with the Peace Corps and have traveled
throughout the Middle East, developed their own way of discussing the
issue. “Although Islam is not an actively proselytizing religion,
concerned folks will want to know you’re going to the same heaven as
they are, just as in America,” says Lindsay. “Agree that Christianity,
Judaism, and Islam are all religions of the book,’ and then change the
subject.”

ISRAEL It’s too easy to get wrapped up
in defending against the various conspiracy theories that abound about
the country. If confronted with one, try to change the subject (family
is a favorite) and perhaps move toward an agreement that the governments
are at fault. Many Middle Easterners will happily agree that Jews per
se are not to blame. But all in all, it’s a sticky subject.

FOR
MEN
Verbally praising another man’s wife or
daughter—especially complimenting her appearance—is inadvisable. Wes
remembers playing foosball with a Jordanian at a center for the
disabled; sometimes they would play not for prizes but for “honor,” and
Wes once said, “Let’s play for your sister’s honor.” The man would not
talk to him for months.

FOR WOMEN Mentioning
relationships outside of marriage may not earn you public reprimands,
but it will often result in a lack of respect. Some Western women even
refer to “fiancés” back home and call male friends “brothers” in order
to fend off prying questions.

DRINKING It’s
often done on the sly, and mostly by men. For women, discussing drinking
is inadvisable. “In tourist areas, it’s fine for women to drink in
public,” says Lindsay, “just not to talk about it the next day, as in,
I got so bombed!’ ”

COMPLIMENTS Sometimes
complimenting someone’s belongings will result in being offered those
objects as gifts. It’s such an ingrained tradition that locals have even
jokingly offered their children to the Heinleins. This also means that a
compliment directed toward your own possessions may come with a similar
expectation.

PORK In predominantly Muslim countries,
even non-Muslims do not eat pork. It is considered unclean, and no
amount of persuasion will change anyone’s mind—so it isn’t really worth
bringing up the subject. You won’t find any pork regardless of what you
say.

THE AMERICAS
Several quirks of geography and
economic development have shaped this hemisphere’s sensitive areas (we
shouldn’t say “taboos”; compared with much of the world, it’s a pretty
easygoing place). Catholicism is more deeply rooted in some countries
than in others, and very liberal nations (Brazil) coexist with others
that consider themselves the peak of propriety (Chile). And then, of
course, there is Latin America’s proximity to the United States and the
desire to demonstrate equal standing. Finally, in the case of Canada,
there’s the desire to prove itself a bit apart from the noisy neighbor
who insists on dominating so much of the conversation.

ARGENGTINA
Absolutely verboten:
The Dirty War and the “disappeared” of the 1970s, definitely still a
deep trauma in the nation’s psyche, are not to be referenced casually.
Radioactive:
The Peróns, whose legacy is much debated. You never know how an
Argentine will feel about them.
Definitely not: The
Falklands War may seem like an amusing ’80s footnote, even to Brits—but
certainly not to the nation that lost.
Not a good idea:
The economic crises of the past several years, for which many hold the
International Monetary Fund and American policies responsible.
Ill-advised:
Lumping Argentina in with all of Latin America (many Argentines believe
that they stand apart from the rest of the continent).
Talk
away!
Argen­tina as unique within the continent; its
prosperous past (if not present). And most middle-class people have
therapists and love to talk about them. 

CANADA
Absolutely
verboten:
Impugning Canada’s national health-care system.
Canadians are fiercely proud of it. In a television contest, viewers
voted the founder of the system the greatest Canadian hero.
Radioactive:
Remarking how similar Canada is to the United States can be tantamount
to calling it the fifty-first state.
Definitely not:
Any reliance on a few stereotypes (e.g., making fun of how they say,
“Eh?”) may unearth the sarcasm beneath their (stereotypical) politeness.

Not a good idea: Be careful in discussing Toronto
and how wonderful it is; many regional Canadians, especially out west,
don’t like it.
Ill-advised: Don’t mistake
politeness for the casual oversharing so common in the United States.
Canadians, like Europeans, will bristle if you get too personal too
fast.
Talk away! Hockey—they really do love it as
much as we think they do. The runner-up in the Canadian-hero contest was
a hockey coach turned sportscaster.

BRAZIL
Absolutely
verboten:
Dwelling on money, whether fussing over how to split
the check (“People will think you’re greedy,” says Brazilian-American
Paulo Padilha) or asking what someone does for a living.
Radioactive:
Bringing up the level of violence or constantly asking if it’s safe to
go out. There surely are many problems, but it’s not something to harp
on.
Definitely not: Padilha cites the rule, “No
politics or football at the dinner table.” As a foreigner, you can bring
up soccer—politics, not so much.
Not a good idea:
Making light of Catholicism: Brazil may be a fairly liberal country, but
even an urban sophisticate may be a deeply devout Catholic—no Vatican
jokes, please.
Ill-advised: Commenting crudely on
women, which can get you into hot water as a gringo.
Talk
away!
Music is universally beloved, so praising Brazilian song,
or even asking if your acquaintance can recommend an artist, is always a
good idea.

CHILE
Absolutely
verboten:
The dictatorships of either Augusto Pinochet (on the
right) or Salvador Allende (on the left), about whom opinions are
passionate and vary widely.
Radioactive: How great a
time you had in Argentina. Chileans can be a bit touchy about their
internationally acclaimed neighbor to the east . . .
Definitely
not:
. . . And their other neighbors—Peru and Bolivia—with
whom they had territorial clashes in the nineteenth century.
Not
a good idea:
Sex or toilet humor, without prompting—despite
its modern gloss, Chile is one of the more conservative countries in
Latin America.
Ill-advised: Pisco as a Peruvian
drink. Though it really is, the Chileans consider the liqueur to be a
source of native pride.
Talk away! Chile’s rolling
hills; its wineries; and the cleanliness and modernity of Santiago.

MEXICO

Absolutely verboten: Crime and corruption: It’s
sure to be a topic of discussion, but it’s not something you should
bring up in a cavalier way.
Radioactive: As in
Spain, bullfighting is a matter of cultural pride, so stumping for
animal rights may not win you many friends.
Definitely not:
Immigration is a fact of life, but the United States’ policy on
illegals is a sore point—and sometimes a humiliating one.
Not
a good idea:
Mexico is still a strongly Catholic country,
which means religious and social questions are best approached
delicately, particularly in rural areas.
Ill-advised:
In general, getting down to business before coffee, even during a quick
business lunch, is considered rude.
Talk away!
Always talk about marriage or family. Knowledge of Mexico’s cultural
heritage and food (not Tex-Mex) will go a long way, as will familiarity
with such family rites as the quinceañera.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
It’s likely you won’t
find more diversity of political systems and social mores—to say nothing
of complex colonial histories—than on the largest continent. Here
you’ll encounter rigid cultural rules in thriving democracies (like
Japan) and no-go conversational zones mandated by law (China). The
prevalence of the concept of “face” in East Asian cultures also means
that arguments have the potential to threaten the very foundation of a
relationship.

AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND
Absolutely
verboten:
Indigenous rights, this being a country that shares
our sordid history as a colonizer (only it’s a more fraught topic Down
Under).
Radioactive: Don’t bring up the
settled-by-convicts thing. “It’s old, not appreciated, and not entirely
accurate,” says Donna Thomas of New Zealand Travel.
Definitely
not:
Gay rights: Australia’s closer to the United States than
Europe on these issues, with a variety of opinions, and there is a
federal ban against same-sex marriage.
Not a good idea:
Don’t inquire too deeply into personal wealth or money matters—on this,
Australians can be surprisingly reserved.
Ill-advised:
Confusing New Zealand with Australia. The differences are important to
both, especially to Kiwis.
Talk away! Australian
football; and the casual openness of its people.

CHINA

Absolutely verboten: The “three T’s”—Tibet,
Taiwan, and Tiananmen Square. These are rarely discussed and would be
hard to bring up without sounding presumptuous about “internal” matters.

Radioactive: Relations between China and Japan.
Never compare them; in fact, avoid saying anything too positive about
Japan.
Definitely not: “How many children do you
have?” With the one-child policy, the answer is either obvious or best
kept on the down-low.
Not a good idea: Religious
freedom or human rights, whether they apply to the Falun Gong or the
Uighurs.
Ill-advised: The Cultural Revolution. The
Chinese do discuss the period, but it’s best to avoid asking someone
what he or she was doing at the time; people could easily have been on
either side of the campaign.
Talk away! The success
of the Olympics and the speed of development.

INDIA

Absolutely verboten: Pakistan’s status versus that
of India (aside from the border dispute, there is competition for aid
and favor from the West—a balance of power that shifted after 9/11).
Radioactive:
Ethnic riots and the partitions of the past. India jealously guards its
status as a multi­ethnic democracy.
Definitely not:
Inquiring whether a marriage was arranged—or simply assuming it was.
There are gradations of how “arranged” a marriage is, and you might miss
the subtleties.
Not a good idea: Joking about call
centers or any of the results of outsourcing.
Ill-advised:
Class hierarchies, economic inequality, or the caste system. Even
innocently asking to help out a servant in the kitchen can lead to
tension.
Talk away! Openness and diversity; the
growing economy; and the fact that India is “the world’s largest
democracy.”

JAPAN
Absolutely
verboten:
World War II and Japan’s role in it, particularly the
way it treated its neighbors.
Radioactive:
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a source not just of trauma but of shame. Many
still hide the effects of radiation, and, even in those cities, the bomb
is almost never discussed.
Definitely not:
Treatment of certain outcast groups and minorities—and Japan’s general
lack of interest in accepting immigrants.
Not a good idea:
Discussing religion in any great detail. Many Japanese practice
Buddhism and/or Shinto, but they rarely talk about it, even with their
families.
Ill-advised: Remarking on the fact that
women seem to be serving men in so many situations. It’s deeply
ingrained, and you’ll only cause a loss of face.
Talk away!
All the ultramodern designs and conveniences; and the overall health of
the people.

SOUTH KOREA
Absolutely
verboten:
The Korean War and World War II—there is very little
hand-wringing or discussion of past (or even present) political strife.

Radioactive: Don’t fixate on the similarities
among the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. It violates not only political
taboos (especially Japan’s treatment of Korea during World War II) but
the Korean notion of ethnic and cultural uniqueness.
Definitely
not:
Maligning the government. There’s limited freedom of the
press and not much of a tradition of political criticism.
Not
a good idea:
Asking where someone went to college. It happens
to be an accurate (too accurate) indicator of social class.
Ill-advised:
Assuming familiarity with someone who’s older than you (by using his or
her first name, for instance).
Talk away! Before
getting down to business, it’s not only polite but mandatory to inquire
about someone’s age, marital status, and number of children.

VIETNAM

Absolutely verboten: Bad-mouthing Ho Chi Minh:
Even in the south, the Communist liberator is widely admired.
Radioactive:
Saying the Vietnam War didn’t go far enough, or that it was “lost.”
There is by no means even a private consensus that the country would
have been better off had the United States won.
Definitely
not:
Comparing the Vietnamese, favorably or otherwise, to their
counterparts among refugee communities stateside. Their worldviews are
often vastly different.
Not a good idea: Asking
about prostitution in Southeast Asia. There is much, much less here than
in Thailand—something they’d very much like tourists to know.
Ill-advised:
Asking too many personal questions. According to travel specialist
Sandy Ferguson of Asia Desk, the Vietnamese a“` re relatively reticent
compared with others on the peninsula.
Talk away!
Vietnam’s hard-fought independence and its (relatively) successful
modernization since the seventies.

THAILAND
Absolutely
verboten:
Disparaging comments about the royal family—or even
probing questions, like those of succession.
Radioactive:
The recent coup against its not-very-popular elected leader. The
situation is still tense and unstable, and thus politics are best
avoided.
Definitely not: Prostitution as a local
problem. Thais will discuss it but generally blame it on Western sex
tourists.
Not a good idea: There is a significant
Indian minority that arrived decades ago as guest workers, whom some
“native” Thais tend to dismiss (Arab visitors are also a touchy
subject).
Ill-advised: Buddhism is taken very
seriously in Thailand. Do not disparage or make light of it—or purport
to know all about it because you read a book or two.
Talk
away!
It’s best to emphasize Thailand’s relatively prosperous
and democratic position in the region, despite recent setbacks.
EUROPE
Its current liberalism and stability
notwithstanding, the peaceful continent still has some historical
skeletons in its closet. And while it’s hardly a powder keg like the
Middle East on the issue of American power, those were certainly a rough
eight years we’ve just gotten through. Cultural presumptions continue
to rear their head across the American-European divide; wade into them
carefully.

FRANCE
Absolutely verboten:
Talking money. Wages are almost never a topic of conversation, even in
vague terms. Any long conversation about prices of real estate, schools,
etc., is probably not a good idea.
Radioactive:
Joking about France’s surrender to the Germans during the war—not really
a laughing matter.
Definitely not: Asking a woman
how old she is is even worse in France than in other parts of the world.

Not a good idea: Overly detailed discussions of
dietary restrictions or requirements, which will make you look
unreasonably fussy and “American.”
Ill-advised: The
immigrant underclass and, conversely, the anti-immigrant right-wing
movements (and how many votes they’ve gotten in a few past elections).
Talk
away!
The food, of course; and the other glories of French
culture.

GERMANY
Absolutely
verboten:
Hitler and the Holocaust. Some will talk about it
incessantly, some will avoid it—but let them initiate the discussion.
Radioactive:
The Israeli situation is a frequent subject of debate here, but one
they’re understandably reticent about discussing with foreign visitors.
Definitely
not:
Talking too much about shopping or bargains may not
offend anyone, but it might bore them or mark you as a typical American
consumerist.
Definitely not: Don’t conflate
northern and southern Germany, which are considered very different; and
try to study up a bit on the geography and culture.
Ill-advised:
Excessive small talk is not appreciated; Germans can become
uncomfortable if made to discuss the weather for 15 minutes.
Talk
away!
Demonstrating decent knowledge of the nation or
language, or even global social issues, will get you far.

GREECE

Absolutely verboten: The junta in the late sixties
and early seventies, which many Greeks still think was backed by the
United States (Americans believe we just failed to stop it).
Radioactive:
Cyprus: Its invasion by Turkey and its division are definitely
sensitive subjects.
Definitely not: Tensions with
Turkey in general, and whether the United States is evenhanded enough
(or too evenhanded) in mediating those conflicts.
Not a good
idea:
Kosovar independence, which many Greeks opposed. They
make less noise about it than the Russians but were closer to the
action.
Ill-advised: Minority absorption and
immigrant rights—you’d sound holier than thou if you brought it up.
Talk
away!
Greece as the cradle of Western civilization; and the
leisurely pace of life.

IRELAND
Absolutely
verboten:
Northern Ireland. There is peace, but often a peace
built on sidestepping the issue. “We’re very good at avoiding things,”
says Irish-born novelist Colum McCann.
Radioactive:
Religion, particularly Protestantism versus Catholicism as it bears on
the issue above.
Definitely not: Bashing the
British won’t get you far—it’s a cliché. Ireland’s had a rough history
but moved beyond it in many ways.
Not a good idea:
Don’t call yourself Irish if your great-grandfather was from there. It’s
fine to talk about your roots but not to presume permanent cultural
citizenship.
Ill-advised: Sex is no longer a no-go
zone in Ireland, though among the older generation you might feel the
lingering effects of a long history of Catholic prudery.
Talk
away!
So long as you avoid politics, the Irish love Americans.
Talk about the countries’ commonalities and about Ireland’s rapid
economic growth in recent years.

RUSSIA
Absolutely
verboten:
Any mention of atrocities committed in Chechnya or
Georgia.
Radioactive: Defense of American actions
in Serbia, which Russians consider evidence of a double standard when
accused of human rights violations.
Definitely not:
The implication that Russia is not as advanced as other Western
countries, politically or otherwise.
Not a good idea:
Putin is sometimes criticized, but anything breezily dismissive can
easily draw defensive protests.
Ill-advised:
General liberal pronouncements against sexism or racism risk arousing
the accusation of political correctness.
Talk away!
Russia’s entrepreneurial streak; its centrality in the world; and its
cultural treasures (literature, music, and art).

TURKEY

Absolutely verboten: The Armenian genocide—writers
have been prosecuted just for saying it took place.
Radioactive:
Anything in support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)—or about
Kurdistan in general.
Definitely not: Anything
negative about Atatürk, the founder of modern secular Turkey.
Not
a good idea:
George W. Bush. You’ll hear an earful, and they
might even bring him up, but it’s best to just nod even if you don’t
agree on how awful he was.
Ill-advised: Saying
something—even positive—about someone’s wife or mother can be taken as
offending their honor.
Talk away! Says travel
specialist Earl Starkey of Protravel International: “Football [soccer],
children, and family—without too much detail.”
SMALL TALK VS. BIG TALK
Political and religious
variations aside, there’s an overriding issue when it comes to getting
along in different parts of the world: Is it a small-talk culture or a
big-talk culture? It’s difficult to generalize, but suffice to say that
in East Asia, where the concept of “face” reigns supreme and showing
emotion is verboten, raising a contentious subject at the table can lead
to the fatal breakdown of a relationship. Cultures with a strong
tradition of hospitality and ritual—like some in the Middle East—also
demand a certain level of tact, especially with elders (never mind all
the political minefields). Contrast this with France and Italy, with
their coffee-klatsch culture, or Germany, where small talk is taken for
vapidity. In Israel, beating around the bush will get you nowhere. “They
don’t sugarcoat,” says Nancy Schwartzman, an American documentarian who
has filmed in Israel. “Being overly polite is viewed with a lot of
distrust.”
One American expat says of Argentines, “They have an opinion on
everything—whether they’re informed or not.” And then there’s Russia,
where dinner-table pronouncements are raised to an art form, and being
yelled at by someone who just handed you the pierogi is a sign that
you’re “inside,” that the froideur of Russian street manners has been
stripped away in the warmth of the hearth. So the next time a French
businessman berates you on the evils of imperialism or a Russian cab
driver rants about the absurdities of political correctness, take it as a
sign of respect. And listen politely—but hold your ground. At any rate,
it’ll be easier to engage now that Bush is gone. More than any other
event in recent history, Obama’s election has been a great boon to
American travelers everywhere, with Israel possibly the sole exception.
What Americans Won’t Talk About (According to Everyone Else)
1.
The effect the U.S. government has on the rest of the world. It is the
number one topic of conversation in many countries, but it raises
hackles over here. According to Alec Mally, a former diplomat who now
lives in Greece, Americans there are occasionally referred to as
“killers of peoples,” and the U.S. president as “the guy who runs the
planet.” But it’s not something they’d say to us.
2. The policies of
George W. Bush. Of course he became unpopular here too, but many people
around the world find it hard to believe we elected (and reelected) him
in the first place.
3. That we are not the best country on earth.
This is perhaps even more of a sore point—on both ends—than the two
above.
4. Religious differences. Especially in the developed world,
we’re seen as taking our religion way too seriously. The part it plays
in our daily lives—and our politics—is something they’d be careful about
bringing up.
5. Our family status. Across the Mediterranean and
Asia, the first question you’d ask acquaintances is whether they’re
married, whether they have kids, and if not, why not. But they’ve
learned that the question can cause defensiveness here.
6. Violence.
One of the worst effects of the stereotypes our pop culture forces on
the world is how violent America is. The image is exaggerated, and in
many places things have gotten much better in the past 20 years—but not
every tourist knows that.
7. Race relations. This may be a little
less of an issue since Obama’s election, but the belief reigns in many
places that we have deep-seated issues with race—issues we’re too often
apt to avoid, even if we do sincerely adhere to our politically correct
beliefs.
8. Economic inequality. Let’s face it: We like to believe
we’re a classless society. The world, for the most part, does not see us
that way. For Europeans, the presence of the homeless and the lack of
social services can be incomprehensible. For those from poorer countries
(with plenty of inequality but far less prosperity), it’s more a matter
of global injustice.
9. Someone’s appearance or weight. In many
cultures, “you look fat” is not a rude comment. They may even say it
with a smile and are taken aback when we get offended.
10. How we’re
all the same. Visitors have been surprised at how regionally varied the
states are—and how sensitive some Americans are about being lumped
together as one culture.



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ART+COMMERCE= INTERNATIONAL CURRENCY ORGAMI

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DOLLAR BILL ORGAMI:

Most people just spend their money. Others turn it into
art…

Origami Dollar Bills

Origami Money Shirt With Tie

Dollar Bill Dresses by you.

Dollar Dude

abraham lincoln united states five dollar bill moneygami.jpg

Origami Rhino

Origami Rooster

Hang Glider

Creative Dollar Bill Origami 2

Creative Dollar Bill Origami 3

Creative Dollar Bill Origami 4

Creative Dollar Bill Origami 5

Creative Dollar Bill Origami 6

Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Relational Aesthetics

Rirkrit Tiravanija is a Buenos Aires-born Thai contemporary artist
known for exploring the social role of the artist using relational
aesthetics. He is most famous for installation art pieces where he
cookes meals for gallery-goers, reads to them, or plays music for them.
Rirkrit’s treatment of money, above, is a perfect example of this
examination of human beings in their social context rather than in a private space.

While the core concept is incredibly simple, the results are nothing
short of amazing. Each of the pieces is formed by folding currency
from a different country in such a way that the resulting miniature
emphases the face of the leader on the note. Not only that, but each of
the faces is given a unique hat or garb, representing the culture of the
currencies’ country of origin.

In a concept similar to the one shown above, this set incorporates
the cultural heritage of each country into the note buy cutting it out
in the shape of one of the countries’ popular skylines. Often with faces
projected onto the skylines, the final pieces are beautiful works of
art, immediately identifiable by the precise cutting of the skylines.

Money Sculptures by Justine Smith

Justine Smith’s work is noted for here exploration of our
relationships with, and responses to money, in political, moral, and
social settings. On the one hand we have guns and grenades, representing
the money used to fund wars and cause bloodshed around the
world, and on the other, are intricate and beautiful flowers
representing everything just and sacred.


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