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Archive for Opuluxe Travel

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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Futuristic Chinese Bus to solve traffic jams. via [huffpost]

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China Plans Huge Buses That Can DRIVE OVER Cars (PHOTOS)

China has overtaken the United States as the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse gases and biggest energy consumer.But the country is also thinking in big and bold ways when it comes to how it will reduce pollution and a new plan to build a “straddling bus” is among the most space-age schemes yet.

According to China Hush, the 6-meter-wide 3D Express Coach will be powered by a combination of electricity and solar energy, and will be able to travel up to 60 kilometers per hour carrying some 1200 to 1400 passengers.

>

IN PHOTOS: See more pictures of the futuristic bus here.



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The Top Vacation Retreat Favorites of Billionaire Celebrities. via [travelvivi]

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Where Billionaire Celebrities Spend Their Vacations
Posted by L.K.

The economic crisis has not spared the world’s richest people: their losses are calculated with astronomical sums. But whether this was reflected in their vacation last year? Maybe when many ordinary families in general were forced to abandon holiday voyages, wealthy guests were taking their rest in all-inclusive hotels? No, the billionaires are in no hurry to part with their habits: they still continue to spend on holiday such amounts of money which are simply compatible with the budget of some developing countries. So let’s see where some of the richest celebrities like to relax according to the magazine Forbes.

Oprah Winfrey: Antigua


The best-known television host Oprah Winfrey loves to enjoy the peace of the Caribbeans. Despite the fact that she owns huge tracts of land on California’s beautiful lands, on Maui and Montecito, Oprah tends to rest in peace and tranquility under the huge palm trees in the washed crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean beaches.
To do this, she goes to the coast of Antigua, where her neighbors are usually celebrities such as Eric Clapton, one of the leading classic rock musicians. Here the problems seem to be decreased to the lowest level and thus there’s no needs to worry about the US hitches which are left to far from the unusual paradise.

Richard Branson: British Virgin Islands


Let’s be honest- the Caribbean are a real reserve of billionaires from various countries. The father-founder of  the huge corporation Virgin, Richard Branson, apparently having decided once again to play with the words, bought himself an island Necker – one of the British Virgin Islands, and built a huge house with eight rooms in Balinese style. While being surrounded with the turquoise waters, this piece of land lies on the softest fine-grained sand. This gives an additional opportunity to swim among the coral reefs surrounding the Necker or to start learning any other kind of water sports.
Branson has a full staff of servants, including a personal chef and masseuse. Incidentally, the famous businessman from time to time turns his possession. So if you have nowhere to go relaxing and have some extra hundreds of dollars to spend freely, you can easily live there too. He enjoys hosting around 28 guests who are resting next to him.

Paul Allen: Octopus Yacht


Long stays in one place seem to be tiring and even the fact that it’s a luxurious place for resting, doesn’t save celebrities from boredom. And because of this Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, doesn’t like to have a rest on solid ground while preferring instead to swim in his own mega-yacht that costs him $ 200 million.
In this floating five-star hotel there are not only ordinary pool and a cinema. The hotel owner and his guests have a basketball court, a couple of helicopters and a real submarine for 10 people.  The yacht is so big that the crew serving the miracle yacht is no more, no less than 60 people.

Roman Abramovich: Wildcat Ridge, Colorado, USA


Not all the celebrities of this world like sandy beaches, palm trees and warmer climates. Roman Abramovich, if he does not travel on his 170-meter yacht, usually chooses to rest in the countries with a cold climate. The owner of Chelsea Football Club loves to ski, and so bought himself a small, only 80 hectares, ranch Wildcat Ridge near the famous ski resort of Aspen in Colorado.
There is no need to get surprised. The thing is that Roman Abramovich is not only owning a club following the idea of healthy lifestyle, but he also enjoys various sports himself, trying to appear to the public in his best shape.

Bill Gates: Western Greenland


Another fan of the cold countries and places can be truly called Bill Gates. Once in 2008, the world’s most famous programmer has left Microsoft, he began charity work and because of his wife, Melinda to spend much time in Africa.
Let’s not make any kind of rumors about why the African heat bothers him, and he prefers to rest in Greenland, in the heart of skiing Apussuit Adventure Camp, let’s just take this fact as a note. Greenland is a truly wild corner of the world. Even the cities of this country are quite deserted and even some of them are not even inhabited, and only at a remote resort on the west of the island is where some adventurers like Bill Gates enjoy having a vacation.

Francois-Henri Pinault: Ibiza, Spain


Although most of the billionaires do not like to be on the center of attention and thus avoid journalists, it’s not true about Francois-Henri Pinault, the son of billionaire Francois Pinault. Not long ago he decided to conquer the world of fashion and art, making a present for paparazzi, having gone with his girlfriend actress Salma Hayek to Ibiza.
Photographers were waiting for a couple of moments to take pics of the couple who were relaxing on this Mediterranean coast, and their shots hit the magazines of all over the world. However, the young Mexican was not embarrassed at all: she was so charmed by Pino (or, at least, Ibiza), that next Valentine’s Day the young and attractive couple decided to get married.

Mukesh Ambani: Mumbai, India

However, not all billionaires like to overcross the seas and oceans to soak in somebody else’s country house. Indian telecom tycoon Mukesh Ambani prefers to relax at home. To this end, he decided to arrange a home in Mumbai in its own extravagant 27-storey skyscraper worth around one billion dollars. It seems to be rather interesting to have something like a hotel for your own.

Under construction now this man’s residence will take four floors, and there will be everything necessary for a modest multi-billionaire recreation: outdoor garden, a large dance hall with a chandelier, which occupies 4 / 5 ceiling, yoga studio and a special ice room, where you can hide from the Indian heat. The only question left to be answered is the one whether Mukesh plans to have all of the house for his own or going to have some “guests” to come over?





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Ten Things Baggage Handlers Won’t Tell You via [smartmoney and gadling’stravel]

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Great funny and truthful piece on Yahoo Travel. Below are a few excerpts.

The secret journey your bag takes once it leaves the check-in counter.

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1. “Don’t pack light—we need the money.”

These are turbulent times for the aviation industry. According to the Air Transport Association of America, passenger revenue fell 18 percent in 2009, the largest drop on record. In the past decade airlines have also been hit with extra costs related to fuel prices, security and unionization: 40 percent of air-transportation workers were unionized in 2009, compared with 12 percent of the general workforce. “It’s a tough, tough industry to achieve any success,” says Daniel Ortwerth, transportation analyst at Edward Jones.

So it’s no surprise carriers are cutting corners. Passengers have kissed hot meals goodbye while paying for itinerary changes, frequent-flier bookings and even blankets and pillows. Another hit: luggage fees. In January most major domestic carriers bumped these to $25 for the first checked bag, $35 for the second (but amounts can vary), which could generate $117 million in new revenue, according to consultancy IdeaWorks. It’s a mixed bag for handlers like Shae Flores of American Airlines: Sure, fliers are checking fewer bags, but they’re cramming more into them, requiring “more upper-body strength,” she says.

2. “We’re losing fewer bags—because there are fewer to lose.”

It’s true, fewer bags are getting lost in transit these days: There were 3.91 “mishandled” (lost, stolen, damaged or delayed) bags per 1,000 passengers in 2009, compared with 5.26 in 2008 and 7.05 in 2007, according to the Department of Transportation. But baggage handlers shouldn’t pat themselves on the back. Catherine Mayer, VP at travel-tech firm SITA, says the DOT undercounts errors by excluding reports from passengers with an international leg in their flight. (The DOT agrees, saying airlines are required to file mishandled-baggage reports only for domestic trips.) What’s more, industry experts attribute the downward trend to the fact that there’s less luggage to lose; US Airways, for one, says it has seen a 20 percent drop in first-checked-bag volume.

Mayer says the vast majority of lost bags are reunited with owners within 48 hours. But when they aren’t, airlines sell off unidentifiable bags to defray the cost of insuring lost luggage claims. Final stop: the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Ala., a 40,000-square-foot store that peddles their contents as “lost treasures from around the world.”

3. “Some of us have sticky fingers.”

Last June, Sekita Ekrek, a New York–based entertainment consultant, flew to Chicago to visit family. Upon arrival at her sister’s place, she says, she went for her camera, which she’d put in a checked bag before the flight, but it was gone. Upset, she decided to file a claim against the carrier, American Airlines. But by the time she got home and found the original model number, it was too late; the airline’s 30-day window had passed. “They said, ‘That’s our policy, end of story,’” says Ekrek. (A spokesperson for American Airlines says that camera equipment is excluded from the policy because of liability limitations.)

To be fair, 30 days seems generous compared with the limits set by other airlines. Brandon Macsata, executive director for the Association of Airline Passenger Rights, says some airlines require that you report stolen goods before leaving the airport. Alexander Anolik, a San Francisco attorney specializing in travel law, says that while courts will probably not sympathize if you miss a 30-day window, same-day-reporting rules are unreasonable. Airlines likely owe you money even if it takes a few days to notice that something’s gone, he says.

6. “Not all bags are created equal.”

In the movie “Up in the Air,” travel-obsessed downsizing pro Ryan Bingham (played by George Clooney) takes his firm’s ambitious new hire to a luggage shop after she brings a clunky suitcase along on her first business trip. Indeed, finicky fliers say the smallest details matter, and industry experts agree that some materials are better than others. According to Dawn Sicco, U.S. wholesale marketing director at Samsonite, ballistic nylon—originally used in World War II flak jackets—has become the “pinnacle of the industry” since first appearing in luggage two decades ago. For hard-shell suitcases, Sicco says polycarbonate is best. Lightweight but strong, this synthetic resin is found in police riot shields and bulletproof glass.

Baggage handlers can be picky too. Flores, the American Airlines handler, says she prefers bags with “spinner” wheels that rotate in circles; this makes it easier for her to push bags in any direction without lifting them. But that doesn’t necessarily mean consumers should opt for spinners. Dan Bohl, a district manager at Colorado Bag’n Baggage in Denver, says the wheels on four-wheel suitcases are more susceptible to damage and dislocation because of their placement.

7. “Stressing about baggage claim? You should.”

Ever wonder what happens if someone walks off with your suitcase at baggage claim? Airlines hope it won’t happen. “It’s more of an honor system,” says a spokesperson for Southwest. Legally, says travel attorney Anolik, until your belongings are back in your hands, they’re still the airline’s responsibility, and on trips involving connecting flights with multiple airlines, it’s the first carrier that matters. In the case of checked luggage poached at baggage claim, airlines say that they’ll negotiate a reasonable payment if they can’t find your bags but that it’s impossible to hunt for bags once they’ve left the airport.

Fortunately, the Department of Transportation has made it easier to get reimbursed for expenses ranging from a toothbrush to a new suit by cracking down on airlines that had been violating its baggage-handling rules. Anolik notes the domestic limit for claims is now $3,300 but cautions that for international flights, calculating compensation can be tricky, since liability is likely to be priced in “special drawing rights,” a complex monetary unit made up of differently weighted currencies.

8. “Many of us don’t actually work for the airlines.”

Not all baggagehandlers work for airlines; many are contract workers employed by so-called ground-handling companies. JetBlue employs a mix of both, while American uses contractors at airports where it has just a handful of flights per day. Major ground-handling companies include Swissport International, which employs about 1,500 baggage handlers in the U.S. and, like its rivals, gets most of its business from foreign airlines. According to Michael Boyd, president of aviation consultants Boyd Group International, third-party vendors are popular as a way for airlines to save money, since ground-handling firms compete for contracts, hire more short-term workers and tend to be less unionized.

John Conley, director of the Transport Workers Union’s air-transport division, says outsourcing baggage handling can mean slower service and mistakes. “If I were working for a contract group, it’s likely that I’ll have less of a wage…and probably less of an investment,” he says. A Swissport exec says that’s not true, and Boyd agrees consumers shouldn’t worry, since it’s a straightforward job most handlers can do no matter who the boss is.

10. “If you think we’re bad here, just wait till you go abroad.”

In some parts of the world, smugglers have been known to transport drugs in the luggage of unsuspecting air passengers. In other regions, security may be especially lax, and pilfering of bags or their contents is of greater concern for travelers. Worldwide, 11.4 bags per 1,000 passengers were mishandled in 2008, according to SITA; industry experts say that figure is far lower in the U.S.

Using luggage locks during foreign travel is a good idea, but to prevent smuggling and theft (at least of a bag’s contents), some fliers are wrapping their suitcases in layers of clear plastic. Smarte Carte, a provider of luggage carts at major airports, offers plastic-wrapping stations in Auckland, New Zealand, and Perth, Australia. Florida-based Global Baggage Protection Systems, meanwhile, operates as Secure Wrap in 47 airports worldwide. Not going abroad anytime soon? Domestic travelers can try out Secure Wrap for $9 to $14 a pop at John F. Kennedy International in New York, George Bush Intercontinental in Houston or Miami International. In Miami, where drug smuggling is an especially big worry, 2,000 to 4,000 pieces of luggage get wrapped on any given day, says Secure Wrap Executive Director Daniel Valdespino. But a Transportation Security Administration spokesperson says agents will open bags if they have to, even plastic-wrapped ones.

Videos: bad baggage handlers (or, Remind me again why we pay to check luggage!)

by A. Hermitt

What happens to your bags after you hand them over at the airport? It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves. Are our bags cared for lovingly? Are they abused? Are they tossed and thrown… or set down carefully, gently?

While most baggage handlers are no doubt scrupulous and careful with luggage, every group has its bad apples. Here are some of the worst offenders, making us mutter to ourselves, “Remind me again why we pay to check luggage!”

Watch these baggage handlers see who can get the best backward, over the head shot into containers with luggage and shipped packages.

Watch these baggage handlers see who can get the best backward, over the head shot into containers with luggage and shipped packages.

It’s clear that this baggage handler is not really interested in “handling” the baggage as it comes off the plane.

This young lady was having fun bag tossing… until she realized passengers were watching her from the plane.

These British Air baggage handlers seem to enjoy watching the bags bounce off each other.

These EasyJet baggage handlers seem to think it’s appropriate to stack the smallest bags on the bottom… and dump the larger bags on top.

This guy doesn’t throw any bags… he just drags the bags behind the baggage car.

So you think locking your luggage makes it safer? Ha! This video shows you precisely how to get into a “locked” bag.

These baboons at Knowlsey Safari Park give new meaning to the phrase “baggage handlers.”

Good luck on your next flight, and remember: don’t pack anything valuable in your checked bags!



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The 8 BEST Islands for Food! via [msnbc.com]

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Get out there and eat! Where to dine, cook, drink and fete

By Megan Padilla

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It’s the catch phrase of the gourmet traveler: “You haven’t tasted
real oysters (substitute tzatiki, pad Thai) until you’ve tried
them on Jersey (substitute Santorini, Ko Samui). But it’s true:
Although we have access to international food
in our big-city restaurants, nothing compares to going straight to the
source. We’ve searched the globe for some of the best food experiences
that the world’s islands have to offer. And we have to confess that
while we did it, we got pretty hungry. Plus, it brought a flood of
memories to each and every one of us, from the Caribbean
(potato-and-lentil-stuffed roti) to the Aegean (creamy buffalo
mozzarella with sliced tomatoes ripe off the vine, drizzled with pale
green first-pressed olive oil). Get out there and eat.

Ko Samui, Thailand


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If you only know one Thai dish, it’s probably pad Thai. But just as
we promised, you’ve never really eaten pad Thai until you’ve tried it
from a street vendor in Thailand. Continue to expand your palate on Ko
Samui off the east coast of Thailand. If you don’t speak the language,
your best bet is to recruit and trust local Samuians to take you to
their favorite restaurants, perhaps Bangpo Seafood in the Mae Nam area,
where seafood, fresh or dried, and coconuts find their way into nearly
every dish. Start with khoei jii, an appetizer that’s made
from shrimp paste, shallots, garlic, coconut meat and ground chilies
spread on a coconut shell and then grilled.

Then there’s a thick stir-fry made with waay, small
octopuses that are used fresh or dried, coconut milk and fresh herbs.
But we think you’ll have the most fun signing on for one of the Samui
Institute of Thai Culinary Arts’, or SITCA’s, daily two-and-half-hour cooking classes where you start by shopping in the
local markets for items you’d be hard-pressed to find at home, such as
the carrot-length, bright-green veggie the locals call “stink bean.”
Best of all, at the end of the session you get to feast on it all.
Learn different dishes every day, or if you really want to tackle Thai
food, take SITCA’s 12-day intensive course, offered every month and
limited to four students. Rates for the half-day sessions are about
$50. www.sitca.net; www.samuitourism.com

Isla Mujeres, Mexico

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Isla Mujeres, just off the coast of Cancun, is one of our favorite
islands on which to taste authentic guacamole, fresh, flame-grilled
seafood, salsas and more.

Is it just us or do you, too, get intense cravings for authentic
Mexican guacamole at least twice a day? You know the stuff: fresh
avocados mashed in a stone bowl with tangy lime, sea salt, cilantro and
garlic. Isla Mujeres, just off the coast of Cancun, is one of our
favorite islands on which to taste this concoction. But let’s not sell
the island short; it also excels at tikin xic, a Maya recipe for fish flame-grilled to perfection. Try it
near Playa Lancheros on Isla’s south coast (bring at least three
hungry friends to split one fish).

The island is also known for its ceviche mixto – a little
bit of everything from the sea. Raw fish and shellfish are chopped into
tiny pieces and marinated in lime juice, which effectively “cooks” the
fish, and then chilies, tomato, garlic and other spices are added. It
is often served with fried corn tortilla chips; you can smell the hot
corn wafting in the air. Order the ceviche at Picus Cocteleria right on
the Caribbean Sea close to the ferry terminal. If you’ve had enough
fish, head instead to the taquerias scattered about downtown
(we recommend Super Taqueria Medina, which offers five different salsas
at your table and has an excellent rotisserie). www.islamujeresturismo.com

Oahu, Hawaii

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When you travel to Oahu, you have arrived at the culinary
epicenter of the Pacific-Asian world. In Honolulu you’ll find
Asian-based dishes with a bit of Americana (dare we say, SPAM) thrown
in, as well as an island twist based on local ingredients. Join Hawaii Food Tours’
Hole-in-the-Wall Tour ( www.hawaiifoodtours.com;
rates from $99). It’s offered every day but Sunday and is your chance
to taste the treats that local chefs seek on their day off. You might
try a Hawaiian plate lunch, Chinese dumplings, pastries, Thai noodles,
barbecued meat satay, Vietnamese summer rolls, Bento Boxes or crack
seed, a snack of dehydrated fruit that was introduced by the first
Chinese plantation workers.

Slideshow:
The heart of Hawaii

But for strictly Hawaiian fare, don’t miss Helena’s Hawaiian Foods,
where the menu hasn’t changed much in 60 years. Order the

pipikaula

ribs. These double-thick, kalbi-cut beef short ribs are salted,
air-dried and cooked so they are crispy on the outside and juicy inside.

www.visit-oahu.com

Sicily, Italy

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An
informal poll of ISLANDS editors shows that Sicily is the island that
most ignites the four-o’clock hunger
pains. It’s a landscape best experienced by taste, where trees produce
olives that wind up as delicate oils; almonds and pistachios find
their way into pastries; and juicy white plums are made into preserves.
The earth yields ripe melons eaten in spring, ruby-red strawberries
best enjoyed with a bit of aged balsamic vinegar, and tender grapes
that are crafted into biodynamic wines. And that’s just the beginning.
We haven’t even gotten to the cheese, the fish or the pasta.

Hands down, Sicily is our land of milk and honey. No matter where you
travel on the island, the largest in the Mediterranean, you’re going
to eat well. After all, Sicily is divided into 20 regions that all
participate in Slow Food, the 21-year-old, Italian-founded organization
that is committed to the connection between the pleasure of food and
its origins; www.slowfood.com.
If your island dream means you cook as well as eat, then head for the
island’s heart, midway between Palermo on the north and Agrigento on the
south, and into the kitchen of cookbook author Anna Tasca Lanza on her
family’s 1,200-acre country estate and winery, Regaleali-Tasca
d’Almerita; www.absoluteitalia.com.
After dinner, stay overnight and enjoy a cooking demonstration the
next day. Or come for five days to cook, shop, walk the countryside and
dine in village trattorias. www.italiantourism.com

Jersey, Channel Islands

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We know that everyone’s island dream is unique. If yours
is to eat, then start planning a trip to Jersey where nearly 200
restaurants, four annual food festivals and regular farmers markets make
eating a year-round sport. Go there at your fighting weight and let
your hedonistic impulses run free: Never skimp on the rich butter and
cream from Jersey’s eponymous cows, always take a helping of the
delicate Jersey Royal new potatoes, say yes to your third round of Royal
Bay oysters, and order lobster tail for lunch.

This southernmost English Channel Island is nearer to France than
England, and its position in the path of the warm Gulf Stream creates an
abundance of seafood, particularly shellfish. Hence, a favorite saying
in Jersey French: Du paisson dait nagi trais fais: dans la me,
dans l’beurre et dans l’vin
.” Fish should swim three times: in the
sea, in butter and in wine.” A great time to visit is during the Out
of the Blue Maritime Festival (July 7-8) for a weekend of seafood, sea
shanties, street theater and alfresco dining, plus a special-edition
farmers market featuring the neighbors’ Norman-French products, such as
foie gras, honey, cheese, candles and Calvados. It’s also a good place
to try des mervelles, better known as “Jersey wonder,”
deep-fried twisted-shape cakes that, in accordance with custom, are
never made on a rising tide. www.jersey.com

Penang, Malaysia

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Warning:
If you love noodles but want to watch your carbs, tread carefully in
Malaysia. There you’ll find a noodle dish called mee goreng.
It’s a melting pot of flavors made spicy with chili peppers and
seasoned with garlic, onion and curry powder. It’s highly addictive and
ubiquitously available, mostly from the hawker stalls along the roads
of Penang, the epicenter if Malaysian cuisine that is a fusion of
Chinese, Indian and Malay – all groups represented on the island.

At these stalls, graze your way through dozens of dishes, sometimes
served on banana-leaf plates: Taste satays, thin slices of skewered
charcoal-cooked meats whose flavors explode in your mouth; char kway
teow
, stir fried rice noodles with egg, spring onions and shrimp
prepared with curry paste in hot oil; popiah, a fresh spring
roll filled with raw and cooked vegetables; and roti canai, a
chewy Indian flatbread served with lentil curry. Don’t miss the pasar
malam
, or night market, in George Town where you can shop and
eat, or the fishing village of Kuala Jalan Bahru for a bowl of assam
laksa
, a tangy fish soup with noodles topped with shredded
pineapple, sliced green chilies and fresh mint. www.tourismpenang.gov.my

St. Martin, French West Indies

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Who
says you have to cross the big pond for authentic French cuisine? We
say go south to the French West Indies in the Caribbean, including St.
Martin and Guadeloupe. Half of St. Martin is a property of the French
government. And though the island’s other half, St. Maarten, is a Dutch
holding, dining a la mode francais is very much alive on both
sides of the island. An evening-long, five-course meal is par for the
course. French creole specialties intermingle with local fish and
vegetables, including taro, pumpkin and coconut, but traditional Old
World fare like boudin sausage (blood sausage) and rack of lamb
is widely available.

Try the lamb in brik, a North African Arab-inspired dish of
lamb cooked in spices for seven hours then tucked into a turnover. It’s
known as Shank of Lamb at Sol’E Luna in Mount Vernon on the French
side. As in Europe, bistro dining is popular here, but like the many
haute eateries around the island, they can be expensive. The best bet
for quick, cheap (yet skillfully prepared) food is one of the many lolos,
or food shacks, lining the beaches, where you can eat grilled fish and
jerked meats. The best lolos are on the piers at Grand Case on the
north shore. www.st-martin.org;
www.st-maarten.com

Guadeloupe, French West Indies

https://i2.wp.com/www.frenchcaribbean.com/Guadeloupe/info/images/caravellecolor.jpg


Cooking traditions run deep on Guadeloupe,
where Gallic colonists first arrived in 1815. One of the best ways to
sample Guadeloupe’s superior French technique is at the Fete des
Cuisinieres, a festival celebrating the island’s traditional women
cooks, held each August since 1916 on the Saturday closest to the feast
day of the patron saint of cooks, Saint Laurent.

Among the delights are bountiful seafood towers of crawfish and
lobster as well as foods demonstrating strong culinary influences of
East Indian, Arab and African migrants to the region, influences that
include the prodigious and sometimes painful use of hot pepper and colombe,
the local name for curry, which was brought here by East Indians and
is a staple ingredient in island cooking. In fact, colombe de
poulet
, or chicken curry, is often considered the island’s
“national” dish. Try it at Pipirite’s in the heart of Basse-Terre’s
jungle. If you want to try to recreate the flavors found on the island,
then don’t miss a visit to the Marche des Epices, the spice market in
Point-a-Pitre. www.lesilesdeguadeloupe.com




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Top 10 A-List Celebrity Romantic Getaways via [romowtravelblog]

Many celebrities
like to keep their love life under wraps, so it’s not surprising that
countless celebrity couples have often been spotted on romantic
getaways.

For many celebrity couples, these romantic retreats are one of their
few opportunities to spend quality time together, away from their
hectic work schedules, A-list events and hordes of fans. So when they
do get the opportunity to escape on a romantic getaway, they ensure
that the destination they choose fits the bill perfectly – just as
these celebrity couple getaways do:

1. Maldives

maldives
The picture-perfect
Maldives is a hot spot for A-list celebrity couples who want to cosy up
in the private beach-side huts on the paradise isles in the Indian
Ocean.

Celebrity sightings: Beyonce and Jay-Z,
Naomi Campbell and Vladislav Doronin, Catherine Zeta Jones
and Michael Douglas, Kate Moss, Sadie Frost, Eva Longoria, Jude Law, Penelope Cruz.

2. Dubai

dubai
“The star of the Middle East”
boasts the world’s only seven-star hotel – the Burj Al Arab. With
suites priced from US$2,000 up to US$28,000 per night, it’s no wonder
celebrities often feature on the hotel’s guest list.

Celebrity sightings: Claudia Schiffer, Michael Schumacher, David and
Victoria Beckham, Serena and Venus Williams.

3. Italy

italy
The food, the wine, the
culture, the art, and, of course, the romance, make Italy a top
celebrity couple getaway destination. As an extra treat for their
beloved, celebrity couples can shop to their heart’s content at Italy’s
many world-renowned fashion houses.

Celebrity sightings: George Clooney,
Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Sylvester Stallone.

4. Barbados

barbados
As well as being renowned
for being the birthplace of singer Rihanna, this Caribbean island is
also home to some of the world’s most spectacular white sand beaches
with their glittering turquoise waters, as well as fine dining and
swanky hotels.

Celebrity sightings: Elton John, Prince Andrew, Sting, David and
Victoria Beckham, Will Smith, Tiger Woods.

5. Bahamas

bahamas
Only 40 out of more than
700 of the islands of the Bahamas are inhabited. It’s no wonder then
that it’s a popular destination for celebrity couples seeking privacy.
When celebrities have had enough of soaking up the sun amid gorgeous
beaches, they can indulge in the islands’ glitzy nightlife.

Celebrity sightings: Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Lily Allen.

6. Miami

miami
Fun-loving celebrity couples
love heading to Miami for some fun under the sun. Stars can go
club-hopping all night long at South Beach, grooving to Latin beats.

Celebrity sightings: Shakira, Janet Jackson, Gwen Stefani, Jennifer
Lopez, Justin Timberlake, Cameron Diaz, Beyonce, Kate Moss.

7. French Riviera

french riviera
One of the jewels of
the Mediterranean, the French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur in French,
provides for one of the most romantic backdrops in the world. It is
dotted with many luxury hotels as well as private yachts.

Celebrity sightings: Joan Collins, Lily Allen, Elton John, Elizabeth
Hurley, Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas, Brad Pitt and
Angelina Jolie.

8. Mexico

mexico
It may not be associated
with glitz and glamour, but Mexico still attracts many celebrity
couples thanks to its warm sun and palm-tree lined beaches. Its
nightlife is another selling point, and celebrities can often be found
downing tequila shots in one of Mexico’s many bars and clubs.

Celebrity sightings: Britney Spears,
Heidi Klum, Sienna Miller, Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer.

9. Rio de Janeiro

rio
The second largest city of
Brazil is the perfect place for celebrity couples to get away from it
all and let their head down. Whether celebrities are off to the
flamboyant Carnaval, to an action-packed football match, or to the
beach to dance some samba on the sand, Rio always guarantees them a
good time.

Celebrity sightings: Naomi Campbell, Calvin Klein, Mick Jagger, Gisele
Bündchen.

10. Paris

paris
No romantic getaway list
would be complete without the world’s capital of romance – Paris. When
celebrity couples are in the mood for romance, they head to the City of
Lights – a place just as glamorous, fashionable, and famous as they
are.

Celebrity sightings: Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal, Katy
Perry, Dita Von Teese, Emma Watson.


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Spectacular Floating Condos For The Über-Riche: Four Seasons’ Ocean Residences via [2oceansvibe]

WE LIKE THE FOUR SEASONS OCEAN RESIDENCES

This is how we should possibly be doing it?

Four Seasons

As the global recession continues and we here at 2oceansvibe continue subsconsciously programming you, through various mechanisms and tools, to live the dream and to unlock your potential; it is important that I bring you this, the Four Seasons Ocean Residence .

four seasons header
From US$3.8 million to US$39 million

With the news that a 25 year old Spanish woman won that R1.5billion PlauEuroMillions lottery, it is amusing to note that she would be able to buy ANY one of the the units on board the boat.

Pam Golding are exclusively marketing the floating residences in South Africa and have announced prices ranging from US$3.8 million to US$39 million.

Visiting some of the world’s most exotic destinations and vibrant cities is one thing ? being able to view them from your own living room window is quite another. Yet this becomes a reality with the launch of Four Seasons Ocean Residences, a 720 foot (220m) luxury vessel which offers 112 wholly owned private residences with all the onboard benefits and amenities provided by the legendary service of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

Check out these pics:

four seasons slide 07
This may well bring a smile to your face

four seasons slide 08
I can see you there.

four seasons slide 04
Your entrace hall

I’ll be honest, I’m tempted. I’ve been keen on acquiring a residence within a hotel (like at Green Point’s Cape Royal 5-star hotel, for example) but there is something VERY appealing about one that floats around the world and let’s you attend the various glabal highlight events taking place.

I really would like that. I think it would suit my vibe. Like a non-stop 2oceansvibe Strangthening Ties Tour! I could just cruise around, playing nicely – from one port to the next and record it all for YOU right here! Wouldn’t you enjoy that? In a way, you would be right there with me.

With 70 000 sq ft (6 500sqm) of public space and 13 decks, the ship offers an expansive array of onboard activities and entertainment including the 11 000 sq ft (1 021sqm) Four Seasons Oceans Residences Spa and fitness facility, a European-styled promenade with exclusive merchandise from many high-end and well known retailers, gourmet market, state of the art business centre with secretarial and video conferencing services, wine cellar, helipad, putting greens, driving range, state of the art communications technology and a marinan facility providing ship to shore service, scuba operations and a launch for jet skis or sailboats. There are four signature restaurants, a coffee shop, jogging and walking track, pool deck and cabanas, meditation garden, medical centre, art gallery, boutiques, library, laundry and dry cleaning, house of worship, 24 hour security, daily housekeeping service, and even tutoring facilities.

Nice, I’d learn some French while I’m at it.

Let’s have another little squizz:

four seasons slide 05
Chilling

four seasons slide 01
Where are we, darling?
Is that New York?

four seasons slide 03
So fresh and so clean clean

four seasons slide 06
The Molteno Library

four seasons slide 09
It’s in another league altogether

It looks like they’ve got QUITE a schedule as well:

Hosting its owners, their guests and 220 crew members, the design of the Four Seasons allows her to circumnavigate the globe, visiting cosmopolitan centres of the world and to dock or anchor near remote habitats only accessible to a limited number of smaller sized yachts. Following the sun for optimal climates, the schedule takes in some of the world’s major events such as the 2012 London Olympics, Cannes Film Festival, Carnival in Rio, The British Open and the Grand Prix in Monaco. Four Seasons Oceans Residences expects to average approximately 250 days in port each year, offering extended stays for in-depth exploration on all seven continents. The vessel is due to visit South Africa in 2012, visiting Durban, East London, Mossel Bay and Cape Town.

Keen to join me?

God, can you imagine the fun we’d have?

Can you imagine the international angels on board the boat. Some of them you wouldn’t even know were on board for weeks at a time.

But then she would spot you in the casino, WINNING, and she’d say, “Hello Meester, what ees yor name? My name ees Varooshkah!”

Then you’d place the dice in her hand, she’d blow on them and then, without taking her eyes off yours, she would throw the dice on the table.

“SEVEN!!!!!” would come the cry from the croupier, as the table appluads you on this, your 25th winning throw in a row on the craps table.

You would leave with her and dine the next day, once the ship reached Monaco.

From that day on, everybody would call you The Captain.

Check out more about that little slice of heaven at the Pam golding website here.

To win the money required to buy one of those units – CLICK HERE to play the EuroMillions lottery

Seth Rotherham

Four Seasons Ocean Residences

WHAT Residential ocean liner.

WHERE Launching initially from London.

AMENITIES A spa and concierge service, among others.

PRICES Residences starting at $3.8 million.

STATUS Sales began recently, and the ship is scheduled to begin service in 2010.

DEVELOPER BV International Ocean Holdings.

CONTACT (877) 507-3393 or www.oceanresidences.com.

DETAILS The Four Seasons — a 719-foot, 13-deck ship operated by the hotel company that will be filled entirely with residences — will begin construction next spring in Helsinki, Finland. Its 112 residences are described as nothing like standard cruise ship cabins. The one- to four-bedroom units, sold in whole ownership, will range from 800 to more than 7,000 square feet and will have full-length windows, walk-in closets, terraces and full-size kitchens. Each residence will be credited $12,000 a year for food, drinks and spa services. Amenities, other than the spa, will include a fitness center, a pool, a shopping promenade, four restaurants, a specialty food market, a wine cellar, a business center, putting greens and a driving range. Sailboats and motorized water scooters will be launched from the ship’s marina area, which will also be used for diving trips and shuttles to shore. Round-the-clock concierge service will be available to help arrange on-shore activities, and in-room dining will be offered. Plans call for the ship initially to follow a two-year fixed itinerary that will take it to Antarctica, the Amazon and the 2012 Olympics in London. During that time, it is expected that the ship will spend an average of 250 days a year in port.


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