Scots have a very dark sense of humor, which I inherited, and a very healthy ability to laugh at other people's misfortunes. There's a sense of tradition: we all go around shooting haggis—a kind of an animal, a bird, which we shoot on the moors.
—Alan Cumming, actor/director
For me, Bali doesn't change. It holds its spirit, and that is what I love about it. I love it all—the energy, the waters, the people, the colors. Every place has gone global, but Bali has maintained itself, and that is beautiful.
—Donna Karan, fashion designer
What I love best about the Lone Star State is its "cuisine." Barbecue arguments abound. Tex-Mex food lives by the slogan, "Even bad Mexican food is better than no Mexican food." And then there's that holdover, Southern cooking: beaten biscuits, corn fritters, hush puppies, chicken-fried steak. It's the diversity of Texas that fascinates—the shit-kicking cowboy in the pickup truck and the Dallas society matron. All Texans under the skin.
—Liz Smith, gossip columnist
There's a myth that New Yorkers are cold, anonymous, forbidding. But they're very accepting of anyone new. You can't be here for a day and not see someone who looks different from you—different clothes, different race, different religious background. You'll either become more inward and frightened, or more open and understanding. If you introduce me to a new consul general or ambassador who comes from some village, I can find someone here from the same village.
—Rudolph W. Giuliani, mayor
The first time I went to Venice, in the early thirties, I stayed in a pensione, the Seguso, because I didn't have enough money for a hotel. I arrived late at night, around 10 o'clock. My room looked right out onto the lagoon. I woke up the next morning to bells ringing from the Redentore Church and a procession led by the archbishop over a bridge that had been made across the Giudecca Canal. That was my first view of Venice—the robes, the priests. I remember the two women who owned the pensione. Their husbands had gambled and lost it, but the people gave it back to the women because they didn't approve of the men.
—Eleanor Lambert, publicist
Northern Louisiana, where I was born, is a vast range of landscapes punctuated by pine trees. I spent the early part of my life there in a one-horse, whistle-stop town before departing at age 16 for another life in New Orleans, a jumbo, gumbo helluva town that reflects the soul of Louisiana. Great food, lots of jazz, the smell of magnolias, gardenias, and honeysuckle penetrating the air—intoxicating indeed!
—Geoffrey Beene, fashion designer
Years ago, it was untouched by the most dangerous of all animals, humans. You can still find some good places, like the northern end of Lake Rudolf in Kenya or the Okavango Swamps in Botswana, where you can ride on elephants. And there's Gillies Turle, who does tours in Masai land, where you can see circumcision, medicinal artifacts, witch doctors' bones—the last remaining molecules of authenticity.
—Peter Beard, photographer