Worlds away from the kitschy tourist zone of Waikiki and the rural surf paradise of the North Shore, Honolulu’s Chinatown has recently become the center of the city’s arts community—bringing with it the requisite cafes, music venues and even a whiff of the cool kid aura that permeates other bohemian enclaves in the rest of the country. Of course, you won’t be mistaking the neighborhood for Williamsburg, Brooklyn or the Mission District in San Francisco anytime soon—and that’s a good thing. Like many things in Hawaii, the area is a unique blend of local Asian-American and immigrant cultures, with a dash of edge mixed in (it was formerly the city’s red light district) and its downtown location gives it just the right amount of urban grit, albeit with palm trees and 80-degree tropical weather.
Here are a just a few places (both new and established) that are worth a visit:
New York Times / Reuters | A three-day strike by British Airways cabin crew will go ahead from Saturday after talks with management collapsed, Britain’s Unite union said Friday.
The strike, which is likely to disrupt travel plans for thousands, presents a major headache for the ruling Labor party weeks before a general election because Unite is its biggest single financial backer.
“The strike that is planned for midnight tonight will go ahead as will the other strike we have announced,” Tony Woodley, Unite union joint general secretary, told reporters.
Saint Germain just got a little sweeter—joining La Patisserie des Rêves, Pierre Hermé, Pierre Marcolini, Ladurée and la Maison du Chocolat in the immediate vicinity of Le Bon Marché is Hugo & Victor, a new concept launched by two childhood friends, pastry chef Hugues Pouget (formerly of Guy Savoy and Ladurée) and Sylvain Blanc (formerly of Le Printemps).
The idea: Treat sweets a little bit like fashion, with capsule collections based on seasonal ingredients. The architecture by Francis Krempp is a mix of classical and modern (windows set in the wall, like at L’Eclaireur); the “Hugo” line is a series of contemporary pastries, the Victor line is made up of classics.
United Airlines is conducting an exciting short-term experiment: If you book their Door-to-Door Baggage Service before 5 p.m. this Friday, they’ll arrange to pick up and deliver up to 9 pieces of luggage for $25 each. The service can be booked up to 10 days in advance of a domestic trip, so even if you’re not flying for a few days, you can book it now. The $25/bag fee covers one-way travel (so $50 roundtrip) and is only available in locations served by FedEx.
To get an idea of just how great a value this is, consider that United currently charges $25 for your first checked bag and $35 for a second bag. (Think bypassing the airline and shipping directly through FedEx may be a deal? Think again. The company charges upwards of $230 to overnight one 50 lb. bag from New York to Los Angeles. Costs drop significantly with 2nd- or 3rd day delivery, but still don't merit savings enough to live out of a carry-on bag.)
While traveling, I'm either too slow to take my camera out of my bag to capture that perfect moment, or too nervous to flash such a pricey piece of equipment in public.
Enter the Cloak Bag, the world's first shoot-through camera bag. The bag's unique bottom zipper design allows photographers to snap away without removing their SLR cameras from the bag, which saves time and also affords photographers a bit more discretion when taking photos in unfamiliar locals where thieves may target tourists. For $49, it's a steal to have that peace of mind.
AFP | Baboons with a taste for Chardonnay grapes are terrorising farmers in South Africa's Western Cape wine region, munching tonnes of grapes ready for harvesting, local media reported on Monday.
Farms in the Franschhoek Valley had been emptied by rampaging Chachma baboons, who sneak into secured plots and help themselves with top grade grapes, The Times newspaper said.
"They can easily wipe out up to two tonnes of grapes a week when you are not watching, and that makes about 1,500 to 2,000 bottles of wine," said Mark Dendy-Young, farm manager of La Petite Ferme.
Photo courtesy of the South African Tourism Bureau
For the last week or so, I spent some time playing around with a couple of iPhone/iPod Touch apps created by a company called MemoryLifter.* As the name suggests, the apps are of the brain food sort. While they offer an assortment of genres—anatomy, chemistry abbreviations, world flags, etc.—I was most interested in the language apps.
Each language available—there are 10 right now: German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, French, Chinese, Japanese, and Swedish—comes with an assortment of area-specific apps, like basic vocab, verbs, education & work, family, shopping & restaurant, and more.
USA Today | Pay before you stay, and save. That has been the deal with online travel sites and discount tour operators. Now, an increasing number of hotels are slashing room rates if you ante up in full in advance and forego a refund if you don't show up.
Last year, Fairmont hotels began offering savings up up to 30% to those who book ahead and pay in full.
Now, "I would say the majority of our hotels offer 'Savers' rates. It's one way we can offer a discount" without cheapening the upscale brand, Fairmont spokeswoman Lori Holland says. Prepaying also guarantees revenue ahead of time: "We know people are coming," she says.
Las Vegas hotels often charge a credit card when a stay is booked. But Station Casinos, with 10 properties in the area including the upscale Red Rock Resort, just announced a tiered, online pre-pay program that offers deep discounts.
That’s right, make your next vacation a nauseatingly good time with a tour of competitive-eating sites. As documented on Man vs. Food, the weekly show on Travel Channel, there are tons of food challenges to earn participants fame, free food, and the booby prize: major heartburn.
In case you’d like to do a national tour of eat-this-ungodly-amount-of-food-in-this-very-short-amount-of-time offers, Coupon Sherpa, a site devoted to coupon codes and promotions, compiled this list of free-food challenges.
Here are some of our top picks:
When, in 1989, American William Christie arrived at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) with his France-based vocal and instrumental ensemble Les Arts Florissants a new world opened up for audiences interested in opera, music, dance, theater, and something called "historical performance practice."
Christie and his troupe presented a work that was known—if it was known much at all—from music history books: Atys. It's a French Baroque opera by Jean-Baptiste Lully, who in his career served Louis XIV. Seeing that production it was hard to imagine anything more intensely dramatic, musically vivid, revelatory in its beauty, or vivid in performance. Oh, and did I say, erotic? (Atys is a young man who professes indifference to love, but there’s a nymph who stirs his passions...)