The Olympics are here! To celebrate, T+L rounds up 22 fascinating facts and figures relating to everything London 2012. Behold our smashing pyramid of zany Olympic numbers.
• 1 Life-size inflatable replica of Stonehenge erected in London for the Games • 4 Skeletons removed from the site under the Zaha Hadid–designed Aquatics Centre • 37 Languages that the Bard’s plays will be performed in during the World Shakespeare Festival • 71 Age of Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu, the oldest Olympian competing this summer • 150 Bat boxes and artificial otter holts installed in the 500-acre Olympic Park • 351 Average rate (in USD) of a hotel room in central London during the games • 1,500 Seats in London's temporary McDonald's outpost, which will serve 50,000 Big Macs • 4,000 Brand new BMWs ordered to escort dignities and officials to events • 10,500 Olympic athletes from 205 participating countries • 22,000 Pillows made available in Athletes Village • 150,000 Condoms made available in Athletes Village (that's 30 per...couple) • 203,000Pieces of luggage to be handled at Heathrow on August 13, the busiest game day • 1,000,000 Pieces of sporting equipment used during the Games • 5,000,000 Brits who now regret signing up to receive Games-related emails • 10,000,000 Free tickets available across thousands of events in the London 2012 Festival • 14,000,000 Meals served during the Games across 40 different London locations • 200,000,000 Viewers NBC expects to tune into the broadcasts (not counting Ann Curry) • 777,000,000 Cost (in USD) of Olympic security for taxpayers...this covers only the venues • 1,000,000,000 Expected visitors to London2012.com • 4,000,000,000 Original expected cost (in USD) of the London 2012 Games • 14,500,000,000 Current expected cost (in USD) of the London 2012 Games • 40,000,000,000 Cost (in USD) of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing—the most expensive to date
Briana Fasone is a New York City–based freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter @brifasone.
Photo courtesy of London 2012 Organising Committee
Soaring food prices, extreme storms, added air conditioning: we all know the effects of our globe's rising temperatures. But what about cultural changes? Japanese men are turning to the parasol (or "higasa"), a typically female accessory, because of the extreme heat that Japan has been experiencing. And they need not worry about starting to look like Mrs. Doubtfire: retailers sell parasols not just in pink, beige, and white, but also blue, gray, and green. They also offer larger sizes. Now there's an sun-shielding umbrella you can feel manly about.
Corinne White is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
"This delay is bull," flight attendants likely complained at a Vietnam airport today when a wild bull shut down air traffic in Phi Bai. Bulls are not typically seen in the area, and the flight controllers was afraid that it would run onto the runway. Eight flights were affected, until the bull was finally captured, tranquilized, and released back into the wild. Departing passengers were treated to the film "Raging Bull" as their in-flight entertainment.
Corinne White is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
We knew they liked things flashy in the former Soviet Republic. But looking fancy has moved from dancing in nightclubs to swinging golf clubs. Superior Golf Resort, which says it’s the only 5-star golf resort in the Ukraine, hosted an event called “Neon Night Golf in Heels” last month in an effort to attract more women to the sport. Partygoers traded plaid pants and cleats for short dresses and six-inch heels, then smacked flashing neon golf balls onto a glow stick-lit green. (Our suggestion for next time: make the shoes flashing neon as well.) The resort described this event as combining golf with “two of the things women love most—high heels and socializing.” Welcome to the Ukraine.
Rich Beattie is the digital executive editor of Travel + Leisure.
Want a more tweet-worthy way to spend National Ice Cream Day (which is this Sunday, July 15) than curled up with two dudes named Jerry and Ben? Head south—way south—to Venezuela for a hit of Viagra ice cream in the city of Merida. Ok, ok, it’s not even the real stuff; it’s made of honey and pollen. But we still can’t believe this hasn’t yet come to the U.S.
For a more traditional way to celebrate the day (actually, the entire month is National Ice Cream Month, as decreed by Ronald Reagan (?!) in 1984), everyone from Viceroy Hotels to Six Flags is recognizing the occasion.
And to help you celebrate, we’ve rounded up some of our stories on great and weird ice cream. Enjoy!
The world’s most famous peripatetic band has finally set down some roots. Today, the complete Grateful Dead archive opens at the legendarily laid-back UC Santa Cruz. The collection—housed in the newly renovated McHenry Library and free to the public—includes coffee-stained contracts, original lyric manuscripts, fan mail, and Stanley Mouse poster art.
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced this week that digital projections of "virtual customer care representatives" will appear this summer in three New York-area airports, guiding flyers to their gates and providing other logistical info.
The 2-D projections can't respond to travelers who ask them questions, said Ron Marsico, a spokesman for the authority. But that kind of technology may be added if the 6-month pilot project goes well, he said in a phone interview. "We’ll see if it works, you know," he said. "If people keep walkin' by it, then we wouldn’t renew (the contract for the avatars)."
A nice lady in the northwest London suburb of Wembley has created a guestroom for a very particular traveler: one who cannot get enough of the royal family, even in this Windsor-giddy period between Kate and Will's wedding and the Queen's Jubilee.
The Sandringham Suite, a visual explosion of Union Jacks and Diana portraits, is available to rent for rates from $121 per night from rental site Wimdu.com. If sleeping amidst more than 10,000 artifacts is not enough, you can supplement the experience by renting a corgi for the day.
We couldn't believe until we saw it. But it's real: Virgin Atlantic molded the likeness of the company's president, Richard Branson, into its ice cubes. Passengers in the airline's new upper-class cabin can look forward to "drinking with" Sir Richard starting later this month.
Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure.
CNN | An Australian mining magnate has commissioned a Chinese shipyard to build a replica of the ill-fated Titanic, complete in every detail but equipped with modern technology to prevent a repeat of the original's fateful maiden voyage 100 years ago.
Clive Palmer, a Queensland mining billionaire with strong links to China, told Australian media that he had signed a memorandum of understanding with CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the ship.
He said construction of the luxury cruise ship would begin next year and the ship would be ready to sail in 2016.