The Great Wall of Chocolate and World's Biggest Hummus Plate; silly travel!!!
You gotta love the Chinese. Well, you don't HAVE to, but I admire their go-big-or-go-home travel approach. Two years ago it was the Olympics, and this year it's Expo 2010 in Shanghai.
But while we wait for the gates to Expo to slide open in May, here's the latest report from Reuters; the great wall of chocolate. It seems there's something called the World Chocolate Wonderland exhibition and trade show opening in Beijing later this month, and to celebrate the Chinese have constructed a 10-meter long replica of the Great Wall made entirely of chocolate. Not to mention 560 chocolate replicas of the famous Terracotta Warriors.
The Reuters story says it took 80 tons of chocolate to make the displays. Which is pretty staggering.
Apparently chocolate isn't as big a deal in China as it is here, so the exhibition is part of a plan to boost sales. Selling hummus, of course, isn't so tough in the Middle East, where a new Guiness World Record was set last week for the largest serving of hummus.
The dish weighed a whopping, 8,992 pounds and was spread into a 20-foot satellite dish, apparently beating a record set in Lebanon two months ago.
I wonder what they do with these displays once they're finished. It seems like quite a waste. I suppose the chocolates can be kept cool and given away or sold, but how many pita chips would it have taken to get rid of all that hummus?
Carnival hosted what was called the first "cougar cruise" earlier this year, giving older women a chance to meet up with younger guys. It was a three-day cruise that had great demand, but Carnival decided to take a pass on a second sailing.
That left some folks disappointed, but I saw the other day that Royal Caribbean is picking up the slack, so to speak, with a sailing in May on the Mariner of the Seas. The trip is being sold by Singles Travel Company, and it's said that cabins start at $399 per person, based on double occupancy (that shouldn't be a problem). The price doesn't include taxes or fees or, apparently, condoms.
JIM'S DEALS OF THE DAY, provided by Travel Alerts
US$549 - 7 night cruise from
One of my favourite hotels in the world, the Napili Kai Beach Resort on Maui, has some special deals. From Jan. 6 to 29, March 6 to March 26, April 10 to June 18 and Aug. 21 to Dec. 17, you can get a fifth night free after paying the rack rate for four nights in a row, or you can get a sixth and seventh night free if you pay five days with the rack rate. Kids also eat free if accompanied by a paying adult.
The Napili Kai is on what I consider the best beach in the world; a lovely crescent called Napili Beach with only low-rise condos, a nice bodysurfing section and a calmer section with good snorkeling. The Napili Kai has one of the best beachfront restaurants in Hawaii, the Sea House. They also do weekly Hawaiian music shows, often with legendary slack key guitar player George Kahumoku. A real treat.
The hotel sits out on a lovely point and has wonderful landscaping and barbeques, not to mention fabulous sunsets and great views of the islands of Molokai and Lanai. And it's a two-minute walk to Kapalua Beach if you want something different. Or you can take a short drive to lengthy, Kaanapali Beach or down to the wonderful town of Lahaina.
For more information, go to www.napilikai.com.
OPEN SKIES CUBA?
Spotted an interesting Canadian Press story the other day out of Ottawa that said the federal government had reached a new deal with Cuba that "will give Canadian airlines expanded access to the Caribbean island's sunny skies."
CP said the new deal will allow four Canadian charter airlines to fly between multiple locations after landing in Cuba, meaning Canadians would be able to fly on Canadian carriers to destinations within Cuba. The deal is supposed to be announced this week, so stay tuned.
NEW VANCOUVER HOTEL
Lots of new hotels coming up in Vancouver as they get down to the deadline for the start of the Winter Olympics; less than four weeks away! The 20 storey, 220-room Coast Coal Harbour Hotel opened last week in downtown Vancouver.
Located at 1180 West Hastings, it's a $60 million, four-star property with rooms that average 340 square feet and come equipped with 32-inch LCD TV's.