A Blackberry fit for a queen...Honolulu #1...Google turns sights on travel. Hmm...
I got a charge out of the folks at Blackberry giving Queen Elizabeth a new device. Apparently it's a Blackberry Bold, and a sleek-looking white one.
Best of all? Apparently they only made her sign a two-year contract.
USA Today has an item today about a contest that was done to name the top American destination. This being America, they did it like an NCAA basketball bracket, putting cities up against other cities in a winner-take-all format and letting the top cities advance to the next round of voting. The final eight, or elite eight to use the NCAA vernacular, were Washington D.C., the Grand Canyon, Charleston, San Francisco, New York, Santa Fe, Yellowstone National Park and Honolulu.
The Big Apple was ousted by D.C. in the next round of voting, while Honolulu dusted off San Francisco. The final four were D.C., Honolulu, Yellowstone and Charleston. It came down to Honolulu versus Yellowstone in the final, and the Hawaiian capital came in with a smashing, 77-22 per cent voting win. A landslide and a half.
I like Yellowstone a lot. But it's hard to compare geysers, lakes and bears with mai tai's, hula dancers, sunsets and Waikiki Beach in my book. Yellowstone is better for nature, sure, but lots of folks don't know how close Honolulu is to some incredible natural areas. The north shore has small resorts and big waves, and there's tremendous hiking. The path up Diamond Head to watch the sunrise from the crater rim is one of the great experiences of my life, and it's an easy climb. I love the enthusiasm on the face of the girls I took a picture of just after the sun rose above the Pacific, lighting up Waikiki to the west.
I did the Diamond Head hike a year or so ago, and it was far more rewarding than my fog-filled view from top of Haleakala on Maui with my Dad one fateful morning many years ago. The park ranger at Haleakala, where hundreds of folks gather for what is said to be one of the top sunrises in the world, said it's only fogged in a few times a year. We picked the wrong day, but we did have a nice breakfast at the Pukalani golf course on our way back to our west Maui condo as I recall. Right, Dad?
The Hawaii folks pushed their cause with Honolulu fans on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, said tourism spokesman Nathan Kam.
"As we monitored the online buzz, we felt we might have a bit of an edge over the Yellowstone community since the black bears, elk and bighorns don't seem to very active in social networking."
Good line.GOOGLE GOES TRAVEL
I gotta admit I find this fascinating...and a little bit scary. But with Google having purchased ITA Software, a hugely influential company most of don't know, all sorts of folks who are smarter than me are trying to figure out what those crazy Californians have in mind.
A story on openjaw.com quoted an unnamed Canadian expert as saying it's "the biggest change in travel distribution since the birth of the Internet," which sounds pretty interesting.
A piece I spotted on travelmole.com said that "travel meta-search engines such as Kayak" are likely to be impacted more than sites such as Expedia or Priceline, where providers don't allow users to book directly.But the impact will be lessened on sites such as Orbitz, Expedia and Priceline, where providers don’t allow users to book with them directly, analysts say.
“It seems that meta-search, rather than bookings, would be easiest for Google,” said the Wall Street Journal.I'd suggest that what Google really has in mind is world domination, but they already have that.
THAT'S A LOT OF MUFFINS
Great story out of Moscow says the Russian sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, paid for 97 breakfasts during a 20-night stay at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Vancouver while he was there for the Winter Olympics. His bill came to $4,500, which is high even for Vancouver.
What was this guy thinking? I mean, if you're trying to pad your expanses why not get a bunch of blank taxi chits like the rest of us (sorry boss, that's a joke). But, no, this guy charges for nearly five breakfasts every day on top of a suite that cost $1,400 a night.
He spent an average of $46 for breakfast! I've seen plenty of hotels that charge $25 for a buffet or $15 for bacon and eggs, but 46 dollar breakfasts five times a day is pretty impressive.
One can only imagine his mini-bar tab.