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Elizabeth Taylor's jewels, clothes, and art are crisscrossing the globe leading up to their auction at Christie's in December
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Cathay Pacific has long emphasized its reputation for comfort, style and especially customer service. Aside from constructing decadent space-age lounges and providing flyers with delicious cocktail after delicious cocktail, the airline has especially tried to highlight the pampering provided by its flight attendants.
Those branding efforts have been going on at least since 2009, when its corporate blog announced a campaign highlighting the bios of staff "who consistently go the extra mile to make sure our passengers enjoy an exceptional travel experience."
The Hong Kong airline intended to continue its "People and Service" campaign this year with a new slogan: "Meet the team who go the extra mile to make you feel special." The tagline was supposed to provide a theme for hundreds of pilot and flight attendant stories, all emphasizing the unique services provided by Cathay Pacific's employees. That service-oriented campaign is now on indefinite hiatus, however, after pictures surfacedand there's no way we're not going to make this joke, so prepare yourselvesafter pictures surfaced of a flight attendant orally servicing a pilot in a Cathay Pacific cockpit.
Hopefully you are following Jaunted correspondent Claire Duffett's China travel diary, a series of entries which chronicles her journey around the country in vivid, first-person detail. If Claire's travels, the recent Olympic games, or China's captivating history in general have inspired you to take a trip there yourself, then thank the deal deities for shining down on you.
Friendly Planet Travels, an "all-inclusive escorted" tour company is currently offering their popular "Taste of China" package at a discount of up to $600, provided you act quickly and book your spot by September 23rd. The tour starts in Beijing, where a guide will show you around Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the Panda Zoo. While most stretches of the 10-day tour are guided, you do get free time to wander the included cities on your own. Other stops on the excursion include Xi'an and Shanghai, where more gardens, art museums, and the Pearl Tower await.
If you could practically taste the soy sauce while watching cheerful celeb chef Martin Yan whip up stir-fry on his cooking show Yan Can Cook, head to Hong Kong on a five-day epicurean trip from Oct. 27 to 31 to learn from the master of regional Chinese cuisine himself.
For $2,860 (for double occupancy; the price is based on departure from L.A. or San Fran), the AsiaLuxe Holidays package includes airfare for either Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines and a stay at the Kowloon Shangri-La.
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Where can you find tables upon tables of discount books in Chinese, Japanese and English? It's a librarian's dream, and ours as well, and it's this weekend at the Hong Kong book Fair. Last year, some 830,000 avid readers turned out to peruse the stacks of 485 exhibitors, and the numbers just keep growing. Technically the fair lasts from July 22-28 and not just this weekend, but of course attending on a weekend means more activities. Buy cookbooks, self-help books and plain old fiction, but you won't find manga here as, according to Wikipedia, that's now become a separate Comics festival.
Has the famous landmark-wrapping artist Christo gotten his hands on Hong Kong's Museum of Art? Close, but no cigar; instead the reason for covering the museum in pulp fiction novel covers is in celebration of French fashion label Louis Vuitton and their long line of artist collaborators.
On view from May 22 to August 9, the exhibition of artwork both made by and inspiring the brand will draw the fashion crowds to the museum at the very tip of Kowloon, in the Tsim Tsa Tsui area. WWD has more:
No man is an island, but Hong Kong sure is! Taking inspiration from similar campaigns in Chicago and New York, HK is recruiting friendly, multi-lingual residents for a "Meet the Locals" tourist service to begin in the fall.
When the "Hong Kong Pals" complete their training, or reprogramming to possibly take you to the best places to drop some Hong Kong dollars, you'll be able to walk up to one of the main Tourism Centers such as the office at the Star Ferry pier in Tsim Tsa Tsui and request a "Pal" based on your area of interest. Is your stomach hungry for unfamiliar food with no English translation? They'll have a Hong Kong cuisine expert. Have a thing for Cantonese Opera? Maybe you and your new "Pal" can take in a show together.
Again, this all goes back to what Hong Kong tourism is calling the "financial tsunami," or what we just plain call the economy. Hong Kong has decided to promote their living culture as their "principal 'soft' asset" now that all Asian cities are vying for tourist dollars. Let's just hope that things that don't take a turn for the worse and your Pal starts directing you to jewelry shops and expat bars; that's what we have cruise ships for.
For a self-admitted transportation nerd, Hong Kong is dream come true. We just can't decide on a favorite way of conveyance, and thankfully with HK's bounty of trams, ferries, taxis and even a famous chain of escalators, we didn't have to--we rode them all! So for all of you daydreaming of 80-degree days spent hopping between ferries and funiculars on a single "Octopus" transit card, here's our short and saucy guide to the awesome transportation options of Hong Kong:
· Double-Decker Trams and Buses: The former British influence is still felt here, although they've long exchanged afternoon tea for a Starbucks latte. In Central on Hong Kong Island, the slice-thin double-decker trams pile up on commuters for short trips not worth the subway. Tapping your Octopus card also works on these, although during rush hour there's barely enough room to do even that. The buses, which match London Routemasters in size, are a better option for venturing into residential neighborhoods, and routes are clearly presented at each bus stop pole.
· Victoria Peak Funicular: Along with the Star Ferry, this ranks as a seriously touristy thing to do. Still, it's the most unique and direct way to mount Victoria Peak and take advantage of the jawdroppingly steep ascent. Heading up is often crowded, but the descent leaves plenty of room for picture taking and gawking at the skyscrapers below you.
Every so often throughout history, a community will develop into something which becomes so illicit and notorious that it will figure in popular culture even past its demise. These places, like Carandiru Penitentiary in Brazil or old Mafia neighborhoods in Sicily, are often profiled on the History Channel around Halloween, but we had the chance to visit the remnants of one such dark place on our recent trip to Hong Kong.
The former Kowloon Walled City, a lawless district outside of central Hong Kong, spent the years from 1899 to 1987 steeped in inhumane living conditions paired with opium dens, cocaine parlours, brothels, unlicensed dentists and Triad gang rule. Pictures of the overcrowded "City of Darkness," like the one above, are enough to give one goosebumps.
Typically, when we think of "gourmet travel," visions of Michelin-starred restaurants and barely-killed entrees dance in our heads, but in Hong Kong, one need not hit up the ritzy bits for a culinary adventure. Ubiquitous throughout the city and a favorite of the locals are the pastry shops, like Maxim's and Kee Wah, where we found ourselves saying "Mmm...pork floss and pineapple buns" all too often.
This is no food case at a Starbucks; the offerings at a Hong Kong pastry shop are meant for discerning palates who fancy everything from sausage-filled butter buns to squid ink curry bread (the latter being our favorite). Along with the dizzying assortment comes a kind of etiquette; your choices are to picked up with your individual tongs and placed on paper on your own tray, where they will be then be tallied up by the cashier and packaged separately to preserve the singular flavors.
Despite the intriguing ingredients, pastries from these shops average between 35 cents to a whole dollar (USD), officially making them our cheapest gourmet indulgences ever. Do let us know if you've discovered any other little delicious bites in these shops, but rest assured that we already know all about the 1,000-year egg pastries.
Although we aren't exactly high rollers, we do a thing or two now about the best ways to reach Macau from Hong Kong without getting stuck in the bilge of a fishing trawler. If you're fortunate enough to have more than a few days in HK, a daytrip to Macau is almost mandatory, as it's over in the former Portuguese territory that blackjack is a religion and duty-free comes cheapest.
The most baller of Macau visitors will opt for the SkyShuttle 15-minute helicopter service, which operates on the roof of the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal in the Sheung Wan district. At a pricey 2400 HKD, or $309 USD each way ($25 less if you go on a weekday), the chopper remains a transportation option only for the low on time and high on cash group.
Since we didn't have a date with lady luck, we opted to take the most popular route on the Turbojet catamaran ferry, which begins and ends in exactly the same place as the helicopter, except that it costs only $18 USD each way ($15 on weekdays) and takes closer to 40 minutes to make the crossing. The snazzy red rocket also has a VIP class, but we can't fathom splurging on it when the trip is less than an hour.
It was only two weeks ago that we took our own advice and booked the Hong Kong direct from New York-JFK on Cathay Pacific for a grand total of $795. It isn't our first time and it definitely won't be our last, but this flight begins a whole new chapter for us in terms of which airlines we'll choose in the future, because you see, Cathay Pacific gave us all the free Ramen noodles we could eat.