Don’t 4Get Your Noodle: Hilarious Confessions of an Airport Skycap

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Another helpful rule of thumb: Hop a bus or a train from bustling Seoul, for example, and head to either Muju Ski Resort, which features a 6. The charming lodge boasts nearby onsen and quiet, supremely snowy surrounds—in peak season they can get up to 4. Be prepared to pay a rebooking fee. At some airports, gates close as late as 15 minutes before departure.

Wait to alert your airline. Expect to be rebooked on a different carrier. Ski resorts are full of vacation properties, many of which are available for rent at cut-rate prices. Rent-byowner sites VRBO and HomeAway have more than 95, ski properties between them, including residences that are attached to major resorts.

Airbnb, which has a growing number of ski listings, is particularly good when it comes to smaller or more offbeat properties. If you really want to save, though, consider renting a car and looking for properties that are outside major resort areas. If you do plan on booking a room at a hotel, ask what sort of lift-ticket-and-lodging offers it has available. Most give discounts if you bundle. The good news is that many mountains are experimenting with dynamic pricing online, enticing skiers with advancepurchase deals to lock in an early commitment and even last-minute sales when it looks like a slow weekend is ahead.

Package Korea, while not exclusively dedicated to winter sports, offers impressive deals at places such as Konjiam, Alpensia, Yongpyong and High 1. The site offers everything from familyoriented promotions to heliskiing packages for the more ambitious. Some general things to keep in mind: Book as early as possible. And stay flexible with your dates. Lift tickets are usually lower midweek and during quieter times. Avoid major holidays, especially Chinese New Year.

Plan on spending more than a long weekend on the slopes? Consider investing in a multi-mountain pass. Ninja Ski Japan offers customizable passes valid at nine ski slopes around the Hakuba region, giving you access to a wide range of altitudes and terrain. The best part about the site is that it allows you to tailor almost everything to your budget, meaning you can opt out of sleeping in one of the more extravagant resorts.

Many let kids ages five and under ski free if you spend two or more nights at a resortowned property. Hutt, near Christchurch, New Zealand, kids under 10 receive complimentary lift passes for the season, as well as discounts when staying in the local town of Methven.

Bear in mind, if you booked a ticket through a TSA partner airline but your flight is actually operated by a foreign alliance carrier, you are not eligible for PreCheck. Check out Global Entry globalentry. In many countries, especially in this part of the world, tipping is by and large not expected at every. The average number of firearms confiscated each week in via TSA carry-on searches; most were claimed to have been packed unwittingly. Jane Wooldridge charts the reasons why. Plus Smart tips, the latest ships and ports, 24 hours onboard and more.

Because the new ships are seriously cool. A glass viewing capsule that rises 90 meters above the sea on a mechanical arm. For more on the ship, see page River ships are breaking new ground er, waters , too: Starting this spring, Emerald Waterways will offer. European itineraries on two ships equipped with heated pools and movie theaters.

Amenities include butler service, free Wi-Fi and floor-to-ceiling views. Immersive culinary experiences are now so much a part of cruising that you can try some of the top city restaurants at sea. Breakaway and the Norwegian Getaway. Because going digital has never been easier at sea. Most mega-ships now have digital directional signs, language apps and culture guides with GPS mapping. Crystal Cruises provides live streaming of TV news and movies in all cabins.

Robots are on board, too: On Quantum, interior staterooms offer real-time ocean views on their virtual balconies. Because you may just learn something. Among the guest lecturers on board ships this year? An Irishman in Antarctica and cousin of Ernest Shackleton. In Europe and the Americas, cruisers will mix visits to much-loved cities and heritage sites with VIP adventures, behind-thescenes access, and events including the World Cup, the British Open and the Grand Prix of Monaco all of which tend to make booking hotel stays on land a challenge.

Guests of Celebrity can spend a day driving a Ferrari through villages around Nice, France, while with Seabourn, you can walk through penguin colonies on the Antarctic ice before slipping into the spa back on board for a Thai herbal-poultice massage. The pastry chef and her team begin baking 1, croissants, 1, Danishes, loaves of bread and 2, desserts for the day. The captain arrives on the bridge to give his daily orders and review all that has taken place during the night.

The chief housekeeper meets with his team of people to begin turning over 1, rooms in two hours. All 11 bars and clubs are buzzing. Though the cruise line offers more than 64 international craft beers, the most-opened bottle is Heineken, with 5,plus served on each cruise. Lunch prep is beginning in the galleys. More than 1, kilos of beef, 2, kilos of chicken and 2, kilos of vegetables are consumed per day. On Deck 15, the greens keeper trims, fertilizes and waters the grass lawn on every Solsticeclass ship. Ports to Watch This year, cruise lines will be calling on newsworthy ports worldwide.

Here, a few not to miss. The day ends in the hectare subtropical Dendrary Botanical Garden mind the roaming ostriches! Voyage Celebrity Constellation, to and from Istanbul. October 14; celebrity cruises. Includes an overnight stay in a local hotel. Voyage Seabourn Odyssey, to and from Singapore. Voyage Crystal Symphony, from Sydney to Bali. Details Valid for June 22 departure. The Deal Seven nights in an outside cabin aboard the River Countess, including meals, beverages, transfers and shore excursions such as an afterhours visit to St.

The sister ship to the New York—themed Breakaway takes cues from its home port, Miami. Named after the Italian word for tiara, this is pure glitz, from the Bar Bollicine Prosecco to the thalassotherapy pool in the spa. Details Mention the Special Savings Discount promotion. Embark here to find out which one is for you. But kayaking nearby would be just as fun.

Details Three nights in a Plunge Pool suite. Highlights One minute massage for two; a three-course dinner; daily breakfast; late check-out until 3 p.


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Cost From Bt23, Bt7, per night , double, through December Details A stay in a King Superior room. Details Two nights in a Deluxe room. Highlights Daily American breakfast buffet, return airport transfers, complimentary car with driver for eight hours, and free entrance to Waterbom Bali theme park for two people. Details A stay in a Deluxe King Bed room. Highlights Complimentary daily breakfast for two, one complimentary round of mini-bar refreshments, and free Wi-Fi. Highlights Privately guided excursions through each city, including cycling through the temples of Angkor Wat and cruising through Hong Kong's harbor.

Details A stay in a Garden View room. Highlights Complimentary daily breakfast and Wi-Fi. Highlights Complimentary daily breakfast. Details A stay in a Riverside Retreat room. Highlights One complimentary minute spa session for two per day, RMB worth of credits at hotel dining outlets per stay,.

Details Oriental design with personalized service. Highlights Continental breakfast, light in-room refreshments, private airport transfer, free Wi-Fi. Details Two nights in a Deluxe Delight room. Highlight A morning trek to the ruins at Tuglaqabad Fort. Details Three nights in a Talay suite. Highlights A romantic cliff-top dinner for two, flowers upon arrival, one minute massage for two, daily en suite villa breakfast and roundtrip airport transfers by luxury SUV.


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Cost From Bt50, Bt16, per night , double, through April Savings Up to 30 percent. Details A stay in a Club Deluxe room. Highlights A complimentary bottle of champagne served with fresh strawberries, and a butler-drawn bath. Timely and trusted advice on. For more information e-mail travelandleisure mediatransasia. The guests can enjoy the 4 outdoor swimming pools and be impressed by the wide range of culinary in our five restaurants and three bars.

Relaxing at The Spa while the little guests enjoy their play time at The Play Zone, one of the largest resort play area for children and teens on Phuket, is the way to spend your next perfect holiday. Residences offer 26 two-bedroom, oceanfront apartments with fully. Cutting-edge art spaces are colonizing the former industrial zone.

Veteran gallerist Dominique Perregaux opened the squaremeter, loft-style Art Statements artstatements. Newcomer Yallay Space yallay. Indie-minded 2P Contemporary Art Gallery 2p-gallery. Five-year-old Red Elation Gallery redelation. Owner Arnault Castel sources street-smart looks and accessories from Hong Kong designers as well as from his native France.

There are places all over the city, but two of my favorites are Happy Foot [happyfoot. Recent seasonal offerings include salmon confit with wood-smoked cherry tomato. Opened by a group of fashion insiders, Russell Street is known for its bright dresses and one-of-a-kind pieces by indie brands from Australia, the U. This light-filled restaurant offers modern European dishes including arroz caldoso saffron-infused rice with artichokes. Once there, watch Que Vinh Dang and his team prepare signature plates such as braised octopus with squid ink rice.

American classics chicken and waffles; sweet potato fries are paired with molecular cocktails at the Public Xiangyang Nan Rd. A DJ spins electronic tracks at Alter alterstyle. The food is great, but go to see young artists. Order some chicken-liver skewers and sake. Sophie Guo Event planner. The cocktails are terrific; try the Campari mojito at the mod white bar.

The best markets for souvenirs—arm yourself with endless patience and a willingness to bargain. The basement is a maze of shops. With its crowded subway cars, scarce taxis and language barrier, Beijing can be hard to get around. Spare yourself the hassle by hiring a car and driver. Tour operator Bespoke Beijing bespoke-beijing. If you do take a taxi, ask your hotel concierge to write down your destination in Chinese. Order the tender pork ribs topped with spices and peanuts. Expect a subtler side to the ma-la hot and numbing flavors from Sichuan. Dan dan mian— wheat noodles in a red-chili sauce—have a lemony tang.

Carved wooden chairs and hill-tribe textiles set the stage for the delicacies of Yunnan. Decked out with rough-hewn tables and paper lanterns, this lively restaurant celebrates the duck-obsessed cuisine of the southern city of Nanjing. Based near the Forbidden City, Bike Beijing bikebeijing.

State Department has a Twitter feed, BeijingAir, that provides pollution updates. Beijing Coma by Ma Jian In this powerful novel, a student wakes up 10 years after being shot during the protests in Tiananmen Square. Midnight in Peking by Paul French Into mysteries? Pick up this true-crime thriller about the murder of a young British woman in Thanks to the latest crop of restaurants, you can sample diverse regional cuisine in sleek surroundings.

Walk Sideng Square above , where native Yi and Bai farmers in colorful dress sell their handicrafts. The less ambitious can be ferried up by cable car or, for a throwback, via sedan chair.

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WildChina can arrange for a luxury camping experience during the events. Grab a suit and dive in. Edited by Jacqueline Gifford. Tetiaroa Who Will Go Castawayfantasy seekers with a willingness to splurge. The Details Just 48 kilometers northeast of Tahiti, the atoll of Tetiaroa has 12 motus islets so gorgeous they were once a retreat for Polynesian royalty.

And then came Hollywood: Privacy is still the priority on pristine, hectare Onetahi, which is now the setting for the Brando resort thebrando. Charter a sailboat to explore the 5-kilometer-wide lagoon— then strand yourselves for a few hours on one of the 11 uninhabited islets. Who Goes Island collectors and next-great-resort hunters in search of peace, quiet and startlingly clear water.

Forty-two airy, thatched-roof villas are just steps from a ribbon of soft white sand. Behind you lies a thrumming canopy of green. And before you is limpid blue Bacuit Bay, where outriggers ply the glasslike waters. Or kayak to one of several nearby islands and claim your own sun-drenched empty shore. Who Goes Bohemians looking to disconnect.

The Details The fresh lobster is cheap; the hammocks, plentiful; the pace, blissfully slow. Simply brush the sand from your bare feet before entering Straw Hat strawhat. On a panoramic bluff above the bay, Malliouhana malliouhana. Mokapu Beach Who Goes Americans and stylish honeymooners after a sleek alternative to the larger resorts of Wailea. From the sand garden in the open-air lobby to the whitewashed guest rooms, the design sensibility is modern-luxe Hawaiian beach house.

Hanging loose never felt so chic. The Buzzy Beach Psarou. Book a table at Nammos nammos. Uniform of Choice Ladies in barely-there bikinis cover up in caftans; men go formal in white linen. House drink The dark-rumbased Painkiller. House drink A Red Stripe beer. House drink A Killer Bee. Playa Carrizalillo Who goes Surfers from all over the world; families and snowbirds from the United States and Canada. The Details Pro riders arrive in this town along the Oaxacan coast and make a beeline for Playa Zicatela, a.

But Playa Carrizalillo, a quiet cove accessible via a step stairway, has waters gentle enough for the rest of us; take a dip, snorkel, then down oysters from one of the handful of beach shacks. In recent years, Puerto as the locals call it has been upping its hip factor: Curiosity piqued, I signed up for a tasting. I had braved my fair share of boxed wines, so I felt prepared for whatever was in store but, much like a ripe grape during harvest, that confidence was quickly squashed.

It was like an episode of Fear Factor—each plastic cup of swill was worse than the one before it. I knocked all 10 tasters back with the urgency of a shot, grimacing at the aftertaste, steeling myself for the next. The reward for my persistence? The mother of all hangovers. But a lot has changed since then. The vintner was a young Thai woman trained in Australia, Nikki Visootha Lohitnavy, who runs arguably the most advanced production facility in the country— and whose wines are so good that the Six Senses group has an exclusive arrangement selling the labels at their upscale, locavore resorts in Thailand.

In her crusade to create superlative wines in the country, she helped found the Thai Wine Association, which sets specific rules such as banning the addition of sugar to raise the alcohol level. Nikki was the first female vintner in Thailand. There are, for example, two different Grace wineries— one in Japan and one in China—though they have no affiliation with one another, just the same name, and coincidentally, two female oenophiles managing production.

Three young women at the helm of three burgeoning wineries spread across Asia? Each took over their family businesses, vineyards that are now worth a visit for both the vistas and the vino. I decided to get to the bottom of this juicy trend and, hopefully, a few decent bottles while I was at it. Even the grapes that can hack it in the heat take extra work to yield.

Finally, in Thailand advertising for wine is banned, and the tax on wine is percent for domestic producers. It snowballed into a business, growing grapes for other wineries. When it came time for college Nikki chose the University of Adelaide for its esteemed program in oenology and viticulture, in which she was the first Thai student to enroll.

When she returned home she transformed their vineyard into a full-fledged, top-of-theline production facility. When I met her, Nikki had on her work clothes, fresh from a day in the fields. She took me on a tour of the hectare vineyard—a tidy maze of vines backed by the proud hills of Khao Yai National Park. The landscape was lush and calm, every bit as quaint as its counterparts in Europe, though the smattering of limestone karsts added an air of the exotic and the grassy lanes were a tad more sunbaked. As we wove between the vines Nikki pointed out the rows of different varietals: Syrah, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Durif, Grenache and Muscat, noting that the grapes are smaller in size and more potent than those that grow in cooler climates.

In an experimental section, they test cuttings from 30 other types of grapes, to see what will thrive in the Thai weather. The GranMonte reds are full bodied and spicy, with aromas of clove and black pepper, and hints of tamarind and jasmine in the bouquet: She wants to put the country on the viniculture map. Yet in a land known for sake and beer, wine has to be distinctive to earn its spot on the menu.

Though it looks like a Pinot Gris, with pink-purple skins, Koshu has a taste all its own. But the confusion softens when people taste her product. Over the past few years Grace Winery has started exporting their wines, but the main base remains. In at age 24, Judy left her position at Goldman Sachs and stepped into the role of manager of the hectare vineyard.

She credits her father for refusing to coddle her. Their rooms have a distinctly modern feel with TV and Wi-Fi, but if guests want to step back in time they can venture to the neighboring town—the year-old village looks like akung fu movie set, complete with wispy willows, ponds, pagodas, an apricot orchard and tiny streets that open out into beautiful piazzas.

A throwback influence rings through in the wines as well. The Muscat has a nice floral, stone fruit nose, but is crisp and dry on the palate, perfect for sipping in the summer. This high standard is seeing Chinese wines pop up at restaurants across the globe. There are more than wine producers in China, so there is plenty of diversity for discerning drinkers to sample.

Thailand, in the bucolic valleys of Japan or in a year-old vineyard in China, change is afoot in Asian winemaking. Still, a rare winemaker is like, one hopes, a rare vintage: Continue the tasting tour at… Prasat Phnom Banan Winery, Cambodia This charming vineyard, a mix of thriving vines and swaying palms, just 12 kilometers south of Battambang, also has a strong woman running the show.

Leng Chan Tol and her husband Chan Thai Chhoung planted their first grapes in and bottled their first wine in They currently offer just one variety of wine, called simply Red, which is a Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz blend, produced on their hectare vineyard. Though this has been their sole offering since , they have ambitions to introduce Chenin Blanc soon.

Given the current state of affairs, Bert is feeling very optimistic about the future for the region. The pool at the Ulagalla hotel, outside Anuradhapura, in central Sri Lanka. The Ruwanwelisaya Stupa, in Anuradhapura. There is a seductive, melancholy beauty about Sri Lanka, a nation recovering from years of civil war.

From Colombo to Galle to Kandy and beyond, Aatish Taseer finds new hotels, opinionated artists and writers, and a growing sense of hope. But it was something that had come to me slowly, this awareness of the Sri Lankan duality, of the creeping horror. Because, 12 days before, when I had first landed in Colombo, there had been no trace of it. Then there had been only the beauty. The land even from the air had made a beguiling impression.

Of red earth, of glossy tropical greenery, of tiled roofs blackening in the sea air. A sea that was much bluer and more hypnotic than any I had seen in India, from where I had flown in that morning. It appeared suddenly, in the full glitter of the afternoon sun, as we drove down Galle Face Road. I had just arrived, but I was already late. I was meeting Chandraguptha Thenuwara, a conceptual artist whose work during the war had earned him an international reputation.

The war had been a fixture of my childhood. My mother, a reporter in Delhi, where I grew up, had covered it for the Indian papers. I had memories of her returning from Colombo with cameras and transistor radios, which, though widely available in Sri Lanka, were denied us in Socialist India. Sri Lanka then, with its excellent position in the Indian Ocean, had dreamed of being a second Singapore. And it was only the other day, it seemed—in —that Sri Lanka, after what A wild elephant in Minneriya National Park, near Polonnaruwa. A guest room at the Sun House, in Galle.

For the first time in three decades, it was a country at peace. It was this that I had come to see: The effects of postwar development were real and tangible—the city was full of a new optimism. But to some, beautification was a dirty word. He was heavyset, with an impish face, and unruly whitening sideburns that gave him the air of a figure from fable.

The barrels were gone now, and Colombo, for the first time in decades, felt safer than Delhi. But Thenuwara was not impressed. Whether we like them or not, we must keep the memories. His distrust of the Sri Lankan peace colored my view of the city. It gave a charcoal outline to what until then had been an enchanting scene of boutiques and bungalows, of gabled colonial buildings with deep verandas and pretty eaves, of flowering trees and clubs with evocative names.

It was a city enveloped in a permanent feeling of afternoon, where now, it felt, the briny breath of the sea merged easily with a hint of menace. That night I saw Colombo through the eyes of an architect. We drove through the spongy darkness of night in the tropics. So long as they stood, they had turned the streets into trenches and Colombo into a city without vistas. Their coming down was a deeply emotional and symbolic thing; it had unstitched the city. But it had come at a great price. Had it been Pyrrhic? Daswatte, like many Sri Lankans, could not help feeling that no price was too steep; that that war had gone on far too long and that it had to end.

But he, like Thenuwara, was worried about the character of the peace; worried about tensions in the north; worried about a growing authoritarianism in the country; and worried, most of all, about an attack on dissent, which had manifested itself as a stifling of press freedoms. That night in his house, itself a triumph of the Bawa aesthetic, I saw a painting by the Tamil artist T.

Shanaathanan that was a reminder of the other side of the Sri Lankan. It was a painting of two male figures and a kiss. Sri Lanka is a majority Buddhist country, and my flight from India had been full of pilgrims: Indian culture and religion had, for centuries, seeped into this place. But modern India was no preparation for Sri Lanka. It was not just that the sea was bluer, the country cleaner and more well-ordered; it was that the people, a dizzying mixture of Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims, whose places of worship lined the road in from.

Of these none had been tenser than the one between the Tamils of the north and east, and the Sinhalese majority in the rest of the country. This was the line along which the war of three decades had been fought. But it was not the only line. In the seaside town of Galle, we encountered another, newer, and more volatile fault line. We ran smack into a protest led by the Bodu Bala Sena, an extremist Buddhist outfit. It was a Friday afternoon, and a group of saffron-clad monks, with peach fuzz and bad skin, led a small band of civilians along the edge of the Galle Fort. They were protesting what they claimed was a Muslim wish to impose.

The protest, they were at pains to point out—they were Buddhists monks after all! But it was a Friday afternoon—a Muslim time of prayer— and in the Fort, which was largely Muslim, many regarded the protest as hostile. Tariq, of Dairy King, which sold delicious homemade ice cream, said: The Tamils, they hit and ran. The Muslims will not run. No sooner had it appeared, this darker element, than it was gone; and I was back among the tittle-tattle of the Galle Set, drinking an arrack sour on the veranda of the Amangalla on a Saturday night.

Here, among the fanoos lanterns and planters chairs, one might hear— for these people were poisonous gossips! Such a lovely guy. I think I sensed that it was the source of the darker element I had encountered only in snatches so far. The north began after Kandy. I spent a night at the Kandy House, a jewel box of a hotel—with tuna so fresh you could still taste the sea in it—and the next day we entered a heavily forested country. We drove up along narrow highways full of butterflies, edged with electrified wire to keep the elephants in their corridors.

A sitting area at Kandy House, in Kandy. Fishermen on the shores of Galle. Opposite, clockwise from top left: Daswatte, on the night when he showed me those places where the walls had come down, had, in describing the Sri Lankan duality, quoted a Blake poem. It was a country that made you suspicious of beauty. For it was under the cover of its great beauty that its terrible past had occurred. We left at dawn the next day. On our drive south to Colombo I received a text message from Selvadurai. He was worried he had not been helpful.

Then I know I have Sri Lanka. And yet—it had to be said— the place I visited was still suffering the effects of war and migration. Shanaathanan told me one rainy morning in Jaffna. I had sought him out, in part because I had liked the painting, in part because I had wanted to gain some sense of what the mood was like among the people of the north. And though there was little comfort in what he said, that night, in keeping with the shape-shifting quality of this strange journey in Sri Lanka, I found myself once again surrounded by beauty: An old ancestral house, set deep in that pastoral countryside of lagoons and paddy fields.

It was impossible not to be affected by the hopefulness of her endeavor. It was an intimation—final and memorable— of what the north could be. And then, almost as if the ruins were merging with the natural world, we were in a forest of decapitated Palmyra palms. The scene of the last battle. We went up to Jaffna along the same route the Sri Lankan army had taken in All around us were the relics of war: Looking at this overgrown country, my guide said: But I knew exactly what he meant.

He was referring to the feeling of desolation. And the land, though it was ravaged and overgrown, was also wild and beautiful, a land of lagoons and lotus ponds. In the towns we drove through, there was evidence of shattered communities creeping back to life. There were volleyball games in the yards of abandoned temples and candlelit services in dark corrugated steel sheds used as churches. The sight of these things, as evening fell, was deeply affecting: By nightfall, we were in Jaffna.

It had been on the road to Jaffna that my mother first lost her nerve for war reporting. But the Jaffna I found myself in, as perhaps with the capitals of so many past insurgencies—Diyarbakir, Srinagar, Grozny—was just a sleepy small town. The surrounding peninsula was full of old Dutch churches and castles, of lagoons teeming with crabs, of decaying Malay-style houses, of nuns on bicycles, of an untouched and poetic countryside. There were only a handful of basic hotels, but things were changing fast. In Colombo I had met many people on their way to Jaffna, now for an art fair, now for a cultural festival.

It would not be long, perhaps, before the north was. Galle Face Hotel 2 Galle Rd. Sun House 18 Upper Dickson Rd. Tintagel 65 Rosmead Place, Colombo; paradiseroadhotels. A thoughtful, democratic approach to style and design has historically been at the heart of Finnish culture. Such was the refrain looping in my head in anticipation of a trip to Finland.


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It would all be there: Oh, and of course Fiskars scissors, those orange-handled precision instruments that plant the Finnish flag in households worldwide. So where had Finnish design been lately? Klaus Haapaniemi was scarcely known outside Finland, other than by design cognoscenti. And much as I found his recent illustrative work for Iittala delightfully folkloric, it was surface decoration applied to a dishware line called Taika—remarkably similar to the famous Teema line, created in Plain, monochromatic Teema mugs and plates turned up wherever I went in Helsinki.

And they showed up in stacks at the Stockmann department store and in piles at the Arabia outlet sadly, at scarcely a discount. So ubiquitous was the use of this year-old style that it smacked of government issue. Anywhere else this might seem offputting, but in Finland it simply drove home the idea that if design has no lasting contribution, it is of no value.

Design was everywhere—inclusive, accessible and without ego. It appeared along the Esplanadi Park, where heavy hitters such as Artek and Marimekko have a major presence, and on Uudenmaankatu and Erottajankatu streets, in the heart of the Design District, both a neighborhood and an association of galleries, shops and museums. Design Forum Finland, a store and showroom on Erottajankatu, was an especially worthwhile stop. Stringing together these scattershot locations as well as the classic sights, while All three were rubbed bright from use. The gesture benefited every traveler by entertaining children.

Clad in striped tees, a young family shed their shoes and crawled under, around, and behind the intricate web of string with joyful, kinetic energy and near silent appreciation. For a metropolis of a million people, Helsinki is actually a quiet place. I never heard a siren. Not even a car horn. There hardly seemed to be the need for a refuge in the heart of the city—and yet there is an extraordinary new one. The Kamppi Chapel, by K2S Architects, sits in a corner of Narinkkatori Square like a high-sided salad bowl on a granite kitchen counter. Inside, a halo of daylight washed curved walls of alder, creating a womblike environment.

The ingenious and inviting open-sided structure hummed like an efficient hive. I was astonished that such an accomplished work was by a year-old. Nature and nurture had always dovetailed in Finnish design; now so too were the past, present and future linked. Pelago Bicycles, a store in downtown Helsinki. With a minimized carbon footprint and sturdy tree-trunk columns, the building is nothing short of a spare, primitive temple to communal bathing.

Altruism abounded, and what would pass back home for naive or faux-naive statements actually led to results. Pink-cheeked and enthusiastic employees helped customers grind grain, buy sausage and select fish smoked in-house on Tuesdays and Fridays. The space, with its emphasis on natural materials—wooden display tables, wicker baskets—swung wide of antiseptic supermarket interiors.

Reindeer skins draped the shopping carts, and an antique rocker and a classic modern birch high chair flanked the bread oven, which turned out some of the best rye loaves in the city. For a survey of the ingredients feeding the New Nordic cuisine movement—from smoked fish to wild reindeer to Arctic honey—there was no better source.

Reindeer surfaced again, in stacks of full hides at the marketplace by the port, and in skins trimmed to round seat pads at Marttiini, a new shop on Senate Square at the foot of. Pockets made from the same rawhide used for the sheaths displayed even more styles. Elevating this traditional tool to a design object proved to be a solid business move; in the first few months the store was open, sales dramatically increased. Of the 10 models they sell, the upright Brooklyn, a classic bike for city use, was one of their first and is still incredibly popular.

Since , when the stool was introduced, some 8 million have been sold, many to schools, libraries and restaurants. The call to value the beauty of long life and signs of age, rather than put out to pasture an old piece, reflects a fresh view of what it means to be modern. And that which has once been, will. Getting Around Biking is a popular mode of transportation here; borrow or rent one from your hotel. The public transit system hsl. The cocktails are some of the most accomplished in town; the lemon pie, not to be missed.

Repurposing turned up in sizes jumbo to tiny. Its cavernous interior has been an atmospheric host to Helsinki Design Week events and to a pop-up branch of the Finnish Design Shop. Over at Lokal, a concept store run by photographer Katja Hagelstam, the merchandise also spoke volumes about the waste-not, want-not, look-back-tosee-ahead sensibility coursing through the culture.

Driven by pure irritation at the amount of waste a family produces, textile artist Outi Martikainen collected white plastic bread-bag fasteners and wove them into iconic Finnish forms traditionally made of birch-bark fiber—a basket, a horn, a bast shoe. With a grounded and forward-thinking ethos in place, Helsinki is poised to stay a leader in mindful urban living.

The values the city espouses—collaboration, openness, continuity—seem not political but simply correct. Helsinki Cathedral 29 Unioninkatu; helsinginseurakunnat. Kamppi Chapel 7 Simonkatu; helsinginkirkot. Kulttuurisauna 17 Hakaniemenranta; kulttuurisauna. Old Customs House 5 Katajanokanlaituri. Taidehalli 3 Nervanderinkatu; taidehalli. Arelalizza 1 Kruunuvuorenkatu; arelalizza.

Design Forum Finland 7 Erottajankatu; designforum. Iittala 25 Pohjoisesplanadi; iittala. Lokal 19 Annankatu; lokalhelsinki. Marimekko 33 Pohjoisesplanadi; marimekko. Marttiini 28 Aleksanterinkatu; marttiini. Pelago Bicycles 32 Kalevankatu; pelagobicycles. Colin Barraclough discovers a Rio reborn. The Deal Seven nights in an outside cabin aboard the River Countess, including meals, beverages, transfers and shore excursions such as an afterhours visit to St.

The sister ship to the New York—themed Breakaway takes cues from its home port, Miami. Named after the Italian word for tiara, this is pure glitz, from the Bar Bollicine Prosecco to the thalassotherapy pool in the spa. Details Mention the Special Savings Discount promotion. Embark here to find out which one is for you.

But kayaking nearby would be just as fun. Details Three nights in a Plunge Pool suite. Highlights One minute massage for two; a three-course dinner; daily breakfast; late check-out until 3 p. Cost From Bt23, Bt7, per night , double, through December Details A stay in a King Superior room. Details Two nights in a Deluxe room. Highlights Daily American breakfast buffet, return airport transfers, complimentary car with driver for eight hours, and free entrance to Waterbom Bali theme park for two people.

Details A stay in a Deluxe King Bed room. Highlights Complimentary daily breakfast for two, one complimentary round of mini-bar refreshments, and free Wi-Fi. Highlights Privately guided excursions through each city, including cycling through the temples of Angkor Wat and cruising through Hong Kong's harbor. Details A stay in a Garden View room. Highlights Complimentary daily breakfast and Wi-Fi. Highlights Complimentary daily breakfast. Details A stay in a Riverside Retreat room. Highlights One complimentary minute spa session for two per day, RMB worth of credits at hotel dining outlets per stay,.

Details Oriental design with personalized service. Highlights Continental breakfast, light in-room refreshments, private airport transfer, free Wi-Fi. Details Two nights in a Deluxe Delight room. Highlight A morning trek to the ruins at Tuglaqabad Fort. Details Three nights in a Talay suite. Highlights A romantic cliff-top dinner for two, flowers upon arrival, one minute massage for two, daily en suite villa breakfast and roundtrip airport transfers by luxury SUV. Cost From Bt50, Bt16, per night , double, through April Savings Up to 30 percent.

Details A stay in a Club Deluxe room. Highlights A complimentary bottle of champagne served with fresh strawberries, and a butler-drawn bath. Timely and trusted advice on. For more information e-mail travelandleisure mediatransasia. The guests can enjoy the 4 outdoor swimming pools and be impressed by the wide range of culinary in our five restaurants and three bars. Relaxing at The Spa while the little guests enjoy their play time at The Play Zone, one of the largest resort play area for children and teens on Phuket, is the way to spend your next perfect holiday.

Residences offer 26 two-bedroom, oceanfront apartments with fully. Cutting-edge art spaces are colonizing the former industrial zone. Veteran gallerist Dominique Perregaux opened the squaremeter, loft-style Art Statements artstatements. Newcomer Yallay Space yallay. Indie-minded 2P Contemporary Art Gallery 2p-gallery. Five-year-old Red Elation Gallery redelation. Owner Arnault Castel sources street-smart looks and accessories from Hong Kong designers as well as from his native France. There are places all over the city, but two of my favorites are Happy Foot [happyfoot. Recent seasonal offerings include salmon confit with wood-smoked cherry tomato.

Opened by a group of fashion insiders, Russell Street is known for its bright dresses and one-of-a-kind pieces by indie brands from Australia, the U. This light-filled restaurant offers modern European dishes including arroz caldoso saffron-infused rice with artichokes. Once there, watch Que Vinh Dang and his team prepare signature plates such as braised octopus with squid ink rice.

American classics chicken and waffles; sweet potato fries are paired with molecular cocktails at the Public Xiangyang Nan Rd. A DJ spins electronic tracks at Alter alterstyle. The food is great, but go to see young artists. Order some chicken-liver skewers and sake. Sophie Guo Event planner.

The cocktails are terrific; try the Campari mojito at the mod white bar. The best markets for souvenirs—arm yourself with endless patience and a willingness to bargain. The basement is a maze of shops. With its crowded subway cars, scarce taxis and language barrier, Beijing can be hard to get around. Spare yourself the hassle by hiring a car and driver. Tour operator Bespoke Beijing bespoke-beijing. If you do take a taxi, ask your hotel concierge to write down your destination in Chinese. Order the tender pork ribs topped with spices and peanuts.

Expect a subtler side to the ma-la hot and numbing flavors from Sichuan. Dan dan mian— wheat noodles in a red-chili sauce—have a lemony tang. Carved wooden chairs and hill-tribe textiles set the stage for the delicacies of Yunnan. Decked out with rough-hewn tables and paper lanterns, this lively restaurant celebrates the duck-obsessed cuisine of the southern city of Nanjing.

Based near the Forbidden City, Bike Beijing bikebeijing. State Department has a Twitter feed, BeijingAir, that provides pollution updates. Beijing Coma by Ma Jian In this powerful novel, a student wakes up 10 years after being shot during the protests in Tiananmen Square. Midnight in Peking by Paul French Into mysteries? Pick up this true-crime thriller about the murder of a young British woman in Thanks to the latest crop of restaurants, you can sample diverse regional cuisine in sleek surroundings.

Walk Sideng Square above , where native Yi and Bai farmers in colorful dress sell their handicrafts. The less ambitious can be ferried up by cable car or, for a throwback, via sedan chair. WildChina can arrange for a luxury camping experience during the events. Grab a suit and dive in. Edited by Jacqueline Gifford. Tetiaroa Who Will Go Castawayfantasy seekers with a willingness to splurge. The Details Just 48 kilometers northeast of Tahiti, the atoll of Tetiaroa has 12 motus islets so gorgeous they were once a retreat for Polynesian royalty. And then came Hollywood: Privacy is still the priority on pristine, hectare Onetahi, which is now the setting for the Brando resort thebrando.

Charter a sailboat to explore the 5-kilometer-wide lagoon— then strand yourselves for a few hours on one of the 11 uninhabited islets. Who Goes Island collectors and next-great-resort hunters in search of peace, quiet and startlingly clear water. Forty-two airy, thatched-roof villas are just steps from a ribbon of soft white sand. Behind you lies a thrumming canopy of green. And before you is limpid blue Bacuit Bay, where outriggers ply the glasslike waters.

Or kayak to one of several nearby islands and claim your own sun-drenched empty shore. Who Goes Bohemians looking to disconnect. The Details The fresh lobster is cheap; the hammocks, plentiful; the pace, blissfully slow. Simply brush the sand from your bare feet before entering Straw Hat strawhat. On a panoramic bluff above the bay, Malliouhana malliouhana. Mokapu Beach Who Goes Americans and stylish honeymooners after a sleek alternative to the larger resorts of Wailea.

From the sand garden in the open-air lobby to the whitewashed guest rooms, the design sensibility is modern-luxe Hawaiian beach house. Hanging loose never felt so chic. The Buzzy Beach Psarou. Book a table at Nammos nammos. Uniform of Choice Ladies in barely-there bikinis cover up in caftans; men go formal in white linen.

Potrod's Seinfeld Episode Guide v1

House drink The dark-rumbased Painkiller. House drink A Red Stripe beer. House drink A Killer Bee. Playa Carrizalillo Who goes Surfers from all over the world; families and snowbirds from the United States and Canada. The Details Pro riders arrive in this town along the Oaxacan coast and make a beeline for Playa Zicatela, a. But Playa Carrizalillo, a quiet cove accessible via a step stairway, has waters gentle enough for the rest of us; take a dip, snorkel, then down oysters from one of the handful of beach shacks.

In recent years, Puerto as the locals call it has been upping its hip factor: Curiosity piqued, I signed up for a tasting. I had braved my fair share of boxed wines, so I felt prepared for whatever was in store but, much like a ripe grape during harvest, that confidence was quickly squashed. It was like an episode of Fear Factor—each plastic cup of swill was worse than the one before it. I knocked all 10 tasters back with the urgency of a shot, grimacing at the aftertaste, steeling myself for the next.

The reward for my persistence? The mother of all hangovers. But a lot has changed since then. The vintner was a young Thai woman trained in Australia, Nikki Visootha Lohitnavy, who runs arguably the most advanced production facility in the country— and whose wines are so good that the Six Senses group has an exclusive arrangement selling the labels at their upscale, locavore resorts in Thailand.

In her crusade to create superlative wines in the country, she helped found the Thai Wine Association, which sets specific rules such as banning the addition of sugar to raise the alcohol level. Nikki was the first female vintner in Thailand. There are, for example, two different Grace wineries— one in Japan and one in China—though they have no affiliation with one another, just the same name, and coincidentally, two female oenophiles managing production. Three young women at the helm of three burgeoning wineries spread across Asia?

Each took over their family businesses, vineyards that are now worth a visit for both the vistas and the vino. I decided to get to the bottom of this juicy trend and, hopefully, a few decent bottles while I was at it. Even the grapes that can hack it in the heat take extra work to yield. Finally, in Thailand advertising for wine is banned, and the tax on wine is percent for domestic producers.

It snowballed into a business, growing grapes for other wineries. When it came time for college Nikki chose the University of Adelaide for its esteemed program in oenology and viticulture, in which she was the first Thai student to enroll. When she returned home she transformed their vineyard into a full-fledged, top-of-theline production facility.

When I met her, Nikki had on her work clothes, fresh from a day in the fields. She took me on a tour of the hectare vineyard—a tidy maze of vines backed by the proud hills of Khao Yai National Park. The landscape was lush and calm, every bit as quaint as its counterparts in Europe, though the smattering of limestone karsts added an air of the exotic and the grassy lanes were a tad more sunbaked.

As we wove between the vines Nikki pointed out the rows of different varietals: Syrah, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Durif, Grenache and Muscat, noting that the grapes are smaller in size and more potent than those that grow in cooler climates. In an experimental section, they test cuttings from 30 other types of grapes, to see what will thrive in the Thai weather. The GranMonte reds are full bodied and spicy, with aromas of clove and black pepper, and hints of tamarind and jasmine in the bouquet: She wants to put the country on the viniculture map.

Yet in a land known for sake and beer, wine has to be distinctive to earn its spot on the menu. Though it looks like a Pinot Gris, with pink-purple skins, Koshu has a taste all its own. But the confusion softens when people taste her product. Over the past few years Grace Winery has started exporting their wines, but the main base remains. In at age 24, Judy left her position at Goldman Sachs and stepped into the role of manager of the hectare vineyard.

She credits her father for refusing to coddle her. Their rooms have a distinctly modern feel with TV and Wi-Fi, but if guests want to step back in time they can venture to the neighboring town—the year-old village looks like akung fu movie set, complete with wispy willows, ponds, pagodas, an apricot orchard and tiny streets that open out into beautiful piazzas.

A throwback influence rings through in the wines as well. The Muscat has a nice floral, stone fruit nose, but is crisp and dry on the palate, perfect for sipping in the summer. This high standard is seeing Chinese wines pop up at restaurants across the globe. There are more than wine producers in China, so there is plenty of diversity for discerning drinkers to sample.

Thailand, in the bucolic valleys of Japan or in a year-old vineyard in China, change is afoot in Asian winemaking. Still, a rare winemaker is like, one hopes, a rare vintage: Continue the tasting tour at… Prasat Phnom Banan Winery, Cambodia This charming vineyard, a mix of thriving vines and swaying palms, just 12 kilometers south of Battambang, also has a strong woman running the show.

Leng Chan Tol and her husband Chan Thai Chhoung planted their first grapes in and bottled their first wine in They currently offer just one variety of wine, called simply Red, which is a Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz blend, produced on their hectare vineyard. Though this has been their sole offering since , they have ambitions to introduce Chenin Blanc soon. Given the current state of affairs, Bert is feeling very optimistic about the future for the region. The pool at the Ulagalla hotel, outside Anuradhapura, in central Sri Lanka.

The Ruwanwelisaya Stupa, in Anuradhapura. There is a seductive, melancholy beauty about Sri Lanka, a nation recovering from years of civil war. From Colombo to Galle to Kandy and beyond, Aatish Taseer finds new hotels, opinionated artists and writers, and a growing sense of hope. But it was something that had come to me slowly, this awareness of the Sri Lankan duality, of the creeping horror.

Because, 12 days before, when I had first landed in Colombo, there had been no trace of it. Then there had been only the beauty. The land even from the air had made a beguiling impression. Of red earth, of glossy tropical greenery, of tiled roofs blackening in the sea air. A sea that was much bluer and more hypnotic than any I had seen in India, from where I had flown in that morning. It appeared suddenly, in the full glitter of the afternoon sun, as we drove down Galle Face Road. I had just arrived, but I was already late. I was meeting Chandraguptha Thenuwara, a conceptual artist whose work during the war had earned him an international reputation.

The war had been a fixture of my childhood. My mother, a reporter in Delhi, where I grew up, had covered it for the Indian papers. I had memories of her returning from Colombo with cameras and transistor radios, which, though widely available in Sri Lanka, were denied us in Socialist India. Sri Lanka then, with its excellent position in the Indian Ocean, had dreamed of being a second Singapore. And it was only the other day, it seemed—in —that Sri Lanka, after what A wild elephant in Minneriya National Park, near Polonnaruwa.

A guest room at the Sun House, in Galle. For the first time in three decades, it was a country at peace. It was this that I had come to see: The effects of postwar development were real and tangible—the city was full of a new optimism. But to some, beautification was a dirty word.

He was heavyset, with an impish face, and unruly whitening sideburns that gave him the air of a figure from fable. The barrels were gone now, and Colombo, for the first time in decades, felt safer than Delhi. But Thenuwara was not impressed. Whether we like them or not, we must keep the memories. His distrust of the Sri Lankan peace colored my view of the city. It gave a charcoal outline to what until then had been an enchanting scene of boutiques and bungalows, of gabled colonial buildings with deep verandas and pretty eaves, of flowering trees and clubs with evocative names.

It was a city enveloped in a permanent feeling of afternoon, where now, it felt, the briny breath of the sea merged easily with a hint of menace. That night I saw Colombo through the eyes of an architect. We drove through the spongy darkness of night in the tropics. So long as they stood, they had turned the streets into trenches and Colombo into a city without vistas. Their coming down was a deeply emotional and symbolic thing; it had unstitched the city.

But it had come at a great price. Had it been Pyrrhic? Daswatte, like many Sri Lankans, could not help feeling that no price was too steep; that that war had gone on far too long and that it had to end. But he, like Thenuwara, was worried about the character of the peace; worried about tensions in the north; worried about a growing authoritarianism in the country; and worried, most of all, about an attack on dissent, which had manifested itself as a stifling of press freedoms.

That night in his house, itself a triumph of the Bawa aesthetic, I saw a painting by the Tamil artist T. Shanaathanan that was a reminder of the other side of the Sri Lankan. It was a painting of two male figures and a kiss. Sri Lanka is a majority Buddhist country, and my flight from India had been full of pilgrims: Indian culture and religion had, for centuries, seeped into this place. But modern India was no preparation for Sri Lanka. It was not just that the sea was bluer, the country cleaner and more well-ordered; it was that the people, a dizzying mixture of Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims, whose places of worship lined the road in from.

Of these none had been tenser than the one between the Tamils of the north and east, and the Sinhalese majority in the rest of the country. This was the line along which the war of three decades had been fought. But it was not the only line. In the seaside town of Galle, we encountered another, newer, and more volatile fault line. We ran smack into a protest led by the Bodu Bala Sena, an extremist Buddhist outfit. It was a Friday afternoon, and a group of saffron-clad monks, with peach fuzz and bad skin, led a small band of civilians along the edge of the Galle Fort.

They were protesting what they claimed was a Muslim wish to impose. The protest, they were at pains to point out—they were Buddhists monks after all! But it was a Friday afternoon—a Muslim time of prayer— and in the Fort, which was largely Muslim, many regarded the protest as hostile. Tariq, of Dairy King, which sold delicious homemade ice cream, said: The Tamils, they hit and ran. The Muslims will not run. No sooner had it appeared, this darker element, than it was gone; and I was back among the tittle-tattle of the Galle Set, drinking an arrack sour on the veranda of the Amangalla on a Saturday night.

Here, among the fanoos lanterns and planters chairs, one might hear— for these people were poisonous gossips! Such a lovely guy. I think I sensed that it was the source of the darker element I had encountered only in snatches so far. The north began after Kandy. I spent a night at the Kandy House, a jewel box of a hotel—with tuna so fresh you could still taste the sea in it—and the next day we entered a heavily forested country. We drove up along narrow highways full of butterflies, edged with electrified wire to keep the elephants in their corridors. A sitting area at Kandy House, in Kandy.

Fishermen on the shores of Galle. Opposite, clockwise from top left: Daswatte, on the night when he showed me those places where the walls had come down, had, in describing the Sri Lankan duality, quoted a Blake poem. It was a country that made you suspicious of beauty. For it was under the cover of its great beauty that its terrible past had occurred. We left at dawn the next day. On our drive south to Colombo I received a text message from Selvadurai. He was worried he had not been helpful.

Then I know I have Sri Lanka. And yet—it had to be said— the place I visited was still suffering the effects of war and migration. Shanaathanan told me one rainy morning in Jaffna. I had sought him out, in part because I had liked the painting, in part because I had wanted to gain some sense of what the mood was like among the people of the north. And though there was little comfort in what he said, that night, in keeping with the shape-shifting quality of this strange journey in Sri Lanka, I found myself once again surrounded by beauty: An old ancestral house, set deep in that pastoral countryside of lagoons and paddy fields.

It was impossible not to be affected by the hopefulness of her endeavor. It was an intimation—final and memorable— of what the north could be. And then, almost as if the ruins were merging with the natural world, we were in a forest of decapitated Palmyra palms. The scene of the last battle. We went up to Jaffna along the same route the Sri Lankan army had taken in All around us were the relics of war: Looking at this overgrown country, my guide said: But I knew exactly what he meant.

He was referring to the feeling of desolation. And the land, though it was ravaged and overgrown, was also wild and beautiful, a land of lagoons and lotus ponds. In the towns we drove through, there was evidence of shattered communities creeping back to life.

There were volleyball games in the yards of abandoned temples and candlelit services in dark corrugated steel sheds used as churches. The sight of these things, as evening fell, was deeply affecting: By nightfall, we were in Jaffna. It had been on the road to Jaffna that my mother first lost her nerve for war reporting. But the Jaffna I found myself in, as perhaps with the capitals of so many past insurgencies—Diyarbakir, Srinagar, Grozny—was just a sleepy small town. The surrounding peninsula was full of old Dutch churches and castles, of lagoons teeming with crabs, of decaying Malay-style houses, of nuns on bicycles, of an untouched and poetic countryside.

There were only a handful of basic hotels, but things were changing fast. In Colombo I had met many people on their way to Jaffna, now for an art fair, now for a cultural festival. It would not be long, perhaps, before the north was. Galle Face Hotel 2 Galle Rd. Sun House 18 Upper Dickson Rd. Tintagel 65 Rosmead Place, Colombo; paradiseroadhotels. A thoughtful, democratic approach to style and design has historically been at the heart of Finnish culture. Such was the refrain looping in my head in anticipation of a trip to Finland.

It would all be there: Oh, and of course Fiskars scissors, those orange-handled precision instruments that plant the Finnish flag in households worldwide. So where had Finnish design been lately? Klaus Haapaniemi was scarcely known outside Finland, other than by design cognoscenti.

And much as I found his recent illustrative work for Iittala delightfully folkloric, it was surface decoration applied to a dishware line called Taika—remarkably similar to the famous Teema line, created in Plain, monochromatic Teema mugs and plates turned up wherever I went in Helsinki. And they showed up in stacks at the Stockmann department store and in piles at the Arabia outlet sadly, at scarcely a discount. So ubiquitous was the use of this year-old style that it smacked of government issue.

Anywhere else this might seem offputting, but in Finland it simply drove home the idea that if design has no lasting contribution, it is of no value. Design was everywhere—inclusive, accessible and without ego. It appeared along the Esplanadi Park, where heavy hitters such as Artek and Marimekko have a major presence, and on Uudenmaankatu and Erottajankatu streets, in the heart of the Design District, both a neighborhood and an association of galleries, shops and museums. Design Forum Finland, a store and showroom on Erottajankatu, was an especially worthwhile stop.

Stringing together these scattershot locations as well as the classic sights, while All three were rubbed bright from use. The gesture benefited every traveler by entertaining children. Clad in striped tees, a young family shed their shoes and crawled under, around, and behind the intricate web of string with joyful, kinetic energy and near silent appreciation. For a metropolis of a million people, Helsinki is actually a quiet place.

I never heard a siren. Not even a car horn. There hardly seemed to be the need for a refuge in the heart of the city—and yet there is an extraordinary new one. The Kamppi Chapel, by K2S Architects, sits in a corner of Narinkkatori Square like a high-sided salad bowl on a granite kitchen counter. Inside, a halo of daylight washed curved walls of alder, creating a womblike environment.

The ingenious and inviting open-sided structure hummed like an efficient hive. I was astonished that such an accomplished work was by a year-old.

Nature and nurture had always dovetailed in Finnish design; now so too were the past, present and future linked. Pelago Bicycles, a store in downtown Helsinki. With a minimized carbon footprint and sturdy tree-trunk columns, the building is nothing short of a spare, primitive temple to communal bathing. Altruism abounded, and what would pass back home for naive or faux-naive statements actually led to results. Pink-cheeked and enthusiastic employees helped customers grind grain, buy sausage and select fish smoked in-house on Tuesdays and Fridays. The space, with its emphasis on natural materials—wooden display tables, wicker baskets—swung wide of antiseptic supermarket interiors.

Reindeer skins draped the shopping carts, and an antique rocker and a classic modern birch high chair flanked the bread oven, which turned out some of the best rye loaves in the city. For a survey of the ingredients feeding the New Nordic cuisine movement—from smoked fish to wild reindeer to Arctic honey—there was no better source. Reindeer surfaced again, in stacks of full hides at the marketplace by the port, and in skins trimmed to round seat pads at Marttiini, a new shop on Senate Square at the foot of.

Pockets made from the same rawhide used for the sheaths displayed even more styles. Elevating this traditional tool to a design object proved to be a solid business move; in the first few months the store was open, sales dramatically increased. Of the 10 models they sell, the upright Brooklyn, a classic bike for city use, was one of their first and is still incredibly popular. Since , when the stool was introduced, some 8 million have been sold, many to schools, libraries and restaurants. The call to value the beauty of long life and signs of age, rather than put out to pasture an old piece, reflects a fresh view of what it means to be modern.

And that which has once been, will. Getting Around Biking is a popular mode of transportation here; borrow or rent one from your hotel. The public transit system hsl. The cocktails are some of the most accomplished in town; the lemon pie, not to be missed. Repurposing turned up in sizes jumbo to tiny. Its cavernous interior has been an atmospheric host to Helsinki Design Week events and to a pop-up branch of the Finnish Design Shop.

Over at Lokal, a concept store run by photographer Katja Hagelstam, the merchandise also spoke volumes about the waste-not, want-not, look-back-tosee-ahead sensibility coursing through the culture. Driven by pure irritation at the amount of waste a family produces, textile artist Outi Martikainen collected white plastic bread-bag fasteners and wove them into iconic Finnish forms traditionally made of birch-bark fiber—a basket, a horn, a bast shoe. With a grounded and forward-thinking ethos in place, Helsinki is poised to stay a leader in mindful urban living.

The values the city espouses—collaboration, openness, continuity—seem not political but simply correct. Helsinki Cathedral 29 Unioninkatu; helsinginseurakunnat. Kamppi Chapel 7 Simonkatu; helsinginkirkot. Kulttuurisauna 17 Hakaniemenranta; kulttuurisauna. Old Customs House 5 Katajanokanlaituri. Taidehalli 3 Nervanderinkatu; taidehalli. Arelalizza 1 Kruunuvuorenkatu; arelalizza. Design Forum Finland 7 Erottajankatu; designforum.

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Iittala 25 Pohjoisesplanadi; iittala. Lokal 19 Annankatu; lokalhelsinki. Marimekko 33 Pohjoisesplanadi; marimekko. Marttiini 28 Aleksanterinkatu; marttiini. Pelago Bicycles 32 Kalevankatu; pelagobicycles. Colin Barraclough discovers a Rio reborn. Ipanema This trendy district draws crowds but is calmer than Copacabana. Santa Teresa Artists flock to this hilly area for its bohemian bars and Guanabara Bay views. We recommend traveling by taxis, which can be hailed on the street. Food is a highlight: Philippe Starck— designed rooms have billowing silk curtains.

What we love most: Rooms incorporate indigenous handicrafts. Ask about staff-led tours of the on-site art collection, which includes sculptures by such notable artists as Rock Lane. The colonnaded veranda is the perfect place for a breakfast of fresh Brazilian fruit and gourmet cheeses, with the Guanabara Bay as backdrop. The shop also hosts in-house concerts once a month, featuring leading bossa nova acts. Inside are works from more than talents, including native sculptor Iole de Freitas and Argentine kinetic artist Julio Le Parc.

Guided tours are available on non— game days. The communal dining table at Roberta Sudbrack; marinated heart of palm with shrimp and free-range eggs at Roberta Sudbrack; lunch hour at Bar do Mineiro. At his first outpost, Troisgros whips up innovative dishes that pack a flavorful punch: The small, shareable portions are equally creative—tilapia with quinoa and olives; prawns with heart of pupunha peach palm —and pair well with any of the international wines.

Three places to immerse yourself. I love to visit the atelier of Brazilian painter Carlos Vergara carlosvergara. Stop at the Instituto Moreira Salles ims. Afterward, stroll through nearby Parque Lage. For experimental art exhibits, check out MAM Rio mamrio. Penang Swing kids The street-art trend in George Town started in , when Lithuanian Ernest Zacharevic painted kids at play on the walls of the historic area. Neither curiosity nor kung fu may kill the cat, but the eco-friendly paint with which he was created will fade in about two years.

Plus Vacationing like royalty; a restaurant with a conscience in Battambang; an Indonesian designer shares his inspirations; and more. Point of View 53 Fare Games chr is k uc way explores the idiosyncrasies of taxi drivers and how they mirror the cities they attempt to navigate. Trip Doctor 56 The Fix How to save on a ski vacation, and the etiquette of tipping. A bowl of hand-pulled noodles with braised beef at Noodle Bar. A cup of coffee and a pastry at the Market Square.

Juevos Rancheros at Maui Tacos. MAUImag Pangulasian 82 November to May is the dry season, though there are occasional storms early on during that period. Two early-morning lattes in El Nido town as you plan your day out on the water. A monthly pass to use the Bike Rio shared bicycles scattered throughout the city. A cotton pareu, or wraparound sarong. Leslie Patrick Lim Sio Hui georgetown street art The murals bring many tourists in, and increase business opportunities for locals. Lucy Palmer rangoon Helping Hands Q: Carol Synnott phnom penh A: Got something to say?

Tell us at Comments may be edited for clarity and space. Frosty drink from Warung Schnitzel. Cooking School Clockwise from far left: The best of Asia on a plate. Use chopsticks to fold one side over the filling. Repeat for all sides. Raise the folded parcel to your mouth with chopsticks or your hands. Pony-hair shoes, Pretty Loafers. Silk blend scarf, Christopher Fischer. Printed calf-hair tote, Michael Kors. All aboard the Toy Train. A sunny afternoon at Glenburn Tea Estate. One of only two lines in the world named a unesco World Heritage Site, the Darjeeling Darjeeling is best known for its strong, aromatic tea, and the picturesque plantations dotting its misty hills.

C O M heck of a lot easier to pronounce than Ljubljana. C O M hotelhotspring. Confessions of a Parking Valet A car attendant at a high-end Miami hotel and restaurant reveals what actually happens after you hand over the keys. Radar hotels Home Sweet Hotel Ever dreamed of hitting the sack under the roof of a world leader? Sculptures liven up The Chedi Club. Hadiprana Villa at The Chedi Club. Villa Maly was home to Laotian royalty. Italian design influences at Praya Palazzo. A honeycomb motif is woven through the structure, most noticeable in the web of skylights, which flood the interior with light while minimizing energy consumption.

Stay where the cast reportedly did: Turtle Bay Resort turtlebayresort. Go on a downtown bar-hop on the Greenwich Village Rock Tour nytours. Walk on glaciers with Overseas Adventure Travel oattravel. The Jaan Bai team. Fresh shrimp with fruit and coconut. Crowded tables of diners and drinkers fill the minimalist space in this renovated colonial shophouse, sipping cocktails as they graze on pan-Asian sharing plates like pulledpork buns to a pumping soundtrack that includes everyone from The Cure to Nina Simone.

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