ASSATEAGUE ISLAND, VA.
TALK TO THE SNAIL
Ten Commandments for Understanding the French
Bloomsbury / $14.95
It's not easy being French nowadays. In fact, it's downright maddening. They can't quite understand why everyone else on the planet is ganging up on them. And so author (and Englishman to boot) Stephen Clarke presents 10 (actually 11) commandments that try to explain the French to the non-French. He does a masterful job. The commandments are not only funny, but they also manage to capture the essence of what being French is all about. Consider some of them: Thou shalt not work, thou shalt eat, thou shalt be polite (and simultaneously rude). The eighth commandment, "thou shalt not love thy neighbour," perhaps best sums up French individualism.
Two ships to join Disney fleet
The Walt Disney Co. is expanding its fleet of cruise ships. The two new Disney cruise ships -- projected to be launched in 2011 and 2012 -- will be two decks taller than the two existing Disney cruise ships. Each new ship will have 1,250 staterooms. The company has not determined where the ships will be docked or their routes.
Sleeping with the fishes
Plans are under way to build an underwater hotel, the Poseidon Undersea Resort -- which will include 24 rooms, a library, a fitness center and a restaurant -- above ground in Portland, Ore., before it is submerged in its final location next to a coral reef 40 feet below a lagoon in Fiji. The hotel, 70 percent of which will be made of acrylic glass, is not scheduled to open until early 2009. Guests will be required to stay two nights in the underwater hotel and four nights at beach accommodations. The cost: $15,000 per person. Details at poseidonresorts.com.
[NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE]
10 FOR THE ROAD
Beds on a budget
The top hostels in the world, from a hostelworld.com poll of 500,000 hostel users:
1. Jetpak City Hostel, Berlin 2. Hostel of the Sun, Naples, Italy 3. La Chimba, Santiago, Chile 4. Mamas Hostel, Krakow, Poland 5. Wombats City Hostel (The Lounge), Vienna, Austria 6. Friendly Fun Franks Backpackers Hostel, Riga, Latvia 7. EastSeven Berlin Hostel, Berlin 8. Argonaut Backpackers, Riga 9. Oasis Backpackers Hostel, Granada, Spain 10. Oki Doki Hostel, Warsaw, Poland
The diving is easy in Curacao
Curacao tourism and marketing officials are taking aim at divers who throng to its sister island of Bonaire and other Caribbean destinations. The 2007 Readers' Choice Awards for Scuba Diving magazine listed Bonaire as the top dive spot in the Caribbean and Atlantic. Curacao came in ninth. The magazine pointed to Bonaire's "vibrant, healthy reefs in superb dive conditions, easily accessible without a dive boat." That's also a perfect description for what can be found in Curacao, which is sponsoring its second annual dive festival May 26-June 2, including a variety of programs and activities. For a schedule, go to www.curacao-event.com or call 800-328-7222.
[ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH]