No, Jessica, you’re not dreaming. What you’re looking at are 1,600 papier-maché pandas meant to symbolize the remaining great bears still alive in the world. Inspired by the World Wildlife Fund, whose symbol is a panda, the 1,600 bears are a project by the French artist Paolo Grangeon. Featuring both adult pandas and babies, they’ve traveled to 20 countries over the past six years. The next installation will be in Hong Kong, where i09 reports that Grangeon will leave behind four additional pandas permanently. I should probably never see this public art installation because I will get arrested for trying to steal all of them. [Papier-Mache.co.uk; i09]
I’m a travel writer. I’ve visited Seoul, Santiago, and Vancouver in the past few months alone. My job sounds pretty glamorous on paper: I get to sample exotic foods, visit locations that others own dream about, and meet people from all over the world.
But there is a less glamorous side, too. I usually either travel solo or with a group of other travel writers on an organized press trip — that means that I am spending the majority of my time by myself or with a bunch of people I barely know. Given these circumstances, the number one question people ask about my job is whether I have had any hot vacation hookups. Here’s the sad and possibly surprising answer: nope. While I might stay in hotel rooms with heart-shaped bathtubs, I sleep in their king-sized beds alone.
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My current strategy for identifying my unremarkable black suitcase at baggage claim consists of picking up other people’s unremarkable black suitcases, realizing it’s not mine when someone yells, “Hey, that’s my suitcase!” and then repeating the process until, by process of elimination, I’ve alienated everyone at the conveyor belt and am triumphantly holding my own bag. This is a terrible system, but I’ve been putting off buying luggage tags because I wanted to find the perfect ones. I think I finally have: these Flight Libs luggage tags and passport holders, which are not only bright and easy to spot, but so cute and clever, adorned with travel-themed Mad Libs sentences. And at less than $20 a pop, you can buy a tag for every piece of luggage you own, an unforgettable passport holder, and still afford to order an extra bottle of wine at your first dinner in Rome. Check out all the designs at Flight 001!
My favorite thing about traveling is eating, and my favorite thing to eat is cheese. If I won the lottery tomorrow, my next big trip would be a cheese-themed world tour, stopping off in every country to sample their best fromage, sip expertly paired wines, and go to bed every night bloated and blissfully happy. Care to join me? To get started, let’s drool over six of the finest cheese shops in the U.S. and Europe, shall we?
I’m such a sucker for any article or video that’s called, “What (Fill In The Blank) Is Like Around The World!” You can fill in that blank with pretty much anything and I will click and read and enjoy and share that shit on Facebook. Case in point: this video tour of common breakfast foods around the world. To follow it up, those clever foodies have a new video out that showcases the preferred drunk foods from countries around the world. After watching it, I have a new life goal: get drunk in the Czech Republic, if only to enjoy a fried mozzarella sandwich afterwards. Sweet mother of god, that thing looks SO good. Which meals are making your beer-soaked tastebuds tingle? That was a gross sentence, sorry, but seriously, tell me which one looks best to you! [YouTube]
As if a gorgeous boutique hotel tucked into the rainforest of a Caribbean island could get any more perfect, what if that hotel was chocolate themed? Such a wonderland exists, and it’s called Hotel Chocolat, a luxurious lodging option on the island of St. Lucia, operated by a gourmet chocolate company of the same name. In addition to an infinity pool and speedboat taxi to the beaches, Hotel Chocolat partners with St. Lucian farmers to harvest local cocoa, which is used liberally in the hotel’s spa treatments and restaurant menu. A cacoa oil massage followed by a fresh cacao bellini on the balcony? Yes, please! Guests can also tour the estate’s cocoa groves, pick ripe pods off the trees, and make their own chocolate bars. At $500 a night, Hotel Chocolat is a “maybe if I win the lottery” option for most of us, but definitely a fun destination to dream about on a rainy Monday, no?