Shiver me timbers, it's Talk Like a Pirate Day! (Anyone know what a timber is? And why exactly is it shivering?) 

Besides finding buried treasure, what's a pirate's favorite pasttime? Why, sailing the seven seas of course! But for you landlocked pirates out there, I just uploaded a number of banners pointing to some of the United States' Top Travel Destinations. 
Can you believe it's September already? Summer is over, temperatures are finally starting to cool off and yes, stores are already filling up with Halloween decorations and costumes! 

Yep, the seasons are certainly moving. And speaking of moving, that's exactly what my family and I just did recently. It's amazing how you just don't realize how much "stuff" you accumulate over the years. We threw out and donated a ton of old clothes and toys, and yet we still have a maze of boxes to navigate through in the new home. If anyone needs some extra stress in their lives, I highly recommend packing things up and moving! 

What I wouldn't give right now to just get away from it all... and oddly enough, that's exactly the promotion Hilton's offering right now! (Nice segue, right?) There are all sorts of Great Getaway packages available offering discounts up to 25% off select hotels, as well as various packages such as Bed & Breakfast or Family Fun! 

There are even some fabulous international Great Getaways to take advantage of and now's the perfect time to book your overseas offers! 

The Great Getaway Sale! Save up to 25% on a Great Getaway to the Middle East or Africa!
 Book your stay by September 30, 2013 and complete your stay by October 4, 2013. 

The Great Getaway Sale! Save up to 20% on a Great Getaway to the Asia Pacific! Book your stay by September 30, 2013 and complete your stay by October 4, 2013. 
by David Cohen

After many years of not visiting my homeland, I accepted an invitation from the Tourism Office of Israel to visit Tel Aviv during the city’s Gay Pride festivities this past June.  As the trip approached, I wasn’t quite sure if I made the right decision or not. The day arrived and in early June  I flew to Israel from JFK airport to Ben Gurion airport in Israel on a direct flight on El-Al airlines the most secure airline in the world.

As a born and raised Israeli man, over 40 years ago I made one of the biggest decisions of my life, I decided to leave my homeland the land of “milk and honey” and to move to US the land of “gay freedom,” and golden opportunities, at least that’s what I though.

I moved to the US because America than was more advanced than my home country. What I have discovered on my recent trip to Israel shocked me in the most unexpected and positive way. 

Today, Israel is a global leader in equality. In recent years, Israel has produced more affirming legislation and court decisions regarding sexual orientation and LGBT rights than many Western countries. Israel has an active gay community, and it is by far the most tolerant Middle Eastern country towards gays.

Recognized as a world leader in LGBT rights, Israeli law gives equal rights to gay couples in the areas of social security and inheritance, and recognizes gay marriages from foreign countries where gay marriages are legal. Since 1993, the Israeli Army has banned all forms of discrimination against soldiers and officers on the basis of their sexual orientation. The first openly gay member of the Israeli Parliament was elected in 2002.

This year the Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv attracted over 100,000 spectators including many foreign tourists who joined Israelis dancing with Palestinians while they being serenaded by transgender chanteuses as beautiful lesbians walked hand-in hand among the cheering crowds. But that’s not all. Today, Tel Aviv is one of the world’s gayest cities in the world,  20% of the city’s population identifies as gay, lesbian or transgender. The parade in Tel Aviv is a celebration of the diversity of its people, while enjoying great food, music, fantastic beach parties full of shirtless, good looking muscle men, and beautiful women. These people are the most beautiful I have ever seen in the world.

Nestled on the Mediterranean Sea, Tel Aviv boasts beautiful sandy beaches and a spectacular marina, which set the scenes for your day time explorations, a slew of modernist Bauhaus architecture, serving as the backdrop for your evening exploits. Your time in Tel Aviv will be filled with a hectic and lively night life, trendy cafes, great restaurants and boutiques just like London, Paris and Chicago. Even more so than New York, Tel Aviv is a city that never sleeps.  

While Tel Aviv is a modern, forward-looking free spirited metropolis transforming the old traditions of its Israeli heritage, Jerusalem the “Holy City” on the other hand  is real and grounded. Full of history and reverence for the main religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam, Jerusalem the capital of Israel projects her own beauty. As one of the most popular song ever written by the extraordinary Israeli singer/songwriter Naomi Shemer tells, Jerusalem is the “…city of gold, the city of copper and the city of light.” Jerusalem has a spiritual light that will guide you from biblical times to  the present with harmony not to be found anywhere else in the world.

With my own history interwoven into the city’s, Everywhere I turned the -forgotten streets and hidden corners flooded me with past memories. I was filled with emotion and  was  at a loss for words. These moments of anxiety and mixed feelings made my trip to Israel the most emotional trip I have ever taken.

With only a 20 minute drive from Jerusalem you can be at the Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth. With a rare combination of history, nature, and the healing qualities its salty water, the Dead Sea is one of the  marvels of nature. You must stop at Masada  located on top of an high and isolated rock plateau in the Yehuda Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. Admired the synagogue and the palace that king Herod the Great built for himself on this rock. A visit to Masada will reveal the heroic story of how the first Jewish–Roman war ended, and how 960 Jewish rebels and their families defeated the Roman’s siege in 74 BC as they committed mass murder/suicide. Masada was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.

Today, I have realized that I was wrong about the land of “milk and honey,” as I learned a lot from the modern and global Israel, the country of gold, copper and light.

by David Cohen

On my recent visit to Tel Aviv, I had the pleasure of indulging in  an unforgettable treat at one of the oldest establishments in this captivating city where dining is a work of art. 

As  one of the  first neighborhood built outside the old city of Jaffa, Neve Tzedek never lost its original bohemian charm and vibe. Filled with vibrant cafes, gourmet shops and restaurants, art galleries and many fashionable boutiques this trendy part of Tel Aviv is  quite quaint and funky. 

Tucked away in Neve Tzedek, you find Kimmel Restaurant located in a 129-year-old restored building, once belonging to a Turkish Sheik. Kimmel offers delicious delicacies, a great list of Israeli and European wines and a warm and romantic atmosphere with a rustic French country style décor that will make you feel at home.

For the last 20 years executive chef and owner Shaul Ben Aderet, shared his unique and delicious specialties with many celebrities, government officials, and hoi polloi alike In the kitchens of his mother and grandmother, he learned the secrets of true home cooking, the essence and the foundation of his extraordinary home gourmet cuisine. On Shaul’s long road to success, these family recipes got new twists and became the wildly popular dishes loved by many of  Shaul’s fans picked up along the way.  

The second I took my first bite, I recognized Shaul’s inherent talent, his food tasted like my mom’s cooking. With unique serving platters and tableware Kimmel features earthy, rustic dishes of cheeses, meat and fish in rich sauces, herbs, cream and olive oil. The house bread flavored with zataar spices, dill, lemon, garlic is served with sauces such as fig and honey or wild berries and pepper.

The meal began with an array of superb appetizers. The appetizers in my opinion were far better than some of the main dishes on the menu.  I recommend the mushrooms stuffed with goose liver in plum-and-fig sauce; the fresh beet salad with pine nuts and Brule St. Moore Cheese, a perfect fall salad;  the Goat Cheese Ravioli served in cream sauce with sweet potato and mushrooms is delicious, or  the fantastic Risotto with Mushrooms, Spinach and Parmesan Cheese. My absolute favorite the Chicken Liver Pate made with calvados and carrot jam is genius. This dish has the perfect balanced of textures and flavors, it is simply outstanding. For the main course you can choose a wonderful roasted duck, a variety  of juicy steaks cooked to perfection, or one of the Seafood dishes such as Surf and Turf in a curry lemon and garlic sauce, or The Salmon Steak.

With generous portions, good service and friendly staff  Kimmel is a great choice for fine dining. You will never be disappointed. Israelites don’t go out to dinner before 8pm. If you want to see people you should make your reservation for 8:30 or 9 pm. Only foreign tourists dine at 6-7pm, and when you in Israel, don’t even think about missing this wonderful “gem.”

As always Shaul was happy to share one recipe with PINK!

Fresh Beet Salad in Vinegarate Pomegranate Juice with Saint Moore Cheese Brulee 

Serves 4
4 nice fresh beets
50 grams of cooked pine nuts
2 spoons of chopped mint leaves
2 spoons of chopped Coriander
4 dry plumps 
1 spoon of balsamic vinegarate
2 spoons of date honey
2 spoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
Saint Moore cheese
Brown sugar

Peel the beets and cut them into 1 inch sq. cubes
Mixed the pomegranate juice with the vinegar, oil and honey, add salt and pepper to your taste.
Cut the plumps into long slivers, cut the cheese into 1/4 “ cubes and spread some brown sugar on top of them.
Burn the sugar until it turns into golden color, and until it becomes hard. (same as you do for Cream Brulee)
Mix all the ingredients  together and decorate on top with the sliced cheese
GetEQUAL Texas Issues Travel Alert for LGBT Travelers Planning Trips to San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, TX -- Today, GetEQUAL Texas -- a statewide grassroots social justice organization working toward the full equality of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Texans -- issued a "travel alert" to any LGBT person planning travel to the San Antonio area. This alert has been issued based on the fact that San Antonio -- the 7th largest city in the country -- refuses to pass a non-discrimination ordinance that would protect LGBT travelers from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Despite investing significant funding into its tourist industry, the City of San Antonio has continued to postpone a vote on this important non-discrimination ordinance. Although the San Antonio City Council has expressed an interest in revising the city ordinances to prohibit discrimination against LGBT travelers in public accommodations (i.e. hotel stays, restaurant visits, etc.), city officials have repeatedly delayed a vote on the ordinance amendments and those who support discrimination against LGBT people -- such as City Councilwoman Elisa Chan -- have been very vocal in their opposition.

"Having been raised in San Antonio, I’ve experienced discrimination repeatedly within the borders of the city," says Jay Morris, Co-Lead Organizer for GetEQUAL Texas. "Despite calling the San Antonio Police Department after being the victim of a violent hate crime, I was removed from the building and my attackers walked free. No police report was filed and I had no mechanism after the attack to report the incident or to help prevent such an event from happening in the future. If the City Council refuses to pass this non-discrimination ordinance, I worry for the safety of other LGBT residents of and travelers to the city."

"The rule of law in San Antonio supports discrimination, plain and simple," added Jennifer Falcon, San Antonio Lead Organizer for GetEQUAL Texas. "Our local officials are dragging their feet, there is no state law to help us, and there are no federal laws in place we can rely on for protection. If the city really wants to welcome all people, they would take action immediately to pass this non-discrimination ordinance and end the fear of discrimination by LGBT travelers to our city."

Adam Greenup, the LGBT Liaison to Mayor Julian Castro, has indicated that a vote on the proposed ordinance amendments will take place on September 5, 2013 -- though after many previous such promises of votes, local advocates are not optimistic. "The City Council has delayed this vote over and over again. With every delay, San Antonio sends the message to LGBT visitors that they are not welcome in our city," said Falcon.

In response to repeated delays and recent attacks on LGBT people in the media, GetEQUAL Texas has issued the following travel alert for all LGBT people planning travel to San Antonio. This extends to families, tourists, meeting planners, convention-goers, business travelers, and all others who might be considering travel to the area.

Effective immediately. Expires on September 6, 2013, unless renewed.

The City of San Antonio does not currently protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender ("LGBT") people from being legally ejected from their hotel rooms or other places of public accommodation. Although city officials are attempting to correct the issue for LGBT travelers, hundreds have appeared on the streets in front of council demanding that such discrimination discontinue.

Additionally, those supporting discrimination have been seen screaming obscenities and derogatory slurs in the faces of LGBT people on the streets of San Antonio. These opponents of equality have targeted LGBT people at and near City Hall, and within various city parks.

Take the following precautions travel to San Antonio, TX:

  • Avoid traveling alone in the city.
  • Only book travel at hotels which have policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Visit only known LGBT-friendly establishments, including restaurants, bars and venues (see for a listing of some locations).
  • Be aware of your surroundings and adopt other appropriate safety measures to protect yourself while traveling.

If you experience discrimination while visiting San Antonio call TX’s discrimination hotline at 707-992-LGBT (5428).
Hilton Global  Digest - June 2013
Check-In With Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Now Brewing: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® Introduces Exclusive In-Room Collection For Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree By Hilton And Embassy Suites Hotels
Guests staying in more than 740 Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton and Embassy Suites Hotels properties across the Americas will wake up to a new exclusive collection of in-room coffee and teas beginning this summer. Hilton Worldwide announced the new in-room assortment created by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® for the company’s three full-service brands. 

Hilton Worldwide Will Be First Major Hotel Company To Reach 10,000 Rooms In Turkey
Marking the start of the Turkey and Neighbours Hotel Investment Conference 2013, Hilton Worldwide today announced the addition of three new hotels to its Turkish pipeline, demonstrating the accelerating growth of the company's portfolio in Turkey and making it the first operator in the country that will surpass 10,000 rooms operating and under development. 

Hilton Worldwide Recognizes Top Franchise Development Owners in North America
Hilton Worldwide today announced honors for its top annual development awards in North America. Awards are presented in five categories across the company's portfolio of hotels, including: Developer of the Year, Best Conversion, Deal of the Year, Outstanding Achievement and Lifetime Achievement. 

Landmark Downtown Albany Hotel Officially Named Hilton Following $14 Million In Upgrades And Renovations
Hilton Hotels & Resorts, the flagship brand of Hilton worldwide, today welcomed the arrival of its first property in downtown Albany during a grand opening reception to celebrate the reflagging of Hotel Albany as Hilton Albany. 

Granite Properties Breaking Ground On Granite Park IV And Hilton Granite Park A Flagship Master-Planned Development
Granite Properties announced the groundbreaking today for a speculative office tower and the four-star, 299-key Hilton Granite Park conference hotel. Both projects are designed by BOKA Powell architects and slated for completion in mid-2014. Granite Properties has engaged Woodbine Development Corporation as hotel development consultant.

First Hilton Hotels & Resorts Property In Hebei Province Opens
Hilton Worldwide today announced the opening of Hilton Shijiazhuang, its newest property in China. Hilton Shijiazhuang forms an integral part of the province's tallest building development, boasting 594 exceptionally-appointed guest rooms, suites and serviced apartments, six diverse restaurants and bars and more than 2,400 square meter of state-of-the-art meeting space. 

Hilton Worldwide To Introduce Second Hotel To Abu Dhabi
Hilton Worldwide today announced the signing of a new Hilton Hotels & Resorts branded hotel for Abu Dhabi, UAE. The hotel, currently known as Abu Dhabi Al Maqta, will rebrand and re-open as Hilton Abu Dhabi Capital Grand in Summer 2013.

Hilton Hotels & Resorts Makes Lake Las Vegas Debut
Hilton Hotels & Resorts, the flagship brand of Hilton Worldwide, today announced the opening of its latest resort property with the reflagging of Ravella at Lake Las Vegas as Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa. Located within the 3,600-acre Lake Las Vegas master-planned resort community, Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa is a Mediterranean-inspired resort just 20 miles from the Las Vegas strip. 

Classic Dessert Gets An Adult Twist At Award-Winning Phoenix Restaurant At Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort
Sweet decadence meets classic dessert liqueurs to create a gastronomic pairing that goes beyond normal food combinations. Guests can gather around the fire pit at Different Pointe of View, the mountaintop restaurant at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, and enjoy its house-made liqueur marshmallows. 

Hilton Woodcliff Lake Announces The Opening Of Summersalt's
Hilton Woodcliff Lake, located in northern New Jersey and less than 30 minutes from New York City, today announced the opening of the outdoor poolside lounge, Summersalt's. 

Hilton London Metropole Serves Up A Specialist Whisky Lounge
The £6 million lobby transformation at Hilton London Metropole has created Whisky Lounge, a new west London destination bar. 

Hilton Manchester Deansgate Unveils The Zacapa Experience
Hilton Manchester Deansgate has unveiled a unique new pairing of food with cocktails, which is available exclusively in the UK at its landmark champagne and cocktail bar, Cloud 23. 

Galaxy Bar & Restaurant: Celebrates Summer At Hilton Athens
To celebrate the sunny days and warm evenings, Galaxy Bar & Restaurant launches the summer season with the opening of the terrace and the outdoor bar. Life seems more beautiful from the top floor of Hilton Athens featuring amazing views, refreshing cocktails, great music and the exciting flavors of the new executive chef Dimitris Melemenis! 

El Conquistador Resort And Las Casitas Village, A Waldorf Astoria Resort And El San Juan Resort & Casino Celebrate Friendship With Girls’ And Guys’ Getaway Offer
Girls and guys can gather their favorite friends and family and escape to two resorts in Puerto Rico for a girls’ or guys’ only getaway. Now through Dec. 22, 2013, El Conquistador Resort & Las Casitas Village, A Waldorf Astoria Resort and El San Juan Resort & Casino are offering a Girls’ and Guys’ Getaway package for friends to reconnect and spend quality time together. 

Tot-ter Around Kensington At Hilton London Kensington
To mark the arrival of the royal baby, Hilton London Kensington has created its 'Tot-ter Around Kensington' package. With the hotel’s idyllic shopping location and proximity to royal residence, Kensington Palace, guests will be in fashionable company, enjoying a two-night shopping break, ideal for mother-daughter bonding and mums-to-be. 

Coronation Celebrations At London Hilton On Park Lane
Guests can raise a toast to The Queen’s Coronation, celebrating 60 years since she was officially crowned Queen of the Commonwealth, with a regal Coronation Afternoon Tea at London Hilton on Park Lane. Located on Park Lane and overlooking Hyde Park, the landmark hotel is only a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, making it an ideal location to celebrate the coronation weekend. 

Your Night On The Town Just Got A Little More Daring With The Additional Benefits From Hilton Auckland And Hilton Lake Taupo
Break up winter or plan in advance a spring celebration with a lively and stylish social dinner or cocktail reception at the Hilton Hotels & Resorts in the North Island. 

Hilton Pattaya Unveils ‘The Next Level Of Chill’ Session With Region’s Premiere DJs At Horizon
Hilton Pattaya presents its latest DJ events throughout June and July 2013 at Horizon restaurant and bar. It has enlisted an eclectic DJ line-up, playing various famous tunes from new funk, Nu jazz, hip hop and house upbeat to the hottest music trend such as DJ Duke, DJ Queen P, DJ Tohmo, DJ Ben and DJ Freddy. 

Hilton Daytona Beach Resort/Ocean Walk Village Hosts WET Pool Event
Hilton Daytona Beach Resort/Ocean Walk Village today announced a new addition to the entertainment at the hotel. WET Pool at the resort will kick off its opening weekend on Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30 and continue every Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer months. WET will be an upscale pool event for hotel guests, locals and visitors. 

Celebrate Hilton London Canary Wharf’s 25th Anniversary With A Daily Delegate Rate Of £25
Marking 25 years since construction started at the iconic Canary Wharf site in 1988, Hilton London Canary Wharf is celebrating with an exclusive £25 Daily Delegate Rate (DDR). Available from 1 August – 31 August 2013, the £25 DDR can be booked for boardroom meetings of up to 10 delegates. 


Cool Biz With Traditional Summer Kimono At Hilton Tokyo
This Summer, Hilton Tokyo will again welcome guests in Yukata – Japanese traditional Summer kimono, to deliver cool, refreshing yet heart-warming “Yokoso” to Japan. The hotel’s door and guest relations team members will wear colorful Yukata from 8:00am to 10:00am and 5:00pm to 8:00pm from June 1 to August 31, 2013, and a similar service will be offered at the Executive Lounge from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. 


Hilton San Diego Bayfront Gets Decked Out With Newly Renovated Bayfront Resort Amenities
Hilton San Diego Bayfront is embracing San Diego's unmistakable vibe by bringing all of the vitalizing elements of sea and sun to one spectacular waterfront location. Positioned along the sparkling waters of San Diego Bay, the enhanced bay-front grounds are surrounded by towering palms and lush gardens, and incorporates an all new children's pool and waterslide, invigorating bar and lounge - The Pool Club: A Siren’s Call, and stunning waterfront event plaza. 

El San Juan Resort & Casino Unveils Summer 2013 Happenings With Live Music, Fashion And More
For 25 years, El San Juan Resort & Casino has reigned supreme as the foremost hotspot and entertainment venue in Puerto Rico. To continue at the forefront of the island’s entertainment, the resort has unleashed the “Where it Happens” campaign featuring an array of exciting and unique events this summer and beyond. The San Juan resort’s summer events calendar embraces everything from rock and roll and salsa to jazz and fashion, sure to attract tourists, locals, celebrities and socialites. 


Going The Distance For Charity With Hilton Portsmouth
Hilton Portsmouth is inviting the local community to step up and travel “Around the World in a Day” on Saturday 15 June as part of Hilton in the Community Foundation’s annual charity challenge. 

Going The Distance For Charity At Hilton Birmingham Metropole
The Hilton Birmingham Metropole team hosted a 24-hour challenge for the Hilton Community Foundation’s “Around the World in a Day” event. 


Hilton Terminal 5’s Guide To Global Business Makes International Debut
Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5’s Guide to Global Business will be making its first international debut at IMEX Frankfurt. 

Hilton Miami Downtown Announces A $1.7 Million Ballroom Renovation
Hilton Miami Downtown today announced its plans for renovation. 

Conferences For All Seasons At Hilton London Canary Wharf And Hilton London Tower Bridge
To celebrate the characteristically unpredictable British weather, Hilton London Canary Wharf and Hilton London Tower Bridge have created the Conference All Seasons package to reflect the traditional passing of the seasons. 

Art Walk Engages Bodies And Minds Of Hilton Anatole Guests
Guests of Hilton Anatole can enjoy the hotel’s world-class art collection while working up a sweat. The Dallas landmark recently added the One-Mile Art Walk for guests wishing to stay healthy and enjoy the hotel’s renowned art collection. 

Hilton Shanghai Celebrates 25 Year Anniversary
Hilton Shanghai, the first international hotel brand to enter mainland China, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year having officially opened its doors to its first guests on June 28, 1988. To commemorate the event, the hotel will launch several activities highlighting and celebrating Hilton Shanghai’s importance as a pioneer in Shanghai and China’s hospitality industry. 

Hilton Guam Resort And Spa Welcomes Tennis Pro Dominik Hrbaty
Hilton Guam Resort and Spa is pleased to welcome International Tennis Pro, Dominik Hrbaty, to Guam. 


Hilton Doha Named Best 5-Star New Hotel For The Year 2012 By MENA Travel Awards
Hilton Doha has been honored with the Platinum award for Best 5-Star new Hotel for the year 2012 awarded by MENA Travel Awards.

eforea: spa at Hilton Located At Hilton Pattaya Receives Recognition As Country Winner For “Best Luxury Hotel Spa” In 2013 World Luxury Spa Awards™
Hilton Pattaya’s eforea: spa at Hilton was recently named country winner for “Best Luxury Hotel Spa” in the 2013 World Luxury Spa Awards™. The awards recognizes unsurpassed service excellence and puts the spotlight on spas representing only the finest standards for their eforea: spa at Hilton. 

Hilton Pattaya Receives Recognition In Asia Pacific As “Best Hotel Thailand” In International Hotel Awards 2013-2014
Hilton Pattaya was today awarded “Country winner for Best Hotel, Thailand” by the inaugural Asia Pacific Hotel Awards 2013-2014. Held in association with Virgin Atlantic and Yamaha, the award is rated across various categories for specific types and sizes of hotel such as best hotels, hotel architecture, interior, construction and design. 

Hilton Naples Named Best Resort / Hotel By Naples Daily News Southwest Florida Readers' Choice Awards
Hilton Naples has been honored with the Choice Champion Award in the category of “Best Resort / Hotel” during the Eleventh Annual Naples Daily News Readers' Choice Awards Ceremony hosted at the Artis-Naples. The coveted Readers' Choice Award is represented by the program's signature icon, a golden star, which is associated with respected businesses in Southwest Florida. 
by Provincial Tourist Board Cadiz, Spain

The Feast of Corpus Christi also known as Corpus Domini, is a Latin Rite liturgical solemnity celebrating the tradition and belief in the body and blood of Jesus Christ and his Real Presence in the Eucharist. It emphasizes the joy of the institution of the Eucharist, which was observed on Holy Thursday in the somber atmosphere of the nearness of Good Friday.

The date for celebration is not fixed. It varies according to the date of Easter. In 2013 Corpus Christi will be celebrated on the 30th of May. The most common way of celebrating Corpus Christi is a procession through cities and towns. But each place has some other traditions that accompany the procession.

Everywhere you turn you can't miss the aromatic smell the heather or eucalyptus. The cities and towns at the the Sierra de Cádiz mountains in the southern part of Spain are preparing to host the Corpus Christi festivities. These festivities have been celebrated  since the 15th century as a national holiday. In the city Zahara de la Sierra every building façade, alleys and corners, are decorated with ton of flowers and sedge, and a gilded repository studded with emeralds is processed through the streets. This year the Sunday of Corpus Christi will take place on June 2, 2013.

The festivities in Zahara are know for their decoration, especially for their decorated streets.  On Friday, a large group of volunteers set out to look for sedge that is used to cover the floor of the main street,  and on Saturady people use eucalyptus branches, heather, oleander and different aromatic plants to cover the façades of the buildings. 

On Sunday, the day of Corpus Christi, locals start showing off their decorating skills at 7 am in the morning. They decorate the building façades and the balconies with all the plants they have collected. Everyone is helping the the residents who live on the main street, while they all enjoying the flavor of the festivities. 

The religious side of the day culminates with the Mass and the procession of the Repository made out of gilded silver and emeralds, but the spotlight is on the children who celebrate their First Holy Communion.  

Under the open-air, on Saturday the festival features a local band performing under the marquee which is set up by the Town Council.  The music continues until the early hours of that Monday morning. On the second day of the celebrations a traditional contest is taken place. The contest is all about making the best "cachiporras" a unique instrument made out of sedge that will have the best aesthetics and loudest sound, which will receives a cash prize.  

With only 17 kilometers away from Zahara de la Sierra in the small village of El Gastor, locals use music as the main feature to celebrate these festivities which go back in time to the days of the pagan to the era of Al-Andalus. 

In El Gastor, the activities begin on Friday May 3rd, when a group of over 200 people are sent to the city of El Cuervo (Seville) to  look for sedge. People start decorating the streets at 7pm on Saturday evening, until the early hours of the morning.  The oleander and branches of eucalyptus, poplars and black poplars are collected by the town’s inhabitants, even though the Council is entrusted with distributing the greenery to those local residents who didn't help. 

As the city transform into a true green forest for the weekend the city of El Gastor is ready for the celebrations which end with a contest of Gastor bagpipe a native instrument on Sunday evening. This contest has attracted the attention of the bagpipe players of Galicia, a different region of Spain. Although it is a requirement to be a local, in previous years few Galician bagpipe players took part in the contest and were able to play the famous bagpipe instrument. 
Travelers weigh-in on common air travel dilemmas such as: rude recliners, armrest hogs, nonstop talkers, screaming children and personal space invaders.

Plymouth, MN (May 13, 2013) – For most, traveling by air is a very casual affair – long gone are the days of dressing up; also often absent are clear rules of etiquette, particularly when airplanes are flying full. So, in a nationwide survey, Travel Leaders Group asked Americans across the country how they would handle uncomfortable – yet fairly common – air travel situations. Nearly 70% of flyers would say something directly to the passenger in front of them if their personal space was “invaded” with an article of clothing and/or someone’s hair, but almost half (48.9%) would sit quietly and say nothing if they were stuck in a middle seat and had no access to either armrest. The series of “What would you do?” travel dilemma questions were part of a survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group – an $18 billion powerhouse in the travel industry – from March 15 to April 8, 2013, which includes responses from 1,788 consumers throughout the United States.

“As their travel agent experts, we hear directly from our clients who share similar complaints regarding their experiences.  In our survey, we wanted to know how many travelers proactively take some sort of action to resolve those situations,” stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben.  “Based on the response to our ‘What would you do?’ questions last year, we knew there was more we needed to examine at this year.  So it’s particularly telling that over 77% of those polled would take some sort of action, if the person in front of them reclined so much that the survey participants were unable to lower their tray table or perhaps unable to open up a laptop. Based on the limited space available to each passenger, we are all trying to navigate the best approach.  This information also allows our travel agent professionals to assist their clients in setting expectations and offering solutions that will help all travelers when faced with these common dilemmas.”

Key Statistics and Findings
Q;  If you are seated in the middle seat on an airplane and the people on either side of you staked out the armrests, what would you do? 
Say something directly to your seat mates.  27.9%
Call a flight attendant and let him/her handle the situation.  2.6%
Sit quietly and say nothing.  48.9%
Not sure.  20.6%

Q; If the person in the airline seat in front of you invaded your personal space with an article of clothing and/or their hair so it was directly in front of you, what would you do? 
Call a flight attendant and let him/her handle the situation.  9.3%
Sit quietly and say nothing.  13.0%
Not sure.  8.8%

Q: If the person in the airline seat in front of you reclined their seat so much that you were unable to lower you tray table or perhaps unable to open up a laptop, what would you do? 
Say something directly to the person.  55.4%
Call a flight attendant and let him/her handle the situation.  21.8%
Sit quietly and say nothing.  15.1%
Not sure. 7.7%

Q; If the person in the airline seat in front of you ignored crew member instructions to have  their seat back upright for takeoff and/or landing, what would you do? 
Say something directly to the person.   13.4%
Call a flight attendant and let him/her handle the situation.   28.1%
Sit quietly and say nothing.  50.1%
Not sure.   8.4%

Q; If you were on a flight next to a person who insisted on trying to talk to you the entire flight, what would you do?
Use a book or other reading materials to try to limit the conversation.  38.1%
Put on headphones and use a book or other reading materials to limit conversation.  18.9%
Engage them in conversation for the whole flight.  12.2%
Specifically let that person know that you would prefer not to talk.  10.4%
Put on headphones to try to limit the conversation.  8.7%
Pretend to sleep try to limit the conversation.  7.4%
Put on headphones and pretend to sleep.  4.3%

O: If you were on a flight with someone who talked so loudly that half the plane could hear them, what would you do?
Say something directly to the person.  14.4%
Call a flight attendant and let him/her handle the situation.  27.9%
Sit quietly and say nothing.  36.0%
Not sure.  21.7%

O: What would you do if it appeared parents of a screaming child aboard a plane were not making any attempt to comfort/control their child? 
Say something directly to the person.  7.9%
Call a flight attendant and let him/her handle the situation.  46.7%
Sit quietly and say nothing.  30.6%
Not sure.  14.8%

Source: Press Release Travel Leaders Group
photos: A view of Mexico City, Salad at Pojol, A view of Paxia's dining room, and Frida  Kahlo.
photos L to R: Chef Enrique Olvera, dish at Azul, Azul restaurant, Mexican dish. Paxia and chef Daniel Ovadía. bottom: Chapultepec Park, University Museum of Contemporary Art, Plaza de la República, Catedral Metropolitana, W Mexico City Hotel, Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo.

by David Cohen

There’s nothing like dining at  the best restaurants in the world and seeing some of the most important pieces of art ever created. A visit to Mexico City will reveal some of these treasures, and will give any traveler the opportunity to indulge in epicureium culinary delights.

As one of the world’s most well-rounded destinations for both leisure and business travelers, Mexico City has it all. The capital city of Mexico offers amazing history, cultivating culture, award-winning cuisine, and some of the best facilities and amenities in accommodations, including luxurious spa services. Mexico City boasts more than 3,500 restaurants featuring both traditional Mexican fare as well as a variety of international cuisines, edgy art exhibits, notable museums, colorful bazaars, and fun-filled entertainment, all giving even the most seasoned traveler inspiration.

Visited by 12 million people who spend about 700 million dollars each year cause for city officials to ensure that Mexico City is the safest place to visit in all of Mexico. Police in the city maintain a peaceful atmosphere to ensure the safety of tourists.  It is no wonder that both The Mexican Tourism Board and Aeromexico airlines partnered to deliver a convincing message about the wide range of opportunities available in this large and dynamic city.  

Diego Rivera  is one of the most important and prominent Mexican artists of all time. His large wall murals (A) in fresco––a technique of mural painting––helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement (the promotion of mural painting starting in the 1920s, generally with social and political messages) in Mexican art. Rivera painted numerous murals including those in Chapingo, Cuernavaca, San Francisco, Detroit, and New York City. However, Diego Rivera's most famous murals and most unusual projects are found in Mexico City.

Between 1950 and 1952, Rivera  created the Tlaloc Fountain, a large and intricate mosaic of Tlaloc, the Aztec rain god. Located in Chapultepec Park, this monument was created during the overhaul of Mexico City's municipal water system. The fountain was built with the intention to merge practical functionality with cultural expression via a single work of art. For more than a decade, the fountain and some of Rivera’s murals have fallen into despair. However, following a long restoration process which kept Rivera’s creative style intact, the park re-opened to the public about a year ago.  

The mosaic stone fountain contains a shallow pool measuring approx. 100 feet long by 100 hundred feet wide. Originally, the fountain served as the ceremonial entry point for water from the Lerma River into the city's main reservoirs. Although the main flow of water has now been diverted into a pipe, Rivera's sculpture of the Aztec rain god Tlaloc is still in the pool.  

The Carcamo House is a giant tank inside a rotunda that is part of the same complex. This was one of Rivera’s most important works entitled Water: Origin of Life. Rivera painted the entire cement tank, including the floor, in elaborate colorful scenes. Until the 1990s, municipal water flowed into the tank, and from here, technicians were able to control the levels in several large reservoirs. The bright and elaborate mural covers the entire cistern and is an allegory of water as the indispensable giver of life, and without it the human existence is impossible. 

Another must see is the large Plaza de la República and its mammoth Art Deco monument commemorating the Mexican Revolution that began in 1910. It was intended to be the chamber of Mexican president Porfirio Díaz, but the Mexican Revolution put an end to Diaz’s plans and his dictatorship. In the 1930s, after the revolutionary turmoil had died down, the dome was finished as a monument and was dedicated to the Mexican Revolution.

The Museo Nacional de la Revolución was built under the monument. The museum describes the tumultuous years from 1867 to 1917 in exhibits of documents, newspaper stories, photographs, drawings, clothing, costumes, uniforms, weapons, and furnishings.  The museum has plans to open a rotating exhibit space in the monument in the future.

The Plaza de la Constitución, also known as the Zócalo, is the center of Mexico City in every respect. It features three not-to-be-missed landmark sights, which together constitute one of the largest and most important public plazas in the world. Museo del Templo Mayor is the remains of the 14th- and 15th-century Aztec empire’s capital called Tenochtitlán. There are over 8,000 objects found here, with the most famous being the basalt Coyolxauhqui Disk representing the goddess of the Moon in a very human way, and the majestic Eagle Warriors.  The Catedral Metropolitana, is the oldest and largest cathedral in all of Latin America. The cathedral was begun in 1567 and finished in 1788 and is a blend of baroque, neoclassic and Mexican churrigueresque architecture. Finally, Diego Rivera's murals at the Palacio Nacional (the federal government building) are not to be missed.

Mexico City's University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC), is well worth a visit.  Opened to the public in November 2008, MUAC is located in the middle of the University of Mexico’s campus.  This unique and minimalistic glass building offers a unique experience to all visitors.  Designed by Mexican architect Teodoro González de León, who was influenced by both the New York Metropolitan Museum, with an immense, sloping window out front, and London’s Tate Modern with its minimalist presentation style. This style of architecture sets a new paradigm for artistic creation and construction by providing a framework for discussion and experimentation. The museum’s mission is the displaying, preservation and study of current art (from 1952 on), and its main goal is to make art available to all students and people in general. MUAC promotes interdisciplinary works with dynamic, cutting-edge exhibits composed of both national and international artists. MUAC has built a first-class space for the enjoyment of a wide variety of art forms.

As one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Mexico City, San Ángel has retained its colonial architecture and charm, reminiscent of its esteemed culture and history. Narrow cobble stone streets, tree-lined plazas, and sprawling haciendas still make up the center of San Ángel. This wonderful neighborhood is well  known for being the summer residence to many of Mexico’s aristocracy in the late 1800 and early 1900’s, including Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo’s residence which is now a museum. Today, the haciendas of San Ángel play host to the Saturday Art Show and Bazaar with many craft vendors, restaurants and coffee shops. 

Mexico City stands out for its varied cuisine and fine restaurants that offer something for everyone. The numerous restaurants offer a range of prices to fit any budget, thus offering no reason not to enjoy the many international cuisines and flavors. 

Named as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world by Restaurant Magazine, Pujol offers gourmet traditional Mexican cuisine with a modern twist. Executive Chef and owner Enrique Olvera offers his personal touch to deliver scrumptious Mexican delights from fresh ingredients that are always purchased at the local market. The traditional dishes are turned into contemporary delights by providing unique flavors and beautiful presentation, making dinning at Pujol a memorable experience.

Azul Histórico should be on any foodie’s ‘must try’ list. Centro Historico district in downtown Mexico City, renowned chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita’s food is any food enthusiast’s dream come true. In line with the delicious food, Azul Histórico also delivers excellent service and a relaxing atmosphere on their colonial patio for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Be sure to try the classic huevos motuleños­­––two fried eggs on tortillas with black beans, ham, and peas, all bathed in Mexican mole sauce. Another must-try dish is the chilaquiles rojos con arrachera––a fried tortilla tenderly cooked with delicious grilled slices of steak. Don’t hesitate to recommend this high-level Mexican dining option to any traveler. It is a great stop for a relaxing lunch.

Located in Polanco, one of the most chic and trendy neighborhood in Mexico City, Solea, is the signature restaurant of the W Mexico City Hotel. Under the direction of executive chef Mauricio León, Solea offers an innovative steak & seafood menu that will satisfy every hungry soul. Each dish is prepared with a contemporary design and served on modern textured surfaces such as compact discs, marble, or glass to emphasizing a clever interpretation of traditional Mexican flavors and dishes.

Set in the traditional colonial neighborhood of San Ángel, Paxia is a multi-award winning restaurant and my favorite place to dine in Mexico City. Meaning peace in Nahuatl,  the language of the Aztecs that is still spoken by about 1.5 million people in Mexico, this sophisticated restaurant offered  offered the most innovative dining experience I had while visiting Mexico City. With impeccable service and a casual but elegant atmosphere, the young executive chef Daniel Ovadía delivers perfect Mexican dishes cooked to perfection. All of this combined makes Paxia one of the most popular restaurants in San  Ángel. Every dish I tried held an explosion of flavor centered around a beautiful presentation. Every course was matched with a fine spirit, making my lunch at Paxia one of the best experiences I have ever had. The food, decor and excellent service should be an inspiration to any aspiring chef.  Some of Paxia’s specialties include the chicharron lasagna––a ground pork dish, and the Aztec Budin––a masterful dish of foie gras with truffles which won the Top Main Dish Award in Mexico City in 2008. Paxia offers an extensive menu of local boutique beers, Mexican wines, and fine cocktails

With vibrant gay culture clubs and booming nightlife, Mexico City was the first city in Latin America to legalize gay civil unions.  Mexico City has dedicated resources to make sure it remains one of the most gay-friendly destinations in the world, making your trip to the city of ”lights” and to “the city that never sleeps” the one you will forever remember. 
by  the National Crime Prevention Council

Tips for holiday travelers,  how to protect yourself, family and your home  this holiday season. 

Follow these safety tips to avoid problems during your travels!

Personal Travel Plan: Think Before You Go
  • File a “travel plan.” Let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, when you plan to arrive and how to contact you. If you deviate from that plan, let someone know.
  • Travel with friends. There is safety in numbers.
  • Make sure your house appears “lived-in”.  Lock all doors and windows, set household lights (inside and out) on timers.
  • Trim your hedges and bushes so thieves cannot have a place to hide out.
  • Have a neighbor park a car in your driveway to make it appear as if someone is home.
  • Have a neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers while you are away or have them held at the post office.
  • An alarm system controls access points to your home and lets you know if someone has invaded your space.

Driving: On the Road Again
  • Always lock your car doors.  Keep valuables out of sight, preferably in the trunk of your car. 
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • Park in well-lighted areas and close to the building.
  • Do not stop alongside the road if possible. If your car is bumped from behind or if someone indicates there is something wrong with your car, go to a service station or a well-lighted, populated area and call for help.
  • Fill the gas tank before dark; lock your car doors and roll up your windows if you step away from the car for any reason.

Travel Destination: Checking In

  • Use all hotel locks and other security devices, even when you’re in your room.
  • Store valuables in the room safe or in the facility’s main safe.
  • Don’t tell strangers the name of your hotel, your room number, or other personal information.
  • Guard your room keys. Don’t leave them unattended or visible at restaurants, the pool, or clubs. 
  • Don’t prop open your door or open your door to strangers. Use the peep hole before opening the door.
  • Don’t leave your purse or bags unattended at hotel buffets or lounges.

Personal Safety: On the Town
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Take only the cash you need in your purse or wallet.
  • Limit the number of credit cards you carry.  Bring only the necessary credit card(s) with you and carry money separately from credit cards.
  • Women should keep purses closed and snuggled tightly against the body.
  • Men should keep wallets in a front pants pocket or coat pocket.
  • Know your route and stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets.
  • If you feel threatened, get away and call for help, or try to go to a crowded place. 
  • Always let someone know where you are going, who you are with, and when you will return.
  • Avoid going off with strangers, and always use the buddy system.
  • Avoid using alcohol and other drugs.  Impaired judgment can put you in potentially dangerous situations.
  • Select ATM machines in visible, well-lighted locations.

For more information visit
by David Cohen

Since it was installed in the terminals of Paris-Orly Airport on November 8, 2011, the Automated Baggage Drop-off System, developed by a special team at the airports of Paris has been a huge success.
At the Future Travel Experience Forum held in Vancouver, Canada, on September 5-7, 2012, the Best Baggage Initiative award for 2012 was given to Aéroports de Paris in front of an audience composed of around 400 professionals from the air travel industry, from over 160 organisations.
Future Travel Experience is the only independent world-wide forum dedicated to transport industry stakeholders. It focuses on the end-to-end travel process from the passenger's point of view, from booking to the collection of baggage at the arrival destination.
This new system allows passengers to check-in their baggage in less than just 30 seconds. This service will at the continue with this service at the Paris-Orly Airport and the West terminal will have the new system installed by the end of this year, while  Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport will have the system installed by the beginning of 2013.
"Passengers have adopted this technological innovation very quickly. Apart from obviously saving time, this free service also means the baggage drop-off stage runs smoothly. It is positive for the passengers and for the airlines as well," pointed out François Rubichon, Deputy CEO of Aéroports de Paris.
So how does the automated baggage drop-off system work?...  in only two steps.
Checking-in: passengers will have to print their boarding-pass at the self-service machine, or check in online at home. Passengers will be getting their baggage ticket that will need to be attached  to their Luggage.
Dropping Luggage off: After checking in passengers will scan their boarding ticket at the drop-of area and put their luggage into the machine. The Machine will check the name and the weight and then sent your luggage to the airline. Passengers will receive a  automated "baggage receipt".
It takes only thirty seconds for the luggage to be is checked in, and automatically directed onto the usual route where it is screened and inspected again before arriving at the final destination––the aircraft. This system is safe and quick.