Though Diwali – India‘s festival of lights – is more than a month away, decorations are already starting to spread through the capital of Delhi. According to Flickr user The Delhi Way, the city will be soon be “glittering in ferry lights, diyas and candles” – traditional symbols of the Hindu holiday, which are intended to make the goddess Lakshmi feel welcome. Other Diwali traditions include wearing new clothes, sharing sweets with family and lighting firecrackers to drive off evil spirits.
Hong Kong and Shanghai have long been the capitals of cool in the Sinosphere. But Beijing‘s trend-setters are trying to take advantage of the international attention brought by the Olympics to earn their own spot on Asia’s glamor map.
Apparently, they have been somewhat successful. Outrageously posh parties are taking place all over the capital of the Middle Kingdom.
The ironically named Commune, at the Great Wall, is a modernist luxury hotel complex. A recent event there was enough to make Chairman Mao do a 360-degree roll in his tomb. The venue’s developers were on hand, along with a host of scantily clad dancers, flashing lights and expensive cocktails, to party with the likes of Rupert “so rich ‘n powerful he doesn’t have to be cool” Murdoch and Quincey Jones.
Corporations are trying to get in on the scene as well. A party thrown by Adidas included an appearance by Jet Li and several other big-screen stars. The proceedings were accompanied by the sporadic popping of expensive champagne corks and the handing out of even more expensive sneakers.
Official Olympic timekeeper Omega tapped former supermodel (now just model?) Cindy Crawford to appear at their corporate pavilion wearing an impossibly expensive Omega watch. Even a noticeably casual George W. was hanging around during the first few days of the Games, looking very ex-presidential.
Beijing certainly has its share of new wealth, so don’t expect all the action and celebrity to depart once the Games end. A growing music scene, a film industry that is coming to resemble Hong Kong’s in its heyday, and an independent arts scene will help keep the hipness factor high.
Why is it that some relatively minor country always wins out over Japan or Germany or the UK (the US doesn’t have a chance) for having the brightest kids in the world? This year, it’s Finland. Hong Kong came in second. Both economies barely make a dent when it comes to global superpowers, yet they’ve managed to churn out quite a number of smarty-pants.
For Finland, the clue lies in an educational system where there’s no such thing as tuition and high school students receive freebies like meals and books. Still, it’s a bit surprising that not more Asian countries are topping this list, considering how hard students are pushed there. For instance, it’s not unusual for kids in China to begin studying for the college entrance exam in 7th grade. And that’s if the kid’s somewhat of a beach bum.
The list was based on testing high schoolers in each of the countries. What that made me think about was exactly how much fun and leisure time students from these countries have? Is it just me or does it seem that the Fins still manage to throw some good parties? Kind of interesting they’re so smart without seeming like bookworms.
Just as I start to believe I am a die-hard Björk fan some quirky costume party comes along knocking my theory out-of-whack. For instance, on Wednesday, January 31 the Stain bar on Grand Street in Brooklyn is having an Army of Björk costume party where fans or anyone game to dressing up like the eclectic Icelandic artist can do so and be accepted with open arms. In addition to frosty weather they’ll be offering warm wine (glogg) and enough people dressed up as swans and so forth to gawk and watch all night long.
For all the real fanatics out there planning on attending, please do share a photo after the event.
Although this Ibizabound site is the creation of an independent real estate broker agency there are still some pretty good bits and chunks to pick off of their blog. Now, the entire site would definitely be a good resource if you were considering spending a month or two on the island this summer, but don’t feel as though their wanting to help interested parties do such distracts from the blog. I took a fairly lengthy tour of the site and read through many of the blog entries to make sure they had some nugget of good for a traveler trying to score a good meal or simply learn what’s happening with the upcoming 2007 Ibiza Film Festival. And since Ibiza is also known for partying on the beach, in the club and after-after hours, they’ve done the favor of making sure to include some club coverage. Overall it still looks like a pretty new work, but if they keep things up they should have a nice site going both with the blogging and the select real estate offered.