Top 20 countries for life expectancy

“Old people” – we all hope to live long enough to earn this distinction. In some countries, the probability of living well into your eighties is much better than in others. The worldwide average for life expectancy is just a smidge over 67, with the highest and lowest countries fluctuating by over 20 years in each direction. 39 of the bottom 40 countries are located on the African continent, and 3 of the top 5 are European micro-states. The United States ranks in at number 50, boasting a life expectancy of 78 years old.

At the bottom of the list is Angola, a country in southwestern Africa with a machete on its flag. The average life expectancy in Angola is almost 39 years old. At the other end of the spectrum is Monaco (pictured above). Monaco is a micro-state in Europe with an extremely high standard of living. The average person there lives to be 89 years old. The 50 year gap between these two countries represents the difference between yacht ownership and subsistence farming, and every other country falls somewhere in between. For the full list, check out the world fact book at

20. Bermuda – 80.71
19. Anguilla – 80.87 (at right)
18. Iceland80.90
17. Israel – 80.96
16. Switzerland – 81.07
15. Sweden – 81.07
14. Spain – 81.17
13. France – 81.19
12. Jersey81.38
11. Canada – 81.38
10. Italy81.779. Australia – 81.81
8. Hong Kong82.04
7. Singapore – 82.14
6. Guernsey82.16
5. Japan – 82.25
4. Andorra82.43
3. San Marino83.01
2. Macau – 84.41
1. Monaco – 89.73 (at top)

flickr images via needoptic and adomass

Live like “The Bachelor” in Anguilla at CuisinArt Resort with a special package offering

Those of us who watch The Bachelor know the deal – by the time the field narrows to just a few lucky ladies or gents, the bachelor or bachelorette of choice whisks them off to a “magical” and “romantic” locale. Past seasons have seen cast members travel to Istanbul, New Zealand and Tahiti, but this season brings us slightly closer to home, to the romantic island of Anguilla.

We, as viewers, are always skeptical of these “most romantic” locations, but when we heard the setting for this season’s Valentine’s Day episode was none other than CuisinArt Resort, we were more excited than anything else. As such, we’re excited to see that we can be guaranteed to get the “final rose” when booking their new “The Bachelor’s Journey” package, offering us regular folk the chance to live like reality stars at the five-star resort.

The special package mimics the activities that will appear on tonight’s episode – only in a more private setting (no TV cameras allowed)! Amenities include:

· Five nights, six days accommodations in a beachfront suite
· VIP airport and semi-private boat transfer from St. Maarten
· Roundtrip private car transfer for two
· Welcome drink upon arrival
· Welcome Bottle of Champagne and long stemmed rose en suite
· Daily breakfast at the resort’s acclaimed restaurant Café Mediterraneo, or continental breakfast en suite
· One intimate Torchlit Beach Dining Experience with private waiter and a specially selected bottle of wine from the Resort’s cellar
· One Dinner at Santorini, Anguilla’s only AAA Four Diamond Award Winning Restaurant
· A choice of either a World Delicacies or Caribbean theme dinner
· One Dinner at the Beach Grill with a lively ambiance and light casual fair
· “Couples Rendezvous”, a luxurious spa escape including an Anguillan Coconut Pineapple Scrub, Couples Swiss Duet Rain Shower, Rose Scented Aroma Therapy Couples Massage, Floral Escape Soothing Bath Soak, and Champagne and Strawberries offered in the privacy of a Couples Suite
· One-day car rental to explore the beauty of Anguilla as a couple

Even better? Chances are if you’re traveling with your sweetheart on this package, there’s no chance of being sent home alone. Rates for this package start at $3,580, non inclusive of tax and service fees.

Daily Pampering: Luxury villa properties in Anguilla from $30,000 a week

Picture it: You’re relaxing in the Caribbean, overlooking the idylllic white sand beaches and breathtaking cliffs in the distance. You suddenly have an urge for conch fritters and a Hurricane, and thanks to the $30,000 a week you just spent on your private villa in Anguilla, you won’t have to go far to get it.

Two brand new luxury villa properties, Ani Villas, opened in Anguilla offering guests the feeling of a “private island” experience, with all the luxe amenities of a world-class all-inclusive resort.

The Villas, designed by the award-winning architect Lee Skolnick, are decorated in dramatic contemporary style and feature three master bedrooms and two twin guest rooms. They can be rented together as The Estate, a 25,000 square foot compound or individually (five night minimum); and come with an extensive list of high-end amenities including:

  • Dedicated personal staff
  • Complimentary rental car
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
  • House wines, provisions purchasing and more.

Want it? You can have it. Ani Villas in Anguilla are available from $30,000 a week if you book before December 1, 2010. High season rates go as high $40,000 for the week.

Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.

Life Nomadic: Coping With a Travel Disaster

I hold a strong belief that any bad situation can be turned into a good one. The thing about this belief is that it’s only true if you believe it. It’s easy to think this when everything’s going swimmingly, but when plans get derailed and blow up in your face, it gets put to the test. Case in point, here’s a situation I found myself in recently:

  • I got mugged and was robbed of my passport
  • The embassy promised to get me my passport before my 14 day transatlantic cruise left
  • They didn’t get it to me in time, so the boat left without me.

Imagine that. I’m stuck in Santo Domingo and my ride to England is sailing away without me, putting a serious body of water in between me and my British plans.

Step one: deep breath. Step two: examine options. There’s the boring option of flying straight into Saint Maarten two days later. It’s the ship’s only stop before the five day transatlantic push, and a call to the cruise line confirms that I can meet them there and get on the ship. Almost as bad as being boring, it’s expensive. Five hundred thirty seven dollars for a one way ticket.

I could book it and make it on the ship, but that’s not turning a bad situation good; it’s just turning a bad situation into a solved situation. I check a map of the Caribbean and notice that there are a few islands near Saint Maarten. Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla. I’d never even heard of Anguilla before, but a quick check online offers a $325 fare from Santo Domingo.

That’s the kind of situation I like. Two hundred twelve dollars cheaper than my only other option means that if I can spend less than that and turn it into an adventure, I’ve come out ahead. The ferry between the two islands seems to cost only twenty dollars, which is all the US currency I have in my pocket. That’s enough confirmation for me; I book the ticket to Anguilla, which should give me a full 19 hours from landing to boat departure to make my way to the cruise ship.

The layover in Puerto Rico gives me a plane window view of what the country is like. Not a real visit by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m happy to have a face to put to the name, so to speak. Two hours later I’m on another plane headed to Anguilla.

If you don’t believe that friendly and helpful customs agents exist, take a trip to Anguilla. Instead of grilling me when I told her I had no idea where I was sleeping, the customs agent went into an office, made some calls, and wrote down the name of a guesthouse on a piece of paper for me. The best price I’d found online was a hefty $100 a night. Hers was $45.

Right outside the airport I was once again confronted with Anguillan charm and hospitality. The security guards casually engaged me in conversation, asking where I was from and where I was going. When I told them I didn’t know where I was sleeping they offered the airport benches and said they’d watch my stuff for me.

I figured I’d walk around a bit to get the lay of the land, but I didn’t make it far. I cut through the parking lot of the airport and made it halfway across the lawn before I realized I was standing on a perfect little campground. Now that I have a luxury lite cot, every reasonable option to sleep in a public place delights me. The star filled sky and warm Caribbean breeze sealed the deal. I set up my cot, put it my headphones, and listened to Mozart as I drifted to sleep. Mozart has the ability to make anything seem luxurious, even sleeping out in a field like a vagabond.

One of these days I’ll learn that, no matter what, I should always bundle up before sleeping outside. By the time I woke up I was wearing my entire outfit of cold weather gear, and I barely remembered half of the occasions where I’d shuffled through my bag and added a new layer. The sun was just starting to peek over the horizon, and I wanted to pack up my stuff before it got bright enough to draw attention.

I didn’t know exactly how far it was from the airport to the ferry terminal, but with twelve hours to go before the ship left, I felt comfortable walking there. I walk wherever I can–it lets me get a feel for the place I’m visiting that a taxi window doesn’t, it costs nothing, and it’s good exercise.

The walk to the ferry was uneventful and pleasant. Road bikers, joggers, and expat power walkers were out in full force, getting in their activities before it got too hot.

Just over two hours later I was first in line for the first ferry of the day. I cheerfully paid my $15 fare and shuffled to the tax window.

“That’s twenty dollars,” the woman scowled. Everyone I’d met in Anguilla so far was so genuinely friendly that I was astonished, but she was the opposite. My patronization of the business she worked at was a major offense, apparently.

I’m a little (too) insane about avoiding conversion rates, and only had five US dollars left in my pocket.

“I only have five. Is there an ATM near here?”

“In the Valley,” she replied, immediately looking away to signal that we had nothing more to talk about.

The Valley was where the airport was. I left my backpack with a (friendly) restaurant owner nearby and started retracing my steps. I did some mental math to assure myself I was in no danger of missing the boat.

Half a mile in I started thinking. Anguillans were so friendly, maybe I could hitchhike. I’d never hitchhiked before, and this seemed like the perfect place to try it. I stuck my thumb out and the third vehicle to pass, a big truck, stopped and let me in. I told him I was going to the Valley and he dropped me off about two thirds of the way there, before he had to turn off the main road.

Fifteen minutes later, as I passed a bakery, I asked a man if he knew where an ATM was.

“Sure, I’ll bring you there.”

He brought me to one ATM, which didn’t work, then another, and then insisted on bringing me back to the ferry terminal. My desperately sincere assurances that I didn’t mind walking weren’t that convincing, I guess.

From there the rest of the trip was easy. I’d been to Saint Marteen before many years ago, but struggled to recognize anything. My friend Phil’s family had rented a beautiful villa there, and most of my time was spent relaxing and playing Cranium by the pool. The French side felt like a tropical chunk of France, the Dutch side felt like Mexico, and I made it to the ship before my friend there finished breakfast.

It’s tough to say that I’m glad I missed the ship in the first place, but I will say this: I had a fun and memorable little adventure through five countries is thirty hours, and I don’t regret it.

(A quick note: My characterizations of these countries are all based on tiny glimpses of them, so take them with a huge block of salt. Except the friendliness… I’m convinced on that one.)

Anguilla: Where The Stars Come Out

The Chicago
Tribune is featuring an article by Rosemary
, a Los Angeles Times staff writer who went on assignment to the Caribbean island of Anguilla, fast becoming
the hottest vacation spot for the Hollywood jetset.  She admits she was shocked to find that Anguilla isn’t a
tropical paradise — it was, in her words, rather "homely" — but what it lacks in verdent beauty it
apparently makes up for in elegant luxury.  Besides, the island has apparently become a favourite of the likes of
Sean "Diddy" Combs and Meryl Streep — surely they can’t be wrong.

Anyway, if you’re interested in
a Caribbean island vacation, be sure to check the article
— and don’t miss, at the very end of the piece, McClure’s travel tips and where to stay.