Controversy over new Turkish Airlines spokesman Kobe Bryant

In order to promote the upcoming new Los AngelesIstanbul flights, the new Turkish Airlines spokesman Kobe Bryant has prompted some protest in the Armenian American community. Turkey (as well as the United States) does not recognize the death of 1.5 million Armenians at the end of Turkey’s Ottoman Empire as genocide. 700,000 Armenian Americans in California are hoping Bryant will use his stature to raise awareness and put pressure on the United States to recognize the deaths, threatening to boycott the basketball star and the L.A. Lakers if he doesn’t back out of the deal.

Should he continue with the deal, Bryant will make his own inaugural trip in 2011. “I’ve never been to Turkey,” Bryant told CNBC. “But all the guys on the team in the league who have been keep saying it’s one of the hottest places to go to.” The LAX-IST flights will begin in March, four times a week. Turkish Airlines also has direct flights from New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

Turkish Airlines’ current brand embassador is actor Kevin Costner, though no protests are known against his films or for the work of Benicio del Toro, whose image can be seen all over Turkey in advertisements for Magnum ice cream.

[Photo via Flickr by Keith Allison]

Amansala Bikini Boot Camp

Yesterday, I was whining to a friend of mine on the

"I just don’t get it.  I’m working out, and not losing any weight.  My butt? 
It’s getting its own gravitational pull, it’s so big."

"Oh please," my friend
responded.  "Don’t even talk to me.  I can’t seem to stop eating.  I’m apparently on a mission to
inhale everything in sight."

The unfortunate whining continued, and when I got off the phone, I didn’t
feel any better.  I wish I could just get a sign of what I’m supposed to do, I thought to myself.

The sign came this morning, as I was on the treadmill.

I was leafing through my copy of MACO Destinations (which, by the way, is one of the best magazines out there when it
comes to great recreational travel in the Caribbean and Central America), and I came across Amansala Resort,  an "eco-chic resort in Tulum, Mexico." 
Located on the Caribbean side of Mexico, Amansala’s claim to fame is the Bikini Boot Camp — a six-night package guaranteed to make
you look better in your bikini.  The no-phones-no-television-no-computers resort boasts all fresh, organic meals, a
wonderful spa, and the boot camp comes with six hours a day of exercise — but since it comes in the form of yoga, long
beach walks, snorkeling, and visits to Mayan ruins, guests will hardly mind.  The resort has also been visited by
many of the rich and famous:  Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Cindy Crawford, Jade Jagger and Benicio del Toro, to name a

As of the time of the printing of MACO, the package cost $1575 for the six night camp, and includes all
meals, drinks, activities, plus two massages and a Mayan clay treatment.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to tell
my friend we need to call our travel agent.