What does someone from Hong Kong, maybe the world's premier place to shop, look for when shopping in New York stores?

One tourism official offered her list:

  • Trendy clothes.
  • Books (because they are cheaper and more plentiful).
  • Children's toys and clothes (for more choice than is offered at home).
  • Modern art (again, for more choices).
  • Waiter as abacus

    Some years ago, Colin Veitch, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line, and colleagues who were dining at the Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Hong Kong, decided to test the waiter's facility at handling multiple currencies.

    He said they paid for their meal with five different hard currencies.

    When the waiter presented the bill, they offered up cash from one pot; he then calculated how much they still owed.

    The diners offered a little cash from another pot, and the waiter again calculated the balance due.

    And so it went for five rounds until the bill had been paid.

    Veitch said he and his colleagues had been using all their currencies in the previous 10 days so they knew the current exchange rates.

    He was particularly impressed that the waiter "quoted the precise current exchange rate from memory without skipping a beat and calculated the conversions in his head."

    Tea anyone?

    Colin Veitch, NCL's chief, recalled another trip to Hong Kong, and especially the first part of his stay at the Mandarin Oriental.

    A room-service waiter showed up with the traditional welcome tea, but Veitch was about to shower and shouted out this news to the front door.

    Then, after maybe 15 minutes refreshing from his trip to Hong Kong, Veitch emerged into his room to discover the front door ajar.

    He thought the waiter had left it open after delivering the tea. But when he checked the door, he found the waiter with the tea still waiting outside the door, and he was bowing.

    Is that good service or what?

    Top this

    At the Peak Cafe on Hong Kong's Victoria Peak, Insider found a sign that said: "On this site in 1897, nothing happened."

    What's not to love about that?

    Nice views

    Michael Woolley, former publisher of Travel Trade in Australia, a sister publication to Travel Weekly, recalled his experiences a few months ago as a guest in a suite at the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong.

    His suite included a Jacuzzi positioned next to tall windows, offering the guest a fine view of the city while soaking.

    However, as Woolley relaxed in his tub, he noticed a foot gliding across the glass next to him. Then the whole person, a window washer, appeared.

    It seems the Peninsula's usual practice of notifying guests in advance when window washers would "do" their windows came a cropper on that particular day.

    Water foul

    The sign in front of Waterfront Park in Charleston, S.C., sure made Insider want to jump right into the fountains, especially the last two items.

    The sign says:

    "Welcome to the Waterfront Park.

    "Please enjoy the fountain.

    "The following are not permitted per S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control:

  • Solo bathing.
  • Use by pets or animals.
  • Use by unsupervised children.
  • Running or rough play.
  • Glass or glass containers.
  • Spitting or nose blowing.
  • Use by persons with communicable diseases or infections."
  • How the world turns

    Michael Batt, president and chief executive officer of Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associate Division, is a bit bemused these days by the irony of it all.

    He reports that, on a weekly basis, he gets "at least three dot-coms calling looking for cash. Six months ago they were supposed to be putting us all out of business."

    It's a nice irony, isn't it, how things change.

    Suzie IQ

    On a recent trip to Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, Insider heard the story of how Suzie Turn Road was named.

    Years ago, a woman living on Providenciales repeatedly forgot where the turn onto Leeward Highway from Turtle Cove was.

    It wouldn't have been a big problem if the road hadn't ended there. But as it did, she would often miss the turn and drive her car straight off the road.

    She did this so frequently that her friends put up a sign saying "Suzie, turn!"

    The name took and is still in use today.

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