At least four tourism destinations are spotlighting Ernest Hemingway, marking the centenary of the author's birth, July 21.
  • The running of the (effigy) bulls in Key West.The Fort Myers, Fla., area will mark the event a month early, with its International Hemingway Festival, June 18 to 20, on Sanibel Island.
  • In Piggott, Ark., the converted barn and two-story, 14-room house occupied by the author and his second wife, Pauline, were restored by Arkansas State University. The site will be dedicated as a permanent tourist attraction July 4.
  • Key West, Fla., as usual, will stage its annual Hemingway Days Festival, July 16 to 25.
  • The International Game Fish Association's Fishing Hall of Fame Museum in Dania Beach, Fla., which opened last December, will run an exhibit, "Papa: A Tribute to Ernest Hemingway," July 21 through January 2000.
  • Hemingway, a renowned game fisherman, was the association's first vice president.

    Clue us in

    If anyone knows of any other Hemingway celebrations in the works, Insider would like to hear about them.

    We can be reached by fax at (201) 319-1947 and by e-mail at [email protected]. Or contact us via Travel Weekly's Web site, www.twcrossroads.com. Log on to the site, click on Columns, then select Insider and look for the interactive display.

    Frijo Frisco

    Mark Twain once said the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco, and this year, even the warmest-blooded will agree. Travelers to California's coastal cities this summer may want to brace themselves for cold weather, scientists are saying.

    El Nino's sister, La Nina, is partly to blame, bringing cold water to the eastern Pacific and producing coastal breezes that likely will push temperatures three to four degrees below normal at least until August, according to reports.

    If the first week in June's temperatures are any indication, travelers will have to bundle up.

    The high in San Francisco June 2 was only 58, tying the record for that date. Los Angeles and San Diego are warmer but still below normal, with highs on June 3 of 66 and 63, respectively. And snow fell June 3 in the Sierra Nevadas, forcing the closure of Highway 4 over Ebbetts Pass and Highway 120 over Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park.

    Rollocop

    Lots of places in San Juan, Puerto Rico, are too crowded for police to get to promptly by car. Even cops on motorcycles, horses and bicycles have a hard time getting to congested areas. So the Police Department added a new set of wheels: in-line roller skates.

    A corps of 40 officers on skates will patrol tourist areas and shopping centers. The group eventually will swell to 100 skaters with badges. For those occasions when the going gets bumpy, particularly on the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, the skates are equipped with a quick-release lever, turning rollercops into instant foot patrols.

    Stuck paying retail

    Our brain is fairly awash in industry acronymns by this point, but at a press lunch at a hotel in the islands, we heard a new one:

    "We lost big bucks in February," said the hotel GM. "We had to go with the SPR from the airline," he explained.

    SPR? SPR is a rate born of emergency, as it turns out. It springs into effect during strikes, walkouts, sickouts, whiteouts or whatever else might cause delays. SPR: stranded passenger rate.

    Lime moose

    Photo of the waiter displaying a red bloody.There's a moose on the loose aboard the McKinley Explorer train, which operates between Anchorage and Fairbanks in Alaska.

    The bartender in the lounge car -- determined that passengers get to see wildlife -- uses a lime wedge, two pimiento-stuffed green olives and two pickled string beans, all strung on sword-shaped toothpicks, to garnish bloody marys. Of course, if you should look out the window and see a moose that looks anything like this, it might be time to switch to virgin marys.

    Dashed!

    In recent issue, we had a chuckle at the expense of an airline that issued a press release describing its intent to purchase a 737 "with 17 engines."

    Neither Insider nor our press contact at the airline realized that this was shorthand for the JT8D-17 engine, commonly called the "dash 17," until it was brought to our attention by an extremely cranky aviation editor.

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