On a recent trip, we were surprised -- and amused -- to find the billboard pictured here on the south end of the Strip in Las Vegas, a city where an old casino property can be imploded and a new one erected in its place practically in the same day.

Luxor billboard advertisement.Even better was the sign's location -- across the Strip from the Luxor itself, whose pyramid-shaped building has been open and packing in the sightseers for nearly six years now.

Women cry, men sleep

As reported in Travel Weekly recently, spa officials have taken note of the increasing popularity of their product among men.

A Spa Report published by the Jalousie Hilton Resort & Spa on St. Lucia is steamy with revelations about men and women customers. Massage is the treatment of choice for both sexes, followed by a sea-salt wrap for women and a facial for men.

How do guests react during treatments? Women relax and cry; men relax and sleep -- in that order. The top three post-treatment feelings for both groups are: relaxed, sleepy, invigorated.

Women seek spa treatments to relieve stress, for sore muscles and for depression. Men do it for sore muscles, for stress and just to try it.

What goes on after a treatment? Females (1) return to their rooms, (2) relax outside, (3) go to the beach. Males opt to (1) relax outside, (2) return to their rooms, (3) go to the beach.

Concerning modesty levels, women are more relaxed than men, who reported being self-conscious or not totally relaxed. Men talk more during treatments. After treatments, women are better tippers. (Well, of course they are. They're awake, after all.)

Dream houses

A two level tree house.When a new attraction arrives on the scene, it's a wait-and-see game as to which exhibit will become the most popular. But even before the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center opened in Gulfport, Miss., it was apparent that its elevated treehouses would be a hit.

The facility is located on the grounds of a former grammar school and has at its disposal a six-acre outdoor campus -- an unusual amenity for a children's museum.

When its founders decided to construct a trademark playground, they sought out the assistance of Peter Nelson, a Canadian architect known for his treehouse designs. The decision was a wise one.

Soon, lovers of treehouses were eagerly inquiring about the project, and a few families even stopped by to observe its construction. All the fuss led the center's founders to hold two special events on the outdoor campus, even before the building itself was ready to open.

Running of the ... bull

It must have seemed like some warped Pamplona of the mind in Madrid on Wednesday morning, May 26, when a zoo elephant broke free from its trainer and lumbered through a downtown area at the height of rush hour.

The 4,000-pound 12-year-old, Clarissa, was in town on a publicity appearance to promote the stock-market debut of Parques Reunidos, a company that manages Madrid's zoo and a number of theme parks throughout Spain.

Clarissa halted traffic (no mean feat in downtown Madrid), sent pedestrians scurrying and took out two traffic-signal posts before being felled by tranquilizer darts and returned to captivity.

Perhaps for its next publicity stunt, the company should dispatch to the stock exchange some members of its board of directors, dressed in clown suits.

Ain't misbehavin'

A mammoth problem of a different variety is troubling Honolulu. In the early 1990s, the Interior Department OK'd import permits for the Honolulu Zoo's two female Asian elephants, Mari (pictured here) and Vaigai, but on condition that the city build a breeding facility for them.

A woman putting a yellow stick into an elephant's open mouth.The damsels arrived in Honolulu all right, but with the zoo strapped for funds and the city in a state of annual revenue shortfall, no breeding facility was built and no bull elephant was brought over from India as planned.

A public outcry that the 43-acre zoo near Waikiki's Kapiolani Park could lose its two star attractions has put authorities on the spot. Zoo officials estimate a breeding facility will cost about $6.8 million. At this point, the city remains about $3 million short in its search for funds, and Mari and Vaigai remain -- as the old song would have it -- on the shelf.

But a spokeswoman for the Honolulu Zoological Society sounded optimistic that the problem would be resolved soon. "We'll find the money, one way or another," she told Insider.

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