The Wrap ~ Taking off: Naked Travel in the US.
Monday, 24th July 2006
From bare bottoms to butts - from Burberry and the Beckhams to baking Brits and inspirational Indians - The Wrap presents a red-hot selection of the best of the week's travel and lifestyle related stories.

Taking off: Naked Travel in the US
ABC News couldn't let America's Nude Recreation Week pass by without revealing that the network of 260 clothing optional resorts is offering an ever-expanding list of outdoor activities for nudists.

Since 1992, the US$400 million nude vacationing industry has tripled in size. Carolyn Hawkins, of the American Association for Nude Recreation, told ABC News, "In a room of naked people, you don't know who's a judge, and who's a secretary. It's really leaving all those distractions that divide people behind."

While the cruise industry has seen a surge in business in recent years, Bare Necessities of Austin, Texas, has found a niche in booking entire vessels for those who want to experience the Caribbean (and other locales) in nothing more than deck shoes and sunscreen.

And Castaway Travel in Austin inaugurated a special charter service two years ago, sending 172 travellers from Miami to Cancun in a Boeing 727.

What we want to know: Where did they keep their boarding passes?

Taking over: Chaves love Burberry
For those who wish to keep their clothes on, the Financial Times reports that Burberry is planning to take the brand into the heartland of Middle America, opening stores in Kansas, Indiana and Ohio as part of a big push into the US.

Amid the growth, however, Burberry has faced a crisis on its home turf ever since a group of undesirable customers — known in the United Kingdom as "chavs" — latched onto Burberry as their favourite brand.

The FT describes chavs as "members of a sub-culture prone to drinking and anti-social behaviour". Think of cheesy celebrities and WAGS, wives and girlfriends of soccer stars.

The king and queen of the chavs are soccer star David Beckham and his wife, not-so-Posh Spice, Victoria Beckham. Chavs, who are defined by class, not race, listen to hip-hop music, wear lots of bling, and hang out

Taking cover: Brits in the sun
As The Guardian acknowledges, "We do go a bit mad in the sun". It's a reference to heat waves in the UK.

"Britain's favourite summer pastime, strange to recall, used to be complaining about the drizzle," says The Guardian. "Happily, we are nothing if not adaptable. As a week of blistering weather intensified further across most of Britain, pushing temperatures to record-breaking July levels, the country was demonstrating its mastery of a new hobby: trying to keep cool as roads melted and train tracks buckled."

The scorcher torture has had Britain's red top tabloid newspapers foaming at the mouth. The Daily Mirror pictures a Kent tiger (native habitat, India) licking an ice cube made of duck blood ("ICE OF THE TIGER").

What's more, the tiger isn't alone - much to the joy of the Mirror's subs. "IT'S GETTING OTTER ... FURLY CHILLED ... LEMUR LEMURRIER (two lemurs share an ice-cream) ... EACH-WAY WET (racehorse gets a hose down) ... SWIM TRUNKS (elephant bathes) ... APE IN A CAPE (orang-utan seeks shade under sack).

We Say: Bet the readers are praying for rain

Take me to the Moon
A self-confessed geeky housewife has told AFP that she wants to buy a plot on the Moon after winning one million pounds on a British television game show.

Sarah Lang, 31, from Newport in south Wales, scooped the prize in the finale of Pokerface, a game of general knowledge and bluff.

"I have heard that you can buy plots of land on the Moon. It might be worth something in a few years," she said.

The mother-of-two is a huge fan of the science-fiction television and film series Star Trek.

"I am really into sci-fi and horror so I really want to go to a big Trekkie convention in the US and dress up," she said.

"I have always been fascinated with stars and space so I'm going to get a strong telescope in my garden."

She admitted: "I am a bit of a geek".

Butt out, Marriott tells guests
The Washington Post reports that America's largest hotel chain, Marriott International, will ban smoking in its nearly 400,000 hotel rooms in the United States and Canada.

Two decades ago, about half the company's rooms were set aside for smokers, but demand has steadily dropped, with only five percent of customers now requesting smoking rooms. At the same time, complaints about cigarette odour have increased, and company officials have struggled to address the issue.

Marriott, which will enforce its ban by charging violators $200 to $300, follows that of the Westin Hotels & Resorts chain, which late last year announced it was making all 77 of its properties smoke-free. Since then, business has grown stronger, said Sue Brush, a senior vice president with Westin, which is owned by Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

"This tips the hotel industry so now virtually every hotel will have to go nonsmoking," said Edward Watkins, editor of Lodging Hospitality, a leading trade publication. "Marriott is the leader of the pack. Once they do it, every company will have to do that. They just have so many hotels. It's a matter of competitive pressure."

Life in the raw in India
The International Herald Tribune looks at A Life Less Ordinary, this season's publishing sensation in New Delhi.

In content, says the IHT, this is an Indian "Angela's Ashes" - Frank McCourt's Pulitzer Prize-winning account of his miserable boyhood in Ireland.

Baby Halder's book is the story of a bleak upbringing in 1970s northeastern India.

The narrative is rough and the profusion of characters who flit in and out is bemusing. Despite this, IHT says the book provides a profoundly moving picture of how life is for millions of impoverished Indian women.

Abandoned by her mother at four, married off at 12 to an abusive husband, a mother herself at 13 – "there is little in Halder's traumatic childhood to suggest she would become an emerging star on India's literary horizon".

Halder completed the book during nighttime writing sessions, squeezed in after her duties as a housemaid were finished, "when she poured raw memories of her early life into the lined exercise books", writes IHT's Amelia Gentleman.

Send us your inspirational, frustrating or amusing clippings from the world's media.

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