The parade of 2012’s top news stories began, at least for me, this morning with the Associated Press. Its editors chose THE GLOBAL ECONOMY as #1 and used such words as slack, failed, and shrinking in their gloomy report .
I decided that since this will probably head most year-end lists, to come up with 9 additional interesting (I hope) and more positive 2012 events that involve a few travel challenges.
2. The U.S. won more gold medals than any other country at the London Summer Olympics–46. It also had the highest medal total-104. Most everybody knows that, but I’ll bet you didn’t know that Team United States won the fireworks competition at Calgary’s GlobalFest on August 26, 2012. I know because I was among the 22,000 who watched a sensational pyrotechnic display. Getting in and out of GlobalFest was a nightmare, but the fireworks made it worthwhile.
3. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts opened in downtown Las Vegas in 2012. Smith’s performances will include Broadway shows, classical concerts, dance, family entertainment, cabaret/jazz, etc. Ruth & I will be checking it out in February.
4. According to Amazon and to no one’s surprise the best-selling book of 2012 was Fifty Shades Freed, the one with the handcuffs on the cover. The entire Fifty Shades trilogy was #3. I assume its travel focus is pretty much bedrooms.
5. I’m now going to make a prediction. In 2013 Skyfall will become the top grossing film of all time. The current #1 is Avatar with about $2.8 billion in ticket sales. Another 2012 film, The Avengers, has made $1.5 billion and moved into the top 5 grossing films of all time. However, according to Variety, Skyfall made $920 million here & abroad in 5 weeks and remains the #1 film in the U.S. It was filmed in England, China, Scotland, and Turkey’s Grand Bazaar, which is among the world’s top ten most visited destinations.
6. Helsinki had a big 2012. It was Design Capital of the World, rightly so, and its Music Center opened officially on August 31, 2012.
7. My favorite new U.S. attraction is Paul Allen’s hands-on Living Computer Museum in Seattle. It had a soft opening in October, 2012, and will have an official gala in April, 2013. I’m not sure, but I suspect they want to get more of their historic computers up and running by then.
8. The tallest building in the world remained Dubai’s Burj Khalifa for all of 2012. But its reign will come to an end by spring, 2013, due to Sky City. A 2,749 feet, 220 story tower will commence construction next month in Changsha, China. The builders claim they can get Sky City done in 3 months. 30,000 residents will call it home.
9. Also in China, the lake behind the Three Gorges Dam filled to its expected capacity in 2012. In Hubei Province on the Yangtze River, it is quickly becoming a notable tourist attraction.
10. It took a year to get there, but rover alit on Mars in August, 2012, after “seven minutes of terror” according to National Geographic. It’s only a matter of time before we’re booking trips to Mars to stand on the platform overlooking Yellowknife Bay before dining in the first non-Earth MacDonald’s.