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Mexico Resort Plans 13,000 Rooms by '96

January 27, 1991| Compiled from Times staff and wire service reports

The time to see Cabo San Lucas as it was has passed--the sleepy Mexican fishing village is long gone. But if you want to see it as it is, go now, because it soon might become something completely different.

The resort area of Los Cabos plans to build 10,000 new hotel rooms in the next five years, raising the total available to 13,000, according to Salvador Castro, the La Paz municipal president.

Castro said there currently are only 5,000 hotel rooms in the entire state of Baja California Sur, 3,000 of them in Los Cabos, which includes the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

In addition, Castro told the Excelsior newspaper that more condominium construction is expected because of the increased availability of water and other services.

Travel Quiz: Which is larger, the Sahara Desert or the continental United States? (Answer below.)

Quick Fact: More than 3% of all the photographs taken by amateurs in the United States in 1989 were shot at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Ship Wrecked: The fire that erupted aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's Monarch of the Seas on Dec. 3 caused far more damage than at first believed and will delay the launching of the liner until November.

The ship, under construction at L'Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France, was to have gone into service May 5 but now will not make its maiden voyage--a seven-day cruise from San Juan, Puerto Rico--until Nov. 17, according to Rich Steck, a spokesman for the cruise line.

Steck said the cause of the blaze has not been determined, but added there was "no evidence of arson or sabotage." He said the fire was confined to passenger cabins in the forward third of the 2,766-passenger vessel, and that firefighters had simply sealed the area off and allowed the blaze to burn itself out.

Damaged areas will be replaced rather than repaired, Steck said. The ship was virtually completed when the fire broke out and was to have begun sea trials within a few weeks of the blaze. However, fire detection and extinguishing systems were not yet operating, thereby adding to the difficulty in fighting the blaze.

The fire has caused Royal Caribbean to cancel its European sailings for 1991 in order to maintain its presence in the Caribbean, Mexico and Alaska.

Quick Fact: Alaska's Pacific coastline is almost seven times as long as California's--5,580 miles to 840 miles.

Shark Education: Many people fear sharks, but one of the aims of a new exhibit that debuted Jan. 13 at the Monterey Bay Aquarium is to try to change that outlook.

"Sharks" will feature live examples of 15 of the world's 360 shark species, as well as many others either in model form or in video presentations.

"There's a lot more to sharks than Hollywood would have you believe," said Julie Packard, the aquarium's executive director. "And now, in part because of our fears, we may be fishing many of them to the brink of extinction.

"If we let fear dominate, we could destroy a group of animals that are critical in maintaining the balance of life in the oceans."

The exhibit will continue at the aquarium through Oct. 20.

Water, Water Everywhere: The largest fish tank in the Monterey Bay Aquarium holds 335,000 gallons of water. In case you're wondering, that's enough to fill about 9,000 bathtubs.

Tokyo by Foot: The front desk at the Tokyo Prince Hotel has something new for stressed-out guests: a free map that outlines two safe and scenic jogging/walking routes of two-thirds of a mile and 1 1/3 miles, respectively. The routes encompass peaceful temple grounds and tree-lined streets, and do not cross traffic.

Quick Fact: It is no longer legal to smoke aboard London's famous red double-decker buses.

Where It's Best: The United States and Canada are the best places to live in the world, according to a recent survey published in International Living, a travel newsletter.

The newsletter ranks countries on a scale of 1 to 100 based on statistics gathered from international agencies, the U.S. State Department and private research groups.

The sampling took into account such factors as personal freedom, the cost of living, health standards and culture and entertainment in 170 nations.

The United States has topped the list in all but one of the nine years in which the survey has been conducted. In 1983, it fell behind Switzerland in the aftermath of a domestic recession.

Canada, which scored 85 compared to the United States' 89, was found to have a higher cost of living but better health standards than the United States. The other top countries were Monaco, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, Denmark, Luxembourg and Great Britain.

Civil war, famine, poverty and restrictive governments placed Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Burkina Faso, Afghanistan, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Guinea and Sudan at the opposite end of the scale. Chad scored the lowest with 20.

Quiz Answer: Take away Arizona and they're both the same size, about 3.5 million square miles.

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