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Queen Elizabeth may dock at Cape Town port

Also, Australia is Americans' top pick, a spy game set in Washington, D.C., Salinas' Steinbeck fest and the handy PurseHook.

July 19, 2009|Rosemary McClure; Chris Erskine; Leslie Anne Wiggins; Judi Dash

Long Beach may not be the only city with a queen in residence. The Queen Elizabeth 2 may end up as a floating hotel off South Africa. The 40-year-old ship, purchased from Cunard Lines in 2007 by Dubai World, was expected to be docked in Dubai, but now its cash-strapped owners are saying they've been investigating opening QE2 as a stationary hotel at an alternative port. The South African media are reporting that the port is Cape Town, where the ship could be berthed at the city's V&A Waterfront as a floating hotel. With the World Cup soccer tournament scheduled next year in South Africa, the move could help alleviate the country's widely reported hotel room shortage.

-- Rosemary McClure

Americans' dream destination? Australia, according to a new Harris Poll that surveyed travelers' top overseas choices if costs were not a consideration. Italy, which was No. 1 last year, dropped to second place, leaving the list of top 10 most popular countries looking like this:

QE2 considers Cape Town

Australia's tops

1. Australia

2. Italy

3. Britain

4. France

5. Ireland

6. Germany

7. Japan

8. Greece

9. New Zealand

10. Spain

-- Chris Erskine

Spy games

Become a spy for a day with a new game that sets tourists loose in Washington, D.C., with a hand-held GPS device and a mission: Search for clues and stop a terrorist attack before it starts. The game, called Spy in the City, is the newest attraction offered by the International Spy Museum in the Penn Quarter of Washington. Participants embark on a series of self-guided outdoor missions, following video clues and earning points as they work toward completing their assigned task. The game takes about 90 minutes and costs $16 a person. Info: (202) 393-7798 or see www.spymuseum.org.

-- Rosemary McClure

Steinbeck days

Films, choral music and theatrical stage fight demonstrations will all be part of the 29th annual Steinbeck Festival from Aug. 6 to 9 at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, Calif. Veteran filmmaker Ken Wales, who co-produced the 1981 TV miniseries "East of Eden," will discuss topics related to this year's festival theme, "Legends, Myth and Magic." Tickets cost $60 a day for adults, $15 for students and children 6 and older. Adult weekend passes cost $150. Admission is free for children 5 and younger. Info: (831) 775-4721, www.steinbeck.org.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Get hooked

Here's a piece of jewelry that really knows how to multi-task. The PurseHook, from Je'Marie, is a hinged bangle bracelet that, when opened, doubles as a sturdy hook for clasping a small bag or briefcase onto the edge of a table, gripping the surface using a rubber pad. That has the dual advantage of keeping bags off dirty floors and also keeping them in sight so they are less likely to be inadvertently left behind. Starting at $14.95, they're cheap enough to have a "wardrobe" of them to match the day's clothes and bags. Info: (877) 265-4665, www.pursehook.net.

-- Judi Dash

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