Talk about getting lost in translation! A team of German interpreters assigned to this week's UN conference on funding development asked a travel agent to book the trip for them, assuming they'd only have to worry about matters like verb tense. Boy, were they wrong. When their flight landed, they discovered they weren't in Monterrey, Mexico, the host city, but in Monterey, Calif. – 1,500 miles away.


"I decided," Julian Bray said, "it was time to catch up with the rest of the world ..." So, who is Bray and what is he so out of step with? Well, he edits Lloyd's List and wishes to announce that the 268-year-old London-based newspaper of the shipping industry will no longer refer to vessels as "she." Effective April 1, a ship will be an "it." The same doesn't apply to Britain's Royal Navy, however, which will keep using the feminine pronoun because that's "a part of culture."

Travel guide rates top spots that most tourists pass up

Although this is the time of year when some people plan grand vacations, conventional wisdom in the travel industry holds that many may prefer to stay close to home because memories of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are still fresh. But in its 2002 list of the 10 most overlooked and underrated destinations, travel-guide publisher Fodor's notes that there is much to do for those inclined to go. The sites, in alphabetical order, with special "bests" in parentheses:

Bahia Honda Key/Big Pine Key, Florida

Black Hills and Badlands, South Dakota

Chattanooga, Tenn. (best family destination)

Dominica, Caribbean (best value)

Durango/Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Oaxaca, Mexico (best budget)

Portsmouth, N.H.

Quebec City, Canada

Tulsa, Okla.

Willamette Valley/wine country, Ore. (most romantic)

– PR Newswire

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