There are so many fine foods and elegant restaurants around the planet in cities such as Paris, Rome and Tokyo, that it would be foolhardy to try and list the best. But it's worth mentioning a few alternative locations where you can indulge in what is perhaps one of the more acceptable sins. Singapore, for example, is the epicentre of fusion cuisine, not just in its exclusive restaurants, but also with the cheap local food on sale at the hawker centres, whereas in Peru, Lima has become the gastronomic centre of the Americas thanks to the talent and skill of chefs such as Gaston Acurio. The award-winning chef has helped make the world aware of the excellent raw materials Peru has to offer, and has combined these with the country's colonial inheritance and the flavours and styles of the orient that Japanese and Chinese immigrants brought with them to South America in the nineteenth century.
Plenty of locations offer one or two historical monuments or natural marvels they are proud of where you will 'ooh' and 'aah' with wonder and delight, but surely the great showcase of world arrogance must be Dubai, were modern man presents his credentials in style. Here you'll find the world's biggest shopping centre, the world's biggest cover ski slope and other excesses such as the world's most luxurious hotel, the Burj al Arab, described as the only seven star hotel on Earth.
A recent addition to the Emirate's list of superlatives is to be found in the heart of the financial district, where the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa reaches to the heavens. Its 192 storeys rise to 828 metres and within the structure 57 lifts travel up and down at 10 metres a second carrying the rich and powerful about their business and pleasure. On level 124, the highest outdoor observation deck in the world offers a 360º view of the whole city - the true 'highlight' of a visit.
Which of us hasn't dreamed about winning the lottery or another stroke of luck enabling us to chuck in our jobs, pay off the mortgage and our credit card debt and just spend, spend, spend? If you want to try your luck, perhaps you should head for Las Vegas, where the croupiers of scores of casinos are all ready and waiting for you to place your bets.
There is evidence of this sin in the most unexpected of places, from the erotic sculptures on the Romanesque church the Colegiata de San Pedro Cervatos in Cantabria, the frescoes of the ruins of Pompeii or the Hindu temples of Khajuraho. But providing a more modern take on the subject are the 'Love Hotels' of Japan. In a country where houses are usually tiny and shared by several generations of a family, the chance to rent a room for a couple of hours intimacy with your partner in a high tech atmosphere – often complete with robot receptionist to spare your blushes at check-in – is unsurprisingly popular.
This is surely one sin we're all guilty of, at least occasionally. But if you are especially prone, the perfect solution is to stroll down to your local travel agent and let them organise an 'all-in' package to the Caribbean for you. You may not get to see too much of the country, but you'll have a week of lazing in the sun under a sky as blue as the sea. From lounger to restaurant to pool to spa, that's probably all the exercise you want on holiday, isn't it?
We're sure you'd rather be the object of envy than to envy others, so why not indulge yourself with a relaxing spa therapy to rejuvenate body and spirit? Try Alicante's award-winning Sha Wellness Clinic, on the Spanish coast, or, on the other side of the world, the Shambala Estate in Bali. An alternative course of action is to treat yourself to a shopping trip in Milan, Paris or New York; not only will your friends envy you when you tell them you're heading off, but your new wardrobe should be a lasting reminder after your return.
And finally, just a glimpse of the conditions, not just in Third World countries, but in modern cities, too, is enough to inspire travellers with righteous anger against injustice, poverty and inequality. To do your bit, you could collaborate with one of the many NGOs working to improve conditions or check out the International Ecotourism Society website and find out about how responsible travel can actually benefit the environment and local people.
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