Miss Universe Facts!

California’55
 
Like Brazil and the States, Sweden was one of the world’s beauty pageant superpowers in the 50s and 60s. In 1955, this Nordic nation won the global title.
 
Long Beach ’58
 
Surprisingly, Dutch Guiana – present-day Suriname (South America) — was one of the 15 semi-finalists, but did not make the list of the five finalists.
 
Miami ’61
 
Miss Universe 1961 Marlene Schmidt was born in the former East Germany, but she moved to West Germany in search of political tranquility and new opportunities. She was the first and only German to win the international award.
 
America ’65
 
After winning the event, Aspara Hangsakula (Thailand) embarked on a world tour, making stops in the United States, Asia and Latin America. The dark-eyed girl is Thailand’s most famous beauty queen.
 
Florida ’66
 
Inspired by Hangsakula’s victory, Thailand’s representative Jeeranum Savettanum was second runner-up.

Miami ’71

Lebanon’s Miss Universe Georgina Rizk, a native of Beirut, was the one of the first Miss Universes to appear on a national postage stamp. She, who participated in Miss World, is about five feet seven inches tall (she is taller than Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco ), weights 121 pounds and measures 35-25-35. In addition to this, Miss Lebanon Universe speaks four foreign languages.

El Salvador ’75
 
One of the most famous archaeological treasures in Central America, the Tazumal pyramid, was selected by the Miss Universe Organization as the symbol of the 23rd Miss Universe 1975 in San Salvador (El Salvador).

Acapulco ’78
 
Dewi Sukarno, former first Lady of Indonesia, was one of the international judges, along with Mario Moreno Cantinflas (Mexico’s actor), Ursula Andress (Sweden’s actress) and other famous celebrities. Dewi was the wife of former dictator Achmed Sukarno, one of the most brutal rulers in the 20th century.

Perth ’79

In the face of international sanctions, Bophuthatswana, it was not recognized by the United Nations and Washington, sent a representative to Australia, site of the beauty contest. Unfortunately, Bophuthatswana’s delegate, Alina Moeketse,a black girl, did not make the list of the 12 semi-finalists. Like Transkei, Venda, and Ciskei, Bophuthatswana was founded by the former South African apartheid regime.

Perth’79 & Paradise Island’09
 
Venezuela is often seen as a model for Miss Universe Pageant on Earth. In 1979, Venezuela’s representative Maritza Sayalero was elected MU in Oceania. In August 2009, this rich-oil country was the first country to win back-to-back Miss Universe finals. Between 1979 to 2009, the Latin nation has won six global crowns: Australia’79, New York’ 81, Panama ’86, Las Vegas ’96, Vietnam’08 & Paradise Island ’09.

New York City ’81
 
Venezuela’s Irene Saez Conde, 18-year-old, did not learn English until that she won the Miss Universe award in the United States in July 1981.During her reign, under the watchful eye of her professor, Joseph Nassif, she learned to speak English very well.

Panama City ’86
 
Miss Denmark, Helena Christensen, who had received little mention in the Panamanian press,  did not even make the semi-finals of Miss Universe Panama ’86, but seven years later she, who is half Peruvian, became one of the world’s top super-models in the 90s, alongside names like Cindy Crawford, Tyra Banks, and Naomi Campbell.
 
Taipei’88

Four beauty queens from Asia -Thailand (Porntip Nakhirunkanok), South Korea (Yunjung Chang), Japan (Mizuho Sakaguchi), & Hong Kong (Pauline Yeung) — were among the top five finalists. In this edition, Miss Thailand was crowned Miss Universe 1988. Apart from winning the universal trophy, she also won the “Best national Costume”. In Taiwan, Nakhirunkanok ended Latin America’s three year domination of international pageant. The three past events had been won by Deborah Carthy-Deu (Puerto Rico/1985), Barbara Palacios (Venezuela/1986) and Cecilia Bolocco (Chile/1987). Mexico’s Amanda Olivares was the only one to challenge the Asian supremacy: She finished third in the global contest.

Cancun’89

After falling from the Miss World Pageant in Spain/ UK, Angela Visser, Miss Holland, became Miss Universe in Cancun. According to experts on Miss Universe, the blue-eyed woman, an ex fashion model from Rotterdam, was one of the most beautiful beauty queens of the Twentieth century.

Las Vegas ’91
 
Ireland’s representative Siobhan McClaferty, 20-year-old hostess, did not make the list of the 10 semi-finalists, but won the Miss Photogenic award. Miss Ireland Universe, a blue-eyed girl, finished 19th (swimsuit: 8.08 points/ interview: 8.88/ evening gown: 8.44) in the international contest in Nevada. Curiously, she came close to winning the 1990 Miss World — MU’s rival – in the United Kingdom.

Bangkok ’92
 
Suriname – the only Dutch-speaking republic in the Americas – finished in the last place: 78th.

From Thailand’92 to Manila’94
 
By 1994, Miss Colombia placed second for the third consecutive year. Unfortunately, the South American country has not won a MU trophy in 51 years!

Las Vegas ’96

In the preliminaries, Miss India had the highest score in the interviews: 9.48 points, ahead of Venezuela (9.43), USA (9.37), Peru (9.36), Chile (9.28), El Salvador (9.26), Trinidad & Tobago (9.23) and Norway (9.19). India’s contestant Sandhya Chib made the top ten , but was not one of the finalists.

Trinidad Tobago’99

The African republic of Bostwana – an obscure country that had never won a beauty contest- earned the global competition in the Caribbean. It was the first time since Namibia (1992) that an obscure nation had won the prize.

Los Angeles ’06

This year Puerto Rico won its fourth Miss Universe award after finishing second in the 2005 Miss Universe in Bangkok, Thailand. There were a number of celebrations in the island, after Zuleyka Rivera won the universal title in North America.

Paradise Island ’09

According to MU experts, Miss France, Chloe Mortaud, was the pre-pageant favorite to win the MU title in The Bahamas, ahead of Rachael Anne Finch (Australia), Ada Aimèe de la Cruz (Dominican Republic), Iveta Lutokska (Czech Republic) and China (Wang Jungyao). Surprisingly, she, a dual French-American citizen, did not make the top 5, and finished sixth. France’s Mortaud was the first black  to be named favorite since Vanessa Mendoza, Miss Colombia, in 2002.

Cheap Hotels in Asia, Problems to Expect and Avoid!

For cheap hotels in Asia it seems to be a standard practice that they will take you to the worst room they have first. This is not as dumb as it may sound as when the day gets longer if someone has taken the bad rooms, and then the hotels have a better chance of renting the good rooms at the last minute. Almost guaranteed, that if you reserve a room over the internet you are not going to get the best rooms, unless you are very specific with your room reservation. Most times you are not familiar with the hotel, so you need to do some research and see if previous guests have complained about a problem, then reserve accordingly.

Look for bugs, some cheap hotels don’t do a good job of controlling pests like mosquitoes which at best will give you a bad night tossing and turning, a nightmare night would be contracting a tropical disease like dengue fever. When you are doing a walk through of the room check in the bathroom move the shower curtain, or the towels if they are hanging, if you get an airborne squadron of mosquitoes, it is not a good sign. If one room has them a good bet is they all will have them. You still might take the room and burn a mossy coil or get the hotel to spray the room then turn the air on, or have a fan blowing over you at night when you sleep in case any were missed. Make sure that they spray under the bed!

Check the windows that they are locked and that you can lock them. Look to see if there is access to the window from outside. I have seen it a few times where they hook your pants or small bags through the windows which can cause a pretty good hit if you have a wad in your pocket or they get your camera bag! Try to remember to keep things away from windows and out of sight, either in a closet or under the bed.

Turn on the air and check the lights & TV that there is not a problem; the cheap hotels & guesthouses often don’t manage their maintenance well and the staff does the absolute minimum which means they are not telling the management what is not working correctly. Broken things might stay that way for a long time as many problems will not show up until after the guest is settled in and then is stuck with the decision to move to a different room or accommodation or to stay and put up with the inconvenience. It is always better to catch problems early rather than to be aggravated later.

By doing these simple things I have had many more good experiences in Asia than bad. I also find that a sense of humor and some patience will a long way. A cheap 2 star hotel should not be compared against a 5 star hotel, so lower your expectations laugh a little and you will travel longer and further for less money.

Asia’s Most Exotic Landscape, Cambodia!

The exotic look of the land is one of the things that people always comment on, that spend anytime inside the Kingdom of Cambodia traveling. The look is derived mostly from their Khmer heritage where Cambodia was the largest and most powerful culture in South East Asia for many centuries. A large number of Buddhists temples called “wats” are the largest and the highest of the building in the rural Cambodia. These magnificent sparkling temples stand watch over the countryside, very similar in location on hill tops, but larger for the most part, than most of the rural churches in west.

The Cambodian countryside has millions of sugar palms trees interspersed in their vast rice paddies that provide a uniquely Cambodian look. The planting of sugar palms were initiated by decree of the monarchy, which created dominance of the landscape by this particular tree. The sugar palm has a distinct circular crown, and is a prodigious producer of coconuts, a staple in the Khmer diet.

The other thing that you cannot miss is the smiles and the endless hello’s that you receive when you travel around from all of the kids. It is easy to see that many of the kids live in poverty, but fortunately for them they are unaware of this, and they laugh and play all day long. Even as adults, Khmers are some of the happiest people that you will meet in your travels. One sense’s that their expectations of the world are in line with their reality and all is well right here, right now, so why not be happy? A wonderful thing to behold in this exotic Asian country of Cambodia!