The Outrigger Waikoloa Beach Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii has a free vow-renewal ceremony. It's available to passengers on the resort's Friday night sunset catamaran cruise from the beachfront resort. The cruise costs $65 per person ($35 for children).

Participants receive a certificate and a lei. After the ceremony, couples are showered with plumeria blossoms, and passengers are invited to join a champagne toast.

The resort, which completed a $25 million renovation in 2000, also offers romance packages. Information: 1-800-688-7444;


HANOI, Vietnam -- An exhibit aimed at bringing the sights, sounds and scents of contemporary Vietnam to the American public will open in New York next year, organizers say.


"Vietnam: Journeys of Body, Mind and Spirit" will showcase traditional Vietnamese crafts in wood, ceramic and textiles in combination with photographs, video and other multimedia elements to provide slices of everyday life in the Southeast Asian country.

The show is being jointly organized by the American Museum of Natural History and Vietnam's Museum of Ethnology at a cost of $1.5 million. It will open in New York in spring 2003, though the U.S. museum said an exact date has not been set.

The exhibit will stay in New York for about nine months before touring the United States. It returns to Hanoi in 2005.


BALTIMORE -- Groundbreaking on what is expected to be the second-largest African-American history museum in the country is scheduled for August in Baltimore's Inner Harbor area.

The $33 million, 80,000-square-foot Maryland Museum of African-American History and Culture will feature artifacts, historical documents, clothing, tools and art spanning 350 years.

The museum will not just include slavery-era exhibits, but also information about little-known events and individuals with whom visitors may not be familiar, says Sandy Bellamy, director of development for the Maryland African-American Museum Corp., a state agency created to head the museum effort.

The facility would be second only to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History in Detroit. Two other black history museums -- in Fredricksburg, Va., and Washington, D.C. -- also are planned.


The five-story museum is scheduled to open in 2004. Officials said they expect about 300,000 people to visit annually.


The Swiss plan to throw a cultural party this year, with nearly 5 million people expected to attend, according to Switzerland Tourism. Expo.02 is scheduled to run from May 15 to Oct. 20 in the Three Lakes Region west of Bern. The expo will focus on Swiss society and how life is lived and will be lived in Switzerland, with staging areas in several cities. Each will have a theme and each location will feature performances by local and international artists. Public transit among the points will include catamarans. The observance will be the country's sixth such exposition. Details can be found at or by calling 1-877-794 8037.

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