Monday, June 8, 2009

Stephen Colbert has Hair Chopped off in Baghdad

Stephen Colbert traveled to Iraq from Kuwait on Friday on board a military transport plane, and it is said that he was inspired to take the trip after he observed economic reports overshadowing information from Baghdad. Performing for roaring troops at Camp Victory, he filmed the first four episodes of "The Colbert Report," playing a conservative TV show host. Colbert's series of half-hour shows mark the first time anyone has broadcast a taped show from Iraq to entertain troops. "It must be nice here in Iraq because I understand some of you keep coming back again and again," he joked. "You've earned so many frequent-flier miles, you've earned a free ticket to Afghanistan." While filming, Colbert had his hair cut by Gen. Ray Odierno (although it was finished off by a stylist), wearing a camouflage suit and matching tie, and then mingled with the cheering troops for photo ops.

If you're interested in following Colbert to the Middle East but staying away from a war zone, head to Jordan for an exotic trip with plenty of luxury bonuses, especially when you stay at a hotel that is in the Collection. For example, Four Seasons Amman boasts amazing facilities and private balconies, and you'll be in a prime location for major sightseeing. The Alexander the Great gallery is only a five minutes' walk from the hotel, while you can drive to a number of museums in just 15 minutes, among them being the Jordan Archaelogical Museum, Jordan Folklore Museum, Jordan Museum of Popular Tradition, and the Royal Automobile Museum. Three art galleries are found in under 30 minutes' drive, and the city of Jerash can be visited in one hour. You might get the modern vibe in Amman, but Jerash is a step back in time and is considered one of the largest and best-preserved sites in Roman architecture outside of Italy.

Another interesting location in the Middle East to visit is Saudi Arabia, where you can stay at Four Seasons Riyadh which features a wide range of amenities for single, family, and business travelers. And you'll be surprised at how many different things you can add onto your tourist itinerary. Take a drive from Central Riyadh to the older part of the city, characterized by traditional homes built from earthen materials, and ancient structures clustered together near central squares. For an interesting contrast, visit the Kingdom Tower afterwards, which is one of the most famous landmarks in Riyadh, and go to the observation deck on the 99th floor--and then all the shops beneath. On a break from the bustle, go to the Thumama Desert, where you can visit sun-baked dunes and even drive a buggy around the desert.

With Stephen Colbert taping away in the Middle East, there's a good chance that Jordan, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia will be in the back of our minds when booking our next vacation. Hot weather gets so much more enjoyable when you've got places to go and things to see, don't you think?

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