The map: Only 12 months to go...

The map We all know about the Dome, but what will the rest of the world be doing as the final seconds of the millennium are counted out? Michael Booth investigates
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Indy Lifestyle Online
The Champagne bottles still lie empty in the front garden, discarded cigarettes smoulder on the carpet, and you haven't dared open the bathroom door yet, but as one New Year's celebration fizzles out, the build-up to the next begins. The world faces a year of high expectations and impossible pressure to celebrate 31 December 1999 in style. It can only be a matter of time before the first hotline is opened to help those in the throes of a breakdown over their plans for the night. So perhaps now is the time to give you a few inspirational ideas with a look at how the rest of the world will be seeing off the century.

Alaska The deserted island of Adak, part of the Aleutian Chain in Alaska, should be a great place to escape the commotion as it will be the last place on earth to see in the year 2000 and is already being heavily marketed. Alternatively, Barrow, also in Alaska, will be the last inhabited settlement to leave the 20th century, and for teetotallers it has the advantage of being alcohol free.

The Queen Mary, moored in Long Beach, California, has state rooms available for a mere $1,999.99 and plans 10 gala balls, each themed on a different decade from the 20th century.

Paris Plans for the big night, it seems, are in as much disarray as in London. What is certain is that the Eiffel Tower will be a Mecca for unimaginative romantics, and all those who have at some time pledged to "Meet you at the top of the Eiffel Tower in the year 2000".

The Orient Express still has berths available on routes from Paris to Venice over the New Year ($16,500), climaxing at the Hotel Cipriani before travelling on to Portofino; and from Bangkok to Singapore (from $7,500), spending the big night at the River Kwai.

The Vatican The Pope will ceremonially open the Holy Door of St Peter's Basilica to usher in the third millennium of Christianity on the evening of 24 December (when Christ was born, in case you'd forgotten what this was all about).

Pacific Ocean Tonga's Vava'u and Tongatapu islands take advantage of a kink in the International Date line to stake their claim to the new millennium's first dawn. The Chatham Islands, off New Zealand, being further south, will see the sun rise before Tonga. Norris "Guinness Book Of Records" McWhirter has the TV rights to Hakepa Hill on nearby Pitt island which, because of their height, will see the sun first.

Seattle The 505ft tall Space Needle in Seattle in the US will host a private party for 900 friends of 47-year-old Oregon public relations consultant Wendy Warren. "We want to be able to say we celebrated the millennium in a place we would never forget," she says.

Times Square If it's hell on earth that you seek, then Times Square in New York is expecting incalculable numbers for "Times Square 2000". Festivities kick off at 7am on 31 December, as vast TV screens begin relaying pictures of the rest of the planet's celebrations starting with Fiji (one of many islands in the Pacific claiming first rights on the New Year, see right) before moving to the world's capitals until midnight and the annual dropping of the Times Square Ball.

Concorde The timetable for the Concorde fleet has yet to be announced but it will be airborne (millennium bug allowing), chasing the dawn across five time zones.

Greenwich And of course there's the Dome. We rang the Millennium Experience to ask what the plans are for the big night. "Well, we'll have our big opening party," said press spokesman Greg Hayman. Yes, but what exactly will be happening? "The eyes of the world will be on Greenwich." And they can expect to see ... "We can't say yet." When do you think you'll know? "There will be an announcement in the New Year."

Giza The World Millennium Ball will be held at the great pyramid at Giza with link-ups to other monuments including Stonehenge and Machu Picchu in Peru. The Egyptian tourist board is planning to top Cheop's pyramid with a 9ft golden summit, and revellers will experience a 12-hour show "symbolising the 12 dreams of the sun," directed by Jean Michel Jarre.

Sydney Opera House Australians are likely to be more concerned with preparations for the 2000 Olympics, and many are celebrating the new millennium on 1 January 2001 (when pedants insist it really kicks off). There will, though, be the obligatory fireworks display - claimed to be the most extravagant ever - at the Sydney Opera House.

New Zealand On mainland New Zealand, Gisborne claims be the first town in the world to see the sun rise and has a 24-hour shebang planned featuring tall ships gathering on the dateline itself, a 1,000km cycle race, as well as a Maori musical extravaganza - the First Light Te Kowhai Music Festival.

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