Where are the best places in the world to spend Valentine's Day?
The strangest new location has to be your own driveway or garage, providing that you like chocolate, and providing that your Valentine has just bought you a $28,780 "chocolate" car.
Just in time for the Valentine's Day market, Mercedes Benz unveiled its chocolate-themed Smart car in Tokyo last month. The chocolate brown car features lots of patterns that look like bars of chocolate, and even the dashboard appears as if it might melt off on your hands.
Never mind that it would be $28,775 cheaper to say I love you with a box of actual chocolates. Mercedes in Japan is taking orders for their Valentine's car, designed by an accessories company called Q-Pot. It'll be available for sale through early March.
If you want to be 100 percent sure of getting chocolate on Valentine's Day, and be in the middle of a breaking news story at the same time, you might want to dash off to nation of The Ivory Coast in east Africa. It is the world's largest cocoa producer. It is also the scene of a political stand off which is sending international cocoa prices through the roof.
The country recently held presidential elections but the after party has become very tense. The internationally recognized winner, Alassane Ouattara, can not take office because the incumbent who lost, President Laurent Gbagbo, refuses to hand over power. So the man with the majority vote is calling for a one month ban on cocoa exports as a way to cut off the renegade president's funding.
President Obama is backing the proposed cocoa ban tactic, as a way of supporting democratic elections. Meanwhile the global cocoa market is jittery. So unless things settle down, you may have to buy a $28,000 "chocolate" car next year, just to save money on sweets.
Where else is really interesting on Valentine's Day this year? Iran. At least if you are the adventurous type who likes to challenge authority. Some officials of the strict Islamic regime there have called for a ban on Valentine's Day cards, flowers, and other displays of affection. They say that Valentine's Day is a Christian celebration, with no place in the Islamic world.
It's true that Valentine's Day has historic ties to Christian and Roman tradition, but it has long ceased to be a religious holiday. Still, Iranian printers were advised to stop making cards with hearts. This may be Iran's first Twitter Valentine's Day.