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Golf on Ireland's top courses with a nine-day tour

Golf where you want, when you want on a custom nine-day tour through Ireland organized by Brendan Vacations.

Take your pick of iconic golf courses — Portmarnock, Ballybunion, Royal Dublin, Waterville, Adare and Lahinch — and have tee times booked for you.

Want to take a day off? You can explore Dublin, the Ring of Kerry, the Cliffs of Moher and the Dingle Peninsula. And how do you get to your destinations?

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If people just carried the right documents, the wait at the border would be shorter

I read Catharine Hamm’s border crossing story “How to Get Through Faster” with great interest [On the Spot, Dec. 3].

My company manages an electronic billboard at the border. Thus, my border crossing frequency is high, as is the delay I experience returning to my home or office in San Diego.

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Thrilling hikes alongside face-sized spiders in Taiwan's version of Yosemite

Before I tell you about the Zhuilu Old Trail, I should confess that the day before I got there, I failed my first Taiwanese test of fortitude.

Guide Steven Chang and I were hiking alongside the Shakadang River in Taroko National Park, a medley of gorges, mountains, jungles and waterfalls that is Taiwan’s tropical answer to Yosemite.

Our route was a 5.4-mile round trip.

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What's up for Christmas weekend: Lots of singing and dancing

Audience participation is the theme for the weekend before Christmas, with caroling and film sing-alongs.

Pasadena

The Lythgoe Family Panto’s “Beauty and the Beast: A Christmas Rose” encourages audience participation in this slightly wacky retelling of the fairy tale. Kids can follow the plot, but the jokes are for adults.

When: Through Dec. 24

Cost, info: From $29. Family-friendly. No dogs.

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These products make life less tricky and maybe less icky

Manufacturers thought outside the box or hat or pocket to come up with these innovative products that make life, if not easier, than at least less icky.

AirPocket protector

Let's talk dirty, as in back-seat airplane pockets. You won't have to worry about encountering trash or leaving stuff behind if you're armed with the new AirPocket.

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Round-trip fare from LAX to Taipei, Taiwan, $402 on United

Here’s another super-low fare to Asia, this one $402 round-trip, including all taxes and fees, from LAX to Taipei, Taiwan on United.

The fare, subject to availability, must be purchased by Dec. 22. It is for departures Jan. 5-Feb. 5.

There is no minimum stay, but there is a three-month maximum stay.

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