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Rundown for the week of October 03, 1998

Travel Update

  • The New Jersey Vietnam Vets Memorial Foundation's educational center is in Holmdel, New Jersey: 800-648-8387.
  • For on-the-scene reports of the damage from Hurricane Georges, check out www.gobeach.com.

Llama Trek
Bred as beasts of burden in South America for more than 6000 years, llamas are not only the world's most sure-footed bellhops, they also happen to be extremely friendly critters who love kids and make great traveling companions. That's why several llama-trekking operations have popped up in Vermont in recent years offering day hikes through the glorious fall foliage in the company of these affable animals. The Savvy Traveler's Tom Verde struck out to do some autumn leaf peeping with his wife, two children, and several llamas in tow.

By the way, it's the peak of Vermont's leaf peeping season right now. You've got about another week if you want to see the state in its prime autumn glory.

Q & A I -- Star Sightings
Rudy talks to listeners about meeting celebrities while traveling - whether it was an actress on a plane or a country star in the Nashville airport.

World Wildlife Interview
It's human nature to buy souvenirs when you travel, especially if you go to exotic places. But you have to be careful about the things you buy, says Simon Habel of Traffic North America, the trade monitoring division of the World Wildlife Fund...

"If they're made from plant or animal products--hide, feathers, teeth or shells--they may be seized by customs inspectors when you return to the U.S."

This means that instead of decorating a shelf in your home, your keepsakes will end up on a shelf in the customs office. And you could also be subject to a substantial fine. Simon joins us with some "know-before-you-go" advice. To get the brochure "Buyer Beware":

Americans still tend to think of Lebanon as a land of kidnappings and air raids. In fact, the northern part of the country has been peaceful for some time. And tourists are starting to return to Lebanon, particularly to Baalbek, a town that contains the world's largest and best preserved Roman ruins. Reese Erlich made the journey to Baalbek, about a two hour drive northeast of Beirut.

If you're interested in visiting Beirut, you can get there by flying to Paris, Frankfurt or other European cities and catching a connecting flight. As Reese mentioned, the U.S. State Department has issued a warning against travel to Lebanon.

According to the consular information sheet, "assistance in emergency cases such as arrest or death may not, therefore, always be provided in a timely manner." But if that kind of thing doesn't bother you, you can obtain a tourist visa for the Lebanese embassy or consulate in the US, or buy one at the Beirut airport when you arrive. You won't be allowed in Lebanon, however, if your passport indicates that you've visited Israel, even on a previous trip.

Deal of the Week: Explore America by Rail
Roam around America for only $299...AMTRAK is offering Explore America Fares that let you stop in as many as three cities anywhere in the U.S. . For less, you can choose a specific region of the country. For example, see any three cities in the Eastern U.S. for only $179. Other regions are Florida, the West, and Central states.

  • If you're 62 or over, you get another 15 per cent off the special fares.
  • Kids between 2 and 15 travel half price with an adult.
  • Buy your ticket 14 days ahead of time.
  • Sale ends November 14, though you don't have to complete your travel `til mid-December.
Q & A II -- General Questions
Rudy takes listeners' general questions about travel and mentions:

Venezuela's Gran Sabana Plateau Region
  • This is a very remote area where tourists are a rarity, so if you're considering a visit you should train hard, open your mind, tread lightly, and be prepared for discomfort, including extremely high amounts of rain.
  • Last Frontiers organizes tours to the Tepuis (the word for "mountains" in a local language), arranging anything from air safaris to lodging in hammocks. Call them at 011-44-1844-208405.
  • You might want to pick up In Trouble Again by Redmond O'Hanlon, a book about the region.

Pantomime Theatre in England

  • It's more like The Rocky Horror Picture Show than sophisticated theatrical production.
  • In Bath, the tourist center number is 011-44-1225-477-101.
  • For London info, call the British Travel Authority at 800-462-2748 or the Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford at 011-44-1789-295-623.

Colorado Culture Postcard
Is it possible to wander into a strange town and volunteer to help out in one of the local establishments? Let's ask Wendy Paris ...

"Not where I live. Ha! If I offered to help in New York, I'd be laughed out the door. It'd violate health codes. There'd be tax complications. I might slip on a slice of cheese and sue."

But she's not from Colorado...and she did in fact lend a helping hand there recently and discover the advantages of small town life. Wendy lives and writes in New York City.

The Savvy Traveler Newsletter
For information about or to subscribe to 888-Sav-Trav and hit extension 3.

Next Week on The Savvy Traveler
Next week we see what happens when two very different cultures try to coexist, as we follow one British woman's journey to discover how much of her country's legacy remains in India.

"The Indians were darker in complexion compared to the British people, so the British called this part The Black Town..."

The ties that still bind in India...and if you think that sounds exotic, just wait `til we head over to Wisconsin!

" It's been called the France of the upper Midwest. Really? Yeah, you'll see a lot of topless women if you look in the right windows."

Wisconsin wisdom and humor from Michael Feldman, host of public radio's popular show, Whad'Ya Know. And we're hearing your calls about the best deals you've ever found while traveling; that's all in next week's edition of The Savvy Traveler. I hope you'll join us.

For tapes of the show...
If you want your very own copy of The Savvy Traveler, order an audio cassette. It's easy. Just call 303-823-8000. The price is $15. As Rudy says, it's a steal.

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