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Rundown for the week of January 23, 1999

It was January 26, 1788, that the first British fleet arrived Down Under. Since then, the date has been designated "Australia Day," celebrated with cultural events all over the country. In honor of Australia Day, we're paying a visit to the little island of Tasmania. If you look closely at a map of Australia you'll see it sort-of dangling off the bottom right hand corner. But don't be deceived by the size. Martin Stott took a car over on the ferry from Melbourne and had an action-packed week driving round in search of devils, mountains and convicts.

Q&A I: Language Mistakes
Rudy talks to listeners about embarrassing language mistakes they've made.

Simon Winchester Interview
Simon Winchester is a journalist who gets around. He's written numerous books about the Far East and is a regular contributor to travel publications like National Geographic, Conde Nast and Smithsonian. His latest book is The Professor and the Madman, is number five on the New York Times bestseller list. It's a very British mystery about the intrigue behind the making of the Oxford English Dictionary. Headed to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, Simon has taken a breather from his book tour to talk about his Place of the Heart. But he's not talking about England where he was born and bred, or the vibrancy of New York where he now makes his home. No, Simon has come to talk about Greenland: his favorite place, it seems, on the planet.

Hip Hotels
Business travel generally isn't as exciting as traveling for pleasure. A lot of us would just as soon stay home. Schlepping through airports, five different meetings in six different cities . . . that's no fun, especially when it's topped off by a bad night's rest in some hotel room with a cranky air conditioner. But a new breed of so-called boutique hotels . . . aimed at providing business travelers with a unique alternative . . . has been gaining popularity lately. The Savvy Traveler's Tom Verde visited one of the hippest new arrivals in the heart of mid-town Manhattan.

Deal of the Week
Greyhound is offering to take you anywhere in the country for $99 round trip through mid-May. The catch: Book three weeks before traveling. Book one or two weeks ahead, and the fare is slightly higher. But not much. That's it -- there's no limit on the number of seats at these prices. Visit Greyhound for schedules.

Flying around Europe used to be expensive. But British Midland is changing that until the end of March. If you book before January 27, you can fly round trip from London to cities like Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels for only $60. That's round trip. At $30 each way, it costs less to fly between Paris and London than a cab to the airport. You just have to stay two nights or a Saturday night.

Q&A II: General Questions
Rudy takes listeners' general questions about travel. He mentions:

Visiting Southeast Asia

  • Cathay Pacific airlines offers an "All-Asia Pass" for $999. It sends you to Hong Kong from New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles, and includes unlimited free travel to 15 other cities in Asia for 31 days. Visit the airline's website, www.cathay-usa.com

  • Some of the best hiking and snorkeling is off the east coast of the Malay Peninsula on Tioman Island, which was Bali Hai in the movie South Pacific.

  • You can catch a daily ferry to Tioman from Mersing, which is about 200 miles southeast of Kuala Lumpur. Flights are available from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur to Tioman. For more information on Tioman, call the Malaysian Tourism Board, 800-KLUMPUR (800-558-6787) .

Ballroom Dance Camp

  • The Summer Holiday of Vintage Dance in Portsmouth, Rhode Island focuses on 19th and 20th century ballroom dancing. The event takes place for one week each summer. Last year's prices: $515 for a double, $575 for a single. Call 781-662-8344.

  • The Holiday to Dance Extravaganza in Portland, Oregon takes place during one weekend in August. Focus is Latin, smooth and swing dancing.

  • In San Francisco, the website for the Hustle Dance Club provides a listing of various instruction venues. person, based on double occupancy, and includes all meals and instruction. Call 509-547-9647.

  • In New York, call the Swing Hotline at 212-462-3250.

Birthday in Anchorage, Alaska

  • Half an hour south of Anchorage, in the town of Girdwood, is The Westin Alyeska Prince Hotel. It's set in a beautiful piece of wilderness with spectacular mountain views. There are four restaurants and two lounges within the hotel itself. There's downhill and cross-country skiing, hiking and climbing, golf and other activities. Rates start at $150 per night. Call 907-754-1111.

  • In Anchorage, try Hotel Captain Cook, 800-843-1950. They have a pool and other amenities similar to the Westin, as well as access to shopping and activities within the city.

  • Call the Alaska Convention and Visitor's Bureau, 907-276-4118.

Travel Impaired II
Many of us have complaints about our significant others, but I had to laugh when Caryn Bark sent a postcard a few weeks ago saying that her husband is missing the travel gene. Seems that Fred has a hard time getting the travel thing down....tipping hotel guests instead of bellhops, and being cagey with customs officials for no apparent reason...stuff like that. Well, despite her complaints, Caryn gave in when Fred insisted on a road trip to a family event in Minneapolis---an eight-hour drive from their home in Chicago. Caryn sent this postcard about her latest adventure with her travel impaired husband.

Next Week on The Savvy Traveler
We go to the Caribbean island of St. Martin. We'll follow one family's journey as they try to recreate a vacation they took to the island 25 years ago! You know the old saying "You can't go home again"? Well, turns out you can't always go on vacation again either. We'll hear all about it next week. We're also going to hear your most bizarre, outlandish, and exciting ski and snowboard stories. And then for a change of pace we'll head to the beach and find out how and why folks started making it such a popular spot to hang out, in the first place. All that plus a little cowboy poetry, so join me again next week for another journey with The Savvy Traveler.

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.

The Savvy Traveler Newsletter
The Savvy Traveler newsletter is now available. For more information, call toll-free, 888-SAV-TRAV (888-728-8728), extension 3, or e-mail mail@savvytraveler.org.

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