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Rundown for the week of May 15, 1999

Touring Patagonia
Patagonia is an area so removed that it's an ideal breeding ground for wildlife, far from the pressures of the human world. Argentina's beloved Poet Jorge Luis Borges once said, "There is nothing in Patagonia." And granted, it's not your typical tourist destination. But the very obscurity of Patagonia, covering the southern third of South America, is what inspired Rachel Anne Goodman, to make the arduous journey and discover that there is indeed something in Patagonia.

Q&A I: Summer Reading Rudy talks to listeners about their favorite books for the festival season. Take a look at the summer reading list we've compiled from your suggestions.

Jerry Mallet Interview
Just last week a man named Pete Athans reached the summit of Mount Everest for the sixth time. That makes him the first non-Sherpa to make it that many times. Athans is one of the lucky ones. More than 150 people have died trying to climb Everest. This week a team of Ukranian climbers chose to push toward the summit through high winds and billowing clouds without oxygen! Two of them had to be rescued and, last we heard, one was missing and presumed dead. I am always amazed when I hear stories like this. I am, what's known in the travel industry as, a soft-adventure traveler...a little white water rafting...an extended bike trip here and there. But I just don't have that desire to climb the world's highest and most dangerous mountains. I don't get a thrill thinking about diving in shark infested waters. What's even more amazing to me is that the number of folks who do want that type of experience is actually growing. I can't but wonder what it is that compels someone to risk his or her life for the sake of adventure. I certainly don't have the answer so I've invited an expert to help me see the light. We interview Jerry Mallet, president of the Travel Adventure Society.

Nighttime in Nevada: Las Vegas
For some people thrill-seeking comes, not from climbing mountains or swimming with great white sharks, but from the challenge that comes from beating the odds...adventures that are potentially more damaging your wallet than your neck. And for these folks there's no better place to win and lose big than Nevada...the Silver State. Today is the first of three journeys in which The Open Road's Hal Cannon and Teresa Jordan take through Nevada at nighttime. And were else to begin...but Las Vegas?

Deal of the Week
Everyone knows that summer means peak season airfares to Europe. But if you can decide on your travel dates now, and if you're willing to travel mid-week, you can lock in some terrific deals on Air France out of New York and Newark.

Ready for the rules? But of course! OK, you can buy these discounted tickets from now until Wednesday, May 19th. Travel is good in the heart of the summer, between July 11th and August 11th. Travel midweek between New York or Newark to Paris and you'll pay $648 round trip before taxes. Air France promises that's about $200 less than you're going to pay if you buy the same ticket later. Similar deals are good for travel to Austria, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. If you have to travel on a weekend, figure on paying about 50 bucks more.

And here's a tip: If Air France can't accommodate you, check the competition--sometimes rival airlines will drop their fares to match an announced sale like this one. But remember, you have to act by Wednesday.

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

Traveling to the Ozarks

  • For information on trails, fishing and how to rent cabins or campsites, call 800-NATURAL.

  • The Eureka Springs area of Arkansas is filled with natural and cultural things to do. Call 800-6-EUREKA.

  • Visit the Crater of Diamons State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, the only diamond mine open to prospecting by the public. Call 870-285-3113.

  • Places to stay in Eureka Springs:
    • Morningstar Retreat. A small country inn nine miles outside Eureka Springs that offers suites, rooms or a cottage starting at $95-115 per night.

    • Red Bud Valley Resort. With 17 cottages, this resort, situated on a 200-acre valley with a private park, offers hiking, swimming, fishing guides, roaming wildlife and a spring-fed stocked lake. Cottages start at $120/double with jacuzzi. Family cabins start at $79. Call 501-253-9028 or surf to www.redbudvalley.com.

    • Big Cedar Lodge, 612 Devil's Pool Road, Ridgedale, MO. Call 417-335-2777.

Frankfurt in November

  • Check out the Christmas markets for a taste of a traditional German Christmas. Frankfurt's Christmas market is located in the Historic Center and opens November 24. Email info@tcf.frankfurt.de for more information.

  • Take the kids to the Kaleidoskop Children's Museum, located at Juliusstr. 12. Or check it out on the Web.

Thailand's Ko Samui Island

  • The Imperial Samui on Chaweng Noi beach offers simple rooms with views of the beach, an oceanside pool and the cleanest, whitest sand on the island. Call +66-77-424-393 or visit www.imperialhotels.com.

  • The Laem Set Inn on Laem Set Bay is a more traditional, Thai-style inn. Call +66-77-424-393 or surf to www.laemset.com.

  • When making hotel reservations always use your top card - if you have a platinum card it gives you more protection than a regular card.

All-Inclusive Island Vacation Packages

  • Allegro Resorts are scattered throughout the Caribbean and feature a variety of amenities - volleyball, tennis, kayaking, windsurfing, etc. Visit www.allegroresorts.com.

  • For a package including airfare, try calling Air Jamaica at 800-LOVEBIRD (no, it's not just for lovebirds).

  • You can browse through a variety of travel packages by visiting www.vacationpackager.com.

Driving Lessons in Napoli
Last year we had you place you votes for the worst drivers in the world. We heard, of course, about Los Angeles, Israel, Paris. It seems to be pretty bad everywhere. The Portuguese have one of the highest death rates. Egyptian drivers don't make much use of their headlights at night.The Greeks don't appear to have ever passed any traffic laws. And I don't think New Yorkers have yet figured out why turn signals were installed on their cars. So we decided to ask an expert...our own Vagabond traveler for his opinion. He replied with this postcard.

Next Week on The Savvy Traveler
Next week we visit an town in Nova Scotia that's become a magnet for tourists drawn by disaster and the biggest box office attraction of all time.

"There they are, 10 plain black granite headstones. The stones all read: died April, 15, 1912."

The real history of the Titanic tragedy And how would you feel if you went to a place so remote, that you became an virtual tourist attraction?

"There's a number of villages that we went into where we were the first Europeans ever to go in. On some occasions no one there had ever seen a European before."

One man's voyage to undiscovered New Guinea and more of the Nighttime in Nevada, during next week's 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.

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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