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Rundown for the week of May 29, 1999

Stranger and Strange Land
"To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world." That's a quote from the nineteenth century British writer Freya (Fray-uh) Stark. And while I tend to agree, I also know that it can be a little spooky waking up in a town where you don't even recognize the letters in the alphabet. I mean, when you're an American in Italy, say, you can usually interpret a few street signs. But if you're like The Savvy Traveler's Martin Stott and you go all the way to Japan, you may find yourself feeling quite like a stranger in a strange land.

Q&A I: Worst Trips
Rudy talks to listeners about awful experiences they've had on the road.

Anne Bancroft Interview
Many people dream of fame and fortune, but the down side is that it's often hard to get away...find a quiet place where no one asks for your autograph and you can raise your children safely and quietly. Actress Anne Bancroft has found just such a place.

Now when we think of an Oscar-winning actress traveling....Mrs. Robinson, no less, a woman who was given a personal tour of Israel by Golda Meir...I don't know, I picture St. Tropez, the Ritz in Paris, The Savoy in London. But when I asked Ms. Bancroft where she would choose as her place of the heart, I was very surprised when she said Fire Island, New York.

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Fire Island is located just south of Long Island and it's a very narrow strip of land. There are no cars, no paved roads. You generally get there by ferry or water taxi and when you arrive, if you're lucky, someone...friends, family, whoever... greets you with a little red wagon...the kind you had when you were a kid... to haul you're belongings.

Ms. Bancroft graciously invited me to her home, which she shares with her husband Mel Brooks, to talk about the magic of Fire Island. She says she was captivated from the beginning.

Nighttime in Nevada: UFO's
Nevada is a place where hope springs eternal. Which makes it the ideal location for dreamers and believers. In the last couple of weeks we've been exploring different parts of Nevada at Night time and today we come to the end of this journey just 100 miles north of the gambling mecca of Las Vegas. Rachel, Nevada. It's not much more than a wide spot in the road, but it's a distinctly special road. This lonely highway is listed on maps as the extraterrestrial highway and each year on Memorial Day weekend, Rachel attracts belivers and tourists alike for the annual UFO-Friendship Camp-in. Hal Cannon of The Open Road has more.

Deal of the Week
What if you could fly to Europe tomorrow for less than $300? Round trip? I've found a little airline that will fly you there and back with no advance-purchase requirement. It's Luxair.. Since Icelandiar stopped linking Luxembourg to North America earlier this year, Luxair has stepped up to show the flag for the tiny grand duchy.

The airline has just begun flying out of Newark, and it's offering a roundtrip fare of only $298 to many cities in Europe until the end of June. A friend of mine took Luxair to Italy just this week and reported the flight was great, not crowded, and the cocktails free even in coach. You have to reserve by June 15th and return by the end of June. But the problem is, I hear it's filling up fast, so you best call right now. Well, as soon as the show is over.

You'll change planes in Luxembourg, but for $298 during the high season, that doesn't seem too much to ask. You can get details from a travel agent or by calling 888-4-LUXAIR.

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

Swimming with Dolphins

  • Dolphins Plus in Key Largo offers two types of programs: a simple swim with the dolphins or a more in-depth educational experience. Prices start at $95. Call 305-451-1993.

  • The Dolphin Resource Center, also in the Florida Keys, rund a week-long seminar called DolphinLab, starting at $1100. The seminar includes classes, activities, meals and dormitory-style lodging. Call 305-289-0002.

  • Dolphin Discovery in Cancun, Mexico will let you swim with dolphins in one-hour sessions off Isla Mujeres or other destinations near Cancun for $134. Call +52-988-30780.

  • The Dolphin Dream Team hosts week-long trips in the Bahamas, leaving from West Palm Beach, Florida. Prices range from $995 to $1275 and include accomodations, meals and dolphin encounters. Call 888-277-8181.

Whitewater Rafting: British Columbia or the Amazon?

  • Hyak Wilderness Travels: 604-734-8622

  • REO Rafting Adventures: 604-684-4438

  • Ryan's Rapid Rafting: 250-458-2479

  • Glacier Raft Company: 250-344-6521

Retracing the Steps of St. Paul

  • Make sure the Israeli passport control doesn't stamp your passport. They can stamp another piece of paper, which you don't bring with you when you leave. For more information call the Israeli Embassy at 202-364-5500.

  • From Israel, travel to a neutral country (Egypt or Jordan will do) before going to Syria. Because Israel and Syria are officially still at war you can't cross the border and the Israeli passport stamp can be ground to refuse your entry. For a Syrian tourist visa, call the embassy at 202-232-6313.

  • On your walk from Damascus to Jerusalem, you'll need to cross the border from Syria into Jordan, then from Jordan to Israel. You'll need a visa from the Jordanian embassy. Call 202-966-2861.

  • There is an exit tax when you leave both Israel and Jordan, so keep enough local currency to pay this on your way out.

Hotel Isabel
Have you ever read the book or seen the movie, The Accidental Tourist? It was about a man who wrote travel books for people who hated to leave home. He looked for the most comfortable, least threatening hotels and restaurants all over the world so that he'd never know that he was in Paris or Katmandu because everywhere felt like the Holiday Inn. Well, The Savvy Traveler's Carmen Delzell is the exact opposite kind of traveler. She sent us this postcard.

Next Week on The Savvy Traveler
Next week we're going to tackle Everest...well, we're following a trek to the base camp, which is quite an adventure in itself:

"The trails are narrow and dusty. Newcomers to the region quickly learn the rules of the trek. Yaks have the right of way."

The rules, hardships and rewards of Everest. How to choose the right summercamp for your kids. And it's time for another Bad Taste Tour....well, only if you consider Liberace's taste in bad taste:

"What the hell am I going to do with a bunch of sequined covered cars, a mirrored grand piano plus stage outfits of mink and feathers worth three quarters of a million dollars each?"

Why, build a Liberace museum of course! We stop by to gawk during next week's edition of 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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