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Rundown for the Week of January 26, 2001

Village of Hats
A good travel reporter is always supposed to do research and be prepared. But sometimes, they get sent on a last-minute assignment and they know almost nothing about their destination. Contributor Judie Fein tells us what happens when she finds herself in the most unlikely of places: Quito, Ecuador in the Andes Mountains.

The Stans
Consider it a grand social experiment: What happens when one of the roughest and war-torn parts of the world meets the softest kind of tourism: the group tour? That was the purpose of Stan-Trek, a trip though six Central Asian countries all ending in "Stan": Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the countries of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan - and finally, a quick stop in Afghanistan. At least, that was the idea. But as any scientist can tell you, experiments don't always work. In fact, some ideas are better left untested. Remember Dr. Frankenstein's plan to make something beautiful? Ted Rall, the mad scientist behind this tour wanted simply, for everyone to enjoy themselves. And that was enough to get our own Benjamin Adair to pack his bags and go along for the trip. So, did he have a good time? Well, maybe an unforgettable time is a better way to describe it...

French Rain
You can learn a lot about yourself when you're suddenly thrown into an unexpected situation in an unfamiliar place. For example, take his postcard we received recently from Nanci Olesen. She tells us how it took some bad weather to discover just how fluent she was in French.

Invite a Stranger Home: Brad Newsham Interview
Now, twelve years ago, taxi cab driver and author Brad Newsham set out to travel the world in search of a stranger. His plan was to use the $8,000 advance from his first book to give his lucky new friend an all expense paid sightseeing trip across America. Well, Brad has finally found his guest and he's written about the search in his latest book "Take Me with You: A Round-the-World Journey to Invite a Stranger Home."

Deal of the Week
Peanut Fares

Question of the Week
Traveling With Pets

Let's head to our newsroom for a roundup of this week's travel news!

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