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Rundown for the Week of November 28, 2003

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Off the Beaten Path in the Southwest's Deserts

This week, we're traveling to the great American Southwest. It's the perfect time of year to take a trip to the desert: The skies are crystal clear, the air is crisp and clean, and the night is a playground for the stars. We move beyond the parched, waterless expanse of the desert and appreciate its color and variety by visiting Nevada's uncharted Great Basin, the unusual "Four Corners" and Utah's Skull Valley, an unexpected Polynesian retreat.

photo: S. Trimble
Family Trips to the Great Basin
by Stephen Trimble
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The Great Basin does not appear as a familiar series of four-star attractions in your travel guide. Until 1986, this huge region between the Sierra Nevada and the Rockies didn't even include a national park. Sparsely populated and largely unknown, nowhere else in the West is there such a sweep of undeveloped country filled with wild basins, ranges and ancient bristlecone pines. Stephen Trimble has taken his family to this Nevada oasis for years to give them an appreciation for the vastness of nature.

Web resources
For more about the Great Basin from Stephen Trimble, see his books "The Sagebrush Ocean: A Natural History of the Great Basin" and "Earthtones: A Nevada Album."
Bristlecones are most accessible at:
     -Great Basin National Park, Baker, Nevada. Call (775) 234-7331, or visit www.nps.gov/grba.
     -Patriarch Grove, Inyo National Forest, Calif.: The Visitor Center lies 23 miles outside Big Pine, Calif., and Patriarch Grove is 13 miles further via dirt road. Contact: Inyo National Forest, 873 No. Main St., Bishop, CA 93514, (760) 873-2400
See also www.gorp.com for more info. on the Mount Moriah Wilderness and other public lands.

Guide to Four Corners
interview with travel writer Julian Smith
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Where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico intersect lies the gorgeous desert region nicknamed "Four Corners." Travel writer and outdoorsman Julian Smith is the author of the only comprehensive guidebook to the area. He gives host Diana Nyad a few ideas for unusual Four Corners adventures, from fruit-picking in Utah to a tour of the region's classic trading posts.

Web resources:
"Moon Handbooks Four Corners" is available at Amazon.com. Your purchase helps support The Savvy Traveler.
http://www.nps.gov/care/: Capitol Reef National Park
http://www.stateparks.utah.gov/: Goblin Valley State Park
http://a-aa.com/monumentvalley: Oljato Trading Post
www.juliansmith.com: Julian Smith's Web site

photo: Used by
permission, Utah
State Historical
Society, all,
rights reserved.

Utah Luau
by Jeff Rice
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In Utah's west desert, you won't find Shangri-La -- but the South Seas may be closer than you think. That's because the grandson of Mormon Church founder convinced Hawaiians to uproot and move to the dusty, sandy emptiness in the early 1900s. And every year, Polynesians return for a luau to celebrate the achievements of these early settlers. Contributor Jeff Rice discovers rich Hawaiian history in Iosepa, in the middle of Utah's Skull Valley.

Web resource
This story originally ran on Nov. 22, 2002. Click here for the script, images and resources.

Web resources:
Check out other Savvy Traveler stories on America's deserts and the Southwest:
"Airstream Dream"
"Desert Beauty, Border Danger"
"Desert Green: The Open Road"

A chat with Jan Morris, the "Finest Travel Writer in World."

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Many have called Jan Morris the "Finest Travel Writer in World." Jan spent 50 years, 1950 to 2000, covering virtually every major event on the planet for various newspapers. From the inception of apartheid to the fall of the Berlin wall to the first ravages of AIDS, Jan was at the epicenter of it all. Host Diana Nyad talks with Jan about her new book, "The World," which paints a portrait of life in the 20th century.

Web resources
"The World: Travels 1950-2000" is available at Amazon.com. Your purchase helps support The Savvy Traveler.

photo: J. Ritter  Slideshow
Hong Kong's World Cup of Shopping
by Judith Ritter

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Statistically, this is the time of year, just after Thanksgiving, when we rush around and buy more stuff than any other period, including Christmas-time. To give us a little perspective, Judith Ritter takes us to the other side of the world, to Hong Kong, where they take shopping much more seriously than we do. Each year, Hong Kong hosts the world's biggest shopping championship. Judith Ritter went to see just who is really the world's shopping superpower.

Web resources
Click here to explore your own Hong Kong shopping adventure

Travel Behind the Scenes
Airport Limo Driver

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In "Travel Behind the Scenes," we feature people who work in places where they observe travelers. This week, we meet John, a limo driver from Pakistan who cruises along the streets of NYC. He says driving in New York is easy because you don't have to deal with wayward cows and goats and wrong-way drivers, like in his native Pakistan. And, he considers driving more than just getting the customers from point A to point B: That's why he pays attention to every detail for his customers.

Click here for more "Travel Behind the Scenes" segments.

Sound Travels: Tibetan work crews

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Sound Travels takes us to Tibet to hear a song being sung by a work crew just outside Lhasa. Tourists are hungry for any signs of old Tibet: the thousands of years of culture that China attempted to hide. Contributor Aaron Ximm brought along his mic to record Tibetan women singing while repairing one of the most famous Buddhist monasteries. Aaron says songs like these are sung all over the country now.

Click here for more "Sound Travels" segments.

Fix My Trip: The Lost Luggage

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In June of 1999, listener Rosemary from Philadelphia was returning from vacation when a bag containing her wallet and keys was displaced to make room for a first-class passenger -- over the protests of her young daughter. When she got off the plane, the bag had been lost -- and she had no money, no car keys and three hungry kids to deal with. Five days later, she got the bag back and many items were missing. Rosemary says that US Airways refused to process the claim for the baggage its own flight attendants took off the plane.

Our travel snafu fixer Chris Elliott gets US Airways to reopen her case -- but they have a two-year statute of limitations on baggage claims. Unfortunately, there isn't a happy ending for Rosemary, but US Airways has apologized and reprimanded the flight attendant. So, do passengers have any recourse? Well, they can contact the Aviation Consumer Protection Division, part of the Department of Transportation.

Web resources:
www.elliott.org: Christopher Elliott's Web site

Got a trip that needs fixing? Have you exhausted every possible remedy and don't know where to turn? Send us an e-mail at fixmytrip@savvytraveler.org and tell us what happened to you. Be sure to include your daytime phone number.

Deal of the Week
Extraordinary Egypt, Extraordinary Price

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Since we've spent much of this week's show talking about the desert, why not take a trip to one of the greatest deserts in the world? Our Dealmeister, Rudy Maxa, has come to LA personally to tell us about an amazing bargain to exotic and warm Egypt -- so you can experience the pyramids at dawn.

Click here for details and link information

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