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January 15, 2000

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The Caribbean Calls

If you're already tired of winter, why not head down to the Caribbean? Maybe to the island of Nevis, one of the most mountainous and lush places in the West Indies. Sparsely populated, it's a gem that you reach by boat after flying into nearby St. Kitts. High on a hill, a 28-room, family-owned hotel was willing to offer a big discount this season to subscribers of my travel newsletter. And, now, they're offering the same deal to you!

James Michener stayed at the Mount Nevis Hotel and Beach Club while writing his bestseller, Caribbean. Perched high above the ocean on Mount Nevis, the hotel offers spectacular views and a great pool. Or a shuttle will take you down to the sea, a mile away. You can check it out by going to mountnevishotel.com.

Here's the deal: A night in a junior suite normally costs about $300, but tell them Rudy sent you and you'll receive a $100-per-night discount. Want to talk to someone about it? Call Noreen at 800-75-NEVIS. And don't forget to tell her Rudy sent you!

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Preserving National Monuments
The big news last week was President Clinton creating three new national monuments in Arizona and California. His signature doubled the amount of land protected around the Grand Canyon, created the new Agua Fria National Monument north of Phoenix, and added to the Pinnacles National Monument in Central California.

But one that didn't get lot of coverage is the new California Coastal National Monument. This one runs the length of California and protects thousands of small islands and reefs.

I wanted to find out exactly what this means, so I called Sarah Christie. She works for the California Coastal Commission.

Christie: "Well, if you've ever been to Big Sur or the Mendocino County Coast or the Humbolt Coast, one of the most prominent features of those coast lines are the dramatic rocks and pinnacles and sea stacks that jut out above the water. The president's proclamation ensures that all of those are going to be protected in perpetuity."

California's most famous for its big beaches and Baywatch babes. But those huge cliffs and rocky shores can be even more awe-inspiring. It's why these new protections are all the more important.

Labor Strikes in Europe
In Europe, labor problems were epidemic. There was a trucker strike in France; drivers blocked roads at most border crossings for almost two days. That only ended after marathon negotiations.

So you think, "Okay, I'll take the train." Think again. In Hungary, there was a rail strike. Now, that ended mid-week, but the issues which caused it remain. So if you're going to Budapest by train, you might want to make a back up plan.

Airline Strikes in US
But wait, there's more. The situations at Northwest and U.S. Airways are going from bad to worse. First, a judge ordered Northwest flight attendants to end a sporadic sickout and go back to negotiations. That's good news. But U-S Airways is training its managers to fill-in for flight attendants .... that's a big sign a strike could come sooner rather than later.

U.S.-Cuba Flight Situation
It's getting a little easier to fly directly from the United States to Cuba. Last month service began from New York to Havana, now the U.S. Department of Transportation says direct flights from Los Angeles will begin this April. Now, don't get too excited -- there's still that trade embargo, so only certain people can go, like those with family in Cuba or journalists or academics. TACA International Airlines will offer a $750 round trip fare.

Announcing...The Prawn State
And finally, there's no word yet of trade sanctions against the village of Ashurst Wood, a town south of London. I guess I should say the new People's Republic of Ashurst Wood and Nation State, the "Prawn State" for short.

Tiger Prawn: "We are now completely separate and independent from the United Kingdom."

That's Joe Taylor, A.K.A. "Tiger Prawn."

So, what if you're planning a trip to the People's Republic of Ashurst Wood? Well, you'll need a visa. You can get that from your local Prawnian embassy.

Travel Advisory
with Cheryl Glaser

Britain Succumbs to the Flu
You thought it was bad over here? Well, flu is reaching true epidemic levels in Great Britain. There are very few hospital beds available across the country, and non-essential surgery is being put off until the bug calms down. Doctors are recommending a special flu shot, so ask yours before you go.

New Border Regulations in Europe
And a couple new border regulations are causing real headaches. The Czech government is no longer handing out visas upon arrival there. You must have one before you leave for the country. And Belgium has resumed border checks at most road crossings into the country. Be ready for heavy traffic and delays.


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