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Rundown for the Week of April 25, 2003

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Opening Of Show

West Coast Road Trip by Jake Warga

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Many of live like slaves to the rigor of our daily routine. So, what do you do if you have $80 in your pocket and you're just itching to get out of town? It can be very freeing to wake up in a strange place and follow your natural instincts throughout the day, discovering little delights in your surroundings. Jake Warga offers us a vicarious experience in "traveling without a purpose." Jake boards a train in Seattle, then a bus, then a car -- and he ends up in LA with lots of small adventures under his belt.

Take your own West Coast road trip by bus or rail:

Travel Update - Egypt

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This week, several airlines resumed flights to the Middle East, but Egypt, normally a popular tourist destination, has been crippled by a tourist industry flattened by the war. Reporter Rhoda Metcalf is on the ground in Cairo. She says camel drivers are bored, hotels and restaurants are under-booked, and crowds have thinned out at the pyramids. And, some tourists there say the vibe toward Americans has definitely shifted -- that hostility has reared its ugly head. That's why some of these travelers have been pretending to be anything but American while abroad.

Online resources:
Library of Congress: Egypt - A Country Study
U.S. State Department: Egypt - Consular Information Sheet

Another Kind of Desert Warmth by Diane de la Paz

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There's a pilgrimage destination in the U.S. In the Arizona desert, reporter Diane de la Paz went to the 200-year-old Mission San Xavier del Bac, known in some circles as "the Sistine Chapel of the U.S." What sets it aside from other churches in America is that worshippers make the 9-mile trek from nearby Tucson on foot. OK, sure, it's not exactly the Shiite pilgrimage to Karbala, but once parishioners arrive, the majesty of the Mexican Baroque paintings, sculptures and architecture is enough to enthrall any pilgrim.

Online Resources:
Another Kind of Desert Warmth: Originally ran on March 9, 2001. Listen to the original broadcast, explore links and read the script.

Travel and War, Interview with William Langewiesche

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William Langewiesche, the senior correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, is considered one of the "big think" writers in the world of travel culture. This week, we get his thoughts on the current world zeitgeist of travel. Host Diana Nyad asks him whether we'll ever return to the days of "total-abandon" travel. He says the idea that we're facing a fundamental change in travel is pretty shortsighted -- that, psychologically, it's a short-range reaction to the attacks of, and fallout from, 9/11.

Online resources:
Atlantic Monthly: Contributor profile for William Langewiesche

Travel Behind the Scenes Fred Christina, former waiter at New York's Plaza Hotel

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Who knows travelers better than the workers who serve them all day? This week, we kick off a new segment called "Travel Behind the Scenes." Our first storyteller is Fred Christina, who just recently retired after 64 years as a waiter at the storied Oak Room of New York's Plaza Hotel. Night after night, Fred served and observed the most famous travelers in the world. Here are his observations...

Online Resources:
Plaza Hotel Web site

Closing of Cypress Gardens Interview with Esther Williams

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Long before there was Disney World, there was Cypress Gardens. Way back in 1936, a man named Dick Pope built the first theme park in Florida, which became famous for world-class water ski shows. But the most famous face -- and body -- in Cypress Gardens history was movie star and champion swimmer Esther Williams. This week, Cypress Gardens closed shop, even though the state is considering buying and reopening it.

We called Esther and asked her about memories of Cypress Gardens.

Online Resources:
www.esther-williams.com: Web site featuring the Esther Williams swimwear collection
www.cypressgardens.com: Official press release: Closing of the Cypress Gardens
CNN.com: Article: Cypress Gardens, Florida's oldest theme park, to close

SARS Update Interview with Rob Stein, science writer for the Washington Post

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The mayor of Toronto was angry this week when the World Health Organization added his city to the list of places to avoid, unless travel there is absolutely necessary. The SARS virus has infected more than 4,000 people and killed nearly 250 worldwide -- but some argue that the flu is even more deadly. So, are we unnecessarily alarmed? Washington Post science writer Rob Stein has been following the SARS saga. Host Diana Nyad asks him if this is a rather "trigger-happy" decision by the WHO.

Online Resources:
washingtonpost.com: Article: The Mystery Virus: A Guide to Origins, Symptoms and Precautions You Can Take
World Health Organization: Latest info. on SARS virus

Sound Travels "Yungas" music, Coroico, Bolivia

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Known as the "World's Most Dangerous Road," it starts high in the Andes, in La Paz, Bolivia, and careens down more than 10,000 feet to the tropical village of Coroico. Every year, about 26 cars and trucks go over the sheer cliffs on each side of the road. But if you do make it down, you'll find music called "Yungas." Jeff Tyler drove the road last year and recorded a band as they paraded down the cobblestone streets near the sleepy central square.

Interested in Bolivian music?
Click here to explore and listen to the various styles.

Fix My Trip The Case of the Bogus Ticket-Delivery Fee

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Real Audio Listen in RealAudio: Chris Elliott swoops in for a save...

Ever encountered a glitch when booking travel? That's why we bring in our travel snafu fixer to help out.

This week: Listener Perry buys an airline ticket on Orbitz and has to pay $20 extra for a paper ticket to be delivered by a courier. Problem is, the ticket shows up in the regular mail a couple days later. When he calls to complain, Orbitz says it's their cost of handling. Is this just another bogus fee? Our Travel Troubleshooter, Chris Elliott, says Orbitz clearly shouldn't have made the charge. Then, he explains why and offers a solution.

Do you have a trip that needs fixin'?
If you've exhausted every possible remedy and still can't resolve your travel problem, we might be able to help. Tell us what happened to you and what you've done to resolve it. Include dates, names and your contact numbers.

Due to the volume of mail we receive, we're not able to "fix" every trip submitted, but if we select yours to feature on the show, our Travel Troubleshooter, Christopher Elliott, will give you a ring. E-mail us: fixmytrip@savvytraveler.org. You can also visit Christopher Elliott on the Web at www.elliott.org.

Deal of the Week Spring / Summer Airfare Sale

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In an effort to jump start air travel grown sluggish due to the war with Iraq, SARS and the economy, airlines are offering deals left and right. Our Travel-Expert-in-Residence, Rudy Maxa, is here to show you who's offering what. Click here to read all the details.

Deal information:
Northwest Airlines
US Airways

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