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Rundown for the Week of August 29, 2003

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Gauguin Remembered by Judith Fein

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This summer marks the 100-year anniversary of painter Paul Gauguin's death. A passionate traveler, Gauguin left his native France and made his home in the remote South Pacific island of Hiva Oa. His most famous works reflect his love affair with that part of French Polynesia. Expansive strokes of colors and captivating portraits of the sturdy Tahitian natives make his paintings beautiful. But our reporter Judy Fein went down to Gauguin's island paradise to the celebration and found out that the man's life was darker than his art.

Online resources
Click here to learn more about traveling to French Polynesia

Click here to search for other stories by Judith Fein
Click here to visit Judith's Web site

Experiencing Nine Night in Belize by Hal Humphreys

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Hal Humphrey and his wife's annual trips to Belize always net them friends and amazing experiences. While we usually associate Belize with Mayan culture, Hal discovered another native people there, rich with their own history and daily customs. Hal let his Southern gentleman style go by the wayside when he heard the drums of the Garifuna. While there, he was invited to the Nine Night, a Caribbean-style wake. At the wake, he bid farewell to his grandfather and a Belizian friend, both who had died recently, in a way befitting fellow adventurers.

Online resources

Click here to search for other stories by Hal Humphreys

22 Hours in Iran by Anne Marie Ruff

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For Anne Marie Ruff, the more exotic, the more unfamiliar, the better the travel experience. She's living over in Abu Dhabi at the moment. Recently, she took a short trip from there to Qeshm Island, the biggest island off the coast of Iran, to find out why foreigners have been pouring into Qeshm, on several flights a day, for just one reason. They're giving rise to a whole new travel industry. Annie Marie makes a visa run in Iran to renew her passport and continue traveling.

Click here to search for other stories by Anne Marie Ruff

Holiday from Hell by Martin Stott

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While we all dream of idyllic vacations where everything turns out perfectly, the truth is, we come home with more amusing stories when things go awry. Hopefully, for most of us, the vacation is worth it -- but every once in a while, we all suffer what the Brits call the "holiday from hell." Martin Stott has just returned from his in Cornwall, England. It was supposed to be a relaxing week away from home with the family, but let's just say, the day of the trip started with someone rear-ending his wife's car -- and it didn't get much better from there.

Info. and pictures of Cornwall, England

Traveling with kids?
Click here to learn more about traveling with children, and take our Kidz Kwiz

Click here to search for other stories by Martin Stott

Rustic Summer Camp Memories by Louise Rafkin

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As we've been covering stories that highlight interesting summer trips, contributor Louise Rafkin chimes in with a summer vacation that starts close to home. But she's not like most travellers: she's bored silly spending a week on a secluded beach. She prefers being slightly more active. Louise shares her fond memories of spending each August at a working ranch camp in California's dry and dusty Sierra Foothills. From age seven through 17, she spent the month doing rustic chores, brushing her teeth at open-air spigots and sleeping outside -- and she wouldn't have had it any other way. For her, the friendships made everything worthwhile.

Online resources
www.acacamps.org: American Camping Association - find a summer camp near you
www.LouiseRafkin.com: To hear more of Louise Rafkin's stories

Click here to search for other stories by Louise Rafkin

Speaking in Clicks by Larry Massett

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Even if you don't have a great ear for languages, French, Spanish, German and Italian have some semblances of familiarity. But what if you wanted to pick up a language without any Latin roots? There, you might be duly intimidated. Larry Massett tells us how he fared with a language in which most Americans couldn't even say "hello."

Click here to search for other stories by Larry Massett

Making Travel Resolutions You Can't Keep by Mary-Lou Weisman

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We've all made travel resolutions while sitting in our airline seats, coming back from an influential trip, right? Sure. After spending time in Paris, we tell ourselves we'll take French language classes; after hiking in Nepal we entertain thoughts of becoming a part-time Sherpa. Something like that. Contributor Mary Lou Weisman knows this firsthand. She says the condition lasts about a week after our return, usually not long enough for us to quit our jobs or get any further than writing away for graduate school catalogues. But she has noticed that, as she gets older, she's making more modest resolutions.

Related media
"Traveling While Married" by Mary-Lou Weisman is available at Amazon.com. Your purchase helps support The Savvy Traveler.

"James Dean Died Here" Interview with author Chris Epting

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Ever wanted to know precisely where Marilyn Monroe stood when her white dress billowed up over that subway grating? Well, from the spot where Christopher Columbus landed to where the Brady Bunch lived to where Bigfoot walked, author Chris Epting shares some pop cultural attractions and "historical" sites that you can visit on your next road trip. Savvy Traveler host Diana Nyad talks to Chris about how got into his journey to document famous American landmarks in his book "James Dean Died Here: The Locations of America's Pop Culture Landmarks."

Online resource
"James Dean Died Here: The Locations of America's Pop Culture Landmarks" by Chris Epting is available at Amazon.com. Your purchase helps support The Savvy Traveler.
www.chrisepting.com: Epting's Web site

Sound Travels Singing Frogs of the Pantanal

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We like to end the show each week with some collected sounds that instantly get us "traveling," with just our ears as our guide. This week, Tom Lopez takes us on a trip to the wilds of Brazil. While there, he recorded the singing frogs of the Pantanal.

For more information about the Pantanal region of Brazil

Recent Sound Travels
Climax Golden Twins
"The Palio, Siena, Italy"
"Mongul Music"
"Summer in New York"
"Summer in Los Angeles"
"Summer in Seattle"
"Summer in Chicago"
"Summer in San Francisco"
Click here to search for all "Sound Travels"

Deal of the Week Athens in the Off-Season

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Our Travel-Expert-in-Residence, Rudy Maxa, says that with fall fast approaching, most of the summer tourists are starting to clear out of Europe -- and that's why there are great off-season bargains in Athens, Greece.

THE DEAL? If you go to Athens now, you'll notice how crowded it can be in August -- and how empty and magical it can be when you visit in the dead of winter, for example.

That's why a tour company called Friendly Planet has put together some nice packages for travel on certain dates to Athens from November through March. By then, the heat will have subsided and the crowds will have retreated.

To get the very lowest prices, you'll have to hurry and book by Sunday, Aug. 31st. But even if you wait until next week to make firm plans, you'll still get a nice bargain.

DETAILS? You'll get roundtrip airfare from New York aboard Swiss (Air), 5 nights in a deluxe hotel overlooking the Acropolis, plus breakfasts and 4 full days to explore the sites of Athens...for only $699 per person, based on two people traveling together.

After Sunday, the price goes up by $200 per person -- but even that is a sweet deal.

WANT MORE? Add three extra days to your itinerary and get some guided tours as well as visits to outlying sights, including Delphi, for another $349.

And, you'll find some add-on fares for departures from other cities, such as $60 from DC, $100 from Chicago and Miami, and $150 from Los Angeles. Taxes will add about another $135 per person.

Deal Info.
Friendly Planet: 800-555-5765, or www.friendlyplanet.com

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