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Rundown for the Week of September 26, 2003

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Learning to Hang Ten on the North Shore by Scott Carrier

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Ever been so intrigued by the surfing mystique that you thought seriously about traveling to Hawaii to learn how to shoot the curl in the iridescent blue and green waves and be part of that "Endless Summer?" Well, reporter Scott Carrier did. Problem was, the surf school he chose online wasn't exactly what he was expecting. When he got to Hawaii's North Shore, the only surfboard they had for him to use was a windsurfing board with a very sandpapery top. Regardless, he made the best of a bad situation and had a great time learning to surf by making friends with his a full-blooded, rough-hewn Hawaiian teacher. So, he learned many things over the week, such as: Hawaiians don't listen to surf-guitar music like we think they do, Hawaiians are desperately trying to hold on to our Hawaiianess, and surfing is actually a state of mind.

Additional support for this piece comes from the public radio Web site HearingVoices.com.

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Interview with surf instructor Suzy Stewart: Want to find a surf school in Hawaii, but you're not sure where to start? We did. That's why we called up Suzy Stewart from the Sunset Suzy's Surf School in Oahu, on the Holy Grail for surfers, the North Shore. This veteran surfer and surf instructor gave us some great advice on how to find a school -- and what to look out for.

Some tips from Suzy:

  • Be wary of signing up with just any surf school you find on the Internet. To narrow your search online, decide what island you'd like to go to and what side of the island.
  • Ask the surf school about their ocean safety knowledge and whether their instructors are certified in lifeguarding skills. Safety is very important.
  • Then, call the Department of Natural Land and Resources (DNLR), in Honolulu: Ask the DNLR's Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation to find out what schools have all the necessary safety permits: (808) 587-1973.
  • Web sites that relate to Suzy's interview
    Sunset Suzy's Surf School: www.sunsetsuzy.com
    Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation: www.hawaii.gov
    Department of Natural Land and Resources main site: www.hawaii.gov

    Web resources for surf schools and surfing in Hawaii
    Boardfolio (links to surf schools in Hawaii, worldwide): www.boardfolio.com
    Surfer's directory of schools: www.isurfing.com
    Fur Cat Surfboards surf directory: www.furcat.com
    Surf Network.com: www.surf-news.com
    Hawaii surf conditions, on Channel One Hawaii: www.ch1hawaii.com
    Daily Hawaii surf report: www.hawaii.edu
    Guide to surfing the North Shore, on Aloha.com: www.aloha-hawaii.com
    or www.aloha.com/
    North Shore Lifeguard Association: www.lifeguard.org
    Oahu's Visitors Bureau, surf page: www.visit-oahu.com

    Click here to search for other stories by Scott Carrier

    Interlaken's Theme Park to the Stars by Paul French

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    Switzerland's new, and only, theme park in Interlaken is no ordinary park by any measure. It's based on the rather creative book "Chariots of the Gods" by Erich von Daniken. Contributor Paul French went there and discovered that the Swiss are a bit different from their European neighbors

    Web resources
    www.chariotsofthegods.com: "Chariots of the Gods" television series Web site
    www.mysterypark.ch: Mystery Park Web site
    www.daniken.com: Erich Van Däniken Web site

    Click here to search for other stories by Paul French

    "The Art of Travel" An Interview with author Alain de Botton

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    Host Diana Nyad talks with Alain de Botton, author of the book "The Art of Travel." The book is a series of stories about writers and artists who were travelers, such as Van Gogh. And, with each story, a deeper theme about travel is evoked -- such as the thrill of traveling through your imagination.

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    Van Gogh's on the Road Inspired by "the Art of Travel," host Diana Nyad reads an excerpt from Vincent Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo. Van Gogh's painterly description of life in Petit-Wasmes, Belgium circa 1878 lets us see the scene through the eyes of a traveler... who also happened to be one of the greatest artists in history.

    Online resources
    "The Art of Travel" by Alain de Botton is available on Amazon.com. Your purchase helps support The Savvy Traveler.

    Travel Behind the Scenes The Housekeepers' Point of View

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    We like to travel behind the scenes here on The Savvy Traveler. Instead of hearing from travelers themselves, we find people who deal with travelers day in and day out. This week, contributor Jake Warga introduces us to the real eyes and ears of the hotels of America: the housekeeping staff.

    Additional support for this piece comes from the public radio Web site HearingVoices.com.

    A special note
    The Society of Professional Journalists has presented a National Mark of Excellence Award in Radio Feature Reporting to contributor Jake Warga for his "Home from Africa" story. Congratulations Jake!

    Other "Travels Behind the Scenes"
    "A Hitchhiker's Tale": August 22, 2003
    "New York: Grand Central Shoe Shine": July 25, 2003
    "Lost and Found Department, Disneyland, Anaheim, Calif.": June 13, 2003
    "Adolphus Onyiante, ground operations coordinator, jetBlue Airlines, JFK": May 23, 2003
    "Fred Christina, former waiter at New York's Plaza Hotel": April 25, 2003

    Sound Travels The sounds of work in Timbuktu

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    Sound Travels, where we listen to sounds and travel the world, takes us to Timbuktu. Want a tip for how to really get into a local culture when you travel? Go to where people work. Anastasia Tsioulcas did this in Timbuktu, where she met some women working grinding millet and rice. She found that work has a definite rhythm in Africa.

    Recent Sound Travels
    "St. Lazarus Day," Bahia, Brazil
    "Speaker's Corner," Sydney, Australia
    "Singing Frogs of the Pantanal"
    "Climax Golden Twins"
    "The Palio, Siena, Italy"
    "Mongul Music"
    "Summer in New York"
    "Summer in Los Angeles"
    "Summer in Seattle"
    Click here to search for all "Sound Travels"

    Traveler's Aid Stupid Travel Mistakes...we make

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    It goes without saying that if you travel, every now and again, you're going to run into a snafu: a cancelled flight, a problem with a hotel room, a security delay. These are all problems out of our control. But sometimes, we're the source of the problem -- we've performed a "Stupid Traveler Trick." Chris Elliott, our travel troubleshooter, gives us a lost of the "Five Most Common Stupid Traveler Tricks."

    1. Not paying attention to names/dates when you book an airline ticket or hotel room.
    2. Not getting to the airport with enough time to go through security and/or check in.
    3. Checking in luggage that's fragile or valuable.
    4. Not having insurance when you rent a car.
    5. Not knowing what to ask for when something goes wrong (ie. people ask for free first-class tickets if their meal choice isn't available).
    Online resources:
    www.elliott.org: Christopher Elliott's Web site

    Deal of the Week Icelandair to Europe

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    Our Travel-Expert-in-Residence, Rudy Maxa, has some prime deals to major European destinations from many cities over "The Pond" on Icelandair. So, shake your booty over to the "winter Ibiza" (Iceland) or seek out bargains on the airline's October airfare sale to Europe.

    DEAL: From Sep. 29 through Oct. 31, you can fly Icelandair from New York, Baltimore, Boston, Orlando and Minneapolis/St. Paul at fares beginning as low as $236 to London, plus another $100 in taxes and fees. The sale also includes flights to such cities as Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and the Scandinavian capitals.

    The highest fares, as you might imagine, are out of the Twin Cities and Orlando, but even they top off at $420, plus taxes and fees, for the most expensive destinations such as Oslo and Copenhagen. As always, the cheapest ticket is to London.

    One downside to Icelandair: You have to stop in Reykjavik, both ways. But if you want to spend a night or so in the beautiful party town of Reykjavik, Icelandair has very special deals that make it easy.

    Hey, do you only want to go to Reykjavik? The airline offers "Viking party weekends," for example, starting at $515, including round-trip airfare, three nights at a hotel and lots of extras.

    You have to stay over a Saturday night, and you can't stay longer than 30 days. Most importantly, you must book by Sept. 30th at noon EDT.

    Web resources
    For information on the October airfare sale to Europe or to view details on Iceland party weekends, click on www.icelandair.com www.icelandair.com.

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