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Rundown for the Week of October 31, 2003

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Traveling the World in the U.S.

This week, we're traveling the world -- without ever leaving the U.S. America is called the "Melting Pot" of the world, which means we have plenty of exciting ethnic communities to visit nearby. These ethnic groups are the majority in 25 of our big cities. So, we're going to Russia by way of upstate New York and Vietnam by way of Alabama. And since the best way into a foreign culture is through the food, Jonathan Gold takes us into little enclaves, where he has found some real tasty experiences.

Web resources: Click here to discover other ethnic communities in the U.S.

photo: S. Featherstone
Vietnam in Alabama
reporter: Steve Featherstone
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If you want a true Southeast Asian experience, contributor Steve Featherstone says you need to go no further than Bayou La Batre, Ala. The fishing community west of Mobile is home to thousands of refugees from Southeast Asia who have settled along the Gulf of Mexico since the Vietnam War ended.

Web resources
www.mobileinternationalfestival.org: Mobile International Festival
www.chuavietnam.com: Find a Vietnamese Buddhist temple anywhere in the world. Search by monk, country or state.
http://iias.leidenuniv.nl: Southeast Asian studies from Leiden University has comprehensive database of links to other sites.
Click here for other stories by Steve Featherstone

photo: R. Dornhelm
KSP in the USA
reporter: Rachel Dornhelm
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There's a gathering in upstate New York every summer where over 2,000 people with Russian roots perform original songs and poetry. It's called a KSP event, which in Russian means "The Club of Do-It-Yourself Songs." Reporter Rachel Dornhelm traveled to the New York, to the largest KSP event in the U.S.

Web resources
http://kspus.org: Festival Web site (in Russian)
Click here for other stories by Rachel Dornhelm

A Guide to the Best Places to Eat in the USA
a chat with food critic Jonathan Gold
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Jonathan Gold, senior correspondent for "Gourmet Magazine" and a food writer for the "LA Weekly," has traveled and eaten his way all over the world. Jonathan guides us to the best of the world's cuisine in our own backyard. He says skip the tourist traps -- and head out to the suburbs.

Web resources
Jonathan Gold is a senior editor for "Gourmet" magazine and writes a food column for the "LA Weekly." His book Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles is available at Amazon.com. You purchase helps support The Savvy Traveler.
Listen to the full interview with Jonathan Gold: He has some great suggestions for the best ethnic restaurants in the U.S. -- in addition to the ones you just heard.

Click here to find out more about the places Jonathan mentioned for exceptional ethnic cuisine.

Web resources: Click here for info. on interesting ethnic communities and food in the U.S.

photo: T. Jarrell
Travel to the Bottom of the Earth: The Falkland Islands
reporter: Todd Jarrell

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We're about to embark on some less-cushy travel: Reporter Todd Jarrell takes us to the remote Falkland Islands, near the Antarctic. This little-visited island group has just one town, nearly one million sheep, abundant penguin nests and sad remnants of the '82 Falklands War scattered along its beaches and hills.

Web resource: Click here to search for other stories by Todd Jarrell

Eric Clapton of the Oud: Anouar Brahem

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Anouar Brahem is a master player of the ancient Arabic instrument the oud. Since Anouar is Tunisian, he grew up with many different influences that have come to that country because of its location. The Arab and Asian sensibilities of Turkey and India affect the music he writes. There are jazz touches from the European/Mediterranean countries close by, and the Maghreb influence of Morocco and N. Africa floats in as African rhythms drive the songs. Host Diana Nyad talks with Anouar and we hear the beautiful music of the oud.

Web resource: This story previously aired on October 4, 2002. Click here to listen to the original broadcast.

The Knee Defender
interview with inventor Ira Goldman and mediator Lance Widman

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Flying in coach isn't always comfortable, and sitting behind someone who reclines can make it downright hellish -- but not any more. A new device called the Knee Defender prevents the seat in front of you from reclining, which raises some interesting questions about who owns what space on an airplane. Host Diana Nyad talks with the Knee Defender inventor, Ira Goldman. Then, Lance Widman, a certified mediator, tells us the best way to deal with a disagreement that a Knee Defender might cause.

Web resource: www.kneedefender.com

Sound Travels
The Carillons of Holland and Belgium

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Sound Travels, where we listen to a simple sound and travel the world, takes us to Holland. Belgium and Holland have the greatest concentration of carillons in the world. They're like giant pipe organs, only with bells ranging in tone and weight, instead of pipes. Jeff Lunden recorded a carillon as he was biking through Willemstad, Holland. Every day, right at noon, the carillon sings its distinctive tune.

Web resource: Click here for more "Sound Travels"

Fix My Trip
Costly Call from Costa Rica

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Staying in a hotel anytime soon? Here are two money-saving tips: 1) Don't look in the minibar; 2) Hotel phones: pretend they're land mines and avoid them at all costs. Listener Ian Rosenfeldt in Toronto found that out the hard way. What happened?

During a recent trip to Costa Rica, Ian called a friend to wish her "Happy birthday." He used his credit card and one of those "international long distance" phones you find in hotel lobbies. What Ian didn't expect was to be charged $190 -- that includes $43 for each of three times the line didn't connect and $61 for the one time it did. Was Ian robbed?

Good thing it's time for "Fix My Trip," where we help people fix travel snafus. We asked our Travel Troubleshooter, Chris Elliott, to see if he could get Ian back some of his cash. And, Chris tells us the best way to phone home from abroad.

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
Toronto, Anyone? How About Istanbul? Or, Business Class, Cheap?

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Since deals are popping up like flowers in the springtime, our dealmeister Rudy Maxa is back with three incredible ways to get the heck out of Dodge: the "Time for a Little Toronto" entertainment package, an amazing all-inclusive bargain in Istanbul, and a Web-only special: low Northwest Airlines Thanksgiving rates on business-class tickets.

Click here for details and link information

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