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Rundown for the Week of January 23, 2004

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Destination of the Week: South Pacific

This week we're sailing the vast waters of the South Pacific. Groups of islands virtually crowd that entire expanse of ocean south from Japan and east from Indonesia and New Zealand. So, we're checking out good-natured, Fiji, reliving the swashbuckling times of a famous adventurer, and getting the skinny on traveling to the islands.

Web resource: Browse Web sites about traveling to, and within, the South Pacific

Photo: D. Ritter
Fijian Good Works
by Judith Ritter
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In Fiji, white-haired, grandfatherly Richard Evanson runs an inn -- and his inn is an island. This island-owner and innkeeper makes it his mission to contribute to the local community. Reporter Judith Ritter visited Richard's very exclusive and tiny resort, Turtle Island, to see how he's making life better for many people.

Captain James Cook's adventures
an interview with Tony Horwitz
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Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Horwitz threw himself into the adventures of Captain James Cook, the English sailor who mapped out a third of the world in the mid-1700s. Cook was the first Westerner to most of the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and Alaska. Tony's book "Blue Latitudes" brings to life the wild times of Captain Cook.

Web resources Tony's book "Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before" is available at Amazon.com. Your purchase helps support The Savvy Traveler.
Browse Web sites about traveling to, and within, the South Pacific

How to navigate the Southern latitudes
an interview with Don George
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Well, it's time to pack your bags and head down to the South Pacific. But where do you start? Host Diana Nyad talks with Don George, the global travel editor for the "Lonely Planet Guides." Don says it's a popular misconception that the islands are prohibitively expensive and tells us how to get there and soak in the riches while island-hopping.

Savvy resource: Browse Web sites about traveling to, and within, the South Pacific

Going back to China for the first time
an interview with Amy Tan

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Host Diana Nyad talks with best-selling author Amy Tan about traveling to China as a Chinese-American. Part of the story of Amy's newest book, "The Opposite of Fate," is about a trip Amy took to China, the country of her heritage. Even though she is thoroughly Western, she believed that her Chinese genes would take over once she stepped onto Chinese soil. Amy discovered she was a bit mistaken on that front.

Web resources:
Amy's latest book "The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings" is available at Amazon.com. Your purchase helps support The Savvy Traveler.
Amy sings in a rock band with fellow authors such as Stephen King, Dave Barry and Scott Turow. Check out the band at: www.rockbottomremainders.com.

My Greek Salad Days
by Hank Rosenfeld

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Reporter Hank Rosenfeld writes in a style that reminds us a bit of the LA detective noir writers Raymond Chandler and Elmore Leonard: short, well-turned phrases, sudden turns of events, and wry humor at what would seem to be the most dramatic moments. This week, Hank takes us to Athens, where he's arrested for, as he says, "robbing the National Bank of Greece."

Savvy resource: More stories by Hank Rosenfeld

Travel Behind the Scenes
New York: Grand Central Shoe Shine

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In our "Travel Behind the Scenes" series, we talk to people who work around travelers every day. This week, producer Jamie York brings us someone who shines shoes in Grand Central Station in New York. More than half a million commuters pass through the hall of Grand Central daily -- so, Kevin Tucker has heard a lot of travelers' tales in his day.

Savvy resource: More Travel Behind the Scenes

Sound Travels
Mongol Music

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Sound Travels takes us to Mongolia this week, where two instruments dominate the music: the "Horse Fiddle" and the distinctive, polyphonic throat-signing. Throat-singing is an ancient technique symbolically connecting the earthly and spiritual realms: The base frequency represents humankind trapped on earth; the higher notes are our struggle to reach the spirit world. Throat-singer Nergui Ashiid was recorded by Jack Chance in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Savvy resource: More "Sound Travels" segments

Traveler's Aid
Biggest Complaints

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While we normally talk to an expert about how to make traveling easier or cheaper, this week, we're going to whine about aspects of travel we hate. Troubleshooter Christopher Elliott recently conducted a survey to find out what people find most frustrating about travel, and he came up with a list of the top four things that drive us mad.

Web resource: Browse a list of Web sites to complain online

Deal of the Week
Sunshine on Sale

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Our Travel-Expert-in-Residence, Rudy Maxa, calls in from, Koh Samet, an island southeast of Bangkok, with bargains a little closer to home: some an amazing deal at Hyatt Resorts in the U.S. and Caribbean.

At Hyatt Resorts in the U.S. and Caribbean, stay as little as two nights and get a third night free. Plus, you get up to $200 in flight credits that you can use on any airline through April of 2005, with no blackout dates. This offer is good on rooms through May 31st.

There are some advance purchase requirements -- 14 days, to be exact -- and you have to book your flight by Oct. 31st of this year to take advantage of the airline credit.

Some Hyatt may require more than two nights to get the free night, but you still get the airfare credit.

Web resources:
Hotel Web site: www.hyatt.com; Phone: (800) 55-HYATT
Link to the "Sunshine on Sale" promotion: www.hyatt.com/corporate/hyattpalooza

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