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Rundown for the Week of February 6, 2004

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This Week: Southeast Asia

One area of the world very high on American travelers' lists is Southeast Asia. We've been intrigued by movies, TV and literature depicting that part of the world for decades. So this week, we're learning about how the area has changed to a hotspot for tourism, how locals view foreign travelers in Vietnam, and we're tasting local creepy-crawly delicacies in Thailand.

Tony and Maureen Wheeler
An Overview of Southeast Asia
interview with Tony Wheeler
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Tony Wheeler co-founded Lonely Planet with his wife Maureen in 1973. While this year marks the 30th anniversary of their first guide, it was their second book, "Southeast Asia on a Shoestring," that became one of the most popular guidebooks ever published. It also became one of the forces that helped turn Southeast Asia into a destination. Host Diana Nyad talks with Tony about how Southeast Asia has changed from war zone to tourist hotspot.

Web resources
www.lonelyplanet.com: Lonely Planet Web site
"Southeast Asia on a Shoestring" is available at Amazon.com. Your purchase helps support The Savvy Traveler.

book cover
Vietnam Beach
by Karin Muller
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If you want to know what people in a foreign country think of the different nationalities of travelers, don't ask the politicians or the media -- go to the hands-on workers who get closest to the travelers. Contributor Karin Muller got plenty of insights when she was in Vietnam by listening to the people who give massage. Karin reads one of the essays from her book "Hitchhiking Vietnam."

Savvy resources
"Vietnam Beach" originally aired August 8, 2002. Search for more stories by Karin Muller
Karin's book "Hitchhiking Vietnam" is available at Amazon.com. Your purchase helps support The Savvy Traveler.

Thai Bugs
by Judie Fein
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When people travel, they often seek out peak dining experiences: great restaurants in exotic locales. When our correspondent Judie Fein went to Thailand, she checked into a very tony spa on the island of Phuket. The hotel had gourmet restaurants, but Judie wanted to sample something off the menu -- some of the real local cuisine: Insects are both a delicacy and a source of nutrition in many Asian countries.

Savvy resources
"Thai Bugs" originally aired September 20, 2002. Search for more stories by Judie Fein

More Savvy Traveler stories in Southeast Asia
"The Love Market", aired on October 12, 2001
"The Graceland of Asia", aired on April 13, 2001
"Travels to Cambodia", aired on August 15, 1998

Communing with Jim Morrison's Spirit
by Barrett Golding

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Just as people travel from around the world to experience the mystique of Elvis at Graceland, fans travel to Paris, to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery, to visit the grave of Jim Morrison to connect with the rebellious spirit of The Doors' lead singer. Since 1997, professor Mark Neumann has been traveling to the Morrison tomb, recording hours of interviews of people who make this pilgrimage. In doing so, Mark has captured the ongoing mystique surrounding Morrison.

Web resources:
www.thedoors.com: The official Doors Web site, with a virtual tour of the grave
Search for more stories by Barrett Golding
(Additional support for Barrett Golding's story comes from
the Web site Hearing Voices and from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.)

Music with Bob Duskis
Champeta music and Peru's African legacy

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Bob Duskis, co-founder of Six Degrees Records in San Francisco, is our world music guide. This week, he joins us with sounds of the Latin-African fusion known as champeta music and from Peru Negro, rhythms from Peru's African legacy.

Click here for detailed info. about the music.

Music mentioned
group / album title / label

Various Artists "Champeta Criolla Volume 2" Palenque Records
Peru Negro "Jolgorio" Times Square Records

Available at the Public Music Radio Source. Your purchase helps support The Savvy Traveler.

Interested in other music you've heard on The Savvy Traveler?
Monthly Top 10 Picks by Savvy Producer Ben Adair
Previous Bob Duskis music segments

Sound Travels
Mystery Singer - Northern Vietnam

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This week, Aaron Zimm takes us to Northern Vietnam, far from the tourist beaches, where he recorded public address sounds on the streets. Neither Aaron nor his wife speaks Vietnamese, so they had no idea what the speaker voice was announcing -- nor what the woman was singing about. But the power of the voice and the music, recorded in a tiny village thousands of miles away, cuts through interpretation.

Savvy resource: More "Sound Travels"

Fix My Trip
The Case of the Crucial Paperwork

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On "Fix My Trip," we call on our Travel Troubleshooter, Christopher Elliott, to help people fix travel snafus. This week, we're dealing with a problem that can end a trip before it even starts: having the proper paperwork. Dana from Pennsylvania was stopped from boarding a plane on the way to a honeymoon trip in Mexico because she didn't have the right kind of birth certificate. Was she wronged by the airline gate agents? Chris looks into the situation.

Web resources
www.vitalrec.com: Locate the Bureau of Vital Statistics in your state
www.state.gov/travel: The U.S. Department of State's travel info. page
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
Student Fares = $avings

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Since our Dealmeister Rudy Maxa is snowed in his new hometown of St. Paul, Minn., he's wishing could take a spring break. But if you're lucky enough to be a student, you may not know that on three airlines there's still something called "student fares -- and the discounts are extraordinary.

They're called "X-fares," they're available to anyone between the ages of 18 and 22, and, yes, they are indeed standby fares. Usually, you'll pay $55 per flight segment, though to and from LA, San Francisco or Denver, the price is $75 per segment. These are available to most cities AirTran serves, except Grand Bahama Island. Since you can't reserve in advance, you go to the AirTran counter a maximum of two hours before a flight -- and take your chances.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are better than Fridays or Sundays, when many leisure flyers want to travel. Try the first flight of the day, as well. If you don't get on, you can get a refund or a standby for the next flight. Sample fares: LA to LaGuardia via Atlanta for $130; Baltimore to Ft. Lauderdale, $55; Dallas to Orlando, $55.

Now, Delta and American are not standby fares, and you can't buy these directly from the airlines. But Delta offers special deals to students and faculty members on its DC-NY-Boston shuttles. American does the same for its LA-SF-San Diego shuttles, but not many folks know about it. You buy your tickets in advance through Student Universe, a Web site you must join, though there's no fee for that. Then, you can fly between NY and Boston for $116 or between NY and DC for $119 on Delta. On the West Coast on American, you pay $119 between LA and San Francisco or $139 between San Francisco and San Diego, with a stop in LA. In some cases, those are savings of up to 50 percent.

Web resources:
For information on AirTrans X-fares, visit www.airtran.com
For details on student discounts on Delta's East Coast shuttles and American's West Coast shuttles, visit www.studentuniverse.com/register www.studentuniverse.com/register.

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