I would like to share with you excerpts of a letter I received from Mahmood Poonja of Bestway Tours & Safaris. Commenting on the message I was trying to relate in last month's "Boarding Pass," he wrote, "We all need, to do our share to try to bring sanity and also help in reducing the anxiety in life that has evolved from the tragic events of September 11 and the fallout following, that. Your editorial does just that.
"In my travel experiences, the one thing that I have learnt is that there is a lot of diversity in culture, religion, food, language, dressing, ideas and history amongst people of different countries. It is this diversity that is the strength for all of us and is the human society's best and strongest asset. Travel is probably the best way to understand and gain from this asset.
"It is people like the readers of ITN who, having had the benefit of this exposure, should take the lead in explaining this to the unfortunate ones who have not had as much travel experience."
A letter we received recently from Kathleen Fung, President of Far Fung Places, begins, "I have just returned from leading a 30-day trip to Central Asia, Sept. 1-Oct. 1. Our group of mostly Americans was in Hunza, Pakistan, in northern' Pakistan when we learned of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. .. I would like to acknowledge those who worked diligently to help Americans return to the USA during this period."
Advised by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad to continue over the Khunjerab Pass to Kashgar China, Kathleen gave details of their movements, including, "When we arrived in Kashgar, Ms. Anna Song of Sitara Travel, our ground agent in Pakistan -- who was 6 1/2 months pregnant -- worked around the clock to make travel arrangements for two clients who decided to return to the USA. Despite the sold-out fights, and long waiting lists. .. Anna used her guan xi (personal relationships with those in key positions) and got my two clients reservations to Narita, Japan. Her efforts included a midnight dash to the airport to purchase the domestic tickets Kashgar-Urumchi-Beijing, just to be sure that my clients would have seats on the various flights.
"The rest of our group of 14, knowing that we couldn't leave China anytime soon, decided to continue into Kyrgyzstan. . . Raisa Garevya of Salom Travel (Sarrafon Street, Building 5, Bukhara, Uzbekistan; phone 998 65 224 41 48 or fax 998 65 224 42 59) handled' our group from Kyrgyzstan into Uzbekistan and finally to Turkmenistan. Her support team from Bishkek to Ashghabat, which included guides, drivers, office staff and a network of local families, made sure that we were well looked after. She communicated regularly with U.S. Embassies in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Through her subagent's effort's in Bishkek, we were able to attend a general security briefing for all Americans given by Ambassador O'Keefe in Bishkek, Sept. 18.
"Despite the stress of many group cancellations, Raisa handled everything in stride, always remaining calm and accommodating, enhancing our itinerary with visits with local families. These visits served to establish the warmth and support of the Moslem communities from Kyrgyzstan to Turkmenistan. At each home, our host and hostess greeted our group with condolences and condemned the acts of terrorism against Americans, asking that we not judge all Moslems by a few."
In last month's issue, ITN Publisher Armond Noble described his experiences in India, including a day in Jaipur when he felt so ill that he had to visit the doctor, likely from being dehydrated.
For those of you who are physicians -- and we know that a high number of doctors read ITN -- we thought you would appreciate some shop talk. For his condition, Armond was administered an IV with 100ml each of Metronidazole and Ciprofloxacin. There was an injection of Taxim, and he was also given pills of Nimesulide, Imodium, Cisapride and Tinidazole.
As he wrote in his article, the next morning he "was up and raring to go.
On this visit to India, Armond was a guest of Amtour Vacations, a susidiary of Big Five Tours & Expeditions. Big Five, incidentally, donated $10,000 to the American Red Cross to help out with the World Trade Center relief effort. We were not informed of this by Big Five but found out through another source.
Well, it's been eight years since ITN last printed a list of addresses of foreign tourist offices in the U.S., and several of our readers have continued to request that we bring that annual feature back.
Good news! The Tourist Office Directory will appear once again -- in the January issue, as before -- the list improved with the addition of pertinent websites. (Who had even heard of the word "modem" eight years ago?) This will help you in your research for your next trip.
Also coming up next month will be another of Contributing Editor Wayne Wirtanen's revealing articles on travel insurance. In the June '01 issue he wrote about trip-cancellation/interruption coverage in relation to State Department travel warnings. This time he will discuss the insurance industry's policies on travel coverage for trips overseas when acts of terrorism take place in the States.
Wayne mentions that some insurance companies are making special provisions in regard to this situation, waiving certain conditions and also adding conditions regarding terrorism. If you have immediate concerns on this issue, he suggests you call your insurance company's 800 number and ask about them.
It is with a heavy heart now that I must report to you. Our longtime Contributing Editor Lloyd McCune passed away on October 2nd, a few weeks short of his 78th birthday.
Lloyd has been writing for ITN for over 20 years. A letter of his first appeared in the magazine in July 1979, followed by letters with travel advice in almost every issue until July 1989, when we made him an ITN Contributing Editor and his monthly column "European Potpourri" began. He was tireless in his writings and approached countless tourist offices to keep the information coming for his readers.
We were informed of Lloyd's death by a good friend of his, Dr. Franz Rader of Vienna, who wrote that Lloyd, having tripped and broken a small bone in his foot a few months ago, had "entered an old-age home with nursing facilities in the attractive residential town of Klosterneuburg, eight miles north of Vienna. On Sept. 30 he fell again," Dr. Rader, continued, "fainting before or immediately afterwards, then was taken to the intensive care ward of the renowned municipal hospital., I visited him there on his last day; he had retained his usual cheerful, and sociable temper. There was no indication of his early demise. This came at night with a massive attack of pulmonary thrombosis."
Lloyd had recently submitted for his column a piece that was different than usual, one that was not full of travel information but, rather, told a bit about himself and what life was like for some, years ago, in Paris. He said that he was sure many of our readers could relate to his experiences and would enjoy looking back to a simpler time on the Continent, so we are printing it in this issue.
We will miss him.
-- David Tykol, Editor
COPYRIGHT 2001 Martin Publications, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group