Report Cards

From BUJUMBURA, Burundi, July 17, 2007. . .

• 16-day trip “Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi” with Advantage Travel (Poway, CA; 800/882-2098 or e-mail — great trip!

Did a forest walk with a young chimp on my back in Uganda. This was on an island in Lake Victoria, and only those who stay overnight get to come in contact with the chimps; day visitors can watch them being fed. You need to get shots in advance, too. We stayed in plush tents.

Saw lots of gorillas in Rwanda. For the trip to see the mountain gorillas, bring warm clothes, especially at the hotel. And a flashlight.

We added the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They don’t know till arriving if you can visit. Plus our visa costs, five of us split the cost of $200 for a vehicle and $100 for a guide, paying in cash. We visited Goma, one of the “lava villages,” where, after a volcanic eruption covered everything, locals have made use of the lava for building foundations, fences, roads….

Everything’s black.

Also attended a terrific drummer show in Burundi. The drums that they pound are on their heads. There were more kids watching than tourists.

Including air from Washington, D.C., this trip cost about $6,000 plus the options.

— Neal Pollock, Arlington, VA

From LONDON, England, May 4, 2007. . .

Luna & Simone Hotel (47/49 Belgrave Rd., City of Westminster, London, SW1 2BB, U.K.; phone +44 20 7834 5897, fax 7828 2474, — in the Victoria neighborhood, between the Victoria and Pimlico underground stations.

I stayed one night at this delightful, family-run hotel.

The bathroom was new, our room was quiet and it was a good value. £80 (near $160) per night for a double room with private bath and English breakfast.

There are many excellent eateries in the neighborhood, including pubs, ethnic restaurants and a reasonably priced seafood restaurant.

— Amy MacNaughton, Edmonds, WA