Travelers' Intercom

The main plaza in Sibiu, Romania. Photos by Kitty Chen Dean

A Balkan tour that we took in September 2018 covered several countries, each one fascinating in its own way, but our final 3-day stop in Romania had a personal dimension: a quest to find authentic pastrami, said to have started in Romania as “pastrama.”

History tells us that when Romanian Jews fled repression in the 19th and early 20th centuries, they brought little more than traditions with them, one of which was the age-old method of preserving meat with a brine...


I was in India with a group on a surgical mission in May 2019. We would catch a flight from New Delhi’s airport at 3 a.m., meanwhile we were dropped off at Connaught Place to shop and then to eat dinner at the Punjab Grill (, located across the street from lots of tourist shops and a big open area with stands and shops.

To reach the restaurant, we had to cross a road with a median strip. Five of us began crossing the street, weaving in between vehicles, and I...


Before we left Ushuaia, Argentina, for our expedition-ship cruise to Antarctica in December 2018, our guide Sebastian held a meeting with our group of 23. By that time, he had already made this trip many times, but he shared an experience with us that had occurred on his first trip.

The first night on the ship, his phone rang at 3 a.m. Reception said he needed to come deal with one of his tour group who was demanding they call for a taxi.

When he arrived, he found a woman...

Marlene Snedaker and a ranger in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Photo by Umar Kalule (driver)

I spent two weeks in Uganda in February 2018 — my fifth trip to Africa — traveling with Explore! (Oakland, CA; 800/715-1746, They’re based in England. This was my sixth, and best, trip with them!

Excluding international airfare and travel insurance, I paid $5,130 for the 11-day/10-night “Gorilla & Chimp Safari.” (Even though I was traveling solo, my lodging was twin share to save money.) Full medical and travel...


For a trip to Mexico City with my wife, Arlene, Feb. 17-25, 2019, I reserved a car online with Hertz ( in January. I was given a total cost of $192, which would equal MXN3,694.

However, when we went to pick up the car, the price we were charged was MXN5,490 ($285, according to my credit card statement), or 48% more, even though I had with me the original receipt with the price I had been given at booking. On my part, there was no informed consent that the price in Mexico...

A gorilla photobombing Brenda and George Milum in Rwanda.

Following a 6-day tour to Ethiopia in November 2018, my husband, George, and I headed to Uganda and Rwanda, where we had arranged gorilla trekking through ITN advertiser Fish Eagle Safaris (Houston, TX; 800/513-5222,

Our “gorilla day” in Uganda was a bit of a letdown. First, it was a long, grueling hike up to the gorillas. I was fine because I had paid extra to be carried up on a stretcher, but George could not be talked into being...

Kalasha women wear elaborate dresses like these daily — Chitrāl district, northern Pakistan. Photos by Linda Huetinck

Three of us, all over age 80, took a fabulous private tour of Pakistan with Hunza Explorers (Village Ghulkin, P.O. & Tehsil Gulmit Gojal Upper Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan; phone +92 333 5 626529, My friends each paid $4,390 per person, double occupancy, which included all meals. I paid that plus a single supplement of $335.

We had contacted the company owner, Karim Tajik, and, after quite a few emails, agreed on an itinerary. He always...


As I began preparing for an 80-day cruise around South America that was scheduled to start on Jan. 4, 2019, I became interested in what would happen to my remains should I not succeed in finishing the journey. (86 at the time, I turned 87 this May.)

Where would my cadaver go? Who would pay to ship it home or for cremation? What problems would there be for my children, since I have no significant other?

My research soon advised me that Holland America Line, or HAL (855/932-1711...