EH Notebook #104     June 16, 2002

Welcome to EH Notebook, the e-zine where e-friends who have
attended Elderhostel programs can compare notes.

There is an independent but cooperatively maintained index to old
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To subscribe to the e-mail publication and/or to submit reviews of
programs taken send an e-mail to the editor, Bob McAllester, at

Please keep all correspondence in simple e-mail text format.

     From the Editor's Notebook

This issue grew very suddenly when I inserted my China report.  I
think I left out some interesting things, but it got huge anyway.
So I am going to go ahead and send out this issue before Grace   I
leave for our loop through California and Oregon, visiting
children and grandchildren.

If all of you faithful Elderhostelers send in your reviews, I will
probably get another one out in early July.

There have been several people who have found out that their EH
Notebook hasn't been reaching them like it should.  I consulted
with my EarthLink support person and it seems that the batches
that I have been sending out were way too large.  Now, I will
reduce my batch size and hope that everyone on my list will get
his or her copy.  If you receive this one but suspect that you
have missed some, I suggest that you go to
http://members.aol.com/ehindex to view the missing issues.
If you can't or don't want to access the Internet, send me an
e-mail to request the missing copies.

I received a letter, which is neither a query nor a review but it
is special so I will include it in my editor's section.  It was
addressed to another Elderhosteler, but I was sent a copy.
Dorothy has granted me permission to share it with you.


Dorothy Daughtrey

I'm so glad your e-mail address is included in your Elderhostel
adventures.   I think I've done as many as you have and loved each
and every one--some were extremely rustic--not everyone's cup of
tea--but the programs were worth every and any inconvenience.
It's getting now that most programs offer very sophisticated
accommodation, but a mixture of a little hardship and a lot of
comfort is good for the soul.   Travel as often as you can--I
finally had to stop, am now 86 and the memories I have of
Australia, NZ, Assisi, Turkey, Greece with visits to the homes of
folks in Panorama, homestays in Mexico and France, college
accommodation in the UK, seeing the salmon spawn in Alberta,
Shakespeare in California, and most recently great courses in
Computers at Vermont Technical college and three in Quebec.
There were no digital cameras in those days, but I took fantastic
pictures with a throwaway on my 4-week Elderhostel to the Ukraine
at the time of Glasnost and Peristroika.  The programs in which I
enrolled  both in Australia and Russia were the initial
Elderhostel adventures of those particular years.   I am so
thankful that I can now travel this easy way and still with
Elderhostel, sharing all the wonderful times being had by all the
so very interested, enthusiastic and friendly people who know that
Elderhostel is the very best way to travel and learn and meet
people all over the world.  Even being without a partner I was
always welcomed the minute I arrived on any program--even having
barbs thrown at me within 15 minutes as though we were all old
friends already!   Such fun I have always had and enjoyed, kept in
touch with quite a number.   I guess I could say that Elderhostel
is definitely on a par with the excitement and friendships I
experienced while serving overseas during WW II with the Canadian
Red Cross.  And one day soon you may be able to see and hear about
the Canadians' war experiences on Canadian Letters and Images
Project--but that's another story, isn't it?
Best wishes,  Dorothy Daughtrey


Bob McAllester - editor

    Comments and Queries

From: "Leff, Susan"
Hello: I am the Director of EH programs in FL at Barry University.
I am always looking for "Elderhostel Regulars" interested in
hosting and or coordinating  our So. FL sites in the fall winter
and spring months. Please contact me sleff@mail.barry.edu


A friend and I will be attending the Northern Capitols in Spain in
September.  Has anyone been there that could give us a review?

Ethel Quant


I have been on 15 Elderhostels and enjoyed everyone.  I am looking
forward to my next in September at St. Simon Island, Ga.
Especially noteworthy ones have been at Eckert College in St.
Petersburg, and Stetson in Deland, Fl. I would like to hear from
other Elderhostelers recommendations.

Dorothy Hedin, Deltona, FL

    Program Reviews

     Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, PA
     Bishop's Ranch / Sonoma County, CA
     Aurora University, George Williams College, WI
     Yangtze River: Waterways   Landmarks of China


Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, PA

Joyce S. Cohrs

This is one of a number of combinations offered which include the
Barnes Foundation, one of the greatest private collections of
Impressionist art in the country.  Our program was May 5-10, 2002
and was coordinated by Ina Morrow who ran a tight ship leading to
a very successful experience.

Because of the extreme restrictions on the Barnes Foundation, the
program begins at noon on Sunday and continues until noon Friday.
The first visit is Sunday and the last on Friday morning (so plan
to be there well ahead of time and do not plan to leave early)
with all sorts of great lectures and other places to visit in
between.  Wednesday afternoon and evening were free so that you
could plan something special yourself or two optional tours (at
additional fee) were offered to the Wyeth Museum and Longwood
Gardens or to Winterthur Museum.  Our particular schedule offered
a visit to the Wharton Esherick studio (he was a sculptor in wood)
which was particularly interesting.  We also went to the Museum of
Fine Arts and the Rodin Museum as well as General Anthony Wayne's
House and Chanticleer Garden.  There are other variations
depending on the exact program but Philadelphia has so many
interesting sights.

The Best Western Center City Hotel is only a couple of blocks from
the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts and is next to the Rodin
Museum.  Two different public busses are nearby and seniors can
ride free at all but rush hours.  The hotel is average but it is
clean and rooms are good size.  It has had a number of remodeling.
The location is perfect.  Most meals are in the hotel and are okay
but not great and are served buffet but with few choices except at

Depending on the time of year and the weather, the historic
district offers the Lights of Liberty, a nighttime outdoor sound
and light show that is spectacular.  It is easy to get there on
the bus or by taxi.  Check around for two for one tickets.  All in
all, this is a wonderful program for art lovers and you can also
enjoy all the patriotic themes as well.


Bishop's Ranch / Sonoma County, CA

Bob and Callie Stewart

This supplements the note in #102

I'd promised to write something on the Bishop's Ranch, Healdsburg,
California EH which we attended and enjoyed the first week in
April.  However, we returned with Bob in a wheelchair and would
advise anyone considering the excellent EH to have a car
available.  It's a short, easy walk to each and every class and
meal at different sites but unless you a "walker" and the weather
is with you, driving is much easier.  We were only twenty in
number but a lovely group. We shared meals (all buffets and
delicious - bordering on gourmet)with another EH group on the
premises who were hikers.  The Ranch itself is lovely.  The
lecturers were all top notch - especially the "wine man", who took
us (via bus) on a field trip visiting wineries, etc. - and the
California Writers lecturer.  We even had several published
writers in the EH group.  This EH has been recommended to us more
than once, because of the beauty of the location and the quality
of the lecturers and we found this to be so.  It is primarily a
"church camp" with no service (you even make up your own bed upon
arrival) but private, comfortable quarters.  It must be difficult
to get help out there but everyone we met was most pleasant.  The
EH coordinators, a neat couple on their first assignment, were
wonderful - "with" us all the way.

Callie and Bob


Aurora University, George Williams College
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
May 19 to May 24, 2002

Leonard Rogus

This was my second visit to this site; my first visit was four
years ago and it was interesting to see the changes

Still very hilly, with many sloping (some narrow) paths; beautiful
panoramic view of lake Geneva

A beautiful new two story lodge with in-room bath/toilets;
individual thermostats with very convenient/close proximity to the
classes in the Education Building, but a long hilly walk to the
Dining Area (some used their cars/golf carts - extra charge for
golf carts to get to dining room)

All meals were buffet starting with coffee/tea at 6:30am; hot/cold
(some to order) breakfast at 7:30am; lunch with salads and limited
entrees starting at 12:45pm (some meals had students (grade/high
school) with us; evening meal (meat/veggies/salads) starting at
5:30pm.  All Dining room personnel provided super service.

Humor/magic was presented by very talented - experienced Ginnie
and Jack Jones with plenty of hands-on exercises.  Subject matter
was how to create simple magic things to present to young people.

Magic in music was presented by Larry Axelrod (he used classical
music selections)

Humorcise presented by June McClellan,  a clever combination of
humor and exercises (some indoors and some, somewhat strenuous,

Several of the group opted for basic computer training presented
by a very patient, knowledgeable Sue Weiger.

Two  were conveniently located in the Lodge. One was exceptionally
well-equipped with audio-visual and desks.  Two rooms were located
in the Education Building.  One had somewhat poor acoustics, but
the other (with desks) lent itself well to hands-on activities.
The computer lab (in the Education Building) was very well
equipped and Convenient.

Extra-curricular and entertainment:
Eleanor's Ensemble, a group of very talented individuals,
providing us with music with trombone, violin, piano, and one
exceptionally talented young lady with a beautiful operatic voice.
Pontoon boat rides on the lake (optional).
6:45AM birdwalks (some terrain along the lake was rugged walking)
with very knowledgeable Jane Jegerski and Wayne

Diana Woss, a very well organized, conscientious, 10 year veteran
director. Really took excellent care of us.

Double--about $100.00 a day.
Single--about $120.00 a day.

Overall evaluation:
This is a good over-all program, but handicapped Elderhostelers
will need extra help, particularly when outdoors, since the area
is quite hilly.  The 91 years young senior who was with me did
need help going to the dining hall, and did have to nap instead of
being involved in either exercises or computer activities.  I, on
the other hand, intend to return to this site to do more computer
learning (the instructor is tops) and I love the rugged beauty of
the Lake Geneva area.


Yangtze River: Waterways   Landmarks of China
Adventures Afloat Catalog

Grace   Bob McAllester

On Saturday May 4, most of us caught connecting flights to Los
Angeles, San Francisco or Vancouver.  Then between midnight and 1
AM on Sunday morning we boarded our flights to Hong Kong.  It is a
long flight across the Pacific, about 14 hours, flying as if in a
timeless zone, it was dark almost until we reached Hong Kong.
Then, having crossed the International Date Line, it was Monday
morning May 6.

The group really began to come together as we worked to find our
way around the Hong Kong airport and gathered as a group at the
loading gate for our next flight, Dragon Air flight 900 to
Beijing.  While we waited to load, we started introducing
ourselves to each other, finding out where we were from, etc.

As we came out of the immigration / customs area at Beijing, there
was a smiling man holding up an ELDERHOSTEL sign.  He directed us
to gather as a group in a nearby area.  A quick count determined
that we had all arrived, so he led us out of the terminal, showed
us where to stack our larger luggage and then led us to a bus.  On
the bus, our coordinator introduced himself.  We should call him
Tony because that would be easier for us than trying to use his
Chinese name, Zhang Hongyan.  The total size of our group was 30

Our schedule for the remainder of the day included hotel check-in,
lunch, a little time to get settled, orientation with brief
introductions and then off to Tiananmen Square.  Then back to the
hotel for a 7 PM dinner.  Then finally to bed.  This busy schedule
was forcing us to adapt to the Chinese time zone, which was 9 to
12 hours different from the time zones we had come from.

The next morning we had to be through breakfast by 8:45 and ready
to go to a university for a lecture on Chinese History.  After
lunch we went to the Forbidden City, the ancient seat of
government for the Chinese emperors.  You don't realize how large
the Forbidden City is until you have walked across a very large
courtyard to a large building and then discover that there is
another large courtyard beyond that and on and on.  You also
discover that if you only brought six or eight rolls of film, you
had better start conserving it because this is only your first
full day in China and you have already almost finished one roll.

The next day we were off bright and early to Badaling to visit the
Great Wall.  We were given an hour free time at the wall to walk
as far and as steep as we thought we were capable of.  Lunch at
Badaling and then back to Beijing for a visit to the Summer
Palace, another long walk, though we rode back across the lake on
a boat.  That evening we had a special Welcome Banquet.

The next day, Thursday, we traveled from Beijing to Xian.  Tony
arranged it very neatly.  We put our large bags out in front of
our hotel room doors the night before, traveled with our carry-on
bags.  Our bus transported us to the airport.  We waited briefly
while Tony got our boarding passes and we proceeded to the plane
as a group.  By 3:30 that afternoon our new hotel rooms had been
assigned and we were on our way to the Moslem district to see the
residential area, street markets and the Great Mosque.

Friday, May 10: In the morning we went to Xian Foreign Languages
University for a lecture on Chinese Cultural History.  Then while
we were having lunch at the university, we met a group of
Americans who were living in Xian and teaching English at the
University.  They tried actively to recruit some more teachers
from our group.  It would be interesting if anyone from our group
would return.

In the afternoon we visited the Shaanxi History Museum.  In the
evening we attended a very special Tang Dynasty music and dance

The big event on Saturday was our visit to the Terra Cotta
Warriors, a massive army of life-like soldiers fashioned out of
terra cotta clay.  They were created during the Qin Dynasty,
before 220 BC.  All knowledge of this army was lost until the
early 1970's when a farmer was drilling a well.  This
archaeological discovery rivals the Pyramids of Egypt in drama and

On Sunday we made another smooth move from Xian to Chongqing.
Chongqing is very different than the other Chinese cities we
visited.  In the other cities, the predominant mode of
transportation is the bicycle, though the bicyclists must compete
with a steadily increasing flow of automobiles.  Chongqing is a
very mountainous city.  Bicycle travel would consist of a perilous
down hill ride followed by pushing your bike back up the hill.
People would rather walk or take advantage of one of the micro
taxis that have proliferated.  These are three wheeled, motorcycle
chassis vehicles that can carry one or two passengers in a small,
enclosed cab.

It was raining when we arrived in Chongqing but we went up one of
the mountains to visit a museum at the World War II headquarters
of General Stillwell.  The museum was closed but we walked the
grounds in the rain.

Our hotel in Chongqing was the Holiday Inn.  We have never seen
such a fancy Holiday Inn in the US.  It is the premier hotel of
Chongqing.  On Monday we visited the Old Section and then heard a
lecture on the Yangtze River Dam Project.  Our lecturer was an
engineer who spoke to us through an interpreter.  His enthusiasm
and determination were very apparent.

Tuesday, May14 we boarded our ship for our Yangtze River Cruise.
Our ship had four decks available to passengers.  Our staterooms
were larger than we have had on a Columbia River Cruise or on an
Alaska Ferry but not as spacious as an Alaska Cruise ship.  They
were comfortable with full windows.

We spent three nights on the ship.  One of those nights the ship
remained docked so that there were no sounds of the engine,
foghorns, etc to lull you to sleep or to keep you awake, depending
on your view.  As we proceeded down stream toward the dam site we
could see signs posted on the slopes above us marking 145 meters
and 175 meters.  These marked the low and high water levels that
would be maintained in the waters behind the dam.  As we traveled
down the river, these signs rose higher and higher above us.

The first day on the river, we stopped at Fengdu.  Here we walked
up a long set of stairs to where we could board a bus, which took
us to a chair lift.  At the top of the chair lift, there were
still many more stairs up to the "City of Ghosts" which had many
weird statues.  There was also a magnificent view of the city of
Fengdu below us being torn down to make way for the rising waters
and the new city being built on high ground across the river.

The next day we passed through two of the three gorges that will
be turned into lake passages by the Three Gorges Dam.  We also
took a side trip on motorized sampans up the Daning River through
an area called the Three Lesser Gorges.  The sights on this
tributary were utterly remarkable.  There were bands of wild
monkeys visible on the precipitous canyon walls.  When this
tributary is flooded, instead of being a fast flowing river, I
think it will resemble the fiords of Norway, Alaska or New
Zealand, navigable by the cruise ships.

The third day, we passed through the third gorge and visited the
dam construction site.  It was all shrouded in fog, but we could
see enough to get an idea of the immensity.  They have a visitor
center with a large model of the completed dam.  We could see the
shipping locks being constructed, with two sets of five tiered
locks, so that they can maintain traffic in both directions

After the construction site we continued downstream through the
ship lock at the existing Gezhouba Dam and then continued over
night to Wuhan.  From Wuhan, we experienced another smooth air
transfer to Shanghai.

If you don't count Hong Kong, I think that Shanghai is the most
modern and most cosmopolitan city in China.  All over China there
is new construction, new highways and more automobiles, but it is
even more evident in Shanghai.

We spent two nights in Shanghai.  During our one full day, we
visited Yu Garden in the old section, the Children's Palace and
the Bund.  That evening we attended the Shanghai Acrobatics
performance where we all held our breath as the acrobats performed
many high wire, and trapeze stunts.  The next morning we attended
a beautifully organized museum where we could wander at will and
use an English language hand set to describe the individual

At 1:30 we departed for the city of Suzhou for a three-night stay.
Suzhou is about one hour away by bus and is considered a small
city (only 1 million).  It has many old canals.  It also has
modern aspects.  There are two business parks that are attracting
many foreign investors, both American and European.

We visited a senior center where we intermingled with the seniors
who were studying English.  We were able to visit with them with a
varied degree of success, depending on their grasp of English.
Some pictures of grandchildren etc.  We also went to a school
musical recital and after the recital we talked to the children
about their instruments and their school.

Suzhou is an ancient silk center.  We attended a Silk Museum to
see the history of silk and the life cycle of the silk worm in
action.  We also couldn't help but notice a nursery school that
was visiting the museum.  The children were a varied mixture of
European and Chinese.  Their jabbering was mostly French with some
Chinese thrown in.  It did demonstrate the international aspects
that exist in the city, though that aspect was not usually visible
on the streets.

We also took a boat tour of the canals.  We could see the ancient
bridges.  We could also see the canals being used as source of
wash water and a place to dump the wastewater. On Wednesday, May
22, we transferred via the Shanghai airport to Guilin, for the
last two nights in Mainland China.  Guilin is another of the
tourist Meccas of China.  The attraction is the beautiful Li
River, which winds its way among some uniquely shaped mountains.
They are high, beehive shaped mountains.  The kind that you really
have a hard time believing when you see them pictured in Chinese

On Friday afternoon we departed for Hong Kong, which is still
considered an international flight.  We stayed overnight in a
hotel at the Hong Kong airport, and then on Saturday after another
LONG flight across the international dateline, we were back in the
US, exhausted and disoriented to the time of day.

This trip packs a very full schedule with many, many varied
activities.  Believe the catalogue, it does involve a lot of
walking, though some of the highest steps can be avoided if you

The food, with the exception of breakfast, is consistently
Chinese.  In Chongqing several people revolted and took advantage
of the American style café that was available in the Holiday Inn.
The Chinese food is good and varied but still seems repetitive.
There is too much of it at each meal.  There is no way you can
really do justice to all of those courses.  The last course is
almost always sliced watermelon.  When you see it coming you know
that is the end.  You almost cheer because you couldn't face any

You don't drink the water anywhere, not even in the fancy hotels
where you are staying.  A lot of bottled water is provided, you
hoard it and use it wisely. The food contains a lot of MSG.  Your
fingers and ankles swell.  We hope you don't worry about that.

The hotels were all rated as four-star hotels.  The one that
caused the most objection from the ladies was in Suzhou.  Its
lobby and dining areas were up to the four star ratings, but the
rooms that were assigned to had a shabby appearance.  Wallpaper
was peeling in places.  I think that they had been meticulously
cleaned, but some of the ladies still complained that they were

When traveling as group in a foreign country where the water is
not potable, it is inevitable that someone will get sick, no
matter how careful everyone is.  In our group there were about six
who came down with an intestinal bug.  As one of those six, I can
report that it is very uncomfortable, but we still have very fond
memories of the trip.

If you can find the resources and have the fortitude for it, this
is a trip that you will remember the rest of your life.