Elderhostel Notebook #24 March 17, 1998

Elderhostel Notebook  is a production of The Senior Group, an
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It provides a place for elderhostelers to share information about
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    From the Editors Notebook

    Elderhostel Reviews


    Editor's Notebook

A number of people have asked me about how I keep in touch and
keep connected to the internet while on a trip. I will take a
little time in the next issue to review and update the article I
wrote before on how to use the internet (especially e-mail) while
on the road.

Keep those reports coming in. I depend on you readers for content.

   Elderhostel Reviews

University of Southwestern Louisiana Lafayette, LA
- ArnieBee@aol.com

Course Topics  Cajun History   Culture--Louisiana Authors--Gulf
Oil Exploration

I attended this Elderhostel from February 17-22 and it proved to
be an excellent time as Mardi Gras was in full swing.  The MG
season actually runs from Epiphany to Fat Tuesday.  We were able
to attend a Cajun rural Mardi Gras celebration which is totally
unlike the usual parades.  It was delightful especially when
topped off by authentic Cajun Gumbo.

The instructors for all three subjects were excellent and held
your interest throughout.   Most of the food was provided by the
University cafeteria and yes it was typical cafeteria fare.
There were however several field trips where a diversity of food
was offered.

Accommodations were at a near by Motel which had seen better days
however the rooms were clean and large.  I heartily recommend
this Elderhostel.  You will love the Cajon people and the
University Instructors are top notch.

Laissez les bon temps rouler.

 Colonial Williamsburg Elderhostel
-   Lmhar@aol.com

This was the "Restoration" elderhostel at Colonial Williamsburg.
It was put on by the for Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and
the people coordinating it, and the speakers, were all part of
Colonial Williamsburg

It was a wonderful EH for anybody who loves American history, and
beautiful places. We stayed at one of the Colonial Williamsburg
Foundation hotels, Williamsburg Woodlands.  This was essentially
a very large motel, on the edge of the historic area. It is set
in a woodland setting of pine trees, has many amenities,
hiking, tennis, etc. etc. We ate most of our meals in the dining
room of WW - the Cascades, a lovely room overlooking a waterfall.
 The food was excellent - some regional cooking (sweet potato
pie, etc.) There were no  complaints, all the dishes were good
and the service was excellent.  We were kept busy and there was a
lot to do and see. There were many lectures and several field
trips - the elderhostel was packed with information - but we had
a couple of free afternoons to wander about.

We usually had morning lectures or tours. The lecturers were all
on the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation staff - a restorer, who
explained how the original sites were found and restored, (a
fascinating tale)  a historian who told us how CW came about, a
conserver who showed how old objects were restored as far as
possible, and were protected from further damage. We had a number
of interesting tours - one of the Wallace Museum of top quality
American and English furniture and porcelain of the Colonial
period, one of the Abby Aldrich Rockerfeller folk art museum, one
of two of the taverns, comparing a restored one, the Raleigh
Tavern, with another which had been intact. We also had a tour of
one of the old original houses, where we were shown how to
recognize the old construction, and how to date the various
additions and changes made to the house. We had free time to
wander around and talk  with the site "interpreters" and the
"persons of the past" who were in the old section - these were
actors, primarily, who took on the persona of actual people who
had lived in Colonial Williamsburg .

They spoke and dressed in character, and were most interesting to
talk with. I would recommend this elderhostel highly to anybody
who is interested in learning about the colonial period in Va.
and who enjoys beautiful objects in a beautiful setting. I was
especially moved by one site - the George Wythe house was the
home of George Wythe, a lawyer, the architect of the virginia
constitution, a professor at William and Mary College, and the
tutor for Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe,and other leaders of the
Revolution.  The building is intact, and has been restored to its
original condition.  It is very moving to stand in the small
study, plain, and simple, with its books and to realize that
Jefferson,Monroe and so many others sat in that  same small
room,learning law with Wythe.

Louise Harrigan


Lovely old Oaxaca, Mexico

I've just returned from a beautiful 2 week EH to Oaxaca.  I'll
include my notes on the trip that I recently sent to friends.

Had a marvelous trip -- Oaxaca is a lovely colonial Mexican city,
far south, actually fairly near Chiapas where the poor people are
uprising against the awful government oppression.  We saw the
sympathy demonstrators in the Zocalo of the city (central piazza
near the cathedral) 5 or 6 days.  Also had some excellent
lectures from members of 2 of the 3 main political parties, as
well as from a world class archeologist working in the local digs
who invited us in to visit his laboratory full of shards and

My Elderhostel group was 14 nice intelligent, civilized, fun
people -- made some good friends; our 2 instructors for 2 hours
daily of beginning and intermediate classes in Spanish were
excellent; we had a superb, intelligent, well-informed guide who
would be a prized teacher in another culture where teachers are
paid decently.  We visited the fascinating pre-Columbian
archeological ruins of Monte Alban and Mitla, many small villages
where craftsmen still practice their ancient skills of weaving
the wool they dye with cochineal and other natural dyes; carving
fantastic wooden animals (I bought far too many!) and making the
famous hand-turned, shining, unglazed black pots.

You should have seen me coming home with all this wrapped in soft
clothes throughout my big bags, on my back in a backpack, and
carrying a woven tapeta wall hanging AND a 5 foot long bamboo
pole to hang it on, as carry-ons.  The day my new friend Barbara
and I set out to find bubble wrap in the local shops, in Spanish,
was another story.  Barbara's muttering "pop, pop" with
appropriate gestures was what actually identified what we wanted.

The citizenry is largely made up of the local Zapotec and Mitla
Indians -- same people who built those ruins long ago.  They are
tiny, a nice rich brown color, usually neat and clean, love their
children and carry too many babies about wrapped in their
traditional cotton or silk handwoven, black   white rebozas (it
looked silly when Mexico City slickers arrived in a restaurant
clumsily handling their infant in a big wooden modern infant

I found out they have a great sense of humor when I suddenly
realized that the nice waiters and maintenance men in the hotel
who clap me on the shoulder, tell me jokes in Spanish (and think
I understand), and call me "amiga" are also Zapotec and very
proud of it.  Some of them were very firm in teaching us Spanish
and correcting us if we didn't speak nicely.  Also if we didn't
use the more lady-like phrases instead of slang we'd been taught
by our professor.  A no-no for us!

Food was good although Mexican is not a big favorite of mine.
There were a few restaurants where we could eat anything they
served without fear and where I was very welcome as part of my
group and then later, when the group left and I stayed on for two
days alone.  In these I was always welcomed with hugs by the 3rd
visit.   I even met a dear old friend from my annual Maine trips,
standing in the middle of the Zocalo one morning.  We had a nice
dinner and visit -- a real serendipitous plus!

All in all, a beautiful trip and I had a fine time but am now
happy to be at home with normal food, water drinkable out of the
tap or Brita in the refrig.....and all the rotten mail
accumulating while I've been away playing!



Indian Wells / Palm Desert CA -- RetiredFun@aol.com

Husband and I got home Sunday after 6 days attending this, our
first EH.

We went primarily for the a.m. Tennis program, and it was worth
the effort.  Nine other couples from the tennis club where we
live were also there, but all tried to circulate.  52 people in
all.  Primary site was the beautiful Indian Wells Resort.  Rooms
were on the back side but most adequate, meals were served buffet
style and were outstanding.  Fitness Room, great but unheated
swimming pool, and spa were all lovely.

Since I had a unit in pine needle basket weaving as part of an
art course in college, I did not need that.  Although the prof.
who came to lecture on the San Andreas Earthquake Fault and other
geological items was most expert and thorough, after so many
weeks of terrible rains here, we wanted to be outdoors and not in
a hotel lecture room, and followed our instincts after one
lecture.  Attended a matinee of The Follies in Palm Springs
(don't miss it!), and spent two hours in The Living Desert
another afternoon.  Fabulous ! !

The wonderful coordinator, who seemed to be everywhere to take
terrific care of us, told me the day we left that the Boston HQ
of EH frowns on Golf, Tennis, Hiking and other Physical Education
items as EH offerings as "frivolous" and primarily supports the
"academic" endeavors of the EH program.  To a career physical
educator and an almost ditto, who now have the   t i m e   and
personal health concerns (both under doctor's orders for "aerobic
activity" 4 + times a week !) for such training and efforts, that
sounds like such a tragedy.  Our age group especially needs to
offset the hours spent idle with physical activity.   At least I
got one answer to why there aren't more Physical Education
offerings in the catalog.

Would love to hear from others who have been to EH's where the
participants got plenty of exercise along with the academics.
Thanks,  Linda   John from No. CA


Puerto Rico EH
 --"William A. Longman"    wlongman@mail.orion.org

Our first Elderhostel selection from the International catalogue
was a most successful one in Puerto Rico.  With attention being
focused on the future status of this island, you may know that it
is presently a commonwealth with its 3.8 million Spanish-speaking
people already U.S. citizens.  Many would like to continue the
commonwealth status which has provided many benefits but this is
probably an unrealistic option. Money from the U.S. treasury
can't continue to be poured in as in the past. A majority perhaps
favor statehood (including Gov. Rossello) and a very small but
vocal minority want independence.

It is true that the status issue continues as a major subject of
public discussion, but as our EH lecturers at Universidad
Interamericana view the present realities the basic question is
an economic one.  Can Puerto Rico preserve its culture and
language while at the same time prosper in developing new
business enterprises?  Long gone are the large sugar plantations
except for a few for making molasses and rum.  The 22 of us from
the States learned a great deal about past and present Puerto
Rico in our EH which was held at San German, P.R., Feb. 11-20,

Although we did have several excellent lectures, for the most
part this Elderhostel had an emphasis on learning by travel in
the western part of the island.  San German (sahn heir-MAHN)
itself is the earliest European settlement along with San Juan
and retains a certain charm threatened only as are many towns by
a major influx of McDonalds and other American brand name
restaurants and stores.  Not far away is the still charming
second largest city of Ponce where we visited an excellent museum
of art and once thriving hacienda coffee plantation.  Other trips
included Camuy Cave and Radio Telescope near Arecibo to the
north, Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center, Mayaguez and Rincon
lighthouse on the west coast, the fascinating Bio- luminiscent
Bay, and an afternoon at beautiful Boqueron beach.  Added were
sessions on Latin dancing and paper making.

Roomy motel-like accommodations were in the boy's dorm at UI.
Meals both at the university and elsewhere were excellent.  This
was a well organized EH, our leader Carmen being with us at all
times and meeting every possible need.  My wife and I rate this
A1 and would be glad to fill you in with further details.  Before
departing we went into Old San Juan and also toured El Yunque
Rainforest.  Then we went on a cruise to see other Caribbean
islands.  Highlight of this was the total solar eclipse off
Antigua...and Monserrat nearby treated us with a small volcanic

Sure hated to don sweaters in our cold climate when we had been
basking in T shirts under sunny skies.

Bill and Lee Longman...in Springfield, MO


           --   BAHamm@webtv.net (Billie A. Hamm)

1. Sundance film festival
2. Art, history and development of film productions
3. downhill skiing at Sundance Resort

This program was unusual in that it starts on a Monday instead of
Sunday--this being due to a Morman university sponsoring it.

We flew in to Salt Lake City, rented a car and stayed all night
there on Sunday.  we had time on Monday to see some of the sights
of SLC before heading to Aspen Lodge, which is just outside of
Provo.--an easy 40 min drive except for construction on I -15
which turned our trip into 2 hours.

Provo canyon rd. is a nice two, sometimes 4 lane road, but that
particular morniing they had an avalanche that buried the road. It
was cleared up by mid afternoon so we had no hold up from that as
registration was around 3pm.  About 7 miles after you turn onto
provo canyon rd. you turn left at sign that says Sundance and
proceed for 5 miles straight up the mountain.  a curvy, windy
road that leads to Aspen Lodge which is 2 1/2 mi past Sundance.
Monday was the only day we had snow, but roads were well
maintained and not too slick. We found our selves in a winter
wonderland-had sunny days rest of week.

The program consisted of two full days of skiing (Tuesday and
Wednesday) with the first lecture on Wed. nite-given by Sharon
Swenson on Independent Film Making finishing up Thursday am.
Thursday afternoon they took us in vans to Park City (40 miles
away) to see a screening  of the Sundance Film Festival. Friday
AM they skied again and that afternoon had a lecture by Dean
Duncan on the Art, history and development of film productions
and that night was our closing banquet.

Both of the instructors were quality speakers.  very informative.
They teach at BYU and i understand they give a degree in film
making there.

Food:  Evening meals were buffet style (except for closing nite)
plentiful but no selection-usually a meat, two veggies and a
salad and dessert. Lunches were a different matter--in one word
TERRIBLE ! because of skiing each day, they packed a sack lunch.
processed meat, white bread, a fruit, drink--you get the idea.
no choice at all.  same each day except on thur. we ate lunch in
dining room and had a chicken filet sandwich.  rest of time even
if you weren't skiing, you picked your lunch up at breakfast.
Breakfast was the standard fare, hot cereal, cold cereal, and a
different entree (pancakes etc.) each am.

Lodging:  Really nice.  there are 4 chalets available and they
opened all 4.  this gave all the single travelers their own room.
there were two rooms with a bath between mostly, each lodge had
a handicapped room with a private bath (this was assigned to  a
married couple) we had a living room with a spectacular view of
snow covered mountains, microwave, kitchen -all the comforts of
home except no TV.  there were 31 in our group.

Clothing:  very casual.  i wore sweats just about all of time.
needed boots each day-didn't have a pair of shoes on all week.
was cold and crisp-down jackets were perfect. ( along with ear
muffs, gloves and scarfs and warm socks)

As we did not ski, ( along with about half of the enrollment) we
had purchased our own tickets to screenings in Park City on a
daily basis. We took three persons with us each day ( thats all
car would hold) in to see movies.  We came to this EH for the
Sundance Festival not to ski. This was easy to do.  I had the
info on festival sent to me in december and made plans

All in all , great program but you probably needed to ski or have
transportation to the festival to have enjoyed it.   There are
two screenings a day down at Redfords Sundance Lodge but they
didn't provide any way to get there.  We did eat there one night
in the gourmet restaurant and attended a screening afterwards on
our own.


editor's note- Billee has sent in some photos that will be on the
web site later.


From: Henry Pinsker  pinsker@bigfoot.com
Subject: Sorrento

Just back from Sorrento, one of the nine excellent programs in
Italy run by Trinity College.  It uses a four-star hotel with
spacious rooms, which is not the norm in Europe; meals are good,
with several choices. Excellent classes on modern Italy,
including exposition of the southern point of view.  Field-trips
to Paestum, Pompei, Herculaneum, Capri.  The coordinator, Jan
Mollo is a bundle of energy. Her husband Claudio is a superior
tour guide.  Free-time is often in the afternoon, during the
hours that stores, museums, churches, etc are closed.  The town
is pleasant, but not high in interest.


From: GHKEATS@aol.com

My wife and I attended our first E/H's this past January (two
back-back) in Tucson sponsored by the Tucson YMCA and with a
venue at the Inn Suites Hotel (very good!). The programs included
SW Archeology, Biospere, Arizona History, Arizona Theater Co.,
more history, etc.. All were terrific.

We then went to an E/H program that took us into Casas Grandes,
Chi,Mexico where we studied Mata Ortiz Pottery and made pottery
at the state museum at the Paquime Ruins under the tuteledge
of a well known local potter (Manuel Ortiz and his family). This
program is highly recommended by all those interested in this
sort of thing. Another highlight was an in depth visit to the
Amerind Foundation in SW Arizona re. archeology, pottery,
history, etc.

George and Gloria Keats
Deerfield, Il


from: bestycas@aol.com

Has anyone attended a program directed by Virginia Commonwealth
University at Yorktown, VA?  I'm thinking about some fall
programs there, and would appreciate any input from those who've
attended any.  Thanks.  Betsy


Subject: Switzerland

From: Tangari@AOL.COM

My husband and I are going to a Elderhostel in Switzerland in
late April and early  May. The program includes a 1 week homestay
and 1 week in the middle of the country and one week in the
south. We would like to know about the weather so we can pack the
proper clothes.   Any other info. about this would be helpful.
This is our first international Elderhostel and we have only been
to one in the U.S.


Dolores Tangari



Subject: The Border Kingdoms and Tibet

From: Betty Lopp  BBlopp@marta.uncg.edu

Organization: Continuing Education/Summer Session, UNCG

I would love to hear from anyone who has been on this trip.  How
tough is it.  I have asthma, its controlled, and I am very
physically fit.  I have been on the Trek in Nepal and loved it.
I would love to hear from some experienced travelers about this



From: "Frank S. Jablonski" frank.jablonski@snet.net

Subject: Rockpile Museum, Gillette, Wyoming

We are especially interested in the Inter-generational EH
scheduled for August, 1998. Thanks,  Frank Jablonski