Elderhostel Notebook #38, Dec 1, 1988

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    From the Editors Notebook

    Elderhostel News and  Reviews

          RICHMOND, VA
          West Texas and Northern Mexico (Copper Canyon)
          Institute Of World Affairs, Salisbury, CT
          Service Program to Xi'an China


    Editor's Notebook

 Thanks to those who have sent in material regarding
elderhosteling for people with various disabilities. I plan to
develop that story for a future issue as I learn more about the
many complex issues involved .

The "Personals" this issue contain continued discussion of the
new fee collection policy.  My main concern about it has to do
with the apparent lack of input from elderhostelers in the
formation of the policy.

Perhaps one partial solution to the problem of communication
between Boston and Hostelers would be a discussion forum on the
elderhostel Inc. web site. There are many options as several
varieties of online forum software are available and more such
forums go online as more and more people get on the net and feel
comfortable with using them. For example, AARP has set up an
interactive bulletin board on its site and one of the boards
deals with travel (but not elderhosteling).

With this issue I am experimenting with a large print edition on
the web site. It may not work with all broswers (Netscape seems
to handle it) and all printers. If you print it from the web
page, printing with an Epson printer (Stylus color 600) from the
website seems to work.

There is no way I can do a large print e-mail edition that would
be handled by all of the various mail readers used by my

I would appreciate any reaction to this feature regarding
whether it either works or seems to be needed.

   Elderhostel News and Reviews

RICHMOND, VA - Virginia Commonwealth University sponsor.

This was the best of ten EH's we have attended.  If you like
history you'll LOVE this one.  We studied the eight Virginia-born
presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Harrison,
Tyler, Taylor and Wilson).  Course taught by Mark Greenough and
Dick Cheatham who were marvelous instructors who wore costumes of
the periods they were lecturing on. Mark is the best teacher
either of us has ever had anywhere in our lives!  Al Neale played
and sang music from Jamestown to the Civil War on instruments he
had made (banjo, flute, pipe, etc.) and ranked right up there
with Mark as a teacher.  He taught us to play the bones and do a
rythmic dance.  Another course was on plantation life; the
teacher used slides to illustrate clothing and manners of the
Colonial period. A talented black actor portrayed an old slave,
telling stories full of pathos, grief, and also humor.

We took two field trips, one a guided tour of downtown Richmond
including:   Capitol Square with the building by Jefferson and
the statue of Washington in the rotunda made from a life study by
Boudin; the Tredegar IronWorks where Confederate cannon were
cast; the sites of Libby Prison and Belle Isle, Civil War prison
camps; Monument Drive; historic homes of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson
Davis, and John Marshall; and the historic Jefferson House
Hotel..  The other bus trip visited two plantations on the James
River, Shirley, home to the very rich Carter family and Sherwood
Forest, John Tyler's 301'-long house and outbuildings.  We had
two free afternoons.  Everyone went to the Museum of the
Confederacy and/or through the Davis home (side-by-side), and
there was a wide variety of choices for the other free time.

We were housed at the Mid-Town Conference Center while the
regular EH hotel is being renovated (will be ready 12/98).
Facilities were older but very nice and food was excellent.  The
coordinator really put together a wonderful week for history
lovers, and Richmond has lots of talent and things to see!

Don and Marty Scearce, Syracuse,IN  (marthalee31@hotmail.com)


ETHNIC NEW YORK ELDERHOSTEL, November 8 - 13, 1998

Keplinger wjkep@netacc.net

We have just returned from this great program, our fourth
Elderhostel and our first not "out in the wilds" somewhere. We
seek out the active programs, and this was certainly that.

Housing is at the YMCA on West 63rd Street, just across from
Lincoln Center. You couldn't have a better location in the city.
Many meals were provided in the cafeteria on the premises, and
the food was good. One night we even had delicious salmon! Rooms
are clean, but a bit spartan, with many more singles than
anything else. Bathroom and shower facilities are shared by
others on the floor, and are kept very clean. Because of the
location and price, we may very well stay at this YMCA when we
next go to New York on our own.

The program was super, taking us to many places we would probably
never have gone to by ourselves. All transportation was done by
public bus and subway; this in itself helped give us the flavor
of the "real" New York, and in many cases some of us ended up in
friendly conversation with other passengers. We did sometimes
cause a bit of a stir when forty of us piled on to a bus or
subway car! 	We spent Monday at the Statue of Liberty and at
Ellis Island, with plenty of time to explore at our own
individual paces. This was a great introduction to the ethnic
theme of the week. On Tuesday we went to the Lower East Side,
visiting Chinatown, Little Italy, and the old Jewish immigrant
area, including the oldest Orthodox synagogue in the city. Lunch
was at Katz's famous deli. We had time on Tuesday evening to take
in a concert by the New York Philharmonic. It was easy to get
same-day concert tickets. Wednesday was a free day; we spent it
at museums. That evening we dined at an Indian restaurant in
Queens. On Thursday we spent the day in Harlem, visiting museums,
having an excellent lunch, and walking the streets.	 Friday
included a visit to the New York Historical Society; because of
short time we opted to tour Lincoln Center instead (we saw La
Traviata in rehearsal!).

We were fortunate to have an especially congenial group, where
everyone mixed, shared, and enjoyed being together. We made new
friends with whom we plan to stay in touch. Our leaders, Robert
and Terry, did a wonderful job of planning and shepherding us
from place to place. They also gave us plenty of free rein, and
most took advantage of this to strike out on our own from time to
time. We certainly visited and walked by ourselves in places
that, according to our preconceived ideas, we would have not
thought safe or desirable, and we loved it. In fact, many of our
not-so-good stereotypes of New York City were dispelled. New York
is a vibrant, friendly, fascinating, and wonderfully diverse

All in all, we give this one high marks!

				Bill and Jean Keplinger
				Fairport, New York

West Texas and Northern Mexico (Copper Canyon): Lands of Contrast
Davis Mountains Environmental Education Center
October 25 - November 4, l998 - Jack and Anne Schlaefli, Fort
Worth, Texas jslaf@cyberramp.net

Organization: We were assigned a site host, Bill Quintana, and
the other DMEEC staff Kathy Nesbitt and Patty Moorland supported
him. Bill was our continuous host during our Fort Davis stay. For
the Mexico portion of our trip we were assigned a guide, Alfredo,
who was from Chihuahua City and Pancho was our competent bus
driver. Alfredo met us in Fort Davis and escorted us continuously
until our return.

Classes: Classes were held in the DMEEC facility and during the
field trips to the Fort, McDonald Observatory and local
walking/bus tours. In Mexico we were kept well informed on the
history of the area during our walking, bus and train tours. This
is an active Elderhostel with long bus and train trips in Mexico.

Lodging: In Fort Davis all 37 participants were housed in the
facilities of the Hotel Limpia. Though we were somewhat spread
out, the accommodations were very adequate. Bus transportation
was provided for all activities, however, we could walk (10
minutes) to the DMEEC office. In Mexico we stayed in a first
class hotel in Chihuahua City and at the Rancho Posada Barrancas
in Copper Canyon. The Copper Canyon hotel was more austere and we
encountered some problems with the kerosene heaters. Again, we
could walk to the Posada Mirador for our meals. Buses were also
used for activities.

Meals: The food was good at the variety of restaurants that were
used in Fort Davis. A simple breakfast was provided at the DMEEC
office. In Mexico, the food was very good and was provided by the
hotels and other village restaurants.

Highlights: This was our second Elderhostel and overall it was
outstanding. We would recommend it to our friends. In particular,
the following items impressed us most.

 Bill Quintana was a former cowboy and had a smooth and pleasing
way of expressing himself. His knowledge of the Fort Davis area
and Mexican history allowed him to hold our attention and provide
a wonderful educational experience. We appreciated how well he
took care of us.  Bill Leftwich, an artist and "shade tree"
philosopher, shared his broad experience of the cowboy culture of
the area. We were invited to his adobe hacienda where we met his
wife and saw his home and art work.

McDonald Observatory proved to be a highlight due to the
competence and presentation provided by the observatory staff. We
attended a star party and had a chance to talk with young
astronomers who were working on their research. * Our Mexican
guide, Alfredo, was outstanding. His manner made everyone feel
comfortable in the Mexican culture and it was clear that he was a
leader among the other guides in Copper Canyon. His understanding
and relationship with the Tarahumara Indians provided us with a
close look at their culture. He was not only a guide, but he
entertained us in the evening with his guitar and lovely Mexican

On the last night in Fort Davis we were treated to an authentic
chuck wagon dinner prepared by Glenn   Patty Moreland. Following
dinner the entertainment was provided by Glenn and Washtub Jerry
who sang the old cowboy songs. And we all sang along! This was an
outstanding conclusion to our trip.

-editor's note

 The program the following week  was marred by a bus accident in
Mexico.  Fortunately. there appear to have been no serious
injuries as the bus overturned when the driver swerved to avoid an
oncoming 18 wheeler that was attempting to pass a car.
(based on AP, NY Times, Dallas, and San Antonio newspapers).

Institute Of World Affairs, Salisbury, CT
Topic: Current World Affairs
Date: November 1, 1998

The Institute is located in the scenic Twin Lakes section of
Salisbury in the Northwest corner of CT. Located in a rural area
it is within walking distance of the Lakes. Housing, classes and
meals are all in one two story building. Bedrooms are standard
dorm type rooms with shared baths. Meals were served buffet style
and were adequate. A car is necessary as there really are no
activities to do at the site and there are a lot of tourist spots
in the Stockbridge, Kent, Cornwall areas which just short drives
away. We had two - three hours of free time every afternoon. The
Institute building has the look of a place that has passed its
peak. There are many books and periodicals available, but the
newest magazines are from the early 90's. They had a couple of
rusty bikes available, but no one used them.

Each day featured a different lecture and speaker. I thought that
four of the lecturers were fascinating and that one of them was a
waste of time.

Summarized some of the things we learned. The course began with
definitions of the world as we know it today. States are created
to contain violence and nations are defined as groups of people
with similar languages and history. Most successful combination
is when states = nations, mismatches often cause wars. States as
we know them today are fairly recent creations. Italy, USA,
Germany were formed in the mid to late 1800s, China in 1949,
France in 1789 and Japan in the early 1800s.

System of nation states is no longer able to combat many problems
of today's world. World wide terrorism, Mafia and new
multinational companies and the Internet have escaped national
boundaries and controls.

We also learned more about the new European Union of 15 European
Countries which is becoming the United States of Europe. The new
Eurodollar is just one of the new changes that will have a major
effect on world trade.

Also learned about Africa and how it is divided into thousands of
tribes and clans. About 30% of Africans were slaves and that
tribal chiefs sold the slaves that were brought to the Americas.
It was a big business and a major source on income for the

A problem with modern Africa is that the Europeans divided it up
into nations without any regard to the tribes. Nations and tribes
don't match and there is constant fighting over areas. The Union
of South Africa, under European control for 300 years, is the
most developed African State. Lack of population control is
another major problem as it had 100 million people in 1900 and
now has 700 million. AIDS is also a major problem in Africa.

China was covered in great detail and like Russia it is also
changing from the commune type system to capitalism and the free
market. Mostly farmers, the Chinese are starting to move to
urbane areas. It has a ready supply of cheap labor and can easily
produce labor intensive goods.

The UN was also covered and we learned about its many functions
and how it will become more important. The International Air
Control Agency controlling all flights, Food and Agriculture
Agency which save 20-30 million from starvation, the World Health
Agency which inoculates for small pox, etc., UNICEF, World Health
H.q., and the International Criminal Court were just some of the
functions that were explained to us.

Recommend this Elderhostel to those who are looking for mental
stimulation rather than pure entertainment.


Service Program to Xi'an China

There were 18 of us. We all taught conversational English to
first year university students, except one participant taught
English to hotel personnel. The classes were one and one-half
hours, and we taught two classes a day. We were furnished some
teaching materials, but were on our own as far as lesson plans
went. One helpful thing was that former volunteers all wrote a
synopsis of their experiences and what worked and what didn't
work for them. Once you got in the groove, things generally went
pretty smoothly. The students were wonderful. Very attentive,
eager and polite. But they were not used to volunteering, so you
had to call on them to get things going.

We stayed at the Orient Hotel which was a couple of miles from
downtown Xi'an. Cabs were plentiful and cheap, so getting back
and forth was not a problem. The food at the hotel was fine, and
we all became very very proficient with chopsticks. On the
weekends we took several fieldtrips, the most interesting being
the terracotta warriors. One thing we all missed was US news:
hotel TV only carried one English channel, Murdoch's Star TV
which is really lousy. Oh, for some good old CNN!!

Global Volunteers is the sponsor of the program Their
coordinator, Maria, was good and kept morale high. One
interesting thing we did was take turns writing a daily group
journal and thought for the day, which will be typed up and sent
to all of us.

Our Chinese liaisons were excellent. They were terrific people
and were very open and frank when talking about and answering our
questions about China.

Overall, a very interesting and rewarding experience. No better
way to see China and meet the Chinese people.



From: Gayle Falgoust gfalgous@bellsouth.net

Subject: Eastern Europe Folk School

I have a friend doing her first Elderhostel next spring. It's a
European Folk School program in Czech Republic/Austria/Hungary.
They'll be staying one week each in Prague, St. Polten, and

We would appreciate hearing from any of you out there who have
done this or any similar program. What will the weather be like?
(They'll be there in May) The plane travel? The accommodations?
The programs? Any "must sees"?

Thanks for any information any of you out there can forward to



From:  docedo@att.net

Subject: Inland Passage Alaska Cruises

Would like to see some responses to Alaskan cruises (inland
passage) that you may have from Spring etc. .- 1998. Do enjoy
your Elderhostel Email! Many thanks, Dr. B



From: jacquie vanhaelst jacquiev@mediaone.net

I am planning to participate in 2 Elderhostels in the near future
the first one is in Plam Desert, CA (Pg. 18 of the Winter '98
Elderhostel Catalog) from Jan 3-Jan 8, '99 and the other one is
on Page 138 in the International Catalog Winter 1999 going to
Discover Provence from March 5-March 27, 1999.    If there is
anyone who has participated in these interesting trips, I would
so appreciate some of your impressions  and experiences of these
trips including opinions and advices.  Thank you in advance.
Jacquie van Haelst    e-mail:  jacquiev@mediaone.net.


Joy Rising  jrising@CITCOM.NET

Subject: EH Fee Collection

Glad to see that you are encouraging debate about the changes in

One problem is that EH National must seek 'one rule fits all'
solutions to the varied problems of coordinators who are not
employees of EH, but of the institutions sponsoring the program,
each of which has its own rules. As a former Coordinator working
at three institutions, I know that some of the problems are real.
For example, two of those institutions owned the housing, but the
third rented housing in a state park. There a large sum was
required as down payment when the housing was secured, at least
1.5 years ahead. If one EH week were to be cancelled, the state
park kept $600 as a cancellation fee!

The first day of an EH program has many opportunities for
confusion for hostelers, especially new attendees. When
registration includes the handling of fees, this increases the
possibility of problems. Two of the institutions would not accept
credit cards which was mentioned in the mailed information, but
there were always some people who did not recall that. Just the
handling of fees slowed registration to a crawl, and, of course,
all hostelers seem to arrive early! That resulted in long lines
even when three people were handling registration. It also meant
that much of the staff's time was spent in collecting fees when
the other questions and rooming concerns of hostelers could use
that time.

. . . . . .

In the end, if EH's income goes up, the Board of Directors can
only increase the expenses or give it back to hostelers through
lower prices. There are no stockholders who will take all the
profits; that's why I like doing business with a cost-conscious
non-profit institution which EH has been.

Joy Rising

For Personals

Subject: Montgomery Presbyterian Conference Center, Starke, FL

We will be attending an EH program there in January. Would
appreciate comments.

From: Roman Stanley	jrising@citcom.net


From: TERRYBEE@aol.com

Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 22:30:32 EST

Dear Jim:

As always, your Elderhostel Notebook (#37) is a gem - lots of
info which I'll save.

Interesting comments about the advance pay policy. I don't know -
change is always upsetting. But Elderhostel is such a good
"buy"...lots of value for your money.

I have just signed up for a Grand Circle trip to Italy leaving
March 29th. They want ALL of my $2517 or thereabouts by Jan. 7th
- - and will give me a grand total discount of $35.00 if I pay in
full WITHOUT a credit card and I think my "goodies" from Discover
are probably worth more than $35.00.

It certainly can be a problem for those who sign up for 3 or 4
EH's at a time. Generally, I usually attend two at most three per
year - also not back-to-back, so perhaps I am not qualified to
opine on the subject.