| Dispatches: News from the Field, November 1996|
Travel: And To Think We Almost Opted For Bora Bora
By Sarah Horowitz
Now that the first flakes are about to start falling, it's time for those of us planning winter getaways to get serious. And where better to turn for the lowdown on possible travel locals than the World Wide Web, that seemingly boundless trove of right-from-the-source information. Here, of course, you'll find sites set up by every winter-vacation hot spot from Keystone to Cozumel. But thankfully, you can also get the official, government-sanctioned scoop on some diamonds-in-the-rough, places that would be near the top of everyone's list--if it weren't for the media and their streams of unjust stereotypes. Six cases in point.
Vacation Paradise: CALCUTTA, INDIA
Web Address: www.millworks.com/cal.htm
Bad Rap: Filthy city plagued by disease and poverty, despite Mother Teresa's lifelong attention and best intentions.
Online "Truth:" "Calcutta is for lovers. With its poetic pedigree and fading Colonial grandeur, Calcutta is the perfect setting for romance."
Vacation Paradise: ORLANDO, FLORIDA
Web Address: www.goflorida.com/ooccvb
Bad Rap: Artificial, tourist-swarmed megalopolis thoroughly paved and homogenized by offerings from nearly all of the nation's major theme-parks, epitomized, of course, by Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom.
Online "Truth:" "The city comes by its magic naturally."
Vacation Paradise: CHIAPAS, MEXICO
Web Address: www.mexonline.com/aper4.htm
Bad Rap: Bucolic region plunged into turmoil when leftist guerrillas stormed the capital and five other towns in 1994; its citizens' penchant for vigilante justice peaked this September when an angry mob broke into a municipal jail and set three inmates ablaze..
Online "Truth:" "The warm people of Chiapas make this one of the friendliest cities to visit in all of Mexico."
Vacation Paradise: VAN BUREN, ARKANSAS
Web Address: www.vanburen.org
Bad Rap: A backwater burg on the Oklahoma line blighted by trailer parks and decimated by a tornado that struck the community last spring.
Online "Truth:" "Van Buren's beautifully restored Main Street Historic District was spared... One motel suffered major damage, but still has rooms available."
Vacation Paradise: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
Web Address: www.arab.net/iraq/tour/iq_baghdadsights.html
Bad Rap: Repressive fundamentalist Islamic nation run by notorious megalomaniacal despot.
Online "Truth:" "The city of Baghdad once had many interesting museums and mosques, which, if Iraq is ever re-opened to the outside world, could prove fascinating to the visitor. Allied bombing during the Gulf War, of course, leaves considerable doubt as to the continued intact existence of these buildings."
Vacation Paradise: TRIPOLI, LIBYA
Web Address: quic.queensu.ca/~hassan/libya.html
Bad Rap: Repressive fundamentalist Islamic nation run by notorious megalomaniacal despot and known for training and harboring anti-U.S. terrorists.
Online "Truth:" "Libya. Warm sun, warm hearts. Historical monuments, forests, towering mountains...and warm Libyan Arab welcome."