Ask T+L: Wright Tour, Airline Strikes, Singapore
Published: June 2009
I'd like to go on a Frank Lloyd Wright pilgrimage. Where can I see a range of his work?
—S.C., PHILADELPHIA, MISS.
Some of Wright's most iconic buildings are in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, where the architect lived and worked for 20 years. In 1889, Wright built an eclectic Shingle Style house for his young bride on a $5,000 loan from his boss. It was in this house—now known as the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio (951 Chicago Ave.; 708/848-1976; www.wrightplus.org )—that Wright developed the theories of the Prairie School of architecture. The low horizontal lines of the brick-and-glass Frederick C. Robie House (5757 S. Woodlawn Ave.; 708/848-1976; www.wrightplus.org ) exemplify this aesthetic: steel beams provide the framework for three graduated tiers of seamless windows, echoing the flat landscape. In 1905, Wright was asked to find a low-cost solution for rebuilding Oak Park's Universalist Church, which had been struck by lightning. The resulting Cubist structure—made primarily of reinforced concrete—is Unity Temple (875 Lake St.; 708/383-8873; www.unitytemple-utrf.org ). If studying the master's designs inspires you, sign up for the Architecture Fantasy Camp at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio (October 5-8; 708/848-1976; $500 ), where you can draw up blueprints in Wright's former drafting room.
Last summer, I was stranded at Heathrow during the wildcat strike by British Airways employees. Are there any measures I could have taken to protect myself?
—L.N., VIA E-MAIL
Since walk-offs are more likely in a rocky economy, it's smart to be prepared in advance. Here are three steps that will help reduce the hassle and extra expense that stem from a strike.
1. When it's an option, ask for a paper ticket. During a strike, other airlines will generally honor your ticket—if they can accommodate you. But electronic tickets can sometimes be difficult for them to access, especially if you haven't yet checked in and received a boarding pass.
2. Consider travel insurance. Since strikes fall into the same category as force majeureor "act of God," airlines are not obliged to pay for your meals, hotel room, or rental car. Some plans will cover the cost of your trip in the event of a strike, but only if you bought the policy before strike discussions began. Other policies will not reimburse expenses unless the strike has delayed your flight by 48 hours or more.
3. Call your travel agent. Your agent will be more likely to help you out of a last-minute bind than a busy airline reservationist.
We're going to Singapore this fall. In the aftermath of last year's SARS outbreak, what should we know before we go?
—E.F., LONG LAKE, MINN.
Ever since the World Health Organization took Singapore off the list of countries affected by SARS, hotels and airlines have been reporting a slow but steady increase in occupancy and bookings. Two of the city's top hotels are offering discounted rates. Through November, a room at the Fullerton Singapore (65/6533-8388; www.fullertonhotel.com ) is $162; through December, a weekend night at the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore (800/819-5053 or 65/6734-1110; www.fourseasons.com ) costs just $157. In October, United Vacations (800/917-9246; www.uv-asia.com ) is offering round-trip airfare from three U.S. cities and five nights at the Copthorne Orchid Hotel Singapore for $751 per person. Be sure to visit the new Chinese Heritage Centre—part of the recent $97.5 million redevelopment of Chinatown—and the food hawkers along Smith Street (known as Food Street). The city is also rehabilitating its historic Indian neighborhood, where Diwali (the Hindu festival of lights) will be held in November. As always, be sure to check the CDC (www.cdc.gov/travel ) and World Health Organization (www.who.int ) Web sites before leaving.
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