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Editor's Note | September 2003

"Mr. Bush has never been an enthusiastic traveler, and he is not one to lollygag," according to an article in the New York Times describing the president's whirlwind tour of Africa (a one-hour stop at a game park in Botswana, six hours in Senegal, Uganda for three hours and 15 minutes). "Out of the four nights that the president was in Africa, he spent three of them in a luxury hotel in Pretoria, South Africa," the reporter continues. Admittedly, Mr. Bush has a lot on his plate, but one wonders whether our global society, with all its porous boundaries, thorny conflicts, and feverish animosities, requires leaders who engage in and are engaged by travel.

It's ironic, though hardly surprising, that one of T+L's features this month showcases a nation that preoccupied previous wartime presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. With two-thirds of its population under 30, Vietnam has regenerated itself and emerged as a pleasure-seeker's destination through its stylish restaurants and shopping, and even a small crop of luxury hotels, as contributing editor Peter Jon Lindberg reports. Nothing can erase history—the villages, countryside, and Vietnamese and American lives that were obliterated—but the new vitality is propelling this country forward.

Sometimes places that are just around the corner evolve, and most of us don't notice. Take Philadelphia, for instance, which writer (and now resident) Francine Maroukian presents as both a culinary haven and an epicenter of the enlightened reuse of factory buildings. Few of our readers will be shocked that we view one of my favorite spots—Tuscany—as a shopper's dream. But I know you'll all be happy to have our Italy correspondent Valerie Waterhouse's source guide to the best of everything, from local wines and olive oils to handcrafted gloves and glassware. And if getting away from it all is your goal, check out style director Laura Begley's story on one of the most romantic resort areas to have come along in decades: the Seychelles.

In this issue you'll also find our annual A-list, of 125 travel super-agents. Based on your responses and the emerging trends we see, we've added more special-interest categories, among them family travel, food and wine, affordable travel, gay and lesbian travel, honeymoons, and cultural and educational trips, as well as such increasingly popular regions as California, Argentina, and New Zealand. Now, if we could just get some of these experts together with Mr. Bush.

—Nancy Novogrod

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