Letters | April 2007

Letters | April 2007

After traveling around Mongolia last summer, I left with unforgettable memories of a country far off the beaten path. So when I read Pankaj Mishra’s magnificent story in T+L [’Inland Empire,’ February], it brought back many emotions for me. I was particularly stunned by Frédéric Lagrange’s photographs—they perfectly capture the surreal atmosphere of this country that is a relic from past centuries. Thank you for the visual feast. —Franck Forbes, New York, N.Y.

Reader’s Find: Sweden

In Stockholm, I discovered New York Stories [100 Odengatan; 46-8/320-135; www.newyorkstories.se], a charming English bookshop. Located in Vasastan—a beautiful part of town filled with antiques shops, cafés, and boutiques—the store is frequently packed for readings and book signings. By furnishing the upstairs with armchairs and a large sofa, the owner, Margaret Patane (a native New Yorker), has created a haven for weary travelers.—Ann Harvey, Fairfield, Conn.

Denver’s Happy Hour

Amy Farley’s "Affordable Rockies" [$250 a Day, February] was right on the money—to me, Breckenridge is a world-class resort, and the Four Peaks Inn is a local treasure. The claim that the après-ski culture is lacking in town is accurate, too, but there is a logical explanation: it’s a two-hour drive from Breckenridge to Denver, where many skiers live year-round. Head to the Palm [1672 Lawrence St., Denver; 866/729-0860; dinner for two $100] to find a true après martini and steak, or stick to the deeper woods of Vail, Aspen, and Telluride, where skiers stay overnight. —Chuck Lontine, Denver, Colo.

Cover Your Nose

Instead of just reporting that hotels have begun to pump fragrances into the air ["Subliminal Scents," January], I wish that writer Jaime Gross had emphasized that many people are sensitive to smells of all kinds, regardless of whether they are artificially produced or derived from natural materials. Some fragrances are lung irritants and can lead to serious consequences, which is why I prefer that hotels use fragrance-free toiletries, allergy encasings for mattresses and pillows, air purifiers in the rooms, and pure cotton sheets and towels.—Jan Tredway, Westlake Village, Calif.

Health Inspection

In his article "Flirting with the Forbidden" [T+L Forecast, January], Peter Jon Lindberg encourages readers to smuggle prohibited agricultural commodities into the country. In actuality, his suggestion threatens the health of American crop-raising and could cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Readers need to remember that laws restricting the import of crops serve a real purpose, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, along with the Department of Homeland Security, works every day to protect and preserve the health and diversity of our farmed resources. By declaring all products, travelers can do their part to help support this critical mission. —Richard L. Dunkle, Deputy Administrator, Plant Protection and Quarantine, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Washington, D.C.

Writer’s Response

For my spirited defense of the mangosteen, I offer my apologies to APHIS, whose work is challenging enough already. My article should have made a clearer distinction between illegal foodstuffs that pose a genuine threat to our crops or a species’ survival and those that are deemed harmful only to the consumer, such as raw-milk cheese or Iberian ham. As for the mangosteen, in the future I’ll indulge my obsession overseas.

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