Letters | January 2005

Letters | January 2005

With all the pipers in Scotland, what are the chances that the one pictured in Elaina Richardson's "Scottish Revolution" [October] could be the same one I photographed with my husband in Edinburgh last year?

Upon seeing the familiar face, I reached for the scrapbook of our trip, and sure enough—the same piper. The article on Glasgow also mentioned the Buttery, a restaurant that my grandmother lived above as a child. Her 83-year-old brother still resides on the fourth floor and tends the garden at the church around the corner. Thanks for bringing back so many happy memories.

Say It Ain't Jo
I was distressed to see the violence downplayed in "Joburg's New Spin" [November] by Douglas Rogers. I realize he doesn't want to scare off visitors, but he should get real. I'm a native Joburger and I spend several weeks there each year. During a recent trip, I witnessed more than one robbery attempt and did not see the "strong police presence" that the article describes. Locals know to take precautions: lock car doors; always carry a cell phone; avoid wearing jewelry that can be easily snatched. These are not things I do while in the United States, but visitors to Joburg should be advised.

As a former resident of Johannesburg, I excitedly read Douglas Rogers's article, and recalled a city with the pace and self-consciousness of Paris and the grit and humanity of Africa. In the nineties, Johannesburg's chaotic changes mirrored those in South Africa as a whole, and I watched the city reinvent itself as a funky, eclectic African metropolis, a vanguard for the new South African society. Since so much attention is paid to Joburg's notorious crime problems, I was relieved to find an article that eloquently showcased the city's other qualities. The people and energy make it the most compelling place I've ever lived.

Commitment Issues
When I read the September Editor's Note, in which Nancy Novogrod writes, "please don't ask me to name my favorite spot," I had to chuckle. I travel frequently and am invariably asked for a single response to that same question. But since I love so many places for so many reasons, I am often stumped. Recently, that simple topic sparked an hour-long conversation with a Dutch colleague about where we'd been and why we liked each place; we concluded that it's an impossible decision. I'll keep traveling, but don't ask me to play favorites!

After I returned from a recent buying trip to Bali for my antiques store, a friend showed me your excellent "Bali Highs" article [June 2004]. While I was there, I found two other delightful shops. At the stylish Léollé [Monkey Forest St., Ubud; 62-361/971-547], 28-year-old Budiman designs beautifully crafted housewares from natural Indonesian materials, such as hand-carved sandstone candlesticks and pandanus leaf-and-bamboo serving trays. Richard Meyer Culture [200XX Jalan Petitenget, Kerobokan; 62-361/744-5179] displays and sells vintage photographs that depict life throughout Indonesia. I was wowed by these framed original prints—I ended up packing seven of them into my suitcase.

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