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Letters: Timbuktu Tour, New Orleans Hospitality

Reader's Find
Our recent stay in Fez was close to perfection. We discovered La Maison Bleue (phone and fax 212-5/741-843; www.fesnet.net.ma/maisonbleue; suites from $205), an exquisite hotel in a meticulously restored 1915 mansion. The six guest suites are traditional; ours centered around a former meditation room and had a private hammam and views of the medina. A magnificent courtyard is used as a sitting room by all, including the owners' family and friends. Dinner, with music by excellent local players, was so good that we ate there every night. Requests for particular dishes were greeted with "Whatever you want. This is your home." And the result was always delicious.
Kenneth S. Kail and Ivy Hwang
New York, N.Y.

New Orleans News
My husband and I were planning a trip to New Orleans when we read about International House [T&L Reports, April] and promptly booked a room. The hotel proved a delight: intimate and beautifully decorated, with excellent service and an ideal location. The restaurant wasn't open yet, but the menu looked intriguing; we look forward to enjoying a meal on our next visit. [Lemongrass opened in June.] Our stay in New Orleans was filled with Southern hospitality.
Virginia Henry-Estabrook
Chicago, Ill.

Destination: Land of Nod
Amy Fine Collins's essay about the travel difficulties of a light sleeper [Beauty, February] struck a very responsive chord in me. However, I was surprised that she isn't able to take her noise machine along on trips. Several years ago I purchased a Marsona Travel Sound Conditioner [distributed by Ambient Shapes], and have found it a godsend. Lightweight and powerful, it fits in a small leather pouch and has a dual-voltage switch for international use.
Jack C. Sando
Bethesda, Md.

All the Way to Timbuktu
After reading Ted Conover's story "The Long, Long Road to Timbuktu," in February 1995, I tore it out and saved it. I'd always wanted to go there. This March my dream finally came true. My Travcoa tour of western Africa included a visit to Timbuktu, where our guide was the same man who showed the area to Mr. Conover. Mohamed Ali still fits the writer's description: tall, dark, robed, mysterious. I showed him the magazine -- which he had never seen -- and he autographed the page with his picture on it. This man is not only an excellent guide but a fine human being and a credit to the Tuareg people, who have survived with grace in a changing world. I enjoyed every square inch of Timbuktu and would love to go back.
Meta-Jean Frink
Kent, Wash.

Windy City Aria
David Daniel's list of great opera houses [Top Ten, March] neglected to include the Civic Opera House, home of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. I have heard some of the world's most renowned singers in this beautiful 1929 Art Deco theater. Though many believe that good opera is found only on the coasts, there's great opera in the Midwest.
Kent Frederick
Downers Grove, Ill.

Letters to the editor and Reader's Finds should be addressed: Letters, Travel & Leisure, 1120 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036; fax 800/926-1748. They can also be sent via E-mail to Letters@travelandleisure.com. Letters chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations.

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