From Australia to Argentina

Adam Goodheart's trip across northwestern Australia ["The Other Side of Oz," December] captured the quirky, rugged nature of the people who live there, as well as the downright hilariousness of the outback. Working in Sydney for three years, I watched most tourists head for the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney Harbor, and the Melbourne cafés. Goodheart discovered the real Australia, understanding that "the road is a place unto itself"—with a vastness and isolation that defines the country and shapes its people.

Rediscovering Beirut
I was thrilled to read Mitchell Owens's piece about the glitzy revival in Beirut after years of internal strife ["Back in Action," January]. For three years, I was a professor at a university in northern Lebanon, and I learned the value of Beirut as a city of remarkable religious diversity—and as a party town par excellence.The Pearl of the Levant offers a valuable lesson: Christians and Muslims are perfectly capable of living side by side. In Beirut, they do so while having a good time.

Shame on you for writing such a negative article about Lebanon. It dwells on the premise that everything in Beirut is either "weed-infested" and "bomb-damaged" or "numbingly pristine." Is there no middle ground?The people of Beirut are trying very hard to rise from the ashes of war. Lend a hand by showing the world how far we've come.

MITCHELL OWENS REPLIES: I was constantly advised by everyone I met—from taxi drivers to millionaires—to experience all of Beirut: the flashy bits built to lure back tourists and the 19th-century buildings whose extravagant details have seen better days. Beirut, as I demonstrated in the piece, is a vibrant seaport that is both gritty and glamorous, and perfectly fascinating; I'm definitely going back.

Dressed for Success
I agree with William Norwich's argument that dressing up for travel has its benefits ["Missed Manners," January]. My husband and I have certainly noticed how much better we're treated when we don our suit jackets, whether on a trip to Europe or Florida. I further agree that it helps to smile and stay calm—even when one's seat reservations are lost and one's five-year-old is placed in a row on his own. (It was almost a quiet flight, after all!)

Currying Favor
Having been converted to the delights of Indian cuisine by my husband—I was possibly the only British person not to have indulged in the post-pub curry frenzy—I am pleased to find that so many London restaurants are serving top-quality Indian food, as Peter Jon Lindberg points out in "All the Raj" [December]. Chowki, one of Lindberg's picks, definitely merits inclusion. We both look forward to exploring our growing market of posh Indian noshing.

On a walking tour of the SoHo-like district of Palermo in Buenos Aires last November, my husband and I discovered an amazing new restaurant. Miles apart from the traditional grilled-meat bistro, Ó [1626 Thames; 54-11/4833-6991; dinner for two $48] has a sophisticated, Mediterranean-Latin menu with a healthy dose of seafood and local specialties: crab bruschetta, salmon with prawns and capers, even plum soup (for dessert). The arrival of the three young chefs is a great addition to the neighborhood—a vibrant mixture of art galleries, clothing stores, wine bars, and sidewalk cafés, that deserves attention itself.

CORRECTION: The caption on page 161 of the January issue ["T+L 500"] misidentified a beach as that of the Four Seasons, Nevis; it is in fact adjacent to the property.

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