January 1998

Moroccan Memories
Fez, June 1963. My tour guide dropped me as close to my hotel as he could. The entrance was hidden behind a dense growth of moss-draped trees, tall weeds, and vines. I managed to find the lobby. At cocktail hour-- eagerly anticipated after a long, dusty, 110-degree ride-- I was the only customer in the bar. Soon a man in a dark business suit approached. He introduced himself as Hadi, the manager. He explained that the building was once home to the grand vizier, and that he hoped someday to attract Americans, perhaps even build a swimming pool (I told him the plumbing could stand a bit of work). We became friends.
Your excellent coverage of Fez recommends only one hotel, the one considered the best ["The Mysteries of Fez," October]. I see that Hadi's dreams for the Palais Jamai Hotel have come true.
John B. Humphries
Aiken, S.C.

Susanna Moore over-romanticizes Fez when she states that visitors there are treated with "circumspection and courtesy." The moment we stepped off the train, we were pounced upon by a dozen would-be guides-- some legitimate, most not-- who trailed us all the way to our hotel after we refused their services. Even worse, one of these "guides" lurked outside our hotel the next day, and hurled insults when we came out. Fez is indeed an alluring, enticing city, like no place else I have ever visited; travelers, however, should be wary of its lesser charms.
Sarah M. Young
Chicago, Ill.

Three-Percent Solution
The "Here's the Deal" box in "The Tahiti Triangle" [October] notes that the package includes a 3 percent fee for paying with a credit card. Who assessed the charge?I am not aware of any credit card company that allows a transfer of charges the merchant must pay to the company.
Bud Chappell
Riverton, Wyo.
According to Joan Wong, operations manager of Tahiti Vacations, there is no surcharge for credit card users; rather, there is a discount if you pay with cash, check, or a travel agency check. It may sound like a matter of semantics, but sometimes that's the only difference between the law and a loophole.

Lost at Sea
Oh, woe! So soon forgotten! Wonderful cruise ships all, in your Top Ten [The World's Best Awards 1997," September], but where were the Rotterdam lovers to let this beautiful old girl fade away unremarked?I suppose we were enjoying for one last time her wide decks, or her comfortable interiors, or even her eccentric elevators. We'll miss her.
Frances Reader
Tempe, Ariz.
After a stint in dry dock (where it was renamed the Rembrandt), the Rotterdam-- bought by Premier Cruise Lines from Holland America in 1997-- went back into action in December.

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