August 1998

Swimming to Nirvana

I am fortunate to have had a dip in more than half the pools Richard Alleman cited in his enjoyable story on the world's best pools ["Taking the Plunge," June]. He omitted my favorite, however. The pool at the Lake Manyara Serena Lodge in Tanzania is on the very edge of the eastern escarpment of the Great Rift Valley, 1,100 feet above the valley floor. The view is incomparable.
Chris Fredrick
Provincetown, Mass.

We would like to add two more fabulous pools to your roster. At the Mena House Oberoi in Giza (outside Cairo), the huge, round pool has a jaw-dropping view of the Pyramids. And, in Sydney, the ceiling above the Observatory Hotel's deep-blue lap pool features a fiber-optic display representing the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere.
Michael Whitlow
Noel Taylor
New York, N.Y.

In Hong Kong, the Harbour Plaza's rooftop pool, with its dramatic view of Victoria Harbour and the skyline, could rank among the city's major attractions. And the Ritz-Carlton Bali's two-tiered pool cascades from level to level and appears to merge with the Indian Ocean.
Sanjiv Kapoor
Minneapolis, Minn.

The pool at Amankila, on Bali, is pretty good, but not nearly as spectacular and mystical as the one at Amanjiwo, on Java, overlooking the fantastic Borobudur temple complex. And for sheer beauty, nothing equals the pool at the Oberoi on Lombok.
George J. Fesus
Aspen, Colo.

Attuned to Ireland
Michael Cain's Irish-music odyssey thrilled me ["The Reel Thing," May]. Ireland's music and its people are what I miss most from my time there. It feels good, in a sad way, to hear from folks who love and miss that country as much as I do. Cain's reflections on his travels expressed precisely what I felt, sometimes in the same towns and pubs. Thank you, from the "attentive listener at Dingle's An Droichead Beag pub" -- that's me in the photo, page 163, in heaven.
Tess Mangum
Chapel Hill, N.C.

Air Priorities
Over the past 40 years, I've watched the comfort and convenience of coach-class air travel go right down the toilet. Passenger jets today are run like cattle cars.
As such, I was disturbed by the "We Like/We Don't Like" item in May's Strategies section. When airlines add amenities you "like," such as digital phones, larger overhead bins, and television screens, the cost of the aircraft and its operation rises, and that results in what you "don't like" -- the cramming of as many fare-paying bodies as possible into the coach cabin, in seats pitched as little as 31 inches apart.
Paul Rivers
Oxford Hills, Maine

The Call of the Maldives
After reading Christopher Petkanas's "Calling All Castaways" [June], I wanted to pick up the phone at once and book a trip to the Maldives. The writing and photography vividly captured island life; sitting in my office, I could practically feel the waves lapping against my Four Seasons water villa. I want to be a castaway!
Katherine Etheridge
Raleigh, N.C.

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