March 2000

Meals in the Bush
Guy Trebay's article on African safari lodges ["Wild at Hearth," December] painted an appropriately magnificent picture of the accommodations at Singita. However, his statement "What meals lack in culinary refinement they make up for in quantity" makes it sound as if eating there were a Western chuck-wagon experience. That couldn't be further from the truth. The food is exceptional, equal to that served in the finest restaurants.
Judy and David Shenker
Evanston, Ill.

Sofia Letdown
Your recent article on Sofia ["Model Citizens," October] was welcome. But based on Deborah Kirk's observations of the Grand Hotel Bulgaria, I'm convinced she must have stayed elsewhere. My room was of the worst sort of socialist-era squalor and the newly remodeled Red Salon restaurant was deserted.
James Earl Jewell
San Francisco, Calif.

Castilian Holiday
Like Francine Prose ["Saints and Cities in Old Castile," December], I've spent the holiday season in Madrid and found it wonderful. In fact, I felt that I got to celebrate Christmas twice when the Spaniards geared up for Three Kings' Day, observed on January 6. Instead of confiding in Santa Claus, the children dreamily told their gift wishes to people dressed as the three kings. I have one thing to add to Prose's recommendations: the tented artisans' bazaar, just south of Plaza de Colón.
Barbara Marie
Rye Brook, N.Y.

The Cuban Question
I was appalled to see Cuba on your list of "100 Great Trips for the 21st Century" [January]. Why are its citizens fleeing by the boatload?Because it's such a wonderful place to visit?I hope you'll take the whole picture into consideration the next time you wish to promote Cuba.
Olga Marie Farres
Coral Gables, Fla.

Frank Gehry Shoots Back
In your article "Berlin: Reunited . . . and It Looks So Good" [T&L 100, January], you imply that the building I designed for the DG Bank, near the Brandenburg Gate, was inexpensive. Actually, it cost twice as much per square foot (on an apples to apples basis) as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. The difference is in the finishes and fancy details the bank required. So being curvy ain't necessarily costly, as you think, and being square ain't necessarily cheap.
Frank O. Gehry
Santa Monica, Calif.

Reader's Find: New Zealand
Anyone planning a trip to New Zealand should book some of the fabulous B&B's. My husband and I recently stayed at the Corstorphine House (Milburn St.; 64-3/487-6676; doubles from $130) in Dunedin, the perfect jumping-off point from which to explore Sandfly Bay, where you can watch penguins emerge from the sea at sunset. The recently remodeled mansion overlooks the city and also has views of Otago Harbor and Mount Flagstaff. Our room, the Art Deco suite, was right out of The Great Gatsby, and we dined on rack of lamb and salmon in a magnificent old glass conservatory.
Gail Lang
St. Louis, Mo.

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