Evolution of the Tourist

Sunday, June 5, 2005

WORTH A TRIP: Are barflies the "most sustainable tourists on earth?" Sarah Rose asks in the June/July Plenty . They're not plucking rare flowers or terrorizing wildlife. And yet, in a charismatic ecological destination like the Galapagos, tourists can become advocates and benefactors. How do you manage 100,000 annual sightseers in a place that "needs the world to visit to ensure its survival," but "could be destroyed if the world gets too close?" Rose helps us understand the tricky balance on these islands where "animals are rock stars" and you can "watch Darwin's ideas take shape" as if you had "sat down to watch Shakespeare write."

WORTH A FLIP: Goofy's got a rotten hangover, Pocahontas is puffing pot and Snow White's doing a strip-tease. New mag Radar reveals the wild backstage scene at Disney World, where hard partying helps some denizens cope with low wages and stifling, furry costumes that can reach 120 degrees inside. Oh, and sorry, Cinderella -- that Prince Charming may well be gay . . . For a lush take on pre-Mouse Florida, AARP The Magazine evokes orange groves "where the air was sticky and the smell was so sweet it was as if it had rained honey." You'll find remnants of old Florida in Weeki Wachee, where the mermaid show still dazzles. . . . Brooklyn is like "SoHo before it went corporate," Conde Nast Traveler says, with "one of the most formidable restaurant rows outside Manhattan" . . . Intermezzo ("Fine Interludes in Food, Wine, Home & Travel") serves up Sardinia, an isle off Italy's west coast, with a largely undiscovered interior. Sample handmade pasta, fresh fish and unique bitter honey, and visit what may be the world's oldest olive tree, still producing after thousands of years . . . Onward to the world's oldest barbershop, London's Truefitt & Hill, which snipped Charles Dickens's locks and fitted George III with wigs, according to British Heritage . Or how about a suit at 220-year old Gieves & Hawkes, outfitters to Lord Nelson? . . . Arrrrh! Fortified by "a few gallons of rum," Latitudes & Attitudes ("The Cruising Lifestyle") drops anchor in Key West, Fla., to visit the new Pirate Soul museum, featuring what's billed as true pirate booty and genuine pirate flags that flew on true pirate vessels . . . The International Tattoo Convention brings thousands to Green Bay, Wis., in the middle of winter, Skin Ink reveals. Guess they're already used to pain . . . Outside explains the "fuzzy math" of the SPF system in its guide to sun protection. Best advice: "Slather on twice as much sunscreen as you think you need, at least 20 minutes before stepping outside," then reapply every two hours. Cook to desired doneness . . . The magosphere is besieged by lists, but Britain's Sunday Times Travel hooked us with "30 Great Journeys," including "Everest Base Camp," "Staten Island Ferry," "Across the Sahara" and "Back to the Breakfast Buffet for Seconds" . . . And you thought Middle Earth was in New Zealand. In the Scottish Highlands, Travel + Leisure Golf visits courses "conjured from the land" that feel "designed by J.R.R. Tolkien," with "hunchbacked fairways" and greens "on the edge of the world" . . . "No journalists were killed or injured in the making of this feature," car mag evo claims, as it puts the pedal to the metal on "the world's last limit-free roads" in Australia, Germany and the Isle of Man . . . More good sports: Runner's World features "50 staters," whose goal is to run a marathon in every U.S. state; Scuba Diving tells you how to start the kids finding Nemo; and Bicycling invites you to a film festival with valet bike parking . . . We're really stuck on Avon, Ohio's, Duct Tape Festival, rolled out by Travel Savvy.

WORTH A CLIP: Man-made haze is choking our national parks, Smithsonian warns, and includes a chart so you can spot which parks have the most "unhealthy air days." Hint: Asthma suffers should think twice about visiting the Great Smoky Mountains.

WORTH A GAWK: How rich are your pores? SpaFinder says the country's priciest facial ($750) includes a caviar eye mask. For that price they should throw in some blinis . . . Could be worth it, though, after what Climbing calls "meat-grinding your face" against "forty-grit granite," in Vedauwoo, Wyo. . . . Gee, thanks, Budget Travel, we've been wondering where we might buy spiced anchovy relish ($15, Harrod's). Might make a nice budget facial . . . Aqua, a new resort on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, has "king-size beds for basking on the beach," Robb Report reveals. May give new meaning to the phrase "turn-down service."

-- Gayle Keck

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