Caribbean, Cont'd

I WAS HAPPY to see the article about St. Thomas ["The Wetter the Better," Oct. 23], but the assessment of Coral World Ocean Park as a "shabby version of Sea World" struck me as an unfair and unsuitable comparison.

Sea Worlds are large amusement parks with performances by sea creatures. In contrast, Coral World offers an experience unique to its Caribbean setting, with its coconut palm grove, natural rock pools and colorful landscaping using native flora throughout the park.

Between my time at Coral World and my underwater adventure with Sea Trek (also mentioned in the article), I left St. Thomas with a genuine sense of having experienced the natural surroundings that make the island so distinctive.

Katherine Gantz

St. Mary's City, Md.

LAST FEBRUARY my husband and I took the "nonstop" on BWIA to Tobago from Dulles ["Getting From Here to There . . . Nonstop," Oct. 23]. It turned out that the flight was actually scheduled to stop in Trinidad before going on to Tobago, although this was not mentioned when we booked. As it happened, when we arrived in Trinidad, we were told the Tobago passengers must de-plane and clear customs.

Once off the plane, we were told that the plane would not be going on to Tobago. We were given hotel accommodations for the night and a voucher for a flight the next morning to Tobago. This was handled fairly well and we accepted it as an unusual misfortune that we arrived a day late. However, when we got there, our car rental agent and hotel clerk told us our canceled flight was not unusual, but "the norm."

This experience was not a serious problem for us, but I thought you might want to know the real situation concerning the "nonstop" flight.

Sally Brandt

Port Tobacco, Md.

Giovanni Catera, the regional manager for BWIA, said the flight from IAD to Tobago is nonstop. He added that on occasion, the flight gets rerouted so that it stops first in Trinidad, "but that happens very rarely. We are sorry if your reader or any other passenger was inconvenienced when that happened."

Online Fine Print

LAST MONTH I was traveling in Spain and wished to make a reservation for one night in Valencia. On the Web, I found www.hotelclub.com. After I entered my credit card information, I learned that I would have to print out the confirmation and take it to the hotel. I was using a terminal in a Madrid hotel lobby and had no printer, so I canceled the reservation, explaining the reason. The site informed me that I might be charged a cancellation fee.

Upon returning home, I found that HotelClub had charged me a cancellation fee of more than $23, but they also charged me the entire amount for the room. I contacted the company and was told that this is its policy, that I could find it if I read the fine print on the Web site, and that I "should understand."

This company also operates under www.hotelclub.net and www.ratestogo.com. I hope others can learn from my experience.

L. A. Green

Washington

Paris Trains

READER Manuel Lisandro Knight wrote of being fined for having the wrong-fare ticket in the RER [Message Center, Oct. 23]. Inside the City of Paris, the Metro and the RER share the same single fare and can be used interchangeably. However, the RER is zoned so that the farther one travels away from the city, the higher the zone and therefore the fare. Charles de Gaulle Airport is in the farthest zone from downtown.

Knight's Metro ticket was accepted to board the RER and would have been okay to use had he stayed in the same zone as the airport. However, he traveled into the city then out to another zone outside of downtown -- and was caught. The solution would have been to go to the ticket window and buy a ticket for his destination. Credit cards are accepted at these windows, so cash, for the newly arrived, is not a necessity.

The correct rail system is not the issue, just the correct fare for zones outside of Paris.

Jan Smith

Columbia

Q&A & You

IN THE TRAVEL Q&A of Oct. 23, you note that one can fly to the Isle of Man from "such major U.K. cities as London and Dublin." Dublin is the capital of Ireland, and I expect about 4 million Irish will take exception to your putting it in the United Kingdom.

Richard Ellestad

Ellicott City

Spanish: No mas!

Ay ay ay! Your debate has reached California [Message Center, Oct. 30]. I was married in Cuetzalan 13 years ago to an anthropologist/archaeologist who was born and raised there. I am a Spanish teacher and led tours to Cuetzalan for 16 years. It is pronounced Cuet-ZA-lan. I speak with firsthand knowledge.

Danette Mora

Sacramento

AT THE RISK of beating a dead horse, here is a follow-up to Virginia Estevez-Albert's letter regarding the spelling of the word "solo." "Solo" without an accent means "alone" or "single," while "solo" with an accent means "only" and is a synonym for "solamente."

Deborah Weinberger

Washington

THIS WEEK'S three respondents are in some way or the other mistaken.

Virgina Estevez-Albert: The word solo is not accented when it stands by itself except when it is used instead of "solamente."

Bill Sweeney: Words ending in a vowel or an "n" or an "s" generally have the accent and carry a tilde on the last syllable and not the second-to-last syllable. When the accent falls in the second-to-last syllable in this type of word, it is an exception to the rule.

Bill Topolsky: Tilde is the name given to the mark placed above a vowel to indicate an accent in a given syllable. It is also the name (though rarely, if at all, used among Spanish speakers) for the mark above the n to show that it should be pronounced "ny."

You can verify these statements by searching the Real Academia Espanola at www.cervantesvirtual.com or the Academia Argentina de Letras at www.aal.universia.com.ar.

Tirsa McLean-Powell

College Park

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