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Theroux's Marquesas

April 28, 1991

Being an admirer of Paul Theroux's wonderful books, I was delighted to find his article on the Marquesas. But on reading it I was amazed and dismayed to read his unflattering description of Tahiti itself and its supposed high prices.

The road around the island which he describes as "famously bad and dangerous" is one of the most beautiful drives on any South Pacific island, passing lovely grottoes and waterfalls, a world-class golf course, the fascinating Gauguin Museum and charming little country restaurants.

As to the prices he cites, I wonder if he has recently been to England or Japan or, for that matter, any country of Western Europe, where cigarettes, gasoline and food prices are equal or higher. I note, too, that he does not mention Tahiti's custom of no tipping (certainly at least 15% in most countries) nor the fact of no sales taxes. Thus the vacationer is saved at least 21% more.

ROBERT M. READER

Tahiti Tourist Promotion Board

Los Angeles

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