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June 20, 1993

I was very disappointed in your article "A Vacation Becomes an Adventure" (Taking the Kids, April 25). I felt you discouraged people from traveling with their kids. Yes, it is difficult to travel with children. It's hard to have kids period. But by the time my daughter was 4 and my son 6, they had traveled to Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Italy, France, England, Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. Although it was never easy, my children know how to sit still on a plane or in a restaurant and they can order rice, count to 10, say hello, goodby and please and thank you in several languages.



* In the spirit of your Taking the Kids column, I am writing to share my experience with my family.

Last summer, I traveled with my 6-year-old twins and 2-month-old baby from Orange County to Denver to North Platte, Neb. We went to Denver to stay with my parents and to North Platte to attend an 84th birthday party for my grandmother. I filled backpacks that the twins carried with new coloring books and new little toys for the plane ride. One of the big hits last year was an inexpensive bulldozer magnet. The toys in their backpacks, as well as checking out what the other one had, kept them occupied.


Costa Mesa


Forgotten Castle

I was horrified to notice that the article "14 Scottish Castles in 4 Days" (May 23) left out probably the prettiest of all Scottish castles, Eilean Donan, on Loch Duich. Looking at the map, the author must have gone past it.


La Jolla


Saimin Origins

The origin of saimin ("A Sample of Saimin Can Be a Mein Event," June 6) is, most likely, Chinese, though it probably is not derived from chow mein, since the word "chow" means "to stir fry" and the word "mein" means noodles. It is more likely derived from Chinese noodle soup dishes, such as won ton soup. The name sounds very much like the Cantonese words "sai" and "min," which are Cantonese pronunciations for the words "slender" and "noodles," respectively.

As for the possibility that the dish is derived from "Japanese ramen soup dishes," this is a misnomer, since the Japanese consider ramen to be Chinese noodles. Ramen is the Japanese mispronunciation of the Mandarin Chinese words la (to pull) and mien (meaning noodle). The Japanese have a hard time pronouncing the L-sound, thus: "ramen." So ramen means pulled noodles, an ancient Chinese art of making noodles by hand-stretching dough, still practiced in some parts of China.


Los Angeles

Letters to the Travel Editor should be brief and are subject to condensation. Send letter, including a telephone number, to: Travel Section, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square , Los Angeles 90053.

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