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Cousteau Comes to the Fiji Islands

June 04, 1995

Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort, a joint venture between Jean-Michel Cousteau--son of ocean pioneer Jacques Cousteau--and the owners of Post Ranch Inn at Big Sur--the pricey, environmentally minded resort on California's coastline--officially opens Friday.

Cousteau is a general partner of the 17-acre resort that is set amid a coconut grove on Vanua Levu, the second largest island in Fiji and features 20 thatched-roof guest houses, called bures (pictured right).

Resort activities include snorkeling, diving, sailing, windsurfing and excursions aboard glass-bottom boats. At certain times of the year, the whole resort will be turned over to Jean-Michel Cousteau's Project Ocean Search for intensive two-week sessions that combine guided dives with biology workshops, nature walks, discussion groups, special projects and underwater photography.

Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort rates range from $275 to $450 a night per room, single or double occupancy, including buffet breakfast and airport transfers from the nearby town of Savusavu. Reservations: (800) 246-3454.

Bridge Reopens Over Carmel River

The 61-year-old Carmel River Bridge, which was closed after being damaged in a March 10 storm, has been replaced by a new 540-foot span. However, south of San Francisco, California 1 is closed indefinitely at Devil's Slide between Pacific and Montara because of a slide. Alternative routes are marked and drivers rejoin the highway at Half Moon Bay. For statewide road information: (800) 427-7623.

Paris Catacombs Close for Summer

The Paris Catacombs, final resting place for more than 6 million skeletons, have been closed for the summer to allow installation of a ventilation system. The eerie venue, which draws about 160,000 visitors every year, is scheduled to reopen in August. Until 1785, Paris buried its dead in the Cimetiere des Innocents in Les Halles, but when the graveyard became riddled with disease, officials transported the remains to the quarries that had been dug at the base of Montparnasse, Montrouge and Montsouris for other construction projects. Almost a mile of tunnels are lined with bones and skulls.

Airlines Increase Ticket Charge

Several major airlines, including American, United, Delta and TWA, have increased the fees they charge travelers who want to make changes on their non-refundable domestic tickets. The fees went from $35 to $50 per change. Airline spokesmen said the increase covers the administrative costs incurred every time a ticket is changed. Northwest Airlines has charged $50 for such changes since 1993.

Traffic Ban in Downtown Athens

A three-month ban on traffic in the historic center of Athens--roughly a square-mile area near the Acropolis--may become permanent, according to the Greek National Tourist Organization.

The area, a triangle bounded by Mitropoleos, Stadiou and Athena streets and bordering on the old town of Plaka, starts from the front of the Parliament building on Constitution Square and includes the old Monastriaki district.

The Environmental Ministry, in cooperation with city officials, imposed the ban to reduce air pollution, preserve ancient temples and make life in the Greek capital--one of the smoggiest cities in Europe--bearable again. The ban was scheduled to end July 10, but the tourist office said there is a "strong likelihood that this will become a permanent arrangement."

Before the ban was implemented, about 70,000 vehicles drove through the area daily. Now minibuses are running in the area 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday and Saturday.

Also in Athens, weekend visiting hours at the Acropolis have been shortened. Saturday and Sunday hours are now 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Weekday hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Free Fax Info From BTA

The British Tourist Authority has inaugurated a free, 24-hour fax-to-fax information line.

Travelers who call (213) 628-1216 may receive fact sheets on air, rail and sea transportation; accommodations; obtaining tickets for events and shows, and touring and sightseeing options.

Calls must be made from fax handsets.

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