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SPECIAL TRAVEL ISSUE : SIDE TRIPS

Where Have You Been Lately?

April 19, 1998

Bernard C. Parks, L.A. chief of police

San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

"I just came back from my second trip to Cabo. My wife and I went last winter and liked it so much that I told her I'd take her back this year for her birthday. We stayed at the Palmilla in San Jose del Cabo. The beaches there are extraordinary--greenish-blue water, palm trees and white sand. We went exploring because I like to see where the everyday people live; that's just as interesting to me as going to the best restaurant in town. I don't speak Spanish, but that wasn't a problem. Everyone we met was very helpful and accommodating."

Discovery: "There are a number of great restaurants in Cabo. The Mocambo is one of the better ones. The food is very fresh and they have great seafood dishes. Republica is a fairly new place to go if you want a nice evening dining experience. And the Office is kind of a fun afternoon place--you sit on the beach, have hors d'oeuvres and watch people in the water."

Karen Hirshan, landscape photographer

Camden, Maine

"I love the simplicity of Maine. The towns of Stonington and Wiscasset have great views of the rugged coastline, and both are full of simple white churches and colonial-style houses. And the area has some of the best antiquing anywhere. True American antiques. Not that kitschy stuff you find in L.A."

Discovery: "There are a number of good hotels in Camden, and you can explore up and down the coast from there. And there's a lot to explore. The only problem is Maine isn't known for its restaurants. The best place I found was a little roadside diner called Red's Eats. It's in Wiscasset and it has the best lobster rolls anywhere."

Frank Gehry, architect

Mundaca, Spain

"I recently found this little fishing port called Mundaca. It's quite beautiful. There are only about 6,000 people living there. It's near Bilbao, which has a city life that Los Angeles doesn't even have. At night Bilbao comes alive with musicians, young lovers and families. And everyone goes out of their way to make you feel comfortable."

Discovery: "Lopez de Haro is my favorite hotel in the area. It's in Bilbao and it's five star. Use it as a jumping-off point: Rent a car and head east to San Sebastian. Along the way you'll come across dozens of little fishing villages. They're all beautiful and enchanting like Mundaca, yet each has its own visual character."

Deepak Chopra, guru

Malaysia

"I recently went to Kuala Lumpur for the first time. The food there is absolutely fabulous, but what is most fascinating about Malaysia is that the indigenous people have some very interesting shamanic healing practices that are more or less unknown to the rest of the world. Many of them have their basis in sounds and incantations and are similar to some Eastern practices. It was especially wonderful to see these rituals in the context of their original Malaysian culture."

Discovery: "Don't miss the shark fetchers and whale callers. These are guys that you can hire for $5 a day. They take you out on a boat, shake rattles and make all kinds of sounds, and, sure enough, either a whale or a shark emerges."

Denise Richards, actress

Miami

"I was recently in Miami shooting 'Wild Things' with Matt Dillon, Kevin Bacon and Neve Campbell. I stayed at the Biltmore Hotel, which has a lot of great history behind it. It's in Coral Gables, which is very nice, quiet and secluded. On weekends we sometimes rented WaveRunners and cruised down the coast to the Cocoa Walk in Coconut Grove. It's a great little strip of restaurants, theaters and shops."

Discovery: "There are tons of great restaurants in South Beach, but I recommend Joe's Stone Crabs. It's only open from October through May, when crabs are in season. If you're a cigar smoker, you have to check out the Forge on 41st Street. It has a great old-fashioned cigar club called Jimmy'z, at Cuba Club, which is open until 5 a.m. Matt goes there all the time. They have a back room with personal humidors for people like Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine and Madonna."

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Compiled by Paul Young

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