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Letters: Price gouging for the World Cup

January 10, 2010

Price gouging for the World Cup

I noted in the Jan. 3 Travel section there was a compilation from the Associated Press [Foreign Briefing] that mentioned price increases in South Africa for lodging during the World Cup. My experience

tells me that the increases

are grossly underreported. Guesthouses in Pretoria that were renting during the Confederations Cup a few months ago for $45 a night are now asking $500 a night, and most are sold out or will not respond to inquiries.

-- Art Kempf, West Hollywood

Read the fine print on travel insurance

In Jane Engle's More for Your Money column on Jan. 3 ["A Real Payoff to Paying More"], she lists 10 extras that can enhance your trip, all of which are good suggestions. However, regarding paying a bit more for cancel-for-any-reason insurance, she fails to indicate that typically, when you purchase this rider, you get back only 75% of your trip's cost. Another rider offered by some firms allows you to cancel for a business reason, which remits the entire cost.

-- Leslie Emer, Travel consultant, Village Travel Service, Montrose

A stray elk from Hearst Castle zoo?

I read Terry Gardner's article about elk in Northern California ["They Rate in '10, Jan. 3], and I thought I would share my encounter with elk in Central California.

On Dec. 24, my son and I took a trip to San Antonio Mission, and just before entering the control gate at Ft. Hunter Liggett, we spotted three beautiful animals that, in getting close enough to take a few shots with my long lens, I realized were not deer but elk. Why so far down in California? A relative in the Paso Robles area tells this unverified story: Elk supposedly were at one time part of the Hearst Castle zoo and were perhaps later released or escaped.

-- Joseph Apablaza, Glendale

A tip of the hat to Sherlock Holmes

John Lee's Dec. 27 article, "Sherlock's Homes," was superb. I praise Holmes' dedication, perseverance and analytical abilities. No other matter than the Jack the Ripper investigation offers a better example of Holmes' exceptional ability to get the job done under the most extreme, stressful, high-visibility circumstances.

-- Evan Dale Santos, Adelanto, Calif.

Giving back in Masai country

Thank you for the "Making a World of Difference" issue [Dec. 20]. I recently spent two weeks in Kenya aiding a medical team in rural Masai country, building a library at an orphanage, visiting widows, speaking at churches, etc. The East Africa Partnership, www.eastafricapartnership.org, plans four trips to Kenya in 2010.

Founded by Los Ranchos Presbyteries (Orange County) and Limuru (Kenya) in 1994, this nonprofit puts 100% of its donations into programs, as it is entirely run by volunteers. One of the highlights of my life was spending a week coming to love the 9-year-old orphan I sponsor.

-- Donna Judd, Fullerton

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