Lessons on travel to Cuba
Regarding "Unspoiled, for Now," by Amanda Jones, Nov. 18: I find it appalling that the same people who condemned apartheid in South Africa will applaud it in Cuba. Did it occur to The Times that those people were putting on a show for tips? Shame on Jones for writing this shallow, naive white-man's-burden piece.
I enjoyed the article on Cuba travel by Amanda Jones. An even better way to travel is to go through study-abroad classes. I went to Cuba on June 30-July 31 with Santa Barbara City College. The whole package was inclusive: land, air, transfers and a single room for $4,800. You had to take a college class, which is why I primarily went, so I took a fine-art photography class for three units.
A good read on New Mexico
When I was writing my dissertation some years ago, I focused on Ana Castillo's novel "So Far From God," set in and near El Santuario de Chimayo in New Mexico.
For anyone contemplating a visit to this fascinating, living example of social, religious and political history as suggested by the Nov. 25 Weekend Escape by Jay Jones ["A Link to Tradition and a Helping Hand"], I recommend Castillo's work: It provides background, color, insight and passion for and about this magical place.
UC Santa Barbara
Kennedy work lives on
Regarding "Somber JFK Anniversary Invites Remembrance," by Dean R. Owen, Nov. 4: I took my two daughters to Massachusetts in October when we went home to visit our family. They enjoyed the visit to the JFK Library, but I was sad because the facility looked tired and worn. No matter what, though, the displays, the education and the setting outweigh this one downside.
One other thing about the JFK Library that impressed me: My younger daughter uses a wheelchair. We rent or borrow wheelchairs in many places in Southern California and have encountered an endless array of fees, deposits and requests for collateral. When I asked to rent a wheelchair at the JFK Library, the young man at the desk was practically insulted that I thought they would charge me for one.
I then asked if I should leave my driver's license or car keys with him. This time he seemed genuinely perplexed and told me that wheelchairs are a service that the library provides for guests — period.
I was moved to see that the JFK Library lives out the Kennedy family's work for people of all abilities in this way.
Gold club member hits airfare snag
Regarding Catharine Hamm's "Death or Illness: Airfare Refunded?" [On the Spot, Nov. 4]: In August, I scheduled a flight from Palm Springs to Nashville for Oct. 30.
On Oct. 4, I had a gallstones and bladder attack that had me under the knife for three surgeries in as many days.
My doctor advised me not to fly for at least six weeks, which would have brought me into mid-November. I canceled my flight and told the American Airlines attendant on the phone that I had a medical problem and would have to reschedule. Her reply was, "We will still have to charge you $150 for rescheduling."
I told her I was a gold million-mile club member. That didn't mean a thing to her or, obviously, American Airlines, with which I have been traveling since the late '40s.
Morris I. Diamond