The magic and music of Tikal
I read David Kelly's article "Tikal's Lost World" [Nov. 4] while gazing at the extraordinary embroidered Maya calendar hanging on my walI. I purchased it in Flores during a trip with my husband in December and January.
Tikal was an absolutely magical place and the highlight of our seven-day trip to Belize and Guatemala. Instead of flying in and out of Guatemala City, we flew into Belize City and spent several days exploring the ruins, caves and jungle of Belize (all fantastic) before driving with a guide about three hours to Tikal.
After spending one night at the Jungle Lodge inside Tikal National Park, we went to Flores, which is a mecca for buying beautiful Guatemalan textiles and embroidered art. We arrived in Flores on Dec. 31 and spent a New Year's I will never forget. We danced to bands all night in the plaza in front of the church while the sky was filled with fireworks in every direction. Thank you for bringing back the memories.
Ticket refunds get personal
In response to the reader's question in On the Spot regarding airfare refunds in the event of death or illness ["Death or Illness: Airfare Refunded?" by Catharine Hamm, Nov. 4]: This is one more reason to see your travel agent, preferably before you book your ticket.
I just spent months obtaining a full refund for a client who had been diagnosed with cancer after she had booked and paid for her nonrefundable tickets. I did it as a service to my customer at no charge. Many of us in the travel industry have spent years developing relationships with suppliers, often people in upper management and even the very top. As agents, we are often six-figure customers so we have a little more pull than the individual consumer.
A lawyer recently asked me why he should book with me rather than book online. After beating his price, I felt like telling him that anyone can represent themselves in court but they generally have a fool for a client.
I purchased two nonrefundable tickets on Lufthansa to Europe for a departure in June. I was diagnosed with breast cancer two days before departure and called Lufthansa and explained my situation. With only my word and no request for a doctor's validation, it generously refunded my two tickets. So kudos to Lufthansa; I will fly only them in the future to Europe.
Much more to do in Santa Cruz
I was thoroughly unimpressed with Mike Morris' Weekend Escape on Santa Cruz ["Life in Cruz Control," Oct. 28]. We did the bonfire at Seabright State Beach between the boardwalk and the harbor, visited the surf museum on West Cliff Drive at Lighthouse Point and watched the surfers near the pier, ate at the awesome Taco Bar in the back of El Palomar on Pacific Street, shopped and ate ice cream at the Penny Ice Creamery.
We did all of this between moving our freshman daughter into her dorm at UC Santa Cruz.
In addition, I think it would have been good for Morris to have visited the UC campus and the harbor on the other side of town. I'll take my weekend over his any day.
Tracy Robert Harcourt