"Tired of boring, canned info for tourists?" asks the Great Auk, a
Web-based outfit that sells, exclusively, audiotapes of ambient
sounds from Iceland.
At press time, the company, whose address is greatauk.cjb.net, had
two tapes for sale, one of Reykjavik, the other of Gullfoss &
Geysir. Surely this is a stocking stuffer for the well-traveled
client who has everything.
On the Gullfoss tape, "you're ... listening to the soothing
sounds of the waterfall meeting its destiny down below." (Oh,
On the Reykjavik tape, "you're sitting down and listening to the
people doing their jobs, laughing kids, squeaking birds and the low
buzz of the flies." Maybe we will stay home and listen to the tape,
86 on the ipecac
We were tipped off to a product relatively new to North America:
the clunkily if unambiguously named No-Jet-Lag, an
over-the-counter, "homeopathic cure" for "the curse of modern jet
A brochure Insider found at a local drugstore contains a number
of testimonials, including one from a sports doctor for a New
Zealand Rugby League team, who said players on tour benefited from
the chewable tablets and passed their drug tests.
Other testimonials come from "a tour escort" and "a Hong Kong
businessman," who said that hundreds of his associates "jumped up
in the air" when they heard about his experiences with the
The product was developed in New Zealand and is distributed in
the U.S. by an outfit in Los Gatos, Calif.
Its ingredients (for all it means to Insider) are leopard's
bane, daisy, wild chamomile, ipecac and club moss. The tablets are
to be taken while in flight, and the chewability, the brochure
points out, also helps counter the effects of changes in cabin
Directions for use seem rather complicated and can best be
summed up, more or less, as "Take two tablets and call us yesterday
We love small places, but Hope Town, Abacos -- one of the
Bahamian Out Islands -- took even us by surprise.
Pictured below is Hope Town's Municipal Centre (pardon the
British spelling; this is the Bahamas, remember).
building's little outcrop at the far left is the town jail. To our
right, on the first floor, a wooden shingle announces the Dolphin
& Whale Museum. Upstairs, left to right, are the entrances to
the post office, the commissioner's office and the police
One local remarked that the commissioner bounces back and forth
between selling stamps, welcoming visitors at the museum, doing
paperwork and locking up rabble-rousers.
And we thought we were busy.
One if by car ...
We were driving -- or trying to drive -- to Le Meridien in
Boston late one night and, guess what, found ourself lost in this
beautiful town, a town once described, by its own traffic
commissioner, as "designed to be approached only by water."
We'd have loved to be in one of those snazzy rental cars fixed
up with a GPS -- global positioning system -- but alas we were
In desperation, we called the hotel and got one of its
front-desk staff, Ronnie, on a cell phone.
Ronnie pulled out a wrinkled old street map and, street by
street, calmly guided the tired and stressed Insider right up to
the hotel's marquee.
So now, Le Meridien can advertise its own GPS: Just ask for
We've flown, in our time, on Bush Air and Gum Air, but we were a
bit concerned when we showed up at an airfield in the islands and
spied a fuel truck announcing Zig-Zag Airlines on its tank.
What kind of operation was this, and where, exactly, were we
A few questions later, we learned that Zig-Zag actually was an
airline at one point but now is in the business, exclusively, of
delivering fuel. We were much relieved -- and, in truth, partly