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Women Writers Worldwide Share Travel Secrets 2006

Try Thai in Paris...

We call it le Fast Food Thai, and it’s got to be the best restaurant deal in Paris. Loads of rice, two main dishes plus tea is 4 E at La Maison Thai, 2 rue de L’Evangile, Paris, Métro Marx Dormoy. It’s small and basic and you may have to share a table – and it’s always crowded. A French friend of mine who eats there says a lot of artists from the neighborhood are regulars. Closed Sundays and Mondays. If there’s no room at all, they’ve just opened another place, larger and more elegant, Le Sud Est D’Asie, around the corner at 10 rue de la Martinique. But you’ll have to pay more – 5 E per meal instead of 4!

Jeanne Feldman
is the author of the shopping guide, ‘Best Buys and Bargains in Paris’. She leads Discovery Shopping Tours of Paris, is an intercultural trainer/coach and Paris resident since 1991. Website:

Small hotels for solo travellers...

When traveling alone, I prefer to stay in small, independently-owned hotels with two or fewer stars but a private bathroom. Best way to find these is in guidebooks. What I like to do is go to a big bookstore, gather all the books available for my destination, take them to the coffeshop section of the store and pore over them while sipping a latte. I look in the "accommodations" section of each guidebook for hotels in my budget range (low to medium budget). When I find the same hotel recommended by two guidebooks, that is where I'll book my room. Then I buy at least two of the guidebooks and I'm all set for researching my trip.

Sharon Wingler lives in Atlanta, USA. She is a flight attendant and the creator of the website:

Finding tolerable toilets in India...

In my country public and paid toilet facilities are not so common so I'm sending along some advice for female visitors to India. Almost every restaurant and some tourist spots have toilets attached to them. Have a cup of tea at a hotel and take this opportunity to use the toilet facility available there. If you've had a meal at a restaurant, don't leave without using their facilities (even if you don't REALLY need to go). It might be a while before you find another proper toilet. Alternatively, if you are traveling by car and stop for a petrol fill, take the time and use the toilet facilities available at most petrol pumps. Carry tissue and wet wipes. You'll probably need them.

Resmi Jaimon is an international freelance writer in Kochi (Kerala), India. Website:

Home cooking in Santiago, Chile...

If you're in Santiago, Chile, head to the casual and friendly Cantina El Hoyo to sample tasty traditional Chilean dishes, such as Cazuela. This dish is often described as a stew, but the broth is very light and clear, like a soup. My Chilean companion informed me this is a casual dish, one that people would cook at home for family, not for company. Busy homemakers simmer the meat all day, then add a few green beans, carrot slices and a boiled potato. Try, too, the Terremoto (Spanish for earthquake), a large pitcher of pipeno (a young new wine) that's mixed with pineapple juice and vanilla ice cream. There's a smaller serving size, called the Temblor (aftershock). Address: San Vicente 375, Santiago, Chile. Phone: 689 4528. Web site:

Karen Zabawa is a freelance travel writer in Missisauga, Canada. Website:

Eating alone -- make it an adventure...

Women travelers come in two varieties. Some seek solace and sustenance by calling room service and vegging out. Others get out and have an adventure. Here are some suggestions of the types of places to eat when you are alone anywhere in the world. (1) Wine Bars -- generally serve food at the bar (not to mention wine). (2) Sushi restaurants --part of the fun of these places that serve sushi and brochettes is sitting at the bar watching the chefs perform their culinary show. (3) Noodle Shops -- if you love Oriental noodles, hit a noodle bar. All you need to do is point. (4) Haute Cuisine -- Restaurant owners are now squeezing in a few extra small tables and some of Paris’s most glamorous hotels serve meals in the bar. Take a book with you. But, I’ve ended up having pleasant conversations with people from around the world. There are times when it’s a pleasure to simply eat “alone.”

Karen Fawcett is a journalist in Paris, France. She is the president of (Travel, Hotel, News, and Information about Paris and France).

She eats out in Beijing...

For strictly veggie, I recommend the Green Tianshi Vegetarian Restaurant. This is across the street to the north of the Tianlun Dynasty Hotel. Open 10am-10pm. Credit cards are accepted. No MSG, no smoking, no meat, no eggs, no alcohol. High protein, low calorie, zero cholesterol. The menu has photos of its dishes and is in Chinese and English. This is very conveniently located a few meters from Wangfujing Street, the main shopping area in Beijing. It is across from the Songhe Hotel and near the Tianlun Dynasty Hotel. The roast “duck” is Y96, roasted vegetables with fresh “meat” clusters in Xinjiang style is Y18, vegetarian prawns Y72, and grilled vegetarian “beef steak” Y68. The restaurant's predominantly white setting is very pretty. Address: 57 Dengshikou Street. Tel: 6524-2476, 6524-2349 Email: Website:

Xinjiang Moslem located on the grounds of the Xinjiang government representative here in Beijing serves modestly priced food, but there’s no menu in English. You can go to the front of this huge noisy hall with its white linen table cloths and point at what you want: bun stuffed with mutton, chunks of mutton on yellow and orange rice; skewers of barbecued meat, spicy hot and wonderful. You can take photos of the chefs too. Most of the patrons are local. It is located south of the Xiyuan Hotel and the zoo. Xinjiang Fan Jong, San Li He 7. Tel. 6833-2266 X 6618 or 6617. P.S. If you want or don't want anything specific in terms of food ask someone at your hotel's front desk to write your preferences for you and show this note to the folks at the restaurant.

Xiao Wang’s Home Restaurant is located in a lane north of the east side of the Jinglun Hotel and south of the west side of the Kerry Hotel (It also has other branches in the city). This is a simply decorated restaurant with plastic covers over cloth table cloths and walls in need of renovation. But the food is excellent and extremely well-priced. If you point at its English menu, waiters in black sweaters and trousers (with no English), can bring you seven juicy, meaty, melt-in-your mouth spare ribs for about Y35. Crispy rice is Y25-Y28 and one order is enough for four people. Boiled dumplings with pork and vegetables are Y10. Jasmine tea Y2. Spicy dishes are noted. It is open 12 noon to 10pm. You can also ask for their take-out menu. Tel. 6591-3255, 6594-3602.

Ruth Lor Malloy is a travel writer with an expertise in China who lives in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of China Guide and Ruth Lor Malloy's Beijing. Website:

Journeywoman Bonus Tip...

Travelling to Paris with children? Here's two helpful tips from the Fodor guide, 'Around Paris With Kids'

'Keep in mind that around 16,000 people visit the Tour Eiffel daily. To avoid the worst of the crowds, come early or around sundown, when the light is perfect for spotting the city's monuments, or come at night when the views of the City of Light are especially magical'.

'The Musee du Louvre's rue de Rivoli entrance usually has shorter lines to get into the museum. Come to the Louvre at night to see its stunning exterior artfully lit. The Louvre organizes excellent guided tours and workshops for kids (in French); call 01-40-20-52-09 for subjects and times'.

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