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Women Writers Worldwide Share Travel Secrets 2006


Early Christmas shopping...

It's always fun to have a day of shopping in foreign destinations. Whenever I travel I give myself a challenge -- to seek out interesting stocking stuffers as I browse the local shops. Over the years I've found packages of lovely rice paper and envelopes ($2.00 in Korea), gorgeous, sophisticated scarves ($4.00 in Shanghai), decorated zipper pulls for children's sweaters ($2.00 in London) and tulip bulbs ($2.00) in Holland. All were easy to pack and then store in my 'goodie cupboard' back home. By the time holiday gift giving time rolls around I am prepared with unique gifts that didn't cost me a fortune.

Evelyn Hannon, editor of Journeywoman.com lives and works in Toronto, Canada.


Her favorite restaurants in Shanghai...

In Shanghai I like the fast food court in the basement of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Pudong. The Hyatt supervises it so the food should be reliable. It doesn't always have Cantonese food but when it does, you can get decent duck and pork barbecue with rice in the Y25 range. This restaurant is in the Jin Mao Building where you can also get a wonderful view of Shanghai from its roof. Of course the food in the Hyatt itself is great and much fancier, but it is also considerably more expensive.

Wherever I go in China, I try to eat in the Dong Bei Restaurant chain, mainly because its restaurants are so lively and fun, and the food is good. But don't go there for a quiet romantic lunch. Wait staff greet you sing-song fashion and scurry around in brightly coloured costumes. You can get disposable gloves so you can eat your deep-fried pork hocks by hand. The food in northeast Chinese style is cheap and these restaurants are usually packed so get there early. There's a branch in Shanghai near the City Hotel on Shanxi Nan Road. From here you can walk off a heavy meal along streets of cheap boutiques with the latest women's fashions all the way to the Xiangyang Market (for inexpensive knock-offs).

For upmarket food, my favourite is M on the Bund, not just for the food, but for the view from its balcony of the Bund at dusk when the lights come on. I've eaten there twice (when a friend on an expense account was paying), but for the price of a drink, I have sat on the balcony before restaurant patrons arrive, and enjoyed the view. There are other Bund-side restaurants in this area too, but I find them too flossy. M on the Bund is on the 7th floor at No. 5, The Bund, entrance on Guangdong Road. Tel. 63509988. Website: http://www.m-onthebund.com/

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: http://www.china-travel-guide.com



My neighbourhood restaurant in Paris...

I highly recommend a small Mediteranean cuisine restaurant in my lively immigrant neighborhood of Paris. It's called Coq Kabab, 2 rue l'Olive, Paris, Metro Marx Dormoy on the line 12. Not only is the food freshly made and cheap (a Greek sandwish costs 4 E), but you get to meet Momo, a neighborhood pillar who has created a small haven on a pedestrian shopping street near one of the covered markets or Paris. If you speak French, don't miss conversing with opinionated and elegant Momo. Closed Mondays.

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: http://www.jeanne-feldman.com


Make sleeping in airplanes a dream...

My favorite slumber mask is lightweight and comfortable with foam to fit around your eyes, blocking out all light. I never travel without this; it's perfect to use for sleeping on overnight flights. It's just $12.99 by Hearos and can be found in kit form in many drug stores and online at http://hearos.com/products-00507.htm.

P.S. Hearos also includes a relaxing Aromatherapy lotion with essential oils for calming and soothing senses and a free pair of Ear Filters and Storage Case. Sweet dreams, everybody!

Sharon Wingler lives in Atlanta, USA. She is a flight attendant and the creator of the website: http://www.TravelAloneandLoveIt.com


Her Essential Gear...

Invest in a good quality ultra-light head torch (lamp). My favourite is one with a pull out strap that is so compact and light to carry, it slips into a pocket or small purse. Great for reading in bed at night in dorm rooms, walking along dark roads at night (hopefully not alone), rainforest night walks, caving and other adventure activities. The model is called, Zipka. It's made by Petzl which I think is an international brand. I found mine on an Aussie website called, http://www.spelean.com.au/index_a.html but I'm sure JourneyWomen would be able to google it and find a source in their own country.

P.S. This item makes a great bon voyage gift for any traveller.

Janet McGarry is a travel journalist living in Australia. She is the Managing Editor of Backpacker Essentials. Website: http://www.backpackeressentials.com.au



A World of Christmas Reflections in Montreal, Canada...

Each year since 1981, St. Joseph's Oratory Museum atop Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec has showcased its growing collection of colorful, creative nativity scenes with a remarkable global perspective. Initially, the exhibition featured 25 nativity scenes from five countries; by 2005 there were 290 contributions with the cultural eyeglasses of 110 countries. From life-size to miniature, from traditional woodcarvings from Malawi to exquisite silk-clad Korean nativity figures to Lladro porcelain human and animal figures from Spain, all are beautifully lit and uniquely presented in every showcase. The exhibition from mid-November to the end of February is an inspiring visitor pilgrimage worth several hours of enjoyment no matter what your religious persuasion. Entry by donation.

Alison Gardner is a Canadian travel journalist, editor of Travel with a Challenge. Website: www.travelwithachallenge.com and author of 'Travel Unlimited: Uncommon Adventures for the Mature Traveler'.


Journeywoman Bonus Tip...

Not interested in travelling all by yourself? Why not join one of the many women-centered excursions offered by tour companies around the world? Choose a room of your own or avoid the single supplement by asking to be partnered with another solo woman traveller (many great friendships have started this way). Here is just one of the many interesting listings submitted by our JW Network of Classified Advertisers.

TRAVEL FROM A WOMAN'S POINT OF VIEW -- classic destinations for the discriminating woman. The unique and extraordinary are hallmarks of our style. Visit Provencal villages, cook in Michelin star restaurants, shop with Suzy Gershman, and relax in historic settings with exquisite ambiance. Fully escorted sojourns for small groups visiting France, Italy, Great Britain, Asia and the historic United States and Canada. Visit http://teagardentravel.com Telephone (877) 838-5142 toll free

Interested in reading more? Just click here.

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