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Journeywoman's Best Tips of 2006

Support for women moving to Hong Kong -- writes Janet in Hong Kong -- there are two organizations that I recommend for women moving to Hong Kong. They offer groups for new comers as well as all kinds of courses pertaining to language, culture, history, outings and shopping. The first is called the American Women's Organisation (AWA) but it's not just for Americans; everybody is welcome. Their telephone number is 2527 2961, website: or simply show up for their weekly coffee & chat at the Marriott Hotel's coffee shop. The second is the Y's English speaking members department. Their telephone number is 3476 1340, website: A lot of women join both, pick and choose from their activities and make use of the members' discounts they each have for places around town. Feel free to be in touch.

ED. NOTE: Interested in learning more about Hong Kong? Why not browse through, 'GirlTalk Hong Kong -- a mini online travel guide especially for women.' See:

Woman-friendly bookshop in Thailand -- writes Caroline in Hong Kong -- Along the busy and dusty streets of Bangkok, I found a cool retreat in which to while away a few hours. Skoob is a quaint bookstore on the 2nd floor of a small mall called Penny's Balcony (Thonglor 16, Sukhumvit 55). It sells used and new English and Japanese books, has a small corner to relax with a cup of Lavazza coffee and cookies while you browse. The ambience is enhanced with quiet jazz playing in the background, and there's a rack with a small selection of jazz CDs that visitors can purchase as well. Skoob carries a fairly decent range of books given their limited space, and readers should find at least a couple of books that will interest them. There's also a great trade-in program for books so you could always trade for others on their shelves. Website:

A great medical service in Paris -- writes Oriana from Paris, France -- I'd like visitors to my city to know that if you forget a prescription at home or have a medical emergency, there is a wonderful Doctor-on-call service called SOS. Phone # 01-47-07-77-77. It costs between 75-90 euros for French citizens and visitors alike. They are wonderful here. We waited a grand total of 20 minutes from the time we called until the doctor arrived. No lengthy forms to fill out, just a sweet doctor arriving on your doorstep or hotel step, a check-up to understand your problem and a prescription that is easily filled at one of two 24 hour pharmacies within Paris. I hope this is a help to other travelling women. Stay healthy everybody!

A female-centered tip to make you smile -- Tokyo rail companies are providing pregnant women with badges in the hope of prompting other passengers on the Japanese capital's crowded trains to offer them seats. The pink and blue badges reading: 'There is a baby in my belly' are being handed out at stations around the region to try to make commuting and other train journeys easier for pregnant women who are often left standing. No proof of pregnancy is required (Source: Toronto Star).

Solo-friendly guest house in Oaxaco, Mexico -- writes Peggy from New York -- I've stayed several times at Casa Colonial in Oaxaca. You can get a single for $US65 with three meals and the cook (who has worked there for 26 years) is very good. Jane and Thorny Robertson who have run this guest house for years are friendly and very knowledgeable since they have lived in Oaxaca for a long time. They also have a wonderful sitting room/library with hundreds of books to browse. As serious collectors of Mexican art they have filled the casa with part of their collection. Want to do some day trips? Their manager Amado arranges for tours of nearby villages. Although I was with my husband I highly recommend it for women alone because meals are communal and the guests are a wonderfully interesting group. Website: Email:

A quirky hotel find in Florence, Italy --
writes Roberta in Milan, Italy -- When Alessio Lotti and his Japanese wife Asumi took over the Hotel Cestelli at 25, Borgo Santi Apostoli three years ago, much needed to be done to bring this eight-room establishment up to standard. These two hoteliers have worked wonders (while just three of the rooms now have a private bath, that's the price you pay for being in a 15th-century building). And talking of prices, they are great: at 65-80 euro a night, you cannot get much better in this neck of the woods (just around the corner from the Piazza Santa Trinita in the center of Florence). Although breakfast is not served, the hosts provide their guests with a list of their favorite local bars and cafes. All the rooms are non-smoking. Oh, and in case you were wondering, since they did not have elevators in the 1400s, neither has the Hotel Cestelli. No problem really, as there is help available if your luggage is heavy. For more information, tel: 055 214213. Website: Email:

She walks in Berlin -- writes Ella from the Netherlands --I would like to recommend a walking tour in Berlin called 'Original Berlin Walks.' Everything is done in English and they operate seven days a week with several starting times each day and you can buy your ticket online before you leave home. I chose the 'Discover Berlin Walk' on my first day there so I would understand the city better. The guide was excellent and I even met a few other solo women travelers that joined the group. You will find everything you need to know about this company at:

ED. NOTE: There's an archived article about Berlin at the JW website. It's called, 'What's a Girl to do in Berlin?' Interested? See:





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