On Rip-Off Tips

Compiled by BILL PEEPLES

Loved Gregory Jensen’s “Rip-Off Tip-Offs” (Jan. 27). Even experienced travelers can get taken, and Jensen’s “beware” list will be so useful. Just last month in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, eight of us collapsed in chagrined laughter when we compared prices of taxi rides from Hotel Inter-Continental into town. We all traveled exactly the same distance within minutes of each other, and paid from 200 to 700 dinars for the 20-minute ride.

Not all rip-offs happen abroad. It behooves all diners to check restaurant bills item by item. How many travelers are acquainted with the New York City hotels and motels that pick you up at Kennedy or La Guardia for no charge (a tip to the driver for handling your bags, perhaps?) and deliver you back again at the end of your stay?


Long Beach


Dollar Dealing

In regard to Peter S. Greenberg’s black market in dollars article (Jan. 20): We have just returned from Egypt, and found the situation there about currency a bit different from his article. Egypt has an official rate and a tourist rate. While we were there the officialrate was 84 piasters and the tourist rate 112 per dollar at any bank or hotel. If you got the tourist rate you could not convert money upon leaving the country, but if you accepted the official rate it could be converted back to dollars--if you still had your receipt. The black market rate, available on every corner and in every store, was 130 to 150 piasters per dollar.


Rancho Palos Verdes


Yugoslavia Inferences

While I lay no claims to historical scholarship, I rather resent Diana Christopher’s letter (Feb. 3) saying that my Jan. 6 article on Ohrid, Yugoslavia, was “destroyed” for her because of “historical inaccuracies.” As examples, she cited that “by inference” I had said that Czar Samuel (or Samouil) was a Macedonian when he was a Bulgarian. I inferred no such thing, she did. My story reported that the ruins of Samuel’s castle from which he ruled his Balkan empire are in Ohrid, which is in Macedonia. This no more made him a Macedonian than the fact that the Vatican is in Rome makes John Paul II a Roman. Her other point is even farther fetched. She says it is “highly suspect” that St. Clement “invented” the Cyrillic alphabet. My story did not say he invented it but that he was one of its “prime developers,” which I doubt anyone denies. I don’t mind nit-picking but one should pick accurate nits.