Travel letters: The blues make one reader swoon, but new fees have another reader singing the blues

Thank you for the article on Chicago blues [“Chasing Those Chicago Blues,” by Christopher Reynolds, Aug. 26].

I am a huge blues fan. I went to Chicago for the only business trip I’ve ever taken. When I got permission to go, I didn’t think, “How nice I will get to go to that conference.” I thought, “I can go to Chess Records!”

I took a couple of vacation days after the conference and did a whirlwind trip of Chicago. I went to Chess and to Buddy Guy’s Legends, which is like a museum. I looked at every last thing on the walls.

I am hoping to be able to go back again soon. I will keep this article!


Thanks for keeping the blues alive.

Nancy Patterson


Fed up with Vegas fees

The news that MGM and its other properties will soon add a $20 gratuity for a massage makes my blood boil [“More MGM Resorts to Add Spa and Salon Fee,” Need to Know, by Jay Jones, Aug. 19]. Will they give me $10 back if the massage is lousy?


MGM knows how to support all the correct liberal causes such as banning plastic straws, but doesn’t seem to know how to support hard-working Americans who visit their properties. Hopefully, more people will wake up and stay at family-friendly non-MGM hotels just off the Strip.

David Tulanian

Las Vegas

Buffet goes to the dogs

Re: “Air, Cruise Lines Restrict Pet Riders,” Need to Know, by Mary Forgione, Aug. 19: A couple of years ago my wife and I took a cruise through the Panama Canal. A couple had a small dog with them, which did not bother us until we saw them with the dog going through the buffet line as the dog wiggled about two feet from the food.

I complained to the dining room captain, but he said his hands were tied because by law the couple were entitled to take the dog anywhere on the ship.

When I questioned him about the hygiene of taking a dog through the buffet line where food was served to guests, he said there was nothing they could do because of regulations.

I approached the dog owners and asked whether one of them could keep the dog at their table while the other got the food and vice versa. They got angry and told me to mind my own business. They said they could do whatever they wanted, they had every right to have the dog go wherever they wanted, and nobody could do anything about it.

My wife and I started eating at different locations on the ship.


It was ironic because there were hand sanitizer units as you entered the dining room and all over the ship to prevent illness.

Henk Friezer

Eagle Rock

Montecito faces new Miramar

Yet another article touting the high-end, over-priced hotels that encourage the “celebrities and wealthy travelers” to come to Santa Barbara [“Posh Playground,” by Rosemary McClure, Aug. 12]. These “tourists” bring nothing to the local economy, price out regular folks and add to traffic congestion.

The Miramar was a family-friendly, inexpensive hotel for many years — it was heartbreaking to see it disappear. I and many of my neighbors, however, enjoyed the quiet open space of Miramar beach for the many years it languished. Miramar beach has never been closed to the public, and if the Miramar folks think they own the beach they have another thing coming.

The Miramar is now an over-built testament to greed. It looks like a giant condo complex in a neighborhood of both large and modest homes. It has impacted traffic and stretched our already thin water supplies. What will happen when it opens to the public? Traffic congestion in Montecito is horrible after the impact of the Thomas fire and the January debris flow. But these “posh” people don’t care about that — they just want another “playground.”

I appreciated the article in the same section about the “bargain destination” of Cayucos [“Spend Some Time With a Quiet Type,” by Deborah Gibson]..

Nina Warner



Global Entry’s Cuba question

I have been to Cuba on an approved program through Saddleback Community College. When I applied for Global Entry, I listed it on the places I’d traveled during the last five years. During my interview, I was told that although I was a participant in an approved people-to-people program, my Global Entry application would be delayed.

I was asked to provide the following information: what group I went with, my day-to-day itinerary and a list of my fellow travelers. After submitting this information, I received my Global Entry. I thought it was intrusive to submit a list of my fellow travelers, but I did so.

As Catharine Hamm [“Is Cuba Worth This Price?” Aug. 19] surmised, Global Entry was probably denied to the couple in the column because they were not honest on their applications.

By the way, our group’s visit coincided with Barack Obama’s trip, which made talking to Cubans especially interesting.

Susan Wexler

hed here

I just read an article by Mary Forgione about how U.S. travelers make themselves annoying to other travelers [].

On a recent trip I saw behaviors in an airline club at JFK that were unbelievable. It was full of people acting as though they were never going to eat or drink again. I was in the departure area for overseas flights, and the fact this crowd had club status suggests they are going to have access to sustenance again. Their poor manners were embarrassing.

If you decide to bring your entire crew into a club room (your family, grandma and grandpa, your kid’s friends, your in-laws, etc.), maybe you could be a bit more aware of the huge tribe following you and contain them together, rather them letting them sprawl all over the place, Maybe everyone should calm down as they grab food from the buffet or stand in line at the bar for free drinks and walk away with five or six? Free is always a good thing, but you’re probably not going to starve to death before you reach your destination.

The lounge personnel were scrambling to keep everyone happy while the lounge visitors were demanding and rude. Families were spread out everywhere so there were numerous bags to trip over and teenagers stuck on their phones or iPads that had to be dodged.

Also, being kind to the airline staff in the club room would be nice rather than demanding they find you and your wife a seat when there are no seats available and people are sitting on the floor, etc. When did common decency get lost in all of this?

On the trip I was on, I was the only one of 22 of us not on my phone one evening. Everyone was texting photos home, posting photos on Facebook, sending photos to each other, etc. I was amazed how much time people spent reporting their adventures back to others.

Jan Clifford

South Pasadena