Spring is just around the corner. It won't be long until a bunch of adventurous MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers pack up their gear and head out together on some matchless educational vacations!
And, since we always try to provide just a little more than might be expected, we have some interesting new developments to report on our Health and Nutrition Tour of the U.S.S.R. and our expedition to study The Peoples and Cultures of the Andes and the Amman.
The U.S.S.R.: Later and Longer
The dates of our U.S.S.R. tour (formerly May 27 through June 16) have been moved back. It will now take place from May 31 through June 23, 1979. This new arrangement was necessary (so the Russians told us) in order to make good inter-country connections on their new spring and summer schedules. While it may mean that some of the people who have already signed up for the tour (and the response has been nothing short of amazing!) will have to alter their plans a bit, the revised schedule does have a number of distinct advantages.
First, thanks to some fancy footwork by our friends at the Citizen Exchange Corps, the new dates give us—for the same $1,900—three more days (a 24-day trip instead of a 21-day trip) to study the fascinating subjects of preventive medicine, natural cures, nutrition, and aging—the latter done so joyously and gracefully by some of the charming centenarians of the Caucasus.
The extra time also allows us to throw in an exciting bonus: the addition of Samarkand to the itinerary. This is one of the oldest cities of civilization; both Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan considered it a prize worth conquering. Our visit there—where the majority of the population still wear native dress and the food is not your usual Russian fare—will add another dimension to the trip and expose us to even more of the cultural diversity of the Soviet Union.
The final good news from the Russian front is that Walter McKain, Professor Emeritus at the University of Connecticut and the Academic Leader for last year's trip, has agreed to travel with us again.
Dr. McKain has been to the Soviet Union for seven extended cultural exchange programs sponsored by the U.S. Public Health Service and the U.S.S.R. Ministry of Health. He is a specialist in gerontology and health maintenance, and over the years has made many Soviet friends. In fact, the Russians are so impressed with the professor that—during our stay in the delightful health spa of Pyatigorsk last year—a documentary camera crew filmed his visit to show as a "short" before movie features, newspaper reporters waited to interview the eminent gerontologist in Sukhumi on the Black Sea coast, and Walter's friends in Tbilisi (the hospitable capital of Soviet Georgia) greeted us all with a champagne supper and free tickets to the Georgia ballet. (And, if you think ballet's a bore, you've never seen the way they dance in Georgia!) Dr. McKain's deep insights into life and health in the U.S.S.R. are sure to enrich our journey, and—under his guidance—you can get college credit for the trip (as you can for all of our foreign expeditions).
Remember, the payments for this tour must be received not later than 45 days prior to departure. You'll have to contact us right away if you want to come along!
An Easter Island Option
Of course, that's not the end of it! In fact, it's just the beginning of MOTHER EARTH NEWS' exploration of some of the most exotic and interesting areas of the world!
The next trip on the agenda is a 22-day tour of the Andes and the Amazon (from July 5 through July 27, 1979), which this magazine is sponsoring in cooperation with Nature Expeditions International (NEI).
On the South America tour (which costs $1,490 plus airfare), we'll study the cultures of Ecuador and Peru (with an emphasis on the peoples of the Andes and the sites and artifacts of the Inca civilization, especially at Cuzco, Ingapirca, and Machu Picchu). But, aside from visits to Incan and pre-Incan ruins, our travels will take us to the cities of Quito, Cuenca, Lima, and Arequipa ... as well as various Indian villages and markets. We'll also spend several days at Puerto Maldonado, exploring one of the few unspoiled sections of the Amazon in boats and dugout canoes.
Then—for that little something extra—you'll have the option of continuing on to Santiago, Chile, where from you'll depart on a week's excursion to intriguing Easter Island. (Who knows, maybe you can solve the mystery of its great stone figures.)
This tiny dot of land 2,000 miles out in the Pacific—which was depicted so well in Thor Heyerdahl's Aku-Aku —has fascinated all who've ever been privileged to go there. And you can be one of those rare (there's only one hotel) visitors for an additional $790 plus airfare. Write to us for details, or send us a $200 deposit for the South America trip, plus an extra $100 if you wish to reserve a spot on the Easter Island excursion.
The animal/nature lovers among you won't want to miss our Kenya Ecological Safari, which will run from August 3 through August 27, 1979 (also cosponsored by NEI). We'll spend 24 days wandering about—on foot and in land rovers—one of the richest wildlife regions on earth and come to understand the delicately balanced ecological factors that create this living spectacle.
We'll pitch our tents at Mt. Kenya, the Meru Reserve, the Masai Mara, Amboseli and Tsavo Park, Lake Victoria, the Kakamega rain forest, and the Rift Valley lakes of Nakuru and Naivasha. You'll spend your nights camping out under the African sky, while every day will offer unlimited opportunities to study and photograph animal behavior, bird life, and unusual plants ... as well as a "once in a lifetime" chance to observe tribal practices in the area. The cost of this trip is $1,590 plus airfare.
And don't forget that—for another $390—you can extend this vacation, too, with a one-week visit to the Kenya Coast. While there, we'll enjoy stays at Mombasa, the Watamu Marine Reserve, and the ancient island of Lamu, along with nature walks, swimming, sailing, and snorkeling in the crystal waters of the Indian Ocean.
The deposit for this tour is, again, $200 with another $100 required if you want to add on the coastal excursion.
Cameras in the Canyonlands
If all that has put an itch in your shutter finger but you just can't get away for such an extended period of time, why not join us on September 21, 1979 for our Canyonlands Nature Photography Safari? We'll be camping out again, but this time the settings will be Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks and Cedar Breaks and Capitol Reef National Monuments.
While we hike twisting trails edged by fanciful rock forms, our cameras—under the guidance of an outstanding nature photographer—will capture high forested plateaus, melting cliffs, and crumbling spires ... all known for their beautiful rainbows of color.
The fee is $790 from Cedar City, Utah, and $100 will reserve a place for you. Our schedule and activities during the 10 days in the Canyonlands will be flexible, depending on the weather, lighting, fall color, and group interest.
According to our agreement with NEI, the initial deposit for any expedition is refundable (less a $50 handling charge) up to 60 days before departure. Any cancellations after 60 days will result in additional charges based on nonrecoverable deposits and expenses.