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winter geta ways

At Yokohama Bay, the soft sand complements the gentle breeze.

oahu, Hawaii It’s the air When you land in Oahu, the first thing you may notice—before the umbrella in your mai tai, the sun, or the inviting beaches—is the soft air. Quietly intoxicating, the wafting trade winds brush the waves and cool off the sunbathers. According to the state climatologist, Professor Pao-Shin Chu of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the secret to the 50th state’s natural air-conditioning is the northeasterly winds that caress Oahu on most days. “Without the trade winds,” Chu says, “Hawaii would not be a very good place to live.” The trade winds begin in a subtropical region of the north Pacific and sweep down toward the islands. “The cold air is moderated by the relatively warm waters,” Chu says. The winds reduce the humidity, clear out pollution, and keep temperatures in the high 70s to mid-80s year-round. On the east side of the island toward Kailua, the trade winds tend to roar. At the Nuuanu Pali Lookout five miles northeast of Honolulu, you can experience their full force. For gentler breezes, stick to the leeward side of Oahu—the west coast. At Yokohama Bay you can picnic and hike, watch surfers and body boarders when the waves are up, and simply breathe. —bruce anderson

tony novak-clifford

Natural Wonders

Six wildly divergent destinations have one thing in common: The elements have conspired to make them magical. I

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winter g eta ways

Alligators sunbathe along the Anhinga Trail, safe from handbag makers.

Pinnacles National Park, Calif.

Everglades national Park, florida

Gorgeous geology


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You’ll find no geysers or glacier-hewn granite in this park. Its beauty and grandeur lie in its animals—among them panthers, flamingos, and manatees—and its flora, found in cypress groves, mangrove swamps, and woodsy mounds called hammocks, dense with palms, poisonwood, and gumbo-limbo. You’ll see alligators, of course. The park is home to tens of thousands of them. But don’t worry—their tastes run to careless wading birds and hapless marsh rabbits. At the Shark Valley Visitor Center on the park’s north boundary, a 20-mile-wide river spreads south

through Florida’s broad saw-grass prairie. A guide in an open tram calls out highlights: green-backed herons and white ibis—two of 366 bird species—spearing crayfish in a tree-lined canal. Snapping turtles lounging on logs. A snail kite soaring over the marsh. You can enjoy the Everglades through a windshield—it’s just an hour from Miami—but leave your car for the many trails and boardwalks. You might pick out a wood stork, an endangered species, probing for fish between the buttressed roots of a mossy old cypress. —sheridan warrick

A hiker on the Balconies Trail is dwarfed by huge volcanic boulders.

top: James Schwabel/Alamy; bottom: Scott Markewitz

Cottonwood Canyons, utah Peak snow

david h. collier

It may be the country’s newest national park, but you can hardly call this amazing rock star a new kid on the block. As craggy and ancient as Keith Richards, the burntsienna buttresses and salmon-pink pillars that earned Pinnacles its moniker date back some 23 million years to the time when a hotheaded volcano spewed rhyolitic lava across a swath of what is now Los Angeles County. How volcanic rock from Southern California ended up 80 miles southeast of San Jose is a powerful lesson in plate tectonics. “After the volcano died, the volcanic field was torn asunder by the San Andreas Fault, and the two halves moved almost 200 miles apart,” explains Rick Stanley of the U.S. Geological Survey. As the Pinnacles formation inched northwest atop the Pacific Plate, Stanley says, “it eroded into spectacular spires.” Along the way, massive boulders— some as huge as houses—tumbled into Pinnacles’ narrow canyons and got stuck before hitting bottom, forming the roofs of two entrancing talus caves. Legend has it that Bear Gulch Cave once harbored a local bandit and his loot, but today visitors will find natural treasures: a subterranean waterfall and a colony of endangered Townsend’s big-eared bats. From the cave, hardy hikers can ascend the High Peaks Trail, where stairs cut right into the volcanic rock lead to expansive views and the chance to spot resident California condors roosting amid otherworldly rock formations that—inch by inch—continue their incredible North American tour. —kristina malsberger

Swamped with wildlife

Ride the aerial tram above the vast winterscape surrounding Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon, and you’ll see why this part of the Wasatch Range receives worldwide acclaim. “We have the magic combination of quality and quantity of snow,” says Jim Steenburgh, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Utah. As Steenburgh explains, snow clouds arrive from every direction without any other mountains nearby to block their path. When the clouds collide with the 10,000-foot peaks around the Cottonwood Canyons, home to four resorts, the powder starts falling. The Great Salt Lake also creates lake-effect snows that can add a couple of extra feet. Snowbird averages over 40 feet of snow each winter and got a whopping 65 feet in the whiteout season of 2010–2011. Quite simply, Steenburgh says, “It’s one of the most reliable places in North America for snow.” —chris woolston A skier tramps through the powder at Snowbird.

winter g eta ways

From early winter to late spring, whale sharks swim in the Sea of Cortez.

Scottsdale, arizona

Sea of Cortez, mexico


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Pedestrians commune with the setting sun on the Soleri Bridge.

Reinhard Dirscherl/Alamy

Even in winter, the odds of rain in the Scottsdale-Phoenix area are slight, the chances of sun excellent. According to local meteorologist Paul Horton, those clear conditions are largely ensured by the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains, which guard the valley against the moisturebearing jet stream. A fitting civic landmark for this region, aptly known as the Valley of the Sun, is the Soleri Bridge in downtown Scottsdale. Designed by the late architect Paolo Soleri, the pedestrian span doubles as a solar calendar, celebrating the celestial body that shines in cloudless skies above the desert domain 200-plus days a year. —josh sens

Fishbowl fantasies courtesy Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

Sun, sun, sun

It’s a fish-eat-fish world in the Sea of Cortez, a Unesco World Heritage Site. A bouillabaisse of phytoplankton—fed by an upwelling of nutrients from the depths—supports an astonishing variety of marine life, from an A-list of whale species, tropical fish, leatherback sea turtles, and manta rays to a supporting cast of rare and endangered creatures found nowhere else on earth. This aquatic razzle-dazzle is an eye-popping treat for snorkelers, kayakers, and divers. From La Paz, hop a boat to Isla Espíritu Santo, don some flippers, and discover the wonders beneath the glimmering waves. —leslie endicott l

If you’re going . . . For maps and TourBook guides, go to or any AAA branch. To find a place to stay, visit AAA Travel offers tours to Oahu, among other destinations. Call (877) 346-7492 or visit


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Beverly West:

Los Angeles’ Most Exclusive High-Rise Residences Luxury Collection of Just 35 Residences at the Gateway to Beverly Hills; An Icon of Modern Architecture with Custom or Turn-key View Homes.


everly West is Los Angeles’ most exclusive, private offering of luxury condominiums ever presented for sale. Limited to just 35 custom residences, this unique architectural icon of progressive modernism balances to perfection the play of clouds and sunlight on glass and granite. Each hidden residence rests quietly above the seemingly infinite green views of the Los Angeles Country Club, beyond to Bel Air, the Hollywood Hills and Pacific Ocean. Beverly West is the flagship United States property of Emaar Properties, the internationally acclaimed developer of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Setting itself apart from all other Los Angeles high-rises, Beverly West offers two distinct residential living options. Home owners can choose from a selection of impeccably designed, fully furnished turn-key residences, or they maintain the option to fully customize their homes. Beverly West’s five model residences, designed by Lisa Garriss of Plum Design West, are each inspired by a different designer, showcasing the home collections from David Sutherland, Christian Liaigre, Ralph Lauren’s City Modern, Armani/Casa, and James Perse’s Malibu Collection. Beverly West’s residences range from 1,700 to 8,215 square feet, from $1.5 million to $22.4 million. Beverly West is set on one of the most sought-after pieces of real estate in Los Angeles – secluded at the end of the Wilshire Corridor, immediately overlooking the prestigious Los Angeles Country Club. It stands at the gateway to Beverly Hills, yet is removed from urban congestion and is entered from a quiet residential neighborhood. From its concealed perch, Beverly West commands 360 degree views as far as the eye can see.


Tracking Whale Sharks in the Sea of Cortez­‐whale-­‐sharks-­‐in-­‐ the-­‐sea-­‐of-­‐cortez-­‐20140129     January 30, 2014 By Ali Carr Troxell Our guide warned us not to move, but there is only so much you can do when a fish six times your size comes barreling toward you underwater. I'd had two days to prepare for this moment – two days of horizon scanning and sonar reading – but reflexes are reflexes. I flailed. Fortunately, the 10-foot whale shark didn't mind. He was busing sucking up the plankton that thrives near the surface of the Sea of Cortez. The sea, which Jacques Cousteau dubbed "The World's Aquarium," is a 68,340-squaremile peninsula of colorful coral and squidinfested deep water surrounded by the desert that runs north from Mazatlán and back south along Baja to La Paz, where divers like myself book rooms next to honeymooners and spring breakers. I'd been staying at CostaBaja, a luxury resort, and making day trips out into the glacier-blue sea. My first trip was to Isla Espíritu Santo, the heart of a UNESCO-protected biosphere renowned for its reef life and friendly sea lions. I jumped in and watched playful pups play catch with sardine bait balls. When they grew bored with their game, they nibbled on my fins and arms and I let them. My guides from Fun Baja got word that a whale shark was in the area while we were enjoying some grilled fish tacos and cerveza. Apparently, the fish was lurking just across the bay, but we never found it. We consoled ourselves with more cervezas, then went swimming with a pod of dolphins. That amounts to bad


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How to reach us Tracy Hobson Lehmann, Travel Editor, | Phone: 210-250-3425 | Fax: 210-250-3405


Magical town a haven for artists By Kayleigh Kulp

Courtesy photo

Kayaking and snorkeling are favorite pastimes at Isla Espiritu Santo National Park.


The living is easy in peaceful La Paz Mild climate, culture draw expatriates

LEFT: Sellers offer produce at Mercado Bravo. BELOW: The sparkling city of La Paz as seen from the water.

By Wendy Lemlin LA PAZ, Mexico — On a day of gentle breezes and warm sunshine, our boat dropped anchor in the azure waters of Los Islotes in Isla Espiritu Santo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site just off the coast of this Baja California Sur city. The barking and grunting of sea lions competed with our guide’s voice as we donned wet suits and snorkel gear. “We’ll just get in the water, and then the female and baby sea lions will come and play with us, which they absolutely

Wendy Lemlin / For the Express-News

love to do,” the guide, Juan, explained. A few of our group looked concerned as he explained that the sea lions might pull on fins or give a soft nip on the arm. “Don’t worry, we have never had a sea lion attack,” he reassured. I slipped into the water and

snorkeled along leisurely in what Jacques Cousteau once called “the world’s aquarium,” mesmerized by the rainbow colors of the parrotfish, wrasses and sergeant majors flitting around the rocks below me. Suddenly, a large dark shape torpedoed by my peripheral vi-

TODOS SANTOS, Mexico — Sculptor Benito Ortega Vargas works in an open studio in downtown Todos Santos. In this dusty, quiet and cordial Baja Mexican town, I am drawn into his open studio by a work in progress. When cast in bronze, the large ship filled with child angels and reared by a steadfast woman will stand in a La Paz park. The sculptor says the wind brought him from Mexico City, but passion keeps him in Todos Santos. A few blocks away, painter Jill Logan says she came here 15 years ago in search of the next Taos, N.M. She believes she found it. Everyone has a different reason for coming to this art enclave, but their reasons for staying all strike a similar chord. People here appreciate aesthetics, and why wouldn’t they? An oasis in the desert 1½ hours north of Cabo San Lucas, Todos Santos is flanked on the east by the Sierra de Laguna mountains, and separated from the Pacific Ocean only by three kilometers of lush palm trees and ancient mango and palm orchards. Later, I can see it all from the third floor, rooftop bar of Guaycura Boutique Hotel and Spa, just off the central square. Todos Santos gained traction as an art colony for U.S. and Canadian expatriates after Charles Stewart, a well-known painter from Taos, made his home here around 1985. Stewart died last year at age 88, but

La Paz continues on J8

Todos continues on J8

Courtesy photo


If you go

Heeding the call of the redwoods


By Eric Plante September 2008 was a pivotal moment in environmental activism. After 20 years of protests, the last tree-sitter rappelled 200 feet to the forest floor, ending an 11-month “sleepover” in the branches of a 1,500-year-old redwood. A visit to the old-growth redwood forests in northern California inspired Michael Jani, then president and chief forester of the Humboldt Redwood Co., to change the way the fragile forest is harvested. “I went out, looked at the trees, looked at the stand of trees that were around them, and I explained to them that under our policy, we would not

be cutting those trees,” Jani said. The company also vowed to spare any redwood more than 200 years old with a diameter of at least 4 feet. With those few words, the longstanding timber wars of California were over. Or at least temporarily rectified. Three state parks lie within Redwood National Park boundaries: Jedediah Smith Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwoods and Prairie Creek Redwoods. Most visitors prefer the mild temperatures and partly cloudy skies of spring through fall. Winter brings as much as 100 inches of rain to this forest. The roads beckon Experiencing some of the

Fly into San Francisco or Oakland and make the three-hour drive north on U.S. 101.

WHERE TO STAY Crescent City: Best Western Northwoods Inn, 707-464-9771, Klamath: Ravenwood Motel, 866-520-9875, ravenwood Motel Trees: 800-848-2982,

WHERE TO EAT Eric Plante / For the Express-News

A sorrel-colored footpath winds through the redwoods of Stout Grove in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

most stunning scenery in the park requires only a slight turn of the head as you drive. The Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway cuts through the 10-mile length of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Cal-Barrel Road extends three miles into one of the most colorful areas of the park. Rhododendrons, mon-

key flower and leopard lilies paint the forest pink and yellow in late spring and early summer. If only one thing could be said about the drive on Howland Hill Road, it’s this: It will make your jaw drop. The unpaved, six-mile road in Jedediah Redwoods continues on J8

Klamath: Country Club Bar & Grill, 707-482-3275; Forest Café, 707-482-5585, treesofmystery. net/forest.htm

BEST SOUVENIRS Legend of Bigfoot in Garberville: From traditional posters, pens and magnets to intricate wood carvings, you’ll find it here. 707-247-3332


Revel in the beauty of Mexico at these secure locales for luxury honeymoons.

Las Ventanas al Paraíso LOS CABOS, BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR Few properties rival the beauty of this grand resort and the crystalclear sea that surrounds it. An award-winning estate located in Mexico’s leading destination for luxury vacations, Las Ventanas al Paraíso recently completed the transformation of its iconic spa, which now offers customized packages for wedding parties and honeymooners. A full-service facility that includes a beauty salon, a solarium, and duet suites for couples, the spa offers a variety of natural treatments in a beautifully designed indoor/ outdoor setting that utilizes lush vegetation as a means to

create privacy. Two- and threebedroom suites and villas are sumptuously appointed with spatreatment rooms, Jacuzzi bathtubs, infinity-edged pools, and devoted butler service. A breathtaking two-bedroom penthouse with a secluded rooftop lounge area appeals to newlyweds in particular. In addition to magnificent views of the coastline, the suite boasts a wood-burning fireplace and a spacious dining area that includes a full kitchen and private wine cellar. Water-sport options are plentiful on the property, as are outstanding on-site dining choices., 888.ROSEWOOD.




Costa Baja Resort & Spa LA PAZ, BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR Set on the magnificent Sea of Cortez overlooking a glimmering marina and whitesand beach, this contemporary luxury resort provides a laid-back elegance that matches the ambiance of the merry seaside town in which it resides. Considered the first five-star resort in La Paz, the newly renovated property offers exclusive access to Mexico’s only Gary Player-designed golf course. Lavish guest rooms proffer private balconies, views of the marina, and richly appointed built-in millwork to eschew the need for an excess of furniture. Perfectly poised for active couples, La Paz is known for its superb fishing and snorkeling as well as a bevy of exhilarating water sports. An excursion to the Isla Espiritu Santo – an island north of the hotel in the Gulf of California – may appeal to the adventurous, while couples seeking a peaceful retreat can enjoy locally inspired treatments at the on-site Espiritu Spa. An array of restaurants and lounges offer exceptional dining options that range from fresh seafood and fine Italian food to grilled items and pub fare., 877.392.5525.

Rosewood San Miguel de Allende SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, GUANAJUATO A petite, picturesque village that features cobblestone lanes and is favored by local artists also houses one of the most luxurious boutique hotels in all of Mexico. Newly opened in 2011, the resort-like Rosewood San Miguel de Allende presents a collection of 67 gorgeous accommodations that pair spacious living areas with fine Mexican craftsmanship. Solitude for honeymooners is ensured via private elevator in the lavish Tower Suite, which features an exclusive terrace and patio as well as a cloistered alcove with soaking 68


tub. Sense, A Rosewood Spa® provides uplifting therapies and treatments that incorporate Mexican healing traditions using indigenous ingredients. Offsite attractions include a multitude of historical landmarks, art galleries, markets selling handmade articles, and live music in nearby El Centro. With all of these offerings – plus a remarkable first-class restaurant and extensive private wine cellar – the hotel has quickly gained a reputation as a romantic escape for newlyweds., 888.ROSEWOOD.


The St. Regis Mexico City MEXICO CITY, MEXICO Guests of this gorgeous luxury hotel may find it difficult to settle on an agenda given that the extravagant property is located in one of the area’s most exciting districts. Designed by architectural legend César Pelli, The St. Regis Mexico City overlooks the historic Paseo de la Reforma, a bustling boulevard of magnificent structural design that plays host to lovely plazas and exclusive boutiques. Sweeping views of the city’s historic cultural landmarks may be enjoyed from any of the beautifully appointed guest accommodations, which include 36 elaborate suites, 152 guest rooms, and a grand presidential suite. Visitors can explore Chapultepec, a centuriesold forest located in the vicinity, or visit the ruins of the old Aztec capital in nearby Centro Histórico. When it’s time to unwind from a day of adventures, custom treatments await at the luxurious Remède Spa. Newlyweds are encouraged to dine at the brand-new J&G Grill, which offers an assortment of savory dishes created by famed French chef JeanGeorges Vongerichten. Dedicated butler service is available 24 hours a day in addition to complimentary continental breakfast and around-theclock private dining., 877.787.3447.

Azul Beach Hotel RIVIERA MAYA, QUINTANA ROO Introducing a brilliant combination of posh accommodations, delectable Gourmet Inclusive® dining options, and live entertainment, this boutique-style all-inclusive hotel is focused on quality and luxury following a $21M renovation. Upon arrival, guests are coaxed to select their preferred pillow style, as well as the aromatherapy scent to be released in their quarters. Nearly 150 remodeled rooms are located just steps from the sparkling Caribbean Sea, including the all-new Wedding Swim-Up Suites designed with brides in mind, and the spacious Honeymoon Swim-Up Suites that boast en-suite Jacuzzis and private relaxation pools. Outstanding beachside butler service is readily available to provide signature Mexican cocktails and exquisite fare to sunbathing guests. Working from a total of five diverse restaurants, the culinary masterminds at Azul Beach produce an array of delicious dining choices – including Italian, Mexican, and Asian cuisine – and will even create specialty menus to supplement the gourmet bites available between meals. Entertainment includes festive live music enjoyed poolside nightly, and weekly tastings at a luxe tequila lounge that offers 30+ varieties of the powerful spirit. Couples can also explore ancient Mayan ruins, fascinating eco-parks, and age-old caves and cenotes all within driving distance of the oasis of the hotel., 888.280.8810. 70

| | NOVEMBER 6, 2011 | SUNDAY



LA PAZ, Mexico – As traffic stalled along the palm-lined street, we peered from our taxi and spied the cause. A little parade came our way: boys in crimson church robes, young women balancing flower baskets on their heads, and a flatbed truck carrying a raucous band. Crackling fireworks zipped every which way.


Isla Espiritu Santo


La Paz AG











Todos Santos



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STORY AND PHOTOS BY BRIAN J. CANTWELL Seattle Times travel staff


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Publication Date: 11/06/2011

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Kayakers paddle past a dive boat at guanocovered Los Islotes rocks in the Sea of Cortez.


Client Name:


San Jose del Cabo Source: ESRI



A local festival? We asked the cabdriver. He shrugged. No idea. Maybe a wedding? Perhaps a girl’s 15th birthday — they call it Fiesta de Quinceañera. Who knew? It was just one of many little street celebrations my daughter and I observed in a spring visit here. That’s La Paz, said 30-year-old Chabelo Castillo, a local dive guide. “Any excuse, any excuse, for a party! ‘Whose birthday is it today?’ Hey, PAR-teee!” La Paz, a city of 220,000, about a two-hour drive north of Cabo San Lucas, isn’t a major tourist center (though it has hopes, having recently launched its first-ever U.S. ad cam-

In the turquoise water of Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, the sleek and tawny sea lion zoomed past us as if he were a Jacques Cousteau diver clinging to one of those handheld aqua scooters. When he saw our group of snorkelers he stopped like he’d broadsided a blue whale. “Oh — you aren’t sea lions, are you?” he seemed to be thinking, as he flipped and floated upside down just inches away, curiously studying us with soulful, basset-hound eyes. We could see every twitch of his whiskers. In wetsuits and snorkel masks, we

See > LA PAZ , I4

See > SEA LIONS , I4


Sculptures and statuary with marine themes line the malecón, the sea-wall walk, in La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur.


ARRIVING IN U.S. FROM CANADA OR MEXICO? PAY A NEW FEE Seattle Times staff and news services

Travelers arriving in the U.S. from Canada and some other countries will start paying a $5.50 tax when they come by plane and ship, a consequence of a trade deal. Legislation signed by President Obama recently eliminated a tax exemption for travelers from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

nwtraveler EDITOR

The fee, which will be added to tickets bought after Nov. 4 and apply to U.S. citizens returning home, will compensate for revenue lost because of tariff reductions in a new U.S.-Colombia trade agreement. The $5.50-per-person fee, which does not apply to travelers who arrive by bus, train or car, will raise about $1 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The fee has drawn protests from the Canadian government and Air Canada. It also will affect many cruise passengers.

day-use fees on Nov. 11 (Veterans Day) for veterans and their families in Washington and Oregon. National parks that will be free in Washington include Mount Rainier National Park (which normally charges $15 per car), Olympic National Park and Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. In 2012 the fee-free days at national parks will be Jan. 14-16; April 21-29 (National Park Week); June 9; Sept. 29; and Nov. 10-12.


The cost of business travel continues to climb, and executives are not happy with the cost or how they’re treated. A new survey found that business executives rank rude hotel staff, intrusive security procedures and “steerage-like treatment” on crowded planes as the worst parts of trav-

A fee-free weekend is coming up at national parks across the U.S. On Nov. 11-13 there will be no entrance fee in parks that normally charge admission (although campground and tour fees still apply). The U.S. Forest Service also will waive

Kristin Jackson, 206-464-2244


outdoors EDITOR

OUTDOORS See a Seattle City Light show at Newhalem waterfall.>3 AROUND THE NORTHWEST Celebrate history and nature’s drama around Ilwaco.>2 SPACE TOURISM High hopes for upcoming Virgin Galactic flights.>5 AIRLINE BLUES Slow boarding and full overhead bins.>5

eling for business. The survey of about 3,000 business executives was done by Vitesse Worldwide, a Connecticut executive travel firm. TELLING IT LIKE IT IS AT HOTELS

One of the world’s largest hotel companies is now letting guests post reviews on its hotel websites — even guests who aren’t happy with their stay. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, whose hotel brands include Sheraton, Westin and St. Regis, recently unveiled a feature to let guests write reviews on the hotel website (and has promised not to block negative reviews). Online hotel-review sites are plentiful. But hotels have rarely, if ever, posted reviews by guests, said Kathryn Potter of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

Brian Cantwell, 206-464-2244



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FARM THERAPY ‘Tata’ Animal Assisted Happiness: Gilroy nonprofit group brightens the lives of special-needs kids with calm, cuddly barnyard animals

is laid to rest at home Eulogies at emotional service capture former South African president’s work, humanity By Robyn Dixon Los Angeles Times

QUNU, South Africa — After the sermon was read, the 21-gun salute thudded and the “Last Post” played, Nelson Mandela was laid to rest Sunday in the rolling green hills of the Eastern Cape, where he was born, leaving South Africans with a gaping sense that they will never see a leader as great as him again. The crowds left his grave site, a host of luxury vehicles drove away and a chilling downpour of rain ODD ANDERSEN/ASSOCIATED PRESS blew in. Machel, Nelson Graca About 4,500 mourners filled a Mandela’s widow, wipes vast domed tent for tears during the service. the state funeral, with relatives, princes, African leaders, celebrities and members of Mandela’s ruling African National Congress arriving from dawn onward to say goodbye one last time. Mandela was buried close to the graves of three of his children, on a hillside between his


Animal Assisted Happiness Program Manager Simone Haroush, left, and co-founder Vicki Amon-Higa give 3-year-old Brenden Pasquarella a ride on Lollipop, a miniature horse, at the nonprofit’s farm in Gilroy in October. By Karl Kahler


Vicki Amon-Higa is entertaining guests in a Gilroy barnyard filled with three miniature horses, two feisty alpacas, one moody donkey and an irritable pig, showingoff what might be the world’s most innovative philanthropy — or its most unusual petting zoo. A half-dozen children, many of them autistic, fan out into the corral to greet the animals, who welcome the children, knowing they sometimes bring treats. In the next pen, the kids circulate with a halfdozen little goats and a lone sheep, then move on to cuddle bunnies and guinea pigs. Welcome to Animal Assisted Happiness, a nonprofit that unites children with health or family challenges with calm farm animals. See WISH BOOK, Page 7

The Wish Book is an annual project of the Mercury News that invites readers to help their neighbors.

howtogive Donate to Wish Book at www.mercurynews. info/wishbook or clip the coupon on Page A7.

Aidan Bagg, 8, plays with Froyo, a goat, at the Animal Assisted Happiness farm.

HOWTO HELP Readers can help Animal Assisted Happiness connect children with special needs with animals. Donations of any amount will fund visits to the Gilroy farm and to provide off-site visits with the animals. To learn more, go to

See MANDELA, Page 3

onlineextra Scan this code with a smartphone to read Wish Book stories, view photo galleries and video or go to www.mercurynews. info/wishbook.


Free right turns yielding to more pedestrian safety


By Gary Richards

Developers rushing to build townhouses High rent, low mortgage rates attract young area professionals to buy By Pete Carey

Vineet Kannan and Aparna Jain, two software engineers in their 20s, are making a move that is increasingly popular among the Bay Area’s young professionals: They’re abandoning their apartment in Mountain View and buying a

townhouse in an urban infill development in San Mateo. And what made their move even easier: Soaring rents and low mortgage rates mean their monthly mortgage payment is less than they’d pay to rent an equivalent apartment. So on one recent morning, they were making a final inspection tour of their new, three-bedroom townhouse in the Landsdowne development

Making a right turn is getting more difficult at many intersections across the Bay Area, a change likely to rankle many motorists but one that pedestrians should welcome. Agencies are even re- MORE INSIDE moving a popular California Where the righttradition — the free right turn changes are turn — at some intersec- occurring. tions where drivers could PAGE A7 previously turn right on red without stopping. And they are extending many curb corners into the street, in tear-shaped configurations called “bulb-outs,” to make it safer for pedestrians to cross, though in places they have to remove or shorten a lane of traffic to do so. It’s the latest in a growing trend to slow down



Percentage that new building permits for detached homes and townhouses have risen over the last year in Santa Clara and San Benito counties.

Aparna Jain and husband Vineet Kannan in their new San Mateo townhome.

See HOMES, Page 7

See TURNS, Page 7


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