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TRAVEL WATCH: SEPTEMBER 20, 1999 VOL. 154 NO. 11

Short Cuts

    ALSO IN TIME
Seaside Vacations That Don't Get You Wet
Modern deep-sea explorers peer through portholes in comfort, filming their surroundings with remote video cameras and enjoying a snack as they go where few have gone before

Short Cuts
The launch of a U.S. Consulate General office in Ho Chi Minh City last month is good news for Vietnamese wishing to travel abroad

Detour
Now that Hong Kong's economy seems to be on the mend, it's time to break out the stogies

Off the Shelf
Become the complete Richard Branson-branded traveler by picking up one of his new Virgin City Guides

Hot Tip
The Journeywoman website offers a smorgasbord of special-interest Asia trip tips for veteran and novice travelers

OPENING BLUES: The launch of a United States Consulate General office in Ho Chi Minh City last month is good news for Vietnamese wishing to travel abroad. Local citizens were previously obliged to travel to Bangkok to apply for tourist visas to visit family and friends in the U.S., home to about 1.5 million people of Vietnamese origin. The new office, next to the empty site of the former U.S. Embassy, is expected to become one of Washington's busiest consular outposts, processing an anticipated 150,000 visas in its first year of business alone. But the spirit of reconciliation is not quite so vivid on U.S. soil, where A Winding River, a touring exhibition of 80 works by artists from northern and southern Vietnam, has sparked daily protests by those Vietnamese-Americans in Santa Ana, California who aren't happy with the more political paintings in the show, which opened June 15. Meridian International Center, the Washington-based organizer of the controversial exhibit, recently opened Outward Bound, a touring show of work by 78 American artists now on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Hanoi until Sept. 30--with nary a naysayer to date.

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