Guide in Ecuador. Travel arranger in Australia. Accessibility of Myanmar's capital. Paris restaurant

This item appears on page 4 of the April 2013 issue.


After a week in the Galápagos Islands, four of us took a day of leisure in Quito, Ecuador, Feb. 4, 2013. Our hotel recommended a guide, Fabian Pulloquinga (

Fabian and his driver, Marco, picked us up at the hotel at 8:30 a.m. and returned us by 5 p.m.; we set the times. We paid $68 each. Fabian’s van was modern and clean, and Marco drove well and cautiously.

We toured Quito and the market town of Otavalo and had lunch in Cotacachi (at our own expense) in a typical Ecuadorian cantina.

There were both Ecuadorian dishes on the menu (guinea pig, for example) and less exotic selections. Lunch ran $10 to $15 per person, including beverage, tax and gratuity. I don’t remember the restaurant’s name, but it was well frequented by locals and small tour groups.

Fabian was very knowledgeable about Ecuador’s history, Quito in particular. His English was excellent, and we learned so much about the area, the people and the economy. He also works with a foundation that supports Ecuadorian culture.

Ellen Shea, Henderson, NV


A friend and I had made plane reservations to fly from the US to Sydney, Australia, where we would stay with friends, but we wanted assistance with plans for Tasmania and Melbourne from Jan. 15 to 23, 2013. We asked for help from Lindsey Neale-Rozga of Travel Arrangements, Ltd. (Palm Desert, CA; 858/550-9622,, after seeing her ad in ITN’s Mart classifieds section.

Lindsey was excellent — prompt, responsive, collaborative and helpful. She made arrangements for flights from Sydney to Launceston, from Hobart to Melbourne and from Melbourne to Sydney and for a rental car with basic insurance; eight nights of first-class hotel accommodations (including two nights at Cradle Mountain Lodge); shuttle transfers, and city and penguin tours in Melbourne. With taxes, the total cost was $3,005 each.

When we returned, Lindsey solicited feedback. We could not have asked for more pleasant or competent assistance.

Lela Noble, Cupertino, CA


In the article “Revisiting Myanmar — the Difference a Decade Makes” (July ’12, pg. 34), the writers say they “were informed that foreigners were not allowed to stay in Nay Pyi Taw overnight.” (Nay Pyi Taw, or Naypyidaw, is Myanmar’s capital.)

I was sure when I read that that the information was incorrect, but since that city was one of my scheduled stops in February 2013, I waited until I could confirm it to write in.

Today is Feb. 15, and my husband, John, and I have had an interesting day touring Nay Pyi Taw. Our being here is no problem; they would love more visitors. In fact, Nay Pyi Taw is hosting the SEA (Southeast Asia) Games, Dec. 11-22, 2013.

I suspect the writers of the article experienced an issue I have had with guides many times. If a guide doesn’t want to do something or he thinks it is not the best option for his tourists, he may say something like “It’s closed” or “It is not allowed.”

Sandra Scott, Contributing Editor, ITN


My friend and I dined at Auberge Nicolas Flamel (51 rue Montmorency, 75003, Paris, France; phone 0142 7177 78) on Dec. 10, 2012. This is a unique restaurant, situated in what is reputed to be the oldest house in Paris.

Nicolas Flamel, alleged to be an alchemist who could turn lead into gold, made a great deal of money and set up institutions in Paris for the poor, including this auberge, a refuge for the homeless built in 1407. It is now an extremely elegant restaurant, located on a dark and unprepossessing street just north of the Pompidou Center.

Our meal was superb tasting and original and imaginative in its presentation, but I must add one caveat. On the fixed-price menu, at €31 (near $41), there are only two choices per course. If you like one, it’s a great bargain for a fabulous meal. However, if you do not like the choices and decide to order off the à la carte menu instead, your meal may run at least double the fixed price. My best advice is call in advance and ask what’s on the fixed-price menu.

We started with a little amuse gueule freebie of pumpkin soup topped with whipped cream in a small glass. For the appetizer, we both chose the foie gras, and it was excellent.

My chicken entrée came on a vegetable puree. The three medallions of chicken were each prepared differently, and all were delicious. My friend had the crispy fish with sprigs of herbs and vegetables.

For dessert, I had the chocolate roll with gingerbread ice cream and she had the lemon tart. We each had a glass of Côtes de Roussillon white wine at a reasonable €6 a glass, bringing our total to €74 ($95) for the two of us.

There are also tasting menus of five or more courses at a fairly high price. I do not want to quote exactly because many restaurants change their menus on Jan. 1.

This is a fascinating place with starched linens, historic interest and unique food. I will certainly eat there again. It’s closed Sundays.

Abbie Salny
Wayne, NJ