Traveler's Advisory

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Westerners unfamiliar with Chinese script may balk at an exhibition devoted to handwritten scrolls. But in China calligraphy is not only a means of recording information but an art form ranking above even painting as a vehicle for personal expression. Spanning 16 centuries, "The Embodied Image," at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, surveys the work of key exponents like Wang Xizhi, who founded the classical calligraphy tradition, and Mi Fu (known as "Crazy Mi"), whose "wild cursive" style, with its changes in line, ink tone and character size, gives a vivid sense of the dramas described in his poems. Through Jan. 7.

To Helen Keller (1880-1968), life was "either a daring adventure or nothing at all." The story of the deaf and blind writer and educator is one of many told at the Women's Museum, which opened its doors last month in Dallas, Texas. The 6,500-sq.-m "Institute for the Future" pays tribute to the achievements of women in science, politics, literature, entertainment and sports from the 1500s to the present through interactive exhibitions like the "Wall of Words" (featuring "inspirational quotes," including Keller's). Collection highlights include the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to social activist Jane Addams in 1931 and the flight suit aviator Amelia Earhart wore when she delivered mail for the U.S. Postal Service.

While the resort hotels of Vanuatu's capital, Port Vila, cater for comfort-seeking tourists, more adventurous travelers can click onto Island Safari's website, www.islandsvanuatu .com, for basic but clean accommodation on the less visited islands of the South Pacific archipelago. A shell-rating system indicates what level of comfort to expect at the guesthouses (the top rating of three shells means telephone, electricity and private facilities are provided). Visitors are warned to "keep a low level of expectation in regard to food." But all guesthouses provide transport, tours (canoe fishing, sea kayaking, wild pig hunts) and access to local events and ceremonies.

Low-altitude turbulence in the early days of commercial air travel meant hungry passengers had to make do with soggy sandwiches. But higher-flying aircraft, advances in food storage and reheating and celebrity-chef-planned menus have expanded the meal choices available on board. Now in-flight catering has academic status, with the University of Surrey about to appoint the world's first professor of airline food. Located in Guildford, 30 km west of England's Gatwick Airport, the university already provides in-flight catering courses; the new chair (for which applications close on Oct. 20) will allow students to gain specialist qualifications in the subject.