Traveler's Advisory

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North America
While it was his calligraphy that brought Hon'ami Koetsu (1558-1627) acclaim, the Kyoto-born artist also helped to redefine and revitalize Japanese traditions like scroll painting, ceramics and lacquer work. More than 100 objects, including printed texts of classical Japanese poetry, decorated with woodblock-stamped motifs in silver and gold, are on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in what organizers say is the first retrospective of Koetsu's work to be staged outside his homeland. Presented in conjunction with "the Arts of Hon'ami Koetsu, Japanese Renaissance Master" are two exhibitions drawn from the museum's own collection, cultural events (a tea ceremony, Noh drama) and workshops on papermaking and calligraphy. Through Oct. 29.

It began on a route between the isolated Welsh villages of Llanidloes and Llangurig in 1967. Now Royal Mail vans routinely pick up and deliver not only parcels but people, offering local bus services along 225 routes in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. While residents in remote areas are the main users of the service, postbuses will also carry tourists for a small fee. Vehicles range from traditional red vans to 16-seater minibuses, and the twice-daily postal runs provide a convenient framework for outings.
For more information, see .

Hong Kong
Chinese communist leaders feature alongside Hollywood stars at the first Madame Tussaud's waxworks museum to open in Asia. Located at Victoria Peak, the museum is divided into themed areas like the "Hall of the Great People" and "Celebrity Party," and includes what promoters describe as "uncannily realistic" statues of late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, current Premier Jiang Zemin, actors Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh, and tycoon Li Ka Shing. Like other museum branches in London, Amsterdam and Las Vegas, the Hong Kong waxworks also features a "behind-the-scenes" look at how the effigies are made.

Thiel Mountains
It may be the world's most inhospitable continent, but adventurers are flocking to Antarctica to climb mountains, motorcycle across the ice, and ski to the South Pole. Now they can search for meteorites-perhaps containing signs of extraterrestrial life-on a 16-day trip starting Dec. 1. Participants will meet in Punta Arenas, Chile, and stop at the Patriot Hills base before heading into the Thiel Mountains, 500 km from the Pole, to search for fragments of space rocks. The 16-day trip costs $29,995, excluding flights to Chile. To book, see .