Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - Travelers411 Travel Radio showNotes
"Travelers411" Radio Show - August 29, 2009 - Show Archive

The Bug Bam Man's Natural Insect Repelling Wristbands; The Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island, Hawaii; Reginald Baylor, Artist in Residence at the Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; O'Keefe and Dove at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts; The Korea Tourism Organization.

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Hour 1

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Flying biting insects are often a big annoyance during the summer and people turn to insect repellants, many which use toxic chemicals. Joseph M. Symond, inventor of a type of insect repellant and president of the company Bug Bam, says that he was inspired to invent a product that avoids toxicity. Joseph is Australian born and spent his childhood vacationing along the country's Gold Coast (also known as Surface Paradise). The climate was tropical and when Symond went fishing he had to coat himself in DEET. He observed that not only were the bug's averse to the repellant, so were the fish.

Breezes Jamaica Rafting
Martha Brae River Rafting Excursion in Jamaica.

Most insect repellants are Deet based or are comprised of pyrethroids, derivatives from the flowers of pyrethrums. Even the flower based chemicals are hazardous and not necessarily safe for children. Consumers are meant to carefully read the product warning labels and carefully apply the various solutions. These use a liquid base that covers the pours of the skin which in turn blocks your smell. If you fail to even cover just one spot of your body that is exposed the mosquitoes will still find you. Symond uses a third technique. He has developed a scent that is stronger than the sweat, breath and carbon dioxide coming from a human body. It is food-grade, recyclable and environmentally safe. It is also one hundred percent water proof, sweat-proof and has no harmful additives.

As an adult Joseph Symond became interested in natural bug repellants. He created a wristband that contained citronella in 1997. Though the product was fairly successful Symond decided to focus on his work in the film industry. Years later West Nile started to become widely reported on in the news. Symond was inspired to relauch his bug business. He created a new wristband (similar in fashion to a “cause” band) made of a recyclable materials and containing citronella, lemon grass and geranium oil. The bands are scientifically proven to repel mosquitoes for up to 100 hours. The Bug Bam wristband appeared on the Today Show in 2006 and the product has since grown in popularity.

Symond had tried all the competitors' products and weighed the pros and cons of each product before arriving at the Bug Bam formula. Ultimately he wanted to avoid using chemicals that could be absorbed into the bloodstream. Though the wristband is most popular form of the product Symond stresses that the band doesn't have to be worn on the wrist. It can be attached to any clothing item and has a pleasant scent that makes you smell like a plant (the bugs won't know any better).

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For more information visit is offering some great airfares before Labor Day weekend. New York to Miami is approximately $150 USD. New York to LA is only $102 USD roundtrip plus taxes which in this case are under $50 USD. These flights are often direct or one-stop flights and rarely have multiple layovers. There are airfares under $700 USD from the US to Johannesburg and roundtrip fares to Saint Martin for under $300 USD. The US to Dubai is only $479 USD. A flight from Honolulu to Hong Kong is currently available for $524 USD. All fares are roundtrip but do not include taxes. Taxes often range between $125 to $200 USD.

Hong Kong Water Night
Hong Kong Nightscape.

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When a television program starts to suffer in the ratings it has been commonplace for the producers to take the show on the road to Hawaii. Its boosts the ratings every time. The Hilton Waikoloa Village embodies the classic image of a Hawaiian paradise. It is only twenty miles from the airport and is a destination in and of itself. Stephanie says that when you go to a great resort there is no reason to leave the grounds to find things to do.

August is a fantastic time of year to visit the big island of Hawaii. Visitors have the chance to see lava flows from the still active volcano Killawee and enjoy all of the other spectacular natural beauty. The Hilton Waikoloa Village contains much of the wonder of the island in a concentrated area. New trams were introduced to the resort in April that, alongside Hilton Waikoloa's Mahogany canal boats, allow visitors to conveniently explore the 62 acres and travel to and from any of the 1,240 guestrooms. There are several pools, golf courses and a total of eight restaurants on site. One unique breakfast restaurant is called Lagoon Spoon. Toppings are available such as gummy bears and M&M's that guests can put on their morning cereal.

Waikiki, Hawaii
Cliffside in Waikiki, Hawaii.

The Island of Hawaii differs from the other Hawaiian Islands in that it has a large amount of flowing lava. This allows for stunning contrasts between the lava, blue water, green ivy and white sands. Visitors can hike across the lava at sunset or drive up to the top of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano. Its name means “white mountain” in the Hawaiian language. The island of Hawaii can be very dark at night and this is due in part to the presence of the mountain. There are several observatories atop Mauna Kea. It is a popular location to be at during sunset as well as at great place for star gazing. All of the lighting on the island's roads is amber so as to not obstruct the view of those working at the observatories through the night.

There are three towers at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. The Lagoon Tower is adjacent to Dolphin Quest Village which has 12 resident Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins. It is also next to the Kona Pool which has a dramatic 125 foot winding waterslide and a sand bottom pool for younger children. The Palace Tower is in the middle of the property and is in front of Waiulua Bay which lies next to the Hilton Waikoloa Village Wedding Chapel and Palace Garden. Lastly is the Ocean Tower which has another two pools in its area including the adult's only Ocean Pool and the Kohala River Pool, a system of four pools interconnected by waterslides. It houses a few of the resort's restaurants and is also where the boat transport system begins.

Kona, Big Island Hawaii
Kona Sunset on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The resort offers many activities including Camp Menehune for kids ages 5 through 12. The program includes hiking, fishing, building miniature volcanoes, and learning to hula dance and make leis. There are two golf courses at the resort as well as a seaside putting course. There is also a salt-water lagoon that is ocean fed and has sea turtles and nearly every type of Hawaiian tropical fish. Guests can also kayak, ride water bikes or use stand-up paddling equipment in it.

Ocean Sports is the resort's activity outfitter and provides snorkeling cruises, sunset sails and scuba diving excursions. Guests depart a mile from the hotel and travel to a beautiful black sand beach. There are also several retail stores and restaurant options including the newly developed Queens Market Place and the resorts' Kings Shops.

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Fun Facts:

Pyrehtrm refers to several Old World plants of the genus Chrysanthemum.

Mauna Kea is 14,000 feet tall and is the world's tallest mountain in the world at sea level.

Menehune means “little people” in the Hawaiian language.

Guests Include:

Joseph M. Symond, President, Bug Bam.

Sanjay Hathiramani, Vice President, Supplier Relations,

Leanne Pletcher, Director of Public Relations, Hilton Waikoloa Village, Waikoloa, Hawaii.

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

The Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin has recently launched an artist in residence program. Guests will find a gallery workshop adjacent to the lobby where the hotel's current artist in residence, Milwaukee born Reginald Baylor, is displaying his work. Baylor's work is an extension of 1960's Pop Art, a kind of intersection between Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Baylor affirms that these artists were very influential to his process.

Reginald Baylor
Work by Milwaukee Artist Reginald Baylor.

Reginald Baylor studied at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He started as a sculptor and later moved to art education and eventually moved to painting. He was always aware that he possessed an inherent artistic talent and knew he had to nurture it. Baylor also states that he received consistent support from teachers and family. He says he was always spoken to as an artist and like one who had already “arrived”. He admits that he wasn't always a cooperative student but he states that he always worked hard and listened.

Reginald Baylor
Work by Artist Reginald Baylor.

Baylor's work is painting that starts as drawing. He says that his technique is “all about the line”. If you dissect his work and examine any part of a composition in a 3 by 3 square you will see similarities to artists such as Alexander Calder and Ellsworth Kelly. Baylor states that his work is a continuation of the same aesthetics and approaches. Modern art is arguably moving into a new expressionist era that is graphics oriented, what Baylor refers to as a “graphic movement around the world”. Baylor says that he works with the language of abstract expressionism.

Reginald Baylor
Work by Milwaukee Artist Reginald Baylor.

Stephanie mentions that artist Roy Lichtenstein is credited with saying that he would be upset if his work were displayed primarily in private homes. He felt that art was a public experience. His work is large and well-suited to train stations, hotel lobbies and office buildings, places where anyone and everyone can see it.

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Stephanie was recently inspired to visit the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in nearby Williamstown, Massachusetts to see a unique Georgia O'Keefe exhibit. The Clark had a guest curator who is an expert on the artist Arthur Dove. The curator proposed a juxtaposition of O'Keefe's work with Dove's. The two artists shared a mutual respect of each other's work and were friends. Georgia O'Keeffe often stated that her introduction to modernism was through Arthur Dove's paintings done circa 1913.

The exhibit is designed to introduce to the broader public the work of Arthur Dove and his influence on Georgia O'Keefe and her early abstract work. Stephanie notes that we often see parallels in the art world even when they are seemingly unintentional. She cites Antonio Gaudi's architectural work in Barcelona which is similar to spiral structures she has seen in Cambodia.  

Stephanie at the Orchards Hotel in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

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“Travelers411” broadcasts an interview with Executive Director of Korea Tourism Organization in New York Sung-Woock Cho from the 2009 New York Times Travel Show. The annual travel expo is an opportunity to virtually tour the world and get a sense of what it would be to truly visit various destinations. 

Sung-Wook Jo
Sung-Wook Jo at the 2009 New York Times Travel Show in the Jacob Javitz Center.

Stephanie visited Korea several years ago and stayed for a night at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill. She says that it was a beautiful drive to the property, a hotel she chose because of the Las Vegas dinner style show it offered. People usually think primarily of China and Japan when they think of Asia and Korea is a part of the Eastern Asia area that is often unfortunately overlooked. In addition to the entertainment the food is what stood out from Stephanie's brief experience in the country.

Korean food is often spicy and delicious but coincidentally healthy. The cuisine uses a lot of vegetables and not a lot of oils. Sung-Woock Cho states that even in-flight menus impress. Some notable dishes are bibimbap, a beef and mixed vegetables plate, and bulgogi, a grilled marinated beef dish.

Korea Sparkling
Korea Tourism Organization at the 2009 New York Times Travel Show in the Jacob Javitz Center.

The primary Korean city destination is Seoul. After Seoul hosted the 1988 summer Olympics it received more attention from the western world. It is noteworthy as the home of the five “royal palaces” which are located in the city's downtown. These palaces date back to the Joseon (Chosun) Dynasty which lasted from 1392 to 1910 and was the unification of three former kingdoms. The oldest of the five structures is the Gyeonghui Palace which dates back to the late 13th century. It is easy to travel by train from the city to other nearby historic areas as well.

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Fun Facts:

Roy Lichtenstein is quoted in a 1963 interview as saying his art was, ''anti-contemplative, anti-nuance, anti-getting-away-from-the-tyranny-of-the-rectangle, anti-movement and anti-light, anti-mystery, anti-paint-quality, anti-Zen, and anti- all of those brilliant ideas of preceding movements which everyone understands so thoroughly.''

Georgia O'Keefe praised Arthur Dove as "the only American painter who is of the earth. . . . Where I come from the earth means everything. Life depends on it. You pick it up and feel it in your hands."

Guests Include:

Reginald Baylor, Artist in Residence, The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Sally Morse Majewski, Public Relations & Marketing Manager, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massacusetts.

Sung-Woock Cho, Executive Director, Korea Tourism Organization, New York.

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