Cruise-time parking is easy


Are there any long-term parking facilities in the dock area of Fort Lauderdale for use of cruise passengers arriving by car?

There are two long-term parking garages that serve Port Everglades, as Fort Lauderdale's cruise port is somewhat confusingly known. After Miami it is the second busiest cruise port in the world.

The Midport garage is three stories high and can accommodate 1,000 vehicles. The Northport garage is six stories high with room for 2,500 vehicles. Both are covered and just steps from the city's six cruise-ship terminals.

Rates are $1 an hour, with a maximum of $7 for a 24-hour period. Parking for a seven-day cruise would therefore cost $49. There is no need for reservations.

I am interested in finding a contemplative retreat in Hawaii. Are there any Buddhist or Catholic retreats or any yoga or meditation camps on any of the islands?

There are a few such retreats in Hawaii, covering everything from New Age to Roman Catholicism to Zen Buddhism.

The following are on Oahu:

* Honolulu Diamond Sangha, 2747 Waiomao Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816; (808) 735-1347 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Hawaii time only (3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time), fax (808) 735-4245. Well-known in Zen Buddhist circles, the Diamond Sangha holds a number of retreats throughout the year, lasting from one day to five days and more. The main retreat of the year will be held this year from Nov. 30 to Dec. 8.

The center has one prerequisite for people planning to attend retreats: that they read "Taking the Path to Zen," by Robert Aitken (North Point Press), the center's Zen master, so that they have some idea of what the retreats will involve. Room and board is $25 a day. Contact the center for more information and a 1996 schedule.

* Wood Valley Temple and Retreat Center, Post Office Box 250, Pahala, Hawaii 96777; (808) 928-8539, fax (808) 928-6271. A nonsectarian Tibetan Buddhist temple and retreat center in a rural area -- its Tibetan name is Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling -- the center has a flexible retreat schedule. The nightly cost of $18 for dormitory accommodations and $40 to $45 for a private room for two (two-night minimum stay) does not include food. A kitchen is available for cooking food that retreat members bring with them.

* Spiritual Life Center, 6401 Pali Highway, St. Stephen's Diocesan Center, Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744, (808) 263-8844, fax (808) 261-7022. A Catholic retreat center 20 minutes from downtown Honolulu, it emphasizes an ecumenical approach to spiritual matters, with workshops on subjects like prayer and anger. Guests usually stay no longer than two weeks and are expected to enter into the center's life of prayer and contemplation. A room is $30 a night, with a $5 a day charge for food, which is available in a small kitchen.

* Mantra Meditation of Hawaii, 169 S. Kukui St., Third Floor, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813, (808) 533-0277, fax (808) 533-0276, practices a form of Indian yoga known as Bhakti. Free classes are offered at the downtown center and at retreats held at various points around Oahu. From Oct. 13 to Oct. 15 a retreat will be held on the north shore of Oahu, and from Oct. 16 to Nov. 12 a similar retreat will be held on the Big Island of Hawaii, in the Puna district south of Hilo. Accommodations are provided; contributions for food are requested.

On the island of Kauai:

* Kai Mana (Hawaiian Personal Healing Vacations), Post Office Box 612, Kilauea, Hawaii 96754, (800) 837-1782, is a B&B; run by a New Age guru, Shakti Gawain. Because of local zoning restrictions, no spiritual or other programs can be offered at the center, but referrals to local specialists in healing, relaxation and other services can be made. Rates start at $75 for a single; a cottage for two is $150 a night.

"Retreat Center Guest Houses" is a directory of retreat centers in 49 states and 14 countries, including 136 in England and others in Germany, Sweden, Malta, Japan, France and Australia. It lists addresses, prices and nearby points of interest. The 1995 edition is available for $15.95 postpaid from CTS Publications, Post Office Box 8355, Newport Beach, Calif. 92660 (add $2 for first-class postage).

My husband and I hope to travel to Poland next spring to visit my father's village, Suchova, which is about 30 miles north of Bialystok. Will we be able to hire an English-speaking driver in Warsaw, spend the night in Bialystok, go from there to Suchova for a few hours and then back to Warsaw?

The consensus among tour operators who specialize in Poland is that such a trip is readily available; indeed, tour operators say trips of this kind are gaining in popularity to that part of the country. Any of the following can make the arrangements:

* American Travel Abroad, 250 W. 57th St., New York, N.Y. 10107, (800) 228-0877, fax (212) 581-7925. The driver would cost about $150 a day, plus about $70 for his overnight accommodations in Bialystok. The driver would provide his own meals. Ask for Anna Kazmierczak, who specializes in travel to central and eastern Europe.

* Orbis Polish Travel Bureau, 342 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10173, (212) 867-5011, fax (212) 682-4715. There are many such programs available, the company says, for about $350 a day, with the driver's meals and accommodations included.

* Air Tours Poland Group, 500 Fifth Ave., Suite 408, New York, N.Y. 10110, (800) 223-0593, fax (212) 302-0191. The in-house tour operator of LOT Polish Airlines, Poland Group says such a trip would cost about $400, with accommodations and meals. Ask for Tom Dziedzic at Ext. 269.

* Affordable Poland, 2833 Junction Ave., Suite 207, San Jose, Calif. 95134, (800) 801-1055, fax (408) 894-1879. The two-day trip would cost about $330 plus accommodations and meals for the driver. Exact prices will be available nearer the departure date.

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