Report from Utopia
That get-away-from-it-all Eden may be in Greece, Mexico, the Caribbean, or cz/c// TO///' OW» home town. The writer, an incurable Elsewhere Man, tells where to look, where the prices are right — and how to know when you've found it By Alan Phillips
Our man in Bequia: writer Alan Phillips sizes up a tropic haven in the Caribbean’s Windward Islands.
FOR YEARS I HAVE been an Elsewhere Man. I mean I waste part of the morning dreaming of being somewhere else, some tranquil haven from traffic snarls, scare headlines, time clocks and blizzards. I have tried to kick the habit in the only possible way: by turning The Dream from time to time into reality. I have lived for a year in a cottage on a mountainside near Vancouver. I have wintered in a cabin on a beach in California. I have sampled the bargain-basement prices of hideaways in Spain, the French and Italian Rivieras, and Mexico’s Pacific coast, which looks the way the South Seas are supposed to. I have beachcombed on West Indian islands where the sand held no footprints but mine. But always, when I return, as I always do. The Dream reappears, and it does no good to label it the old Utopia syndrome, the universal dream of an earthly Paradise.
The problem is that today Paradise is possible. The Canadian government now pays its old-age pensions to citizens living abroad, and with affluence spreading indiscriminately throughout the social structure, the age-old urge to Get Away From It All in the Perfect Place has become the base of a business, with subdivisions.
For seventy-five dollars a month and up for one person, and a hundred and twenty and up for two, you can now buy room and meals and weekly maid service in one of two hundred and fifty “retirement hotels” in the U. S. and Canada, many of them in famous resorts and health spas in the sun belt. In Victoria, Westward Ho Development Limited sells bed-sitting rooms for eight thousand dollars single and twenty thousand double in a “retirement apartment" providing therapists, nurses and a beach. In Toronto, Consolidated Building Corporation is creating Leisure Town, where people over fifty can enjoy a communal card room, pool room, putting green, shuffleboard court, TV lounges, and arts and crafts with a resident program director, for rents of a hundred to a hundred and seventy-five dollars.
About two hundred and fifty retirement or “Paradise” towns are offering a New Way of Life to that burgeoning class called “retirees” or
“senior citizens." The packagers of Paradise arc carving up tropic beaches from the Bahamas to the Windwards into seaside retirement colonies. Developments fleck the United States desert and hem the Florida coast, where some 3,550 homesites have been sold in Toronto and Hamilton by a single company, General Development Corporation.
The purely private existence of The Dream has come to an end. It is now a public property, a “new concept” in sales, the motive force for a migratory flow south.
Now the purchase of Utopia is as tricky a buy as marriage. You can’t go into it halfway; it's an all-or-nothing deal. It changes your life, for better or worse, and more often the latter. So 1 think it’s time for an Elsewhere Man to distill a little experience, to comment on some aspects of the popular Paradises in terms that you can’t expect from their promoters.
The best promoted Edens are the southern U. S. states, and I guess the one with the most magic in its name is still California. It is beyond doubt the loveliest land on that whole long lovely coast. The beaches arc rimmed and broken by the Coast Range, and if you tire of surf-fishing, seal-watching or swimming, which I have done just north of Los Angeles every day all winter, you can drive in a couple of hours back into the high Sierras and ski. The interior is mostly desert, subtly colored and scented with sage. And the climate from Santa Barbara south is nearly as good as the scenery, if you stay in the seabreeze during the long hot summer.
California has just about everything, which is why Hollywood is there, but the people and their pseudo-Spanish structures are mostly transplanted. The neon-lit oases and the futuristic buildings have been superimposed on a land that is still the way the Spaniards found it. There is almost no relation here between the past and the present, few buildings that give a sense of continuity or history. The result is what some people mean when they call it phony: a feeling of unreality as pervasive as the ozone.
HE BEST RETIREMENT bets for my money are beach towns such as Carmel, Laguna Beach, Santa Cruz, and Avalon, a picturesque piece of Los Angeles county twenty-two miles at sea, on Catalina Island, reached by ferry. The most helpful tip I can pass on is that these are summer resorts. From October through to May, prices plummet. One of those pink-stucco beach houses can come down from a thousand dollars a month or more to two hundred or less, so this is the time to pick up a year-round rental.
To build costs less than in Canada, as it does all through the south: you don’t need basements, heated garages or heavy insulation. But property near the beach comes high. So do state taxes and car insurance. And you'll need a car: California’s community planners presume you’re on wheels. In short, if you’re counting on California to slacken a taut budget, don’t.
Living is cheaper if less urbane, the winter sun even more reliable, in the desert and canyon country of Arizona and New Mexico. So many new communities are mushrooming in these states that a two-bedroom brick or concrete house can
be bought for nine thousand dollars. The season here is winter. Come down before November. You can rent a two-bedroom apartment or house for seventy to ninety dollars a month, and another ten dollars a month will run your gas heater (winter temperatures can drop at night from sixty-five to thirty degrees). You should have a car to browse among the awe-inspiring rocks, to ride, hunt, fish, golf, shop, or divert yourself in Tucson or Phoenix. I like Santa Fe myself. It’s an atmospheric old Spanish town, an art colony but genuine, within easy drive of Indian pueblos and cliff dwellings.
Desert living has only one drawback: in summer it’s unlivable. The sun bores down. The mercury hits one hundred and twelve. You can't make it to the pool without being seared. Whatever you save on heat, and more, you spend on air conditioning. Even your car must be artificially cooled.
In many respects your money goes farther in Florida. For $995 down, ten percent of the purchase price, you can pick up the key to a brandnew two-bedroom ranchhouse flanked by palm trees in one of the new communities dredged out of the coastal scrubland. A house of similar style and space in Canada would cost fifteen thousand dollars, and you’ll only be a few blocks’ drive
from what the developers call “your yacht club.” Older houses cost even less and Florida offers a range of resorts, each differing in personality and tempo, from St. Petersburg, where an afternoon hush descends as the old people sleep, to the lively tropical charm of part-Cuban, part-Bahamian Key West.
Florida in winter is like September in Canada. The sun shines. You breakfast on the patio, and the fruit tastes better than any you ever tasted. You plan a trip to St. Petersburg to see the Cardinals train, or to watch Canada’s touring ballet company, which is cheaper there than Toronto. You cut your food bill by casting for pompano off the beach, or by dangling a line for bass in the drowsy stillness of jungle creeks. You laze around in a cotton shirt and at night you need your blankets. When the cold stabs south and kills the citrus it's only crisp football weather.
And then it’s June. The thermometer edges up to ninety . . . ninety-five . . . one hundred, and hovers there until October. But as long as you sit in that ocean breeze in the shade it’s never stifling. The only real discomfort is the humidity. Water beads on metal. Paper turns limp. Your clothes cling clammily. At dawn and dusk the sandflies come out, so you close up all the win-
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I wondered at the magnetism ot the Mexican town. “Yer buyin’ climate,” the American told me
dows and then you feel the water gush from your pores. It took me a long time to realize the inescapable truth of the tropics: that balminess, that romantic languid feeling, comes from humidity. You can't have one without the other—-the tropic climate is a package deal.
Which reminds me of a man in Cuernavaca, a Mexican retirement town for the wealthy. He was sitting at a sidewalk café, reading the Wall Street Journal, a short stout man. expensively dressed, obviously an American. I sat at a table beside him and wondered aloud at the town's magnetism, which certainly hadn't revealed itself to me. He lowered his paper and said in a Brooklyn accent. "Yer buyin' climate." In just three words he reduced a complex subject to its core. And then he went back to his stocks, and 1 bet he made money. Because he thought straight. He wasn't chasing the will-o'-the-wisp of romance or beauty. Unlike a lot of people, myself included at times, this man knew precisely why he had gone south.
I can't do better than stress his point to sum up the U. S. sun belt. If you don't like the folksy togetherness of suburban living in Canada, you won’t like it in California, Arizona or Florida, though t¡íe latter two places might cut living costs by ten and twenty percent. If small-town life seems to drag here, it will seem to drag there, too. But if you love summer in Canada, if the cold is your main frustration, if it's simply yearround outdoor living you want, then write Harian Publications, Greenlawn, N.Y., for their list of retirement books, pick the same kind of place that you'd pick here, and you're starting right, at least. Because what you’re buying, mainly, is climate.
But even climate isn’t a simple purchase. My broker, though he's talking of stocks, puts it well: "Don't just figure what you can win, figure what you can lose, too." And what you can lose are the subtle smells of autumn and spring, the feel of the air. I’m very much a summer man but after a solid year of it I find myself nostalgic for the seasons.
For the rest, life isn’t that different, yet that slight difference can loom large. "1 lived in Florida ten years and made some friends I'll have all my life,” says Robert Thomas Allen, prominent Elsewhere Man and writer who has finally forsaken The Dream and returned to Toronto, "but neither my wife nor I felt we really belonged. It's a very odd and vital thing, belonging. You seldom think of it but it’s there. Take you and me. We're talking now over coffee in Murray's restaurant. If I mention England, or fall, you know what 1 mean. The guy I'd be talking to in Florida was probably brought up to think that the king of England rode around flogging peasants, and to him fall means hurricane weather, not
changing leaves. The building we'd be talking in would be fringed with Spanish moss, something I never saw until I was forty, while Murray’s has pleasant associations for me that go back years. That’s what I missed, the background knowledge of people and places, memories. You never realize how much they mean until they're gone."
This break with the past can kill some people: others it rejuvenates. Perhaps it depends on how much you draw on memory, on how' much the past means to you, how deeply your emotions are rooted in where you live. In any case a small break is as final as a big one, so let's consider the genuine Edens of Mediterranean Europe, where the climate resembles California, clear and crisp in winter, hot but air-cooled in summer, miserable only in late fall, when gales lash the coast and the terraces stretch out empty in the rain.
Greece is currently in vogue, with a year-round Western colony of several thousand beatniks, writers, painters and archeologists drawn by the drama of ruined Greek temples, the spectacular mountain scenery, and the cheap primitive living on the Greek islands, most of them a fast boat ride (ten dollars a round trip) from Athens.
Two people just back from Greece say you can live in a clean plain pension for four dollars a day w'hile you look around for a house. Rundown villas for two thousand dollars can still be found but they’re getting scarce. You’ll probably settle tor a fisherman's cottage at thirty-five dollars a month, heated and lighted by kerosene, and without running water.
Why not the Riviera?
Except for a few' resorts such as Rhodes, Corfu and Mykynos, the islands are fishing communities, poor but hospitable. Once the tourists are gone, life centres around the tabernas, the local cafés, where the villagers gather at night to drink resined wine, eat seafood and lamb, sing, dance, and play their zithers, lutes, and longnecked mandolins. A couple can live well, I gather, for two hundred dollars a month, but you'd have to be on agreeable intimate terms with yourself and nature.
At prices higher than Greece but shading Florida, the Italian Riviera offers gusto, good food and wine, and Romanesque architecture In pasteltinted towns sheering up from picturesque ancient harbors. The modern beach resorts of the Adriatic, which vibrate to the buoyant Italian temperament, are cheaper. But prices are lowest, and seascapes even more breathtaking, in Italy’s islands of Elba. Ponza, Giglio, the Aeolians, and Sardinia, where a syndicate led by the Aga Khan plans a complex of hotels costing six hundred and fifty million dollars—which indicates the eventual fate of the world’s unspoiled beachland.
Few budgeteers think of the Riviera, the French-speaking coast, for retirement. But if you like the cosmopolitan tolerant life of France, the superb French cuisine, the incompar-
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able French wine, the fact is that Nice and Monaco arc not that expensive.
Small restaurants off the main streets serve excellent full-course meals, with fresh flowers and wine, for a dollar and a half. So much new building has gone up that a large modern apartment can be rented for a hundred and twenty dollars a month, and a smaller older one for no more than half that. With care, a couple could live on the French Riviera for under three hundred dollars a month.
which allows more entertainment than it docs here. But. of course, it isn't paradise, it isn't out of this world. Whether it's quiet, like Monte C arlo, or razzle-dazzle, like Juan-lcs-Pins, it is still very much the world of politics. high fashion and news.
Escape, and escape with style, lies westward in Portugal or Spain. People will tell you that Spain is ruined, that prices have risen a thousand percent. True, you can’t get a villa for twenty-eight dollars a month as you
could five years ago. True, in summer so many tourists overrun the coast of Spain that one American came away from Torremolinos last year complaining that he never saw a Spaniard. But by mid-October the Citroëns, Volkswagens, Jaguars and Fords have left and the people in the berets, corduroys and rope-soled sandals emerge. This is the time to arrive. You can rent a villa year-round then for fifty to ninety dollars a month, for which price Jim and Mar-
guerite MacLean, of Toronto, got a large living room overlooking a glittering bay on the Costa del Sol, six bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a lot of handsome wrought iron, mosaic tile and woven hemp furniture.
Except for the modern buildings, the break with the past in Spain is complete. There are no supermarkets, no refrigeration. Milk sits in the store in the heat all day. or the milkman brings round his cow and fills your utensils while you wait. You buy what meat you need for that day. Everything comes in brown-paper bags. You may have to shop in a dozen stores just to buy the food for one day. Then, because jiffy foods are unknown and canned food is skyhigh. it takes an equally long time to prepare it. Everything must be done by hand: cleaning, washing, gardening. You have left the twentieth century a hundred years or more behind.
You solve this by accepting it. You live like an upper-class Spaniard. In place of a motorized kitchen, you hire a cook who does the shopping; in place of a washing machine and lawn mower, a part-time laundress and gardener. These services and your food could add up to ninety dollars a month more. You've put out one hundred and eighty dollars for rent, food and utilities, and that isn't very much better than you can do here.
The primary point about bargain Paradises, for those with modest incomes, is not that you live so much cheaper, you live better. You can have a suit custom-tailored for forty dollars, a dress for ten, and the finest of handmade boots for nine dollars. A haircut is twenty-five cents, a high-style hairdo one third of the cost here. For seventy-five dollars a boatbuilder will custom-build you a skiff. When the son of Jim and Marguerite MacLean fell and split his lip. a doctor put in and took out seven stitches, gave him a tetanus shot, visited him every day for ten days, and presented a bill for $3.50.
Entertaining is eased by champagne at a dollar a bottle, gin at seventy cents. You enter the local wine shop and sample the produce before you buy it. at twenty-six cents for a bottle of robust red. You stop at a luxury hotel and dance, or listen to an ensemble, for the price of two wellmixed cocktails: fifty cents. You enjoy the best service in Europe at dinner beginning with light dry sherry and proceeding through snails and lobster to brandy and cheese, for five dollars for two. There is almost always a tennis court or a swimming pool nearby, a variety of bars with flamenco dancers and guitarists, and regular buses, some with TV. to run you into the city, where you can watch an exciting game of pelota for ten cents, a movie for twenty-five, and an opera, concert, horserace or bullfight at prices that tempt you to buy the best seats.
It seems silly to me to try to merely scrape by in Spain, or the Portuguese coast resort of Estoril, or Madeira. or the Azores, all similarly priced, when for just enough more to total two hundred and sixty dollars a month, even less in the free port of Palma in Spain's Canary Islands, the cheapest and only tropical city in Europe, tw'o can live the leisured life of the rich among proud hospitable
people whose relaxed philosophy of life is expressed in their proverb: "Work is the vice of people who are no good for anything else.-’
Naturally there are drawbacks: the intolerable coffee, the cost of Kleenex (a dollar a box), gas (a dollar a gallon), the wind and rain in November, and the flies in August and September that force you to use a sheet at night, which otherwise you wouldn't. There is also the problem of winter warmth in a Mediterranean villa, and it is a problem in any Eden where winter nights get chilly, but not chilly enough to install central heating.
The rental agent may tell you that all you need is the fireplace. Be skeptical. The Mediterranean has four winds, the best known being the mistral, and each is supposed to blow' from a different direction. Instead they all blow through your front door onto your kidneys. One after the other you close up your rooms as the cold snap continues, until finally you're huddled in one room by the fire. Make sure your villa has plenty of heaters and almond shells, or whatever other fuel they use to heat with.
Skyscrapers and pyramids
You can get a list of hotels and pensions, w'ith prices, and the names of real-estate agents you can write to, from the Greek, Spanish and Portuguese tourist bureaus. If you don't know where their nearest office is, phone an airline. For three months in Spain, all you need is your passport: then, says a girl in the tourist bureau, "you take it to the authorities and just tell them you want to stay three months more or forever.” And if you are classed as a resident of some other country, though you keep your Canadian citizenship, you cease paying income tax in Canada and pay in the country in which you're living. On income up to $2,500 in Spain you pay nothing. On anything from $2,500 to $3,750 you pay $34. On $5,000 you pay $86.50. Spain's income tax is not the least of its bargains.
A foreign country, of course, presents a communication problem. After only two months abroad alone Eve begun to feel like a ghost: I could move about, seeing, thinking, feeling, but couldn't communicate. It takes a long time to learn a new' language well enough to exchange ideas and even then your viewpoint will be alien. You'd be w'ise to try it first and the easiest way is to rent your house, pack your car, and drive down to Mexico.
Mexico, in some respects, is even more foreign than Europe. It's a blend of three cultures: the primitive pagan Indian, medieval Spain, and the jet - geared money economy of the U. S. Within thirty miles of the ultramodern skyscrapers of the capital, which offers as much in culture and night life as Paris, are the pyramids of the Aztecs and Indian villages unchanged for centuries. Colonial tow'ns such as Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende, with their narrow twisting cobblestoned streets, their plazas and cathedrals, are more Old World than any I've ever seen in Europe. Mexico offers as much as any tw'o European countries: cosmopolitan cities, ancient ruined cities, jungle, desert and alpine spas, big-game hunting, deep-sea fish-
ing. Caribbean islands, and beach resorts à la Montego Bay or the South Seas.
It’s a mountainous country: altitude, not latitude, governs the climate. Below three thousand feet the summers are hot. Above sixty - five hundred feet, winters are cold. Between, the dry, brown, central plateau has a sunny springlike climate that is just about as perfect as you can get. To adjust it. you simply move slightly up or dow n.
Some twenty thousand Americans and several hundred Canadians have retired in the central colonial towns and around Guadalajara, a beautiful slow-paced city of half a million people with an English - language high school, library, bookstore, real-estate office, and a country club where the socially elite can golf, play tennis, and swim for fees of $240 a year and $12 a month. Eighty dollars a month will rent a modern furnished two-bedroom apartment. A two-bedroom unfurnish-
ed house with timbered ceilings, picture windows, several fireplaces and a patio bordered by flowers, rents for forty dollars. You can sometimes get a ten-year lease for thirty dollars a month, if you'll spend a thousand dollars to fix a place up. And with carpenters, plumbers and bricklayers charging less per day than per hour here, you can build a house for eight thousand dollars that would cost eighteen thousand in Canada.
Custom-built furniture, silver, linens,
and objets d'art arc such bargains that two thousand dollars completely equips a house, including gas range and refrigerator. Food can run fifty dollars a month for two, but this can he cut by eating like a Mexican, by substituting tortillas and frijoles for bread and potatoes.
A couple can get by in any town for a hundred and fifty dollars a month; in any city, even the capital, for two hundred. But scrimping here, as in Spain, means passing up the
finest values: a live-in maid who relieves you of cooking, shopping, washing and cleaning for sixteen dollars a month and her food, tailored clothes for less than off-the-rack clothes in Canada, Bacardi rum at $3.60 a gallon, cocktails at sixteen cents, cigarettes at eight cents a pack, opera and ballet for a dollar and up, golf fees for $1.20 a day and a caddy at sixteen cents a round. You don't need a car — buses and taxis are cheap. Hospitals are modern and a private room
costs four dollars a day. You can't take a job, but neither do you pay tax on your income, and Mexican bluechip investments pay eight to ten percent, tax free.
You can stay for six months in Mexico on a $3.25 tourist card, then go out and come in again, and this is the cheapest, simplest procedure. If you don’t mind the dogs that howl at night and wake the roosters who wake the burros, and drink only puri-
tied water (five gallons for sixteen
cents), and add a hydrochlorazone pill to your dishwater, and the water in which you soak unpeeled fruits and vegetables, Mexico offers modern comfort in a medieval setting for prices approximating the thirties in Canada.
This brings us, I think, to a goal for Paradise-seekers: try to combine the best of all possible worlds. It's not the products of the twentiethcentury machines that we want to escape from; it's the by-products: ulcers, hypertension, the standard of the buck. The ideal is machine-made convenience and comfort divorced from the struggle for more of it, a place where you can relax yet find stimulation, where you can feel at home with the unfamiliar.
With this in mind, consider one last area: the islands enclosing the eastern Caribbean Sea. There are hundreds of them, each different, from volcanic peaks festooned with rain forest to low, coral, cactus - tufted cays. But most of them have white or black sand beaches fringed with palm trees, suntan weather in the eighties cooled in summer as well as winter by the natural air-cooling system of the trade winds, an African population (ninety-five percent) that is easygoing and friendly outside a few industrial areas, and somnolent small seaports huilt in distinctive colonial style by the Dutch, French, Spaniards, Danes and British.
“Gold Coast” on a budget
It is the British West Indies, with their half-familiar customs, in which Canadians will feel most at home. These islands are also the least expensive. and no doubt for both these reasons Canadian promoters have bought or optioned some twenty of the best beaches. In Barbados, a former industrial commissioner of Oshawa, Ont.. Tom McLaughlin, has a scheme that enables people of modest means to buy a beach house on the leeward or “Gold Coast,” an international playground. For thirtyfive hundred dollars down, his Carricanna Beach Club sells a two-bedroom house priced at $12,500, finished in natural coral stucco, landscaped with flowering trees and shrubs, and furnished with rattan from Hong Kong via Toronto.
“A buyer can holiday in his house a month a year,” McLaughlin says. "The rest of the year the club leases it out to tourists, which cuts the carrying charges from seventy dollars a month to twenty, and allows the club to keep up the maintenance. The buyer can sell it at any time and it’s his to retire in after ten years. I think if someone who lived all his life in Canada suddenly retired in Barbados he’d be shocked by the different way of life. This way he's gradually acclimatized.”
In St. Lucia, Nevis and Montserrat, five Toronto and Montreal companies are building instant suburbs around hotels. Seaside lots that sold a year ago for $995 now fetch $1,450, and no doubt will rise again. These islands, with Tobago, Grenada and St. Vincent, are still unspoiled by industry or tourism. You can live on a beach fringed with almond trees, snorkel in blue-green water so pellucid that the
tropical fish are a carnival of color, and in twenty minutes be dining in town or golfing at the country club. You can still get a maid - cook for twenty dollars a month, sometimes less, and if you like baked crab, lobster, conch, turtle and tropical fruit, your food bill won't be higher than in Canada. On a two-bedroom house that you can build for eight thousand dollars, the yearly tax won't be more than thirty dollars. And while income tax is steeper than in Canada, Chief Minister W. H. Bramble of Montserrat has stated privately that he hopes to lure well-heeled North Americans to Montserrat next year by making it a tax haven like the Bahamas.
But — and there is always a but — the basic fact of a paradise is that prices are low because wages are low, and people who are poor, with no hope for tomorrow, live for today. This is why a West Indian does not show up for work if something more important, like fishing or making love, intervenes. We have an opposing philosoph)': of progress, of work, of duty. It is alien to pleasure and. in the end. brings most pleasureseekers home.
The biggest "but" of Paradise is that it's too much of a good thing. "Whiteman-gone-to-pot-in-the-t ropics," says James Ramsey Ullman, a writer who escaped from escape in Tahiti, "is as venerable a clicné as June - moon -lagoon — and as much of a fact." One perfect day succeeds another. The sunshine, seascapes, perfumed air chloroform the mind with contentment.
"The past, the Golden Age of the past — what a nostalgia we all feel for it. Yet we don't want it when we get it," wrote D. H. Lawrence. Paradise is a static concept; man is dynamic, conditioned to strive. Overwork makes us restless: we long for emotional fulfillment. But w'hen the balance swings the other way, we grow restless again.
Perhaps the best single solution, one that avoids cutting one's roots, and keeps us within the orbit of family and friends, is a winter house in the sunbelt and a spring-to-fall house in Canada, where most of us will do our retiring anyhow. Canada may sound dull in comparison with exotic faraway places, but now'here else can w'e so easily live in both the past and the present, in the dynamism of progress and the tranquility of nature. Within one to tw'o hours of cities providing every aspect of culture, the wilderness lies primeval and unchanged, and between them are some of the world's choice retirement spots: small towns and cities that retain their prew'ar pace and reward the Eden-seeker with tine old houses at bargain prices, or, on the fringes of towm, low-priced farms that a diligent man could build into an estate.
In essence The Dream is the search for perfection, for balance, for fulfillment of both the intellect and emotions. And there is no Perfect Place where fulfillment is waiting, readymade. Still, some places yield more than others, and the search is part of the striving. I hear that two hundred dollars a month rents a houseboat, complete with servants in Kashmir . . . ★