I sit without mood above a beach on the northwest coast of Moorea, a green and mountainous island a dozen miles off Tahiti. The beach is narrow, and across it, at intervals, have fallen the gray and ponderous trunks of coconut palms, conjuring up metaphors of an elephants' graveyard. It is afternoon; the myna birds have ceased to whistle in the coconut plantation. Nothing is afoot but the ants. I have placed the cowries I collected—once tenanted by hermit crabs, now by their remains—among them. I see the surf exploding along the distant reef but cannot hear it. Sometimes, when awake at night, baffled in the cocoon of my mosquito netting, altered by islands, I hear a faint, sustained noise like far-off trains and put it down to a changing, rising wind.
After a heavy surf there is a strong northeast littoral current as the water returns through the pass to the open sea—three or four knots at least. Then, if I float on my back, ears submerged—like chambered shells, these, too—borne along by the flow, the pretty reef fishes and the great black sea slugs silent beneath me, I am profoundly enisled. Looking inland I see, as I float by, the waxy fronds of the palms but cannot hear their idle clacking; farther up are the steep and piney mountains. I review murmurs of Melville, who visited here in 1842 when the island was called Eimeo.
Later, when the sun sets, the water is, at first, as green and iridescent as fishes, the surf black, ominous, as though there were incomprehensible warfare on the rim. The wet sand along the irregular margin of the sea shines luminously, and the palms on the offshore islets are silhouetted; they seem to have been laboriously cut out of cardboard for the benefit of tourists. Then the water becomes violet and, lastly, gold, the gold of goldfish. All along the top of the beach, people are, like myself, sitting quietly, embracing their knees.
There is a sudden, powerful humming, intrusively recalling the world elsewhere. The generator has started up, and the lights go on in the thatched huts, or farés, of the Club Méditerranée village at my back. They are reflected in the metal collars on the palms that prevent the rats, which I have never seen, from reaching the coconuts. The Club Méditerranée is a unique and highly successful venture which its founder and president, Gérard Blitz, calls "the biggest athletic club in Europe." It is not, however, precisely an athletic club. It is, rather, a low-cost, group vacation scheme incorporating elements of children's camps, youth hostels, certain Catskill resorts and country clubs.
In addition to the village on Moorea, the Club Méditerranée has 17 other summer villages and nine winter villages. Most of the summer villages are located on the Mediterranean Sea and its various arms—in Spain, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Israel, Tunisia, Morocco and directly on the water: one "village" is a sailboat that cruises the Ionian Sea. The winter villages are situated in the French and Swiss Alps. "My favorite village," says Blitz, "is our isle of Caprera off the northeast coast of Sardinia. On this little island of 130 inlets there isn't anything but the tomb of Garibaldi and us." The club has, at present, 150,000 members, of whom nearly 100,000 are French. There are, besides, 22,000 Belgian, 13,000 British, 7,000 Swiss, 7,000 Italian and 1,500 Scandinavian members. Very few Germans belong to the Club Méditerranée. "Germans sing very quickly," says Tony Hatot, a friend of Blitz's who helped found the club. "Many people don't like that."
The Club Méditerranée was established in 1950. That year Blitz, a Belgian who had been an international water polo player; Hatot, a former French swimming champion; and Marcel Hansenne, the celebrated French middle-distance runner, published a "declaration of intentions." "It remains," Blitz said the other day, not without emotion, "our guiding principles."
And it reads, resoundingly: "Between the walls of offices and factories the man of today feels an imperious need to escape. He dreams of a total holiday, but vacations are sown with ambushes, financial worries, hunting for hotels, 'organized' tourism and tourist traps. We do not want any more of these material worries during our holidays. We wish to live among friends in the sun: winter on virgin snow slopes, summer on untrampled sandy beaches. The man of yesterday is out-of-date, the man of tomorrow is already exhausting our imagination, but a new man is in the process of being born. He will overcome the frenetic disequilibrium of our industrial civilization and twice a year rediscover the natural rhythm of life in the privileged space of the villages of the Club Méditerranée. Promised all kinds of happiness since youth, a newborn man, without age or memory, is inaugurating the most simple game in the world: the great game of total holidays."
Blitz's game is played in Club Méditerranée villages that range in size from Corfu, which has a capacity of 1,500, to Moorea, which can accommodate 150, but the facilities, the activities and the ambience are all quite similar. By the sea the vacationers live practically alfresco, for the most part in thatched huts, use communal bathing and toilet facilities and eat together in great, airy dining halls. During the day the activities, which are by no means compulsory, are sporting—in the winter villages, skiing; in the summer villages, swimming, skin diving, boating, water skiing, volleyball, pétanque or boccie, bicycling, table tennis, hiking and fishing. Some villages also offer mountain and rock climbing, tennis, miniature golf, bowling, billiards, badminton, fencing and yoga. Blitz is especially proud of the club's extensive athletic schools: three for skin diving, 13 for sailing, eight for water skiing, six for skiing and two for mountain climbing. Last year the club employed 230 official French ski school instructors.
Blitz has also created impressive libraries and record collections in the villages. He now offers poetry readings and in the next year or two intends to introduce "forums on philosophical topics." At many villages there is entertainment similar in spirit, if not always in execution, to that found in Left Bank cabarets. There are also recorded classical music concerts, often on the beach, party games and dancing; at noon instructors teach le twist and le madison.
If, at night, l'esprit is parisien, during the day it is tahitien, not only in Moorea, which is, in a way, the ideological capital of the Club Méditerranée, but all along the Med. In all of the club's villages the members wear Tahitian pareus, pay for drinks with green, red and yellow beads that they wear first as a necklace and, as the night progresses, as a bracelet and in general attempt to imitate an ideal vision: the simple and carefree Polynesian life. Newspapers and radios are banned. "Give your transistor a holiday, too," a club brochure requests. "Leave it at home."
The Club Méditerranée clientele tends to be lower-middle and middle-middle class—with a large number of professional people, "intellectuals" and students, on the one hand, and shopkeepers, on the other. These two groups do not, fundamentally, share common tastes, views and manners, but the club tries to develop a kind of fraternity and unity in the villages. "Everyone is the same in a bathing suit," says Tony Hatot, hopefully. "Our members must feel kind to one another, be friendly, happy, totally relaxed. The French love to talk politics, but you will find that after a few days in a village, no one talks politics." To encourage this mass euphoria, Lethe even, the vacationers are all called G.M., meaning gentils membres, or "nice members." The club's 1,500 summertime and 700 wintertime employees are known as CO., meaning gentils organisateurs, or "nice organizers."
Gérard Blitz was born in Antwerp in 1912. His great-grandfather, grandfather and father were in the diamond business, as was Gérard until the outbreak of World War II. But the Blitzes cleaved the water with as much élan as they cut diamonds. Gérard's father was a European swimming champion and is vice-president of the Belgian swimming federation. Gérard's Uncle Gérard was a world backstroke champion and is president of the Belgian swimming federation. The Blitz family, as a matter of convenience, is also in the swimming pool business.
"From the age of 12," says Blitz fits, "I did nothing but swim and play water polo. My father pushed me, so to speak, into pools. At the age of 20 I stood 6 feet 2, weighed 195 and had a 45-inch chest. I have the same measurements today." Blitz stays fit by dividing the year into three enviable divisions: four months in Tahiti, four months in Paris and four months in Castellaras, in the south of France. One of his four children has a house at Cap d'Antibes and, even when "stuck" in Paris, Blitz manages to spend every other weekend on the C√¥te d'Azur.
Wherever he happens to be, Blitz starts the day with 40 minutes of calisthenics and yoga. He calculates that he is outdoors nine months of the year. During four of these he is underwater for four or five hours a day. "I'm a fanatical skin diver," says Gérard Blitz.
The war radically changed the direction of Blitz's life. After taking his family to Switzerland, he went to work for the Belgian government in exile as a resistance worker. "I traveled all over the Continent," he says. "It may sound curious, but I actually developed a taste for travel in those terrible days."
From 1945 until 1947 Blitz was employed by the Belgian military mission in France. "My job," he says, "was to look after Belgian escapees from the concentration camps. They were in dreadful physical condition, of course, and the problem was how to make them healthier and happy. I created a chain of hotels in the Alps, centering around Chamonix. Naturally, those who came paid nothing, and we saw to it that they had no material concerns. You might say that 50% of the Club Méditerranée vacation formula already existed in that chain of hotels for concentration camp victims."
When his work was finished, Blitz looked, as he says, "for a métier in keeping with the times, an original one. One day in 1949 I was vacationing with my son in Corsica, near Calvi. We met some likable Frenchmen who also enjoyed the secluded sandy beaches but had no idea what to do with themselves. That set me to thinking."
In 1950 the Club Méditerranée opened its first village in Alcudia on Majorca. In 1953 the club had four small villages. By 1956 there were six good-size villages (the word "camp" is never, never used) in which some 16,000 members spent their holidays. In 1957 the club opened two winter villages and attracted 23,000 vacationers. This year Blitz estimates that the club will cater to almost 80,000 holidayers. "We have always had to turn down a great many applicants," says Blitz.
Blitz plans to build 20 additional villages, several in what he terms "the touristic periphery of the United States," notably Mexico and the Caribbean. Villages will not be constructed in the U.S., however. The club has about 750 American members, and this winter Blitz expects another 1,000 will fly in chartered planes to the St. Moritz village. Next year he will open at least one village in Russia, cither on the Black Sea or in the Caucasus. "Wouldn't it be a fine thing," says Blitz, "if, for instance, young Americans and young Russians spent their holidays together?" The club has also arranged to charter Russian planes to fly members to the Tokyo Olympics.
The Club Méditerranée is an extremely profitable enterprise. Its gross earnings for 1962, according to Blitz, were $14 million. "We are American in our efficiency and in much of our outlook, too," he says. Blitz and his partner, Gilbert Trigano, who joined the firm in 1953, control and operate it, but a one-third interest was recently acquired by Baron Edmond de Rothschild.
Blitz and Trigano own other concerns closely allied to the club. Under the name of Trigano they manufacture and sell camping and trailer equipment. In fact, Blitz says they are Europe's biggest camping goods manufacturer; they grossed about $14 million here, too, in 1962. They also have a store in Paris' St. Lazare railroad station called La Centrale Sousmarine that sells underwater sports equipment. "It is the largest store of its kind in the world," says Gérard Blitz. Yet another of their related businesses is a boat rental company (SCORECARD, June 10).
The popularity of the villages is due not only to their low cost. The overall price of the rail trip from Paris and two weeks in the Corfu village is $135 for French members. That is inexpensive, but not really cheap, for the French. Other tourist groups offer cheaper "all-in" vacations in similar places.
In 1958, Dominique Leroux, a Paris agent of a German household-furnishings company, went with his wife to the Capri village, which is no longer in existence. "It was absolutely marvelous," Leroux recalls. "The transportation from Paris, the sports facilities, the food and wine, the leisure-time entertainment and possibilities were perfect. Never have I been able to practice so fully water skiing, swimming, sailing and volleyball.
"During the next three summers we went on our own to Italy. That was because we had a baby boy, and the club didn't accept children under 5. Once we went by train and twice by car, and for food and rooms we spent about the same amount of money the Capri holiday cost us. On our own in Italy, we found ourselves lying on the beach all day just vegetating. There were no sports, no people to meet and play games with. It was depressing and boring. Last year, when our boy was 5, we went to the Santa Giulia village in Corsica. We chose it because there are no waves or wind and the sea is shallow for 700 feet offshore. For the same reasons this summer we plan to go to Pakostane in Yugoslavia. I cannot say the club villages are comfortable, but the immense sporting possibilities more than compensate for the lack of material comfort."
Irish-French Editorial Secretary Leish Morin has been to Corfu and the winter village of Mon√™tier. "Think of how costly ski lifts and water skiing are," she says. "I simply couldn't afford to go with my three children, or even alone, to a ski resort and ski to my heart's content. Another advantage of a village is that there are no surprises, no disastrous extras, no worrying about daily tipping. [There is no tipping anywhere in French Polynesia and, hence, no tipping at any Club Méditerranée village.] Apart from drinks at the bar and excursions, absolutely everything is included. What's more, you can pay for your holiday on the installment plan, without interest. And, if you are lucky enough to be able to take your vacation early in June or in September you get a third week's holiday free."
Meteorologist Jean-Pierre Rabourdin praises "the high quality and copious quantities of food." Says Blitz: "The French cannot conceive of a holiday on which they don't eat very well and drink wine at every meal. That is why we employ first-rate French chefs and offer club members as much food and wine as they can down."
Blitz exaggerates. On Moorea, for instance, the food is good and plentiful, but there are no seconds of beef. But then beef comes from New Zealand, 2,000 miles distant. Now in its second year, the Moorean village is the show-place of the Club Méditerranée. Because of its small size, the relatively great expense of a holiday there—which accounts for an older, more prosperous clientele—and its locale, it is not really typical. Nor is it profitable; the village lost $120,000 last year. It is, however, a place of unrivaled beauty and an enormous and gratifying calm.
We were about 50, mostly married couples, in the village on Moorea during the latter part of May; the majority French, with some Belgians, Italians and Swiss; there was a solitary and embattled Scotsman and one girl who came over from Tahiti for a week's vacation. Most of the G.M.s flew on the weekly TAI jet from Paris—with stops at Montreal and Los Angeles, where I boarded—to Papeete. One of the Frenchmen in our party was in real estate in Cannes and had lived in the U.S. for many years working for Packard cars. Another was a plump, compulsively jolly Paris pediatrician; she twisted formidably, recalling the old song: "It must be jelly 'cause jam don't shake like that." There were a Belgian doctor who had abandoned his practice in Leopoldville, a group of young Italians—Angelo and I finished second in an outrigger race—who had won the trip as a prize in a newspaper contest involving the movie Mutiny on the Bounty, and a fellow who had been a bombardier in the Ethiopian campaign. Our patriarch was a 74-year-old Swiss gentleman who enjoyed playing pétanque in the coconut grove. A coconut plantation is, Melville wrote, "one of the most beautiful, serene, witching places that ever was seen. High overhead are ranges of green, rustling arches; through which the sun's rays come down to you in sparkles. You seem to be wandering through illimitable halls of pillars; everywhere you catch glimpses of stately aisles, intersecting each other at all points. A strange silence, too, reigns far and near; the air flushed with the mellow stillness of a sunset."
The youngest among us, perhaps, was a lovely, sulky girl of 22 whose father was in the radio and TV business in Turin; she rode furiously on the village's little, tractable horses wearing one or another of her many bikinis, and backstroked like the wind. We had a taciturn Swiss with us, too; on a chain about his neck was a tiny gold key. He said, smiling, that it unlocked the sky.
Although Moorea is an ideal spot to read Remembrance of Things Past from beginning to end without interruption, there is always something to do, planned or impromptu, if you choose: snorkeling among the coral heads a few feet off the beach, spearfishing in the deep, astonishingly clear water of the pass, fishing for mahi mahi (dolphin) from the Keki II, a big, brand-new sports fisherman that also goes on round-the-island cruises, horseback riding, paddling an outrigger canoe to the two islets that lie several hundred yards offshore, playing volleyball by eccentric Moorean rules, bicycling on the rutted road that encircles the island—Moorea is 50 miles in circumference—and sailing.
You can also take a day's trek up from Opunohu Bay. We climbed into the hills along a road that led past vanilla, coffee and banana plantations, then entered the gloom of the rain forest, descending under tall "canoe" trees, with roots called buttresses, to the excavated ruins of a 16th century village. We ate lunch by a stream, then ascended and crossed ferny upland meadows where curious flowers display both purple and golden blossoms in the same cluster, and down again into cow pastures to visit a murky sulphur spring that is supposed to make you young again.
Another feature of the Club Méditerranée is extensive, guided sightseeing tours. A seven-day tour from Moorea, for example, includes three islands: first Tahaa, where you stay in a sort of sub-village the club has erected, next Bora-Bora, spending the night at the elegant Bora-Bora Hotel, where such diverse personalities as Eddie Arcaro and No√´l Coward have sojourned. I passed up the first two stops and joined the 12 excursionists at the end of their stay in Bora-Bora. We then flew to Rangiroa, where the Bermuda flying boat landed in the lagoon and launches decorated with palm fronds took us ashore.
Rangiroa, 300 miles northeast of Tahiti, is the largest atoll in the Tuamotu archipelago. It is shaped rather like a running track, the track being a series of fiat, narrow islets, the infield a lagoon 45 miles in circumference and 15 miles across at its greatest width. We docked at the village of Tiputa (pop. 200), and half the town was gathered at the quay to meet and inspect us. They greeted us with music and singing, dances and many kisses; necklaces made up of little shells were placed about our necks. Then we all linked arms—man-woman-man-woman and so forth as wide as the road—and marched under a ceremonial arch behind a guitar band to town. Children raced ahead on the road and along the low coral walls like beneficent scouts. We received the same welcome at Avatoru, a village on a neighboring islet, when we went there for lunch in the club's motor ketch Eve several days later. Avatoru is where Jeanette, the notorious transvestite, cooked and helped serve the fish we speared in the forenoon. Between courses we twisted while the band played and sang, "Oh, yes, that's my baby...." Is there anywhere in the world you cannot find the twist, the housefly and Coca-Cola?
In the shaving mirror I can see, behind my familiar portrait, a corner of a pigpen, a breadfruit tree, the lagoon of Rangiroa. I am standing in what the lady who makes the beds—and collects whatever eggs the hens have laid on the flowered chintz spreads—told me was la salle de bain. In Tiputa we lived in the natives' houses; the occupants apparently double up with friends or relatives. La salle de bain is in the backyard and has corrugated iron walls that come up to my waist, a gravel floor and a curtained door. In one of its corners is a drum that the landlord fills with rainwater. There are, in addition, a plastic pitcher and a galvanized washtub in which you can, indeed, take a bath. I bathe at evening. Sitting in the water, which has been agreeably heated by the sun, I look up and see only the rapidly darkening sky, hear, from the neighboring house, a piano concerto that is being broadcast by Tahiti's only radio station and am further enisled. Rangiroa means big sky.
The mirror belongs to Charlie, a very gentil membre, who is called, to his annoyance, Il Commendatore. "Just call me Charlie," he pleads. Charlie owns a snack bar in the bus station in Inverness, Scotland. He told me his father had come to England from Italy with several companions; they went from door to door selling stucco figurines of Gladstone and Queen Victoria. Charlie said he was a motorcycle racer before going into the catering trade—fish and chips. He contends that the fish we eat here—it is generally served raw, first marinated in lemon juice, then soaked in coconut milk—cannot match "a nice piece of haddock." He did enjoy, however, the purple slate-pencil sea urchins and the Polynesian turbines, a sort of snail, which we uprooted from the vast and desolate reef on the Pacific coast of the islet one afternoon. We were taken there by Serge Arnoux, the G.O. on Tiputa. One of Serge's grandparents was a Tahitian; he has sailed around the world in a small boat and crossed New Guinea, jungle and mountain snow, on foot.
The urchins live on the reddish, eroded reef nearly under the surf. They seek pits and pocks in which to dwell, and it is impossible to pull them free from these sanctuaries. You can harvest only those which are imperceptibly wandering across the nearly level reef; it is a matter of running between the breakers to seize them. In order to eat one, you grab it by the spines and smash it against a coral outcropping until you can extract the orange coral, or ovaries, which is very sweet. The spines, when they have dried in the sun, turn lavender in color, the shade of ink on old letters written a long time ago by old and genteel ladies. Eating turbines is just a matter of battering their shells apart. You knock a larger turbine against a smaller turbine, then consume the entire animal. You are left with its pale, smooth, round door, or cat's eye. On the reef, too, Serge showed us the poetic and poisonous scorpion fish.
When it becomes dark, Charlie and I walk to ToToma's Bar (totoma means, prosaically, cucumber). We pass the field where once a week some of the Tiputan men hold a competition. They hurl javelins at a coconut set on a high pole. They fling them underhand; the javelins look like needlefish swimming in the air. The fellow who keeps score clips his ballpoint to his floral couronne. It is a very difficult sport. They made us try our hand at it before an assemblage consisting of the entire village. We were, at any rate, a great source of amusement.
Charlie walks on my left side so he can listen to what I say with his better ear. He will, no doubt, tell me, roundabout where the grass road becomes hard dirt: "You cannot have a paradise without a little bit of hell." On Moorea, Charlie's hell was the mosquitoes; he is very fair. In Omoo, Melville relates the manner in which the mosquitoes were introduced:
"Some years previous, a whaling captain, touching at an adjoining bay, got into difficulty with its inhabitants, and at last carried his complaint before one of the native tribunals; but receiving no satisfaction, and deeming himself aggrieved, he resolved upon taking signal revenge. One night, he towed a rotten old water-cask ashore, and left it in a neglected Taw patch, where the ground was warm and moist. Hence the musquitoes.
"I tried my best to learn the name of this man: and hereby do what I can to hand it down to posterity. It was Coleman—Nathan Coleman. The ship belonged to Nantucket.
"When tormented by the musquitoes, I found much relief in coupling the word 'Coleman' with another of one syllable, and pronouncing them together energetically."
In Tiputa, Charlie's hell is "those great, bleeding bells." At 6 every morning the church bells ring out from the belfry, which overlooks a concrete basketball court. The cocks precede the bells by several hours, crowing in the dark like the trumpets of the Apocalypse. From time to time in the night the dogs fight noisily, and once two girls went at it under the breadfruit trees. There are many dogs in Tiputa, emaciated hounds with heavy heads, tattered ears and a number of wounds and sores. I was told they wade into the lagoon and patiently fish for their meager supper. I asked someone, didn't the Tiputans like their dogs? "Yes," was his reply, "in curry." It is the sort of answer I often got. I once asked a man what kind of fruit a child was eating. "It is," he said, "the kind of fruit that Tiputan children are always eating." There is a phrase in French Polynesia, much like ma√±ana, which covers all perplexities, delays and insufficiencies: "C'est Pacifique." I was also told that there are two seasons in French Polynesia, the rainy season and the season when it rains—and that in some hotels the management places large and hairy spiders in the rooms to keep down the mosquitoes. Charlie and I had a sinister coil of mosquito punk on our night table. It was manufactured in Hong Kong by The Blood Protection Co., Ltd.
ToToma's Bar is run by Fran√ßois, a Corsican whose hair is almost as long and curly as one of the old Louis. His bar is a shack; you sit on a bench outside under the palm thatch eaves. Fran√ßois' specialty is the ToToma Special; the ingredients vary from night to night according to his whim and what he has in stock. His best special contains a jigger of dark rum, a jigger of white wine, lime juice, sugar, pineapple juice and ice. He stirs it, samples it, announces, "C'est bon," and places it before you.
While I drink, children play a variant of hopscotch by the light of the bar's kerosene lamp until Fran√ßois shoos them off. Four or five dogs sleep beyond the light, identically curled. There are splashes in the harbor. Have the leopard rays come back? They are easily a yard across. I saw them in the morning, darkly maculate, turning and returning together like partners in a dance in their devious search above the litter of bottle caps.
The Moorea village is on a coconut plantation. Each of the thatched huts has two beds and a sink.
Suzanne, swathed in a Polynesian pareu, gives club member Rachel Gold of Belgium, barely clad at all, a lesson in the tamouré, the lively Tahitian version of the hula.
Beneath a thatchwork of palm fronds, two girls lunch on langouste √† la parisienne, caught by snorkeling members of the club and prepared by the club's French chef.
On the village beach the vacationists skin dive, snorkel, wade or just laze about in the clear water.
Bora-Bora, popular excursion stop for club visitors to Moorea, looms blue above the spindrift.
CLUB MEDITERRANEE TRAVEL FACTS
The club, which welcomes American members (dues $10), has 18 summer villages, including one afloat. Some open mid-May and all open by June 15. Five stay open till late October: Moorea, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia and Sicily. The nine other beach villages close at the end of September. The summer mountain villages—St. Moritz and Leysin in Switzerland, Mon√™tier in France—are open in mid-June, St. Moritz closes mid-August, the others mid-September. The club also has nine winter villages for skiing. All prices given below are for a two-week stay. At the beginning and end of the season a third week's stay is free. Excursion prices are extra. Agents in the U.S. are Club Méditerranée, 11478 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, Calif.; Dee Travel Agency, 342 Madison Avenue, New York 17, N.Y.; and all Air France offices.
Moorea, FRENCH POLYNESIA offers a two-week stay for S200 exclusive of transportation. A third week here is free this summer. A 3½-day flying boat excursion to Bora-Bora (see page 59) costs $100. Achzib, ISRAEL ($120) is north of the little port of Acre, near Haifa. It is noted for underwater fishing and its side trips (a week's tour of Jerusalem, Nazareth, Beersheba and the Negev costs $90). Al Hoceima, MOROCCO ($90) is on an immense beach in former Spanish Morocco. There is an excellent trip (9 days for $116) to Marrakesh at the foot of the High Atlas. Djerba, TUNISIA ($90) has superb underwater fishing. The island has not changed much since Homer made it the land of the Lotus-eaters in the Odyssey. A five-day tour of Tunisia, taking in Tunis and Carthage, costs $60. There are four villages in Italy: one on the mainland, one off the coast of Sardinia and two in Sicily. Cefal√π, SICILY ($90) has an outstanding school for sailing and snorkeling. Lipari ($120), an island village off the coast, is a scuba diver's paradise, but it is only for Spartans, and everyone is asleep by 10 p.m.
Palinuro, ITALY ($90), 80 miles south of Naples, offers a splendid beach, water skiing and a $30 excursion to Capri, Pompeii, Sorrento and Naples. The fourth Italian village is Caprera ($90), an island off the coast of SARDINIA. It has the best sailing school in the club. Santa Giulia ($100) on CORSICA, completely isolated, has the club's best beach—and the safest. Cadaqués, SPAIN ($110), on the Costa Brava in Salvador Dali country, is luxurious by club standards. The chief sport is scuba diving. A four-day trip to Madrid and Toledo costs $63. No children under 10 at this one. There are two villages in YUGOSLAVIA: Sveti Marko ($100), with a trip to the mountains of Montenegro and trout fishing in the Black Lake for $21, and Pakostane ($100), with a three-day stay in Venice ($42) or a six-day cruise down to Dubrovnik ($50). GREECE has Aigion ($90) on the Gulf of Corinth, with a week-long trip to Turkey by air ($104), and Corfu ($90; SI, Aug. 22, 1960), which is so popular that there are two shifts for dinner. It is from Corfu that the floating village, a ca√Øque, will be launched this year. Members must be qualified divers, and there is a waiting list.
The three mountain villages each cost $120. They are ideal for children, who are allowed in when they are 4, at a reduced rate. Mountain climbing is the main activity. From St. Moritz—new this season—there are excursions to Italian lakes ($21).