Nantucket revels during Indian summer. New Englanders looking for a wonderful way to celebrate fall in the next few days should consider picturesque Nantucket (see Brant Point lighthouse, pictured above.) ``Nantucket Heritage Days - A Celebration of Island Arts & Crafts'' will be held Oct. 17-26. Events include the teaching of crafts like carving scrimshaw and decorative furniture painting; there will also be seminars and tours of historic sites. Accommodations can be had at a 20 percent discount (usual rates, $85 to $130) from Harbor House, a group of modern town houses designed to look like a Nantucket street of the 1700s, according to the proprietors. To register or get more information on courses, call (508) 228-1700. For Harbor House reservations, phone (508) 228-5500. Flights increase to Australia. A 2-year deadlock on transpacific air rights, which has limited flights between the United States and Australia, especially during peak periods, has recently been resolved. Qantas Airways will now have access to three new US cities of its choice, plus an additional eight cities to be added later. Continental and United Airlines will gain access to Cairns and Brisbane, with ``beyond'' rights to eight other Australian cities. Continental is ready to start service to the above two cities Nov. 1. Nonstop service to Sydney and Melbourne through United will be available late this month.
Climbing rocks during the holidays. The Pacific Crest Outward Bound School has several 8- and 14-day adventures planned for California's Joshua Tree National Monument. Participants will leave from Palm Springs on backpacking and rock-climbing trips, to enjoy the bird life, vegetation, and spectacular desert scenery. The first trip starts Nov. 14; the last ends Jan. 3. The worldwide system of Outward Bound works to develop leadership and communication through teamwork. Its toll-free number is 800-547-3312, or you can write to 0110 SW Bancroft Street, Portland, OR 97201.
South Pacific vacations. Stay for seven glorious days in a Polynesian-style thatched-roof bungalow in Bora-Bora, Tahiti, or Moorea. The Moorea trip costs $1,399, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles or San Francisco. A more elaborate Moorea trip, including a Tahitian Royal Wedding Ceremony (not legally binding), is $1,999. The Bora-Bora-Tahiti trip is $1,749. (All prices are per person, double occupancy.) Travel agents can make the reservations. To get the specifics, contact Ted Cook's Tours, at its toll-free number, 800-854-3413, or (714) 645-8300 in Orange County, Calif., or write 760 W. 16th Street, Suite L, Costa Mesa, CA 92627. Proper tipping when abroad. Tipping practices vary from country to country. ``American Express Pocket Travel Guides'' delineate the particulars:
London: 10 to 15 percent takes care of hotels, restaurants, and taxi drivers - but make sure there isn't a service charge already. Smaller tips go to doormen, porters, and other such helpful attendants.
Paris: Service compris means that a 15 percent tip has already been tacked on the meal tab; otherwise add 8 to 12 percent. Taxi drivers should receive 10 to 15 percent, and a few francs can be given to attendants, guides, doormen, hairdressers, and ushers.
Italy: There's a 15 percent service charge at hotels and restaurants - though it's customary to leave a little more for the waiter. Twelve percent should be added to a taxi fare. Special favors from church or museum custodians deserve a generous gratuity.
Greece: The staff where you stay or eat will split the 10 percent left for them. Be aware that at cheaper eateries, 5 to 10 percent must be left on the table.
Canada: 15 percent when dining out, and 10 to 15 percent for the cab driver. Bellhops should receive 50 cents to $1 for each bag, and maid service is $1 a day.
Germany: If the bill says Bedienung, that means the tip has already been added. Otherwise, tip 10 to 15 percent. Cab fares should be rounded up to the next mark, while 50 cents to $1 is what bellhops expect per bag.
China: No tips, as they are considered offensive.
USSR: A tip is either included or not expected, but small US gifts of ball-point pens, candy, inexpensive perfumes, or cosmetics are well received.
Australia: Tipping is not customary. Waiters are the exception; they require a 10 percent tip. Railway porters charge for their services, and tipping for hotel porters is discretionary.
Mexico: Tipping is the norm for gas attendants, ushers, valets, and the like; $1 should do it. Tour guides and beauty salon workers should be tipped twice as much. Cab drivers get any small change. When eating out, leave 10 to 15 percent.
Hong Kong: The usual tip after a meal is 10 percent or, for great service, a bit more. Hotel washroom helpers expect HK$1 to $2. For a short taxi ride, give small change; more for extra service or a longer distance.
Japan: Another country that has the custom of not tipping. If a business desires a service fee, it will put it on the customer's bill.