QUESTION: Next month I plan to visit Hawaii, including the big island. After reading about the current volcanic activity, I wonder if I have made an unwise decision. Can you help?
ANSWER: The Kilauea volcano made the news late last month when its lava destroyed the coastal town of Kalapana.But the volcano has actually been erupting since January 1983, and, acccording to Christina Heliker, a geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian volcano observatory on the big island, where its lava will flow is highly predictable.
"There's nothing to be worried about," she said.
In any case, tourists are banned from areas of the eruption, though they can see places where the lava, now hardened, has crossed roads. The lava is much less rich in silicone than that of Mount St. Helens.
As a result, gases escape fairly steadily, she said, and do not build up to explode when they reach the surface.
Another concern less spectacular than glowing lava might come from the gases the volano is emitting, at the rate of 1,500 to 2,200 metric tons a day.
The gas is mainly sulfur dioxide, which when it rises into the air is oxidized to become sulfates. The resulting haze, called vog, generally is carried southwest by the trade winds to the southern part of the Kona coast, popular with tourists.
Some people with problems like asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema have reported that their condition has been aggravated by the vog, according to Janes W. Morrow, director of environmental health for the American Lung Association of Hawaii.
QUESTION: On our return from France we were told that we could not bring in three cans of duck pate and three cans of goose foie gras.
In my kitchen cupboard at home I have two cans of liver pate marked "product of France" purchased at my local market. Why can I not bring into America canned processed meat but the local store can?
ANSWER: Your grocery sells pate from France because the importer got a permit from the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and had a certificate from France stating that it came from healthy animals and was processed in a way that protects American animals from disease.
It is possible for you to get the paperwork, but you would need to know ahead of time just what you will be bringing in. Then, in France you would have to get a certificate from a representative of France's veterinary service. You can get more information from the Deparment of Agriculure, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Service, Import-Export Products Staff, Room 758, Federal Building, 6505 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville, Md. 20782; 301-436-7874.
QUESTION: I'm going to be in Buenos Aires and Montevideo in early August. I'd like to know what sort of weather to expect and what sort of clothing I should bring along.
ANSWER: In Buenos Aires the average high temperature in August is 60 degrees and the average low is 43. There are nine rainy days in August, and afternoon humidity averages 74 percent. In Montevideo the August high is 59 and the low is 43, with seven rainy days and afternoon humidity averaging 67 percent.
QUESTION: Can you tell me what will be necessary for a couple to marry in either Paris or Rome?
ANSWER: To marry in Italy, you must first go to the nearest Italian Consulate in the U.S. with four witnesses, who must not be related to you or each other, and obtain a certificate of your intention to marry, about $15 at the current exchange rate.
You must present, accompanied by Italian translations, birth certificates, which must be originals or certified copies, and any divorce decrees, or death certificates if either of you has been widowed. These all must be accompanied with a seal from the state that issued them.
Once in Italy, you must get a certificate of your single status from the U.S. Consulate. Then you can make arrangements at the city hall or town hall where you will marry.
Marrying in France requires a stay of at least 40 days by one of the couple: a 30-day residency requirement in the city or town in which you will marry before a marriage announcement can be posted, and then a 10-day waiting period before the wedding.
All marriages in the country must be performed by a civil authority before any clergy can perform a religious ceremony.
Before the posting of the announcement, you will need to present at the city hall certified birth certificates and divorce decrees or death certificates if applicable, along with certified French translations.
You will also need certificates of health, with blood test results, issued within two months of the wedding (the French Consulate in New York will provide a list of doctors approved to perform the examinations here, or they can be done in France), and an affidavit written in French by a lawyer certifying that you are U.S. citizens free to wed in France and that the marriage will be valid in the United States; the American Embassy in Paris can refer you to English-speaking lawyers there.
The French Consulate in New York (934 Fifth Avenue; 212-606-3688) will provide a list of requirements.