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So much for the basics

New York's Yours in Travel Personnel Agency, which for 28 years has been helping airlines, hotels and similar businesses nationwide fill entry-level jobs such as reservationist, keeps updating the brief test on geography and industry basics it gives job-seeking travel school graduates. But they still flunk.

"Almost no one who has taken it could get even a 50 percent," said company president and founder P. Jason King. Among frequent wrong answers:

DOT, defined not as the common acronym for Department of Transportation but as a period at the end of a sentence; MAP, defined not as Modified American Plan (a hotel option providing two daily meals) but as the item you keep folded up in the glove compartment that shows the location of roads and cities; and FIT, defined not as Fully Independent Tour or Foreign Inclusive Tour but as something you have at the end of a bad day.

As for placing major cities within an outline of the United States, "Ninety-nine percent of everything lands in what is Texas."

Winter wildlife

Outings to see Western wildlife in winter can be had via Wildlife Expeditions of Jackson Hole, Wyo. The program transports groups of four to eight people into various areas to seek out bison, moose, elks, mule deer, eagles and gray wolves. Sites are Grand Teton, several sections of Yellowstone and Bridger Teton. The price is $1,885 per person, double occupancy, covering six nights' lodging, five breakfasts and lunches and six dinners. Trip dates are Jan. 20-26, Feb. 3-9 and Feb. 11-17. Call (888) 945-3567.

Your photos wanted

That stunning photo of the Grand Canyon or Fire Island National Seashore you snapped on your last vacation could grace the 2002 National Parks Pass. The first Experience Your America Photo Contest is open to amateur photographers' photos taken since Jan. 1, 2000, and submitted by March 15.

The best shot each year will be on the next year's pass, and the winner also will get a trip for four to any national park as well as other gifts; prizes also will be awarded to runners-up. For details, go to the Web site, http://www.

nationalparks.org.

Compiled from Times wires

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