Archive | October, 2010

Delicious Tahitian Food

27 Oct

In my last post, I mentioned that I saved money in Tahiti by buying groceries and eating at local restaurants in town.

So, did I miss those overpriced resort meals?

Not a chance. I was more than satisfied with the delectable island cuisine, which melded French and Polynesian flavors. Continue reading

Magical Moments in Moorea

24 Oct

After a few days in Tahiti, I boarded a boat for nearby Moorea. Some people fly, but the ferry ride is only 30 minutes long, and it’s beautiful. I don’t doubt the view from a plane is nice, but for me, it’s a bit detached from the splendor. I want to be enveloped in the scenery at ground level. In my view, it’s the best way to meet Moorea.

While Tahiti (with funny inflatable Santas and the Marche Municipale) is the administrative capital of French Polynesia, Moorea is its wellness retreat. Continue reading

Favorite Travels: Basking in Blue in Tahiti

21 Oct

This post is part of an ongoing series of all time favorite trips.

I’ve been to a few nice beach destinations in my life, but oh my goodness… Tahiti. What can I say? Don’t you want to dive in?

French Polynesia is the tropical paradise of your dreams. Consider the most magical color saturated island destination of your imagination, and let me assure you, Tahiti is it. I never knew the ocean could take on so many hues of crystalline blue… turquoise, azure, cobalt, and aquamarine. Continue reading

Why Locals Make Travel Special

18 Oct

Zamami Island is 40 km from Okinawa in the East China Sea. With a population of only 500, it is a secluded home to crystalline waters, colorful coral beds, and island tranquility.

What stands out the most, however, when I consider Zamami, is Kazu’s family.

My husband and I visited Zamami a few months ago, and we randomly chose the Patio Reef Guesthouse upon arrival at the ferry port. At the guesthouse, we were greeted by a rowdy group.

“Today is my birthday!” Kazu announced, “Please join us!”

Flattered by the invitation to spend time with them, we sat down and shared celebratory glasses of awamori, the local rice wine. The rest of the night full of laughing, conversation, and revelry passed in a flash.

We teased Kazu about his love life and gave him advice for finding Miss Right. The family told us the legend of a dog who swam weekly from a nearby island to Zamami to rendezvous with its canine “girlfriend.” And at one special moment, the group spontaneously broke out in traditional song as one member played the sanshin.

When they brought out the birthday cake, Kazu said to us, “Your timing is very lucky. Now we eat cake.”

I can’t agree more… we were lucky that night.

The next morning, Kazu’s entire family drove us to the ferry terminal. Waving and smiling, they bid us farewell.

What happened on Zamami Island with Kazu and his family is exactly why I love travel.

This post has been entered in the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday travel blogging competition.

Where have you found locals to be wonderful and unforgettable? Do you have any special memories of time spent with locals during your travels? Do share!

Favorite Travels: Aurora Viewing in Alaska

14 Oct

Over the coming months, I”ll be posting a series about my favorite trips of all time. Who knows? Maybe my favorite destinations are yours too.

Top of the list: Aurora Borealis viewing in Alaska.

I flew into Fairbanks and spent a few days at nearby Chena Hot Springs Resort. I visited in March (which I read offers high probability of viewing the lights). The temperatures ranged from negative 20 to 10 degrees each day. Disembarking the plane that first night as I bundled up in my subarctic down coat, I watched in awe as hearty Alaskans put on lighweight windbreakers. Continue reading

World’s Largest Tug of War

12 Oct

This past weekend with 25,000 of my closest friends, I participated in the Naha Tug of War. This is my favorite cultural festival, mainly because it is a bonding event open to the entire community of young, old, local, and expat.

Each year, the crowds face off in a test of ultimate strength. The goal is basic. Pull as hard as you can and bring your side to victory. Continue reading

Stunning Iguazu Falls

8 Oct

“Poor Niagara!” – Eleanor Roosevelt upon gazing at Iguazu Falls for the first time.

Before deciding to visit Argentina, I had never heard of Iguazu Falls. I don’t know how that could be. It is a World Heritage Site. It was shortlisted to be considered one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World” and draws comparisons to Victoria Falls in Africa. It has also been featured in many movies including the Mission and the most recent Indiana Jones film.

At the last minute, I put it on my itinerary and flew there from BA. I’m so glad I did. Continue reading

Fabulous Buenos Aires

5 Oct

Buenos Aires was a wonderful surprise. Apart from booking hotels and a few flights within Argentina (to Iguazu Falls and Mendoza), I did very little planning. I wanted to arrive and then just… wander.

Do you ever feel that same urge? Continue reading

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