If there is an ultimate world island vacation top list, at least two big names near the top belong to French Polynesia, and those are Tahiti and Bora Bora. So if you are one of the lucky ones planning a summer or winter vacation in French Polynesia (it is always sunny in French Polynesia), it is time to start booking.
French Polynesia is made up of many islands, and most of them are holiday-maker’s dream spots. It is not uncommon for visitors to sketch their route to cover several islands, and this can be done by chartering a cruise to take you island skipping (the passenger/freight ship covering the largest number of islands is the Aranui 3, a 14-day long, rather comfortable cruise), or by booking hotels for a night or two, then moving on. Island Combo packages provide reasonable discounts, should you choose to stick with the same hotel franchise throughout your trip.
Several hotels really stand out with their offers and locations.
Le Meridien has the benefit of having resorts in both Tahiti and Bora Bora, the two islands on top of everybody’s itinerary. A name with great reputation, you can trust Le Meridien to satisfy all of your vacationing needs. Guests have the option of choosing between a spacious hotel room, and the ultimate Polynesian setting – an overwater bungalow. The bungalows come with a glass floor panel, to make your stay that much more magical. The restaurants are highly praised, the pool is pristine, and wifi is available at the front desk (which is a little under the standards for such a high-roller in the hotel industry) You can expect higher prices, as is the case with all global franchises, but something Le Meridien has that other hotels do not, is a breathtaking snorkeling location.
Only 10 minutes away from Papeete, located in Punaauia, Tahiti, the Manava Suite Resort is an excellent choice for first-timers. The Lagoonarium and Taapuna surf are both located in Manava’s vicinity, feeding your need for water sports. Lagoon-side rooms have a wonderful view of the island of Moorea, a horizon you will want to wake up to every morning. Manava Suite Resort follows a traditional Polynesian design, in architecture, as well as facilities – the resort health spa guarantees a fully natural relaxation and detoxification, out in the bright Tahitian sun, just by the water’s edge. As far as water sports go, snorkeling gear is complimentary, and Moorea is a half an hour’s boat ride away.
The Intercontinental Tahiti Resort is another franchise with several hotels around French Polynesia – namely, they have resorts in Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea. This hotel is located in Faaa – close enough to Papeete and several tourist sites. The stay in the actual hotel is not a shabby one either, with outdoor tennis courts and a private beach. You can choose between various hotel room settings, or rent an overwater bungalow for a full Polynesian experience. Wifi is available, and so is onsite parking.
Located to the east of Papeete, in Arue, is Radisson Plaza Resort Tahiti. Its position puts it near cultural sights like the Tomb of King Pomare V, the James Norman Hall Home, the Black Sand Beach, and the Pointe Venus Lighthouse. The resort comes with its own 900-meter-long strip of black sand Lafayette Beach and outdoor pool, so you won’t miss any tanning should you choose to not go chartering every day, but the island of Moorea is near enough for you not to have island-hopping doubts. Radisson Plaza Resort is a great place for a family stay; you can drop your youngest ones off at the children’s club and immerse yourself in a day of spa and relaxation. The hotel organizes daily activities suitable for the whole family, and these range from tropical arts and crafts to Polynesian dance nights. Overlook the Matavai Bay from your patio hot-tub, or feel social and have a cocktail on the beach.
The Ultimate American Road Trip: Route 66
If you’re looking for the omega American road trip then you’ve got to hit the Mother Road, otherwise known as Route 66. From Chicago to LA, it’s a journey that’ll provide the experience of a lifetime, showing you the heart of a great nation.
Start in Chicago & Chase the Sun
In reality, the best always head west. Would you rather end the trip in the Windy City, or just in time to catch a gorgeous L.A. sunset on the beach? There’s just something deeply spiritual for folks when we head west. It becomes an adventure. It becomes a vehicular voyage to the sea. Here are some of the highlights you can expect in order:
• Illinois: It’s a pretty straight shot through the state from Chicago through Springfield (which has some stretches of restored Route 66) and southwest to St. Louis. There’s a bit of the bright lights of big cities, but also a good calm stretch of rural to cruise through as well; vast fields of corn and farmland for close to 300 miles.
• Missouri: Once you hit East St. Louis you’ll again be greeted by sky scrapers, industrial areas and the mark of modernity but then it’s another SE straight shot through the entire belly of the state.
• Kansas: You’re only going to spend a little time in the good’ol Kansas heartland. And by little we mean a whopping 14 miles far down in the bottom south east corner. You’ll go through two towns: Galena and Baxter Springs but rest assured there’s great classic restaurants and places that’ve been open as long as Route 66 has been around. In fact, it’s because of road tripper like you just passin’on through that keep’em goin.
• Oklahoma: You’re going to go through two huge metropolises that have “country” written all over’em: Tulsa first and then into Oklahoma City before heading directly west towards the Pan Handle. Of all 8 states, it’s here that they take Route 66 the most seriously. It’s got the most preserved still-drivable miles and you’ll be able to see the remnants of Kiowa, Apache and Comanche Native American land. And, you’ll get to take the same route as families long ago in the Dust Bowl took to escape.
• Texas: You’re going to go through the upper tip of the Texas Pan Handle that takes you through Amarillo. It looks short on a map but the 200-mile stretch of plains is a sight to behold like none other. If you can time it so you cut through here in the afternoon on a sunny day your spirit will be recharged. Just try not to pay any attention to all the truckers!
• New Mexico: Welcome to the Land of Enchantment where you’ll pass through Sun Belt city and Albuquerque. These days, it can be a bit challenging to stay strictly on the old road but with all the sandstone mesas and pine forests it’s definitely worth it.
• Arizona: In Arizona you’ll stay in the northern plains rather than heading down into the really hot areas around Phoenix. Instead, you’ll pass directly through Flagstaff which is a mountain town and where Northern Arizona University is located. The sights here are like a completely different world from everything you’ve seen so far, especially once you begin to head south right before passing into California. Oh, and because of the high speeds on the I-40, this will feel like one of those awesome car track days.
• California: Once you reach this point get ready to cruise through rolling hills, vineyards, orchards, stunning landscapes and then at Barstow you should begin smelling the sea. From San Bernardino and Pasadena to Santa Monica it’s simply breathtaking.
This is only a taste of the experience really. You’ve just got to get out and do it. There’s plenty of great resources online to keep you on track and if you have the time you don’t have to miss a thing. Enjoy!
Key Moments from Trump’s Impeachment Hearing
Heartbreaking; Another School Shooting Santa Clarita, CA
Santa Clarita, California, high school shooting leaves 2 students dead, multiple injured
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KABC) — A 16-year-old boy shot five fellow students, two fatally, Thursday morning at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita before turning the .45-caliber handgun on himself, authorities said.
A Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesperson said multiple 911 calls prompted firefighter-paramedics to respond about 7:40 a.m. to the school at 21900 Centurion Way.
Six students, including the gunman, were found in the quad suffering from gunshot wounds, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference. All six were transported to hospitals, where two of them, a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, were later pronounced dead.
The surviving victims were described as two girls, ages 14 and 15, and a 14-year-old boy.
In a tweet, Henry Mayo Hospital said it had received four patients.
Their names were not immediately disclosed. The sheriff said the deceased girl’s parents were at the hospital. He was notified of the second fatality during a press conference at the school.
Gunman turns .45 caliber on himself
According to sheriff’s Capt. Kent Wegener, surveillance video “clearly” shows the suspect pulling a semi-automatic handgun out of his backpack in the quad and shooting five classmates before shooting himself in the head.
Thursday was the gunman’s 16th birthday, the captain said.
He was listed in grave condition at a hospital, according to Villanueva.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, authorities released a description of the suspect as a manhunt got underway. Heavily armed deputies and an armored SWAT vehicle were seen at a home near the school, but it was unclear if the house was connected to the investigation.
The high school remained on lockdown for hours after the incident. Shortly before 11 a.m., lockdowns were lifted at all campuses in the district, as well as Rosedell and Highland elementary schools.
Central Park, at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road, was being used as a reunification point for parents and students, the Sheriff’s Department said.
Undersheriff Tim Murakami tweeted an apology to parents, saying investigators need to interview “every student at Saugus HS” before they can be released.
In a statement, the White House said President Donald Trump was monitoring ongoing reports about the shooting.
“The White House encourages all those in the area to follow the advice of local law enforcement and first responders,” the statement said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted an expression of gratitude to the emergency responders.
“We simply should not have to fear for our kids’ lives when we drop them off at school,” the governor said. Addressing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Newsom asked: “How many more lives will be lost? How many more shootings will we have to endure? We need commonsense gun reform. NOW.”
Amid the chaos at the scene, the number of reported victims fluctuated throughout the morning. The sheriff later confirmed that six people were shot, including the gunman.