Archive for the ‘America’ Category

Hawaii’s other islands

hawaii spouting hornFrom this side of the world, there is just “Hawaii” but what we know of Hawaii is just one of the islands in the chain (Oahu) and the others are very different from that one.

Kauai is very different. Here you’ll find a much quieter type of holiday with resorts giving you the chance to have a beach holiday but in a beautiful island setting. Although the whole Hawaii chain of islands looks pretty small on the map, some of the islands are quite large and all of them have so much to do that we’ll only be looking at a small area of Kauai which should give you a good feel of what the island is like.

As with all the islands in the group, Kauai has all the beaches that you’d expect with water sports, snorkeling (in beautifully clear waters) and, of course, the scenery. National parks abound and near Poipu you’ll find the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Along with the other islands you’ll find lava formations and Spouting Horn is worth a visit to see the lava tube formations: quite spectacular as you can see.

Vacation homes are one option that will help make your holiday a little bit more relaxing or for something a little smaller condos (apartments) give you a choice midway between a self-catering house and a hotel room (usually somewhat closer to the action than the vacation homes are, of course).

For the area, vacation rentals seem the best way to go. Hotels are the choice for Oahu but for Kauai, you need a more laid back option to make the most of what the island has to offer.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Hawaii vacations

Hawaii AlohaHawaii is a loooong way from anywhere so the best option for most people from Europe is to include it as part of a round the world trip and, all being well, I’ll be doing that at some point in the next year or two once more.

Last time we stayed at the Waikiki Surf hotel which is a few blocks back from the beach and a teensy bit noisy as it’s on quite a major road. I think next time around it’ll probably be one facing the sea: ’tis much nicer to wake to the sound of the surf than the sound of the traffic. Incidently, be careful of the exact name of your hotel as there are untold numbers of Waikiki X hotel, Surf Y and Outrigger Z hotels!

Waikiki is on Oahu along with Honolulu and is probably the most touristy of the islands. Having said that, this means that there are loads of things to do. Don’t miss the Polynesian Centre which is run by the students of the Mormon university on the island. Fans of Hawaii Five-O won’t want to miss the view from Diamond Head. Pearl Harbour still holds the remains of numerous battleships. I’ve an upcoming trips guide which covers all this in more detail.

For something completely different, Maui offers you much more of an ecological location. Less touristy and much more scenic. More of a vacation rental place I think as that gives you more of a chance to wind down after the long flight.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Honolulu – don’t forget that Pearl Harbour is there too!

Honolulu and Oahu in general is seen as pretty much all about mass tourism these days but there’s more to it than that as, of course, that’s where Pearl Harbour is.

Whilst you’ll obviously spend most of your time around the innumerable tourist attractions and sightseeing tours that seem to be just about everywhere in Hawaii you should definitely make time to include a Honolulu tour in your schedule to visit the site of Pearl Harbour and make a point of going out on the launch to see the Arizona memorial which you see in the photo here. One thing that I found a little peculiar was that there were a considerable number of Japanese also making that pilgrimmage although far fewer than you’ll encounter elsewhere in Hawaii.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Why not go to New Orleans?

Geography has contributed to that sense of difference as, whilst it’s a very interesting place to go in it’s own right, it’s a unique place and not in a region that’s particularly touristy. Consequently, you’ll find that the the New Orleans tourist people are able to concentrate on the city and it’s immediate surroundings rather than the nebulous type of tourist promotion that you get in areas such as Florida.

That’s no bad thing on the whole as it’s very much a spot that deserves to be seen but it does have the downside that you need to consider booking accommodation quite a bit in advance. For example, one of the very best times of year to visit is during the annual Mardi Gras which has parades running from January 25th to February 5th but you would need to book your hotel rooms quite a bit in advance to reserve your spot (actually, now is a good time to book for next year).

The colourful nature of Mardi Gras is quite typical of the city. After all, where else do you get funerals accompanied by lively jazz music? That’s a development of the African American roots of the city but there’s an equally strong French presence felt throughout the city and it’s the mixing of such different cultures that provides the rich tapestry that is New Orleans.

Given the concentrated nature of the attractions, the hotels are pretty thick on the ground here. The varied cultures around the city is, for once, reflected in the wide range of hotel styles that you’ll come across, even within the same hotel chain. For example, you can have typically southern Style (with a capital “S”), French quarter or super-modern (with a French twist too) and that’s just a few of the hotels on offer from Marriott.

Perhaps the biggest downside of New Orleans is that the rich history of the city provides just too much too see. It would be easy to spend a couple of weeks here and barely touch the surface.

Photo courtesy of New Orleans Tourism

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Considering a North Carolina home?

If you’re looking for property in North Carolina then you’ll find that the Charlotte area is a hard one to beat.

Some of the Charlotte homes are very much at the luxury end of the market with, of course, prices to match. For those prices though for the money being asked you can live on a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course community which is luxury with a capital “L” with 3/4 acre sites, real stone, real stucco and real wood.

Charlotte real estate is in an area which lends itself very much to luxury housing such as those above and in other areas such as Lake Norman Real Estate where you’ll find a wider range of housing options from waterfront condos through to historic villages as well as the golfing communities which I’ve already spoken about. The Lake Norman area is particularly well served with all the anciliary services that are required by a diverse community including good schooling options, leisuretime activities from fishing to nightlife and so it’s no surprise to learn that it was rated one of the top 100 places in which to live.

Whether you look towards the luxury end of the market with the golfing communities or towards the more regular lifestyle of village life this is one area which won’t disappoint.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.