- The deer tracks lead through the forest and down to the beach. There isn’t much difference between the two: forest and beach. It’s called Driftwood Beach, and on this island off the coast of Georgia, where magnificent oak trees in various stages of life dominate the landscape, this is the spot where they come to be eulogized. Hundreds of whole trees lie here on the sand, their petrified roots pointed toward the ocean. A bride and groom climb across one dried-out trunk to pose for wedding photos, their voices breaking the quiet from 200 yards away. Two young ladies sunbathe on a small spread of sand made somewhat private among an entanglement of branches. Up on a small dune, a wide-eyed doe looks over the scene and seems to consider a beach stroll, but then disappears into the forest.
- We can hear them scrambling through the darkness in the jungle of Dominica. They have us surrounded. Outnumbered. “When I shine my light in their eyes,” whispers our guide, Martin Carrierre, “grab them from the rear. Fast.” But my husband, Steve, isn’t quick enough. “What do I do now?” he asks, lifting his left sneaker. Attached to it by a claw is a land crab. Consider this: In 1655, British Admiral William Penn and his men fled at the sound of land crabs, thinking it was Spanish cavalry...
- All around me an endless stream of tame deer rambles near the waterfront of Japan’s Miyajima Island. Like me, they’re looking for something to chew on. For them the targets are paper maps and bread crusts. For me it’s something smoking on the street corner. Grills that are sizzling with oysters. Understand, I adore oysters so much that I once judged an oyster-shucking contest, but seeing them barbecued is new to me...
- Sixty people stare at me. I stand before the father... the bride’s father. His Three-story home on the island of Mauritius is packed. Gold draperies billow from ceiling to floor. The father looks stressed. I tell him what now seems absurd: That my taxi driver assured me it’d be OK to attend this Hindu wedding ceremony the father is paying for. He eyes me. “American?” I nod, mentioning I’m a journalist, here for a story on ... “You like Indian food?” I nod. He smiles. “Come.”
- “That’s not Thailand. I promise. It’s the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic. Far from the beach-view balconies and lounger landscape of Punta Cana stand towering cliffs and jagged rocks carpeted with grass and etched by time. I’m on a dinghy rounding the Samana peninsula on my way to Fronton Beach, where I’m promised the ‘best snorkeling in the DR’ by our guide, Roberto Guzman. He’s right.
- Shot glasses break and sarongs wear out, but a tattoo is forever. At Polynesian resorts such as the Intercontinental Resort and Spa Moorea, you can immortalize your jaunt to the South Pacific with a traditional Tahitian tattoo, etched with combs ARmade from bone, shell Tahiti orshark’steeth. The modern word tattoo comes from the Polynesian word ta (strike) and the Tahitian word tatau (to mark something). It also echoes the “tat tat” sound of the ancient technique, in which a tattoo artist taps the comb’s 20 or so needles onto the skin, inserting black ink into the punctures.
- Check the temple’s dance schedule with your hotel in Ubud. The kecak dance features fire-walking and rhyth- mic chanting by dozens of bare-chested Balinese men. Pay a modest fee at the entrance to help with the temple’s upkeep
- Pinch of salt, dash of sunset salty sea air is the secret ingredient in traditional Greek dishes like grilled octopus and stuffed grape leaves served on this beach. And sea breezes are easy to come by because the restaurants that line Skala Eressou on the southwest coast of the Greek isle of Lésvos don’t just face the beach — they are on top of it.
- It’s summer again. Time for island expats to rattle the constructs of my life. You know, with insights (“The more you know, the less you need”) that make me question everything. It’s my fifth Best Islands to Live On campaign, my fifth year touting the merits of moving to an island (“Make a life, not a living”) and my fifth year declaring how I’ll soon be taking the plunge. Yet here I stand, five years in, still taking island toe dips from the mainland (“Just do it”).
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