In 2004, I completed two Inuit art buying trips to Iqaluit (formerly Frobisher Bay), the capital of Nunavut, Canada's newest territory. For both trips, I flew out of Ottawa on Canadian North airlines. The other airline that services Nunavut is First Air. Only the last half of the jets was allocated for passengers as the entire first half was for cargo. Being so remote, Canadian Arctic Inuit communities pretty well have to have everything shipped up there by plane or by boat during the summers since there are no roads connecting to the rest of Canada or even between each Nunavut community. The Arctic landscape from the air was desolate, hilly and barren. As the plane got closer to Iqaluit, the airport's small terminal building stood out with its bright yellow color. The airport itself is within walking distance to the rest of the town. There are taxis that charge a flat rate of $5 per trip anywhere in Iqaluit. Interestingly enough, these taxis also pick up and drop off other passengers along the way so shared rides with others are common here. There are several hotels in Iqaluit and rooms are generally clean, comfortable but quite basic. Accommodations and dining up north in Nunavut are both expensive. All food items with the exception of local Inuit fare must be flown up from the Canadian south. A carton of milk will cost about $10 in Iqaluit. Most Inuit locals cannot afford to buy overpriced fruits, vegetables and meat from the south. Many local families still rely on Inuit hunters who bring caribou, seal and whale to the table.There is only one high rise building in Iqaluit and it is used mainly for local Nunavut government offices. All other buildings are low rise, including the hospital. The vast majority of the residential housing is similar to cabins that are raised off the ground because of the harsh Canadian Arctic winters. Many look a bit run down with junk and disposed items piled outside. With the fact that there are no lawns or trees possible this far north, the neighborhoods are certainly not the prettiest sights around. But one Inuit art carver told me that his government subsidized rent is only $36 per month. There are some small clusters of nice homes on the outskirts of town. Some houses have husky dogs tied up outside and many have snowmobiles. In fact, the roads, most of them unpaved, are shared by cars, trucks, snowmobiles, all terrain vehicles and people. During the summers, Iqaluit can get quite dusty with all the vehicles turning up the dirt on the roads. As a result, Iqaluit did look a bit nicer during my first trip which was during the winter when the city was in white snow rather than brown dirt. There is new construction going on since with the creation of the Nunavut territory, Iqaluit is growing as more Inuit from other Arctic communities are migrating to the city. One thing that was very noticeable in Iqaluit was the large numbers of children everywhere. Nunavut has a very young population with 56% under the age of 25. I saw many Inuit mothers wearing traditional Inuit parkas with large hoods in the back where their babies are carried. The Inuit youth is one of the Canadian Arctic's untapped resources and its future. They have access to satellite television and dress just like their counterparts in the south. However, at present only about 25% of high school students graduate so a big challenge for the Nunavut government is to encourage the Inuit kids to stay in school. During my second trip, there was darkness for only a few hours each day so it was very strange to be walking around town at 10 pm in the evening with daylight still present. Even at this hour, there were still quite a few young Inuit children playing outside. The locals, Inuit and non-Inuit alike were very friendly. I got the impression of a tight community perhaps because of the isolation of the Canadian Arctic. However, the local Inuit were also very open to visitors and willing to share a bit of their lives. During the daytime, I went up to a few Inuit art carvers who were working outside their houses. Each turned off their power saws when I approached them and seemed happy to talk to me. I met most of them later during the evenings when they showed me their finished works of Inuit art. I had the opportunity to walk about 30 minutes to the outskirts of town past the airport one day. I climbed up a hilltop with a satellite dish facility overlooking an expansive valley. There was nobody else around and it was incredible how silent the area was. It was like a vacuum where I could hear only my own breathing. It was a very peaceful and even spiritual moment there. While sitting on this Arctic hilltop, I was suddenly startled at one point by a noise and it turned out to be the flapping wings of a large raven flying by. There are tours offered by local outfitters to see the northern wildlife and experience some of the Arctic tundra further out. I hope to take one of these tours on a future visit. A trip to Nunavut is not cheap since everything, including flights are so expensive. However, I will definitely return not only for more Inuit art, but also to experience more of the local Inuit culture and the Arctic land.
Where to stay when you are in the World can be tricky as there are almost 20 hotels that make up the Walt Disney World Resort Hotel collection, not to mention the array of accommodation out-of-the-World (i.e., off-property). In this article, Ill show you a sample of each type of accommodation on-property.On-site properties are categorized as Deluxe, Moderate and Value Disney Resorts. The price range for each category is as follows:Deluxe Resorts $205 to $780Moderate Resorts Rates $139 to $215Value Resorts Rates $79 to $137Deluxe ResortsNeedless to say, hotels in the Deluxe category are for those with deep pockets who want to experience the ultimate in Disney luxury and style. The hotels in this category include the Animal Kingdom Lodge, BoardWalk Inn, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, Yacht Club and Beach Club, and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. Deluxe resorts offer:- elaborately themed pools with waterslides,- world class restaurants,- room service,- valet parking,- whirlpools,- babysitting,- bell services,- concierge, and- fitness center/spa.If you enjoy the lush setting of tropical South Pacific, youll love the Disney's Polynesian Resort. On this resort, seven villages along palm-lined pathways, a white-sand beach, thatched roofs and a nightly Polynesian luau invoke the feel of an island paradise. This resort is part of the Monorail system and is considered part of the Magic Kingdom Resort area because of its proximity to the Magic Kingdom theme park. The 75 species of indigenous vegetation on the resort will stir the plant lover within you.To take a virtual tour of the Disney's Polynesian Resort, visit:http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw/resorts/resortLanding?id=PolynesianResortLandingPageModerate ResortsThere are a total of 4 moderately priced Disney resort, namely, Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter. These resorts have the following amenities:- full-service restaurants,- food courts,- room service,- luggage service,- swimming pools with a slide and hot tub,- on-site recreation, and- bus or boat transportation.Named after the European explorer Francisco de Coronado, the Coronado Springs Resort combines the beauty, fantasy and unique cultural elements of colonial Spain, Mexico and New Mexico. Accommodations come in the form of casitas (little houses), which represent urban centers like Santa Fe or Monterrey. The casitas are nestled amidst plazas, fountains and palm-shaded courtyards.The resort is built around Lake Lago Dorado, with a stepped Mayan pyramid towering over the pool area. The grounds of the casitas are decorated with lovely fountains and gardenia bushes. Besides the casitas, there are also ranchos, which are 2- and 3- story pueblo-style villas representing the rustic charm of rural Spain.A cool feature of the resort is that almost all throughout its compound, you can look across water and see the other areas.To take a virtual tour of the resort, visit:http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw/resorts/resortLanding?id=CoronadoSpringsResortLandingPage&count=2Value ResortsDisney value resorts are for the budget conscious. They include All-Star Movies, All-Star Music, All-Star Sports and Pop Century. Each of these hotels has the following amenities:- food courts,- pizza delivery,- luggage service,- swimming pools, and- bus transportation.The All-Star Sports is playfully themed around sports of course, with sections centered around football, baseball, tennis and basketball. The philosophy behind this resort is bigger is better. You'll find bold and colorful pop art icons such as a 4-story football helmet, giant "tennis ball can" and megaphone-shaped stairwells.The ambiance can get boisterous and fun because lots of sports teams stay at this resort. All-Star Sports is a great way to enjoy all the perks of staying on-property at WDW. You can:- use the excellent Disney bus system,- have purchases made in the parks delivered to your resort,- charge expenses to your room,- enjoy Extra Magic Hour early entrance to one park each day,- count on assured entrance to the theme parks on crowded days, and- enjoy life-guarded pools.You can visit Disney's official website for more information:http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw/resorts/resortLanding?id=AllStarSportsResortLandingPage
Copyright 2006 Karin ManningAre you planning for an ultimate holiday getaway on wheels with your friends or family? Whether you go for hiking, fly-fishing, or simply escaping from your stressful life in the city, traveling on a motor home is an experience worth taking. It is wonderfully fun and exciting knowing that it gives you freedom to explore everything worth discovering on earth with no limits.Now if you are serious with your holiday getaway plan, but youve never owned a motor home, then dont just lose hope. Theres a good solution for that to consider a motor home rental. Motorhome rental is on the increase.Motor home rentals are available anywhere in the United States and the world these days. A lot of motor home rentals companies are in fact out there to give you the right motor home to rent and drive. You can even find these companies online as there are a lot of sites out there on the virtual world that offer services for finding your right choice. Perhaps what it all takes is time and effort.Considering a motor home rental, however, has never been so easy. One main reason for this is the fact that thousands of options are available out there for you to choose from. Another thing is that almost all of the rental companies offering motor home rental services are claiming to have the best service available, creating confusion on the part of the customers. The good news is you can do something to avoid such confusion by determining first what you really want and desire.So before you take a motor home rental to drive, make sure that the vehicle you are considering can answer all of your needs. Think about the space requirement, the amenities and facilities included, or everything that it provides for a comfortable and safe traveling. Also consider the number of people you are taking with you on the trip. Note that there are a lot of motor home types available today and each of these types features a number of things that are unique from the other. Each type even has its own space requirement.Once youve determined your desire and everything related to your needs, try then to test drive the motor home rental you are considering. Test driving is a good way of ensuring that the vehicle you are driving is in good condition, thus capable of taking you where you want to go safely and securely.Then its time to check what it provides for your ultimate living on wheels. See if it offers all the luxury of a comfortable home. Check the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, dining and living area and all the amenities it gives. Make sure that the motor home rental you are considering is capable of giving you the best RVing experience youve never imagined.Finally, know your responsibilities as a renter. Note that you are not the owner of the vehicle and you are just taking it for rent. So take and drive the motor home with much care. This is also needed as you are not the only one traveling on that vehicle. Youve got friends and families in there and you all want to get to your destination in one peace.So next time youre thinking about camping why not try a renting a motorhome instead of committing to a long term financial decision? Youll be glad you did.
Copyright 2006 The Edventures GroupYou've got a favorite photo from your last vacation, right?Mine is of moi in Paris on the Champs Elysee. I'm posed at the edge of boredom. After all, I am an American in Paris, and can't look too exited.Looming large in the photo behind me is the famous Louis Vutton store. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about. Gentlemen, if you don't, you are better off not knowing. This knowledge will cost you.The Louis store is a temple to designer excess, fashioned as a towering classic leather trunk bag. It has a Land of the Giants feel, and, "the little people" with deep pockets enter this palace of style, awed by its scale and grandeur. The French have built it, and people come. And people buy. Thousands of euros per day are spent there even in the face of a declining dollar by style conscious Americans in Paris like moi.But I didn't spend. Instead I had my picture snapped in front of the faux leather facade. Me, the queen of faux, I am standing tall in my digital photo in other people's clothes.You see, nearly everything I wear is lovingly broken in by someone before I buy it. So my favorite photo is me walking a mile on the celebrated French street of stylish dreams in someone else's shoes. Literally. Thrift store or East side NY designer consignment, I've tried them all. But there is more to parlez-vous. I score big in Paris. And I don't even go into the Louis store. My favorite photo chronicles me at an important moment. I am on the verge of the biggest fashion score of my consignment career. Unknowingly, I'm ready to hit the mother load. And those who are spending their euros in the Palace of Vuton have a lesson to learn that I will soon teach on the streets of Paris: cheap can be so chic.Killer style in Paris is not housed on runways or within the grand walls of the fashion giants, but shelved in small consignment stores in the side streets of the City of Lights. And it is style that takes you to scale new fashion heights...or in this case widths.What I bought in Paris is a hat the size of Texas, Black. Le Chapeau Noir of any woman's dreams, the hat that rivals Audrey Hepburns's Ascot straw, designed by Edith Head for My Fair Lady. One of a kind, and one hell of a price. Now, think back to Louis Vuton where my "sistahs" are laying down thousands of dollars to carry a genuine French Louis purse. Me, I am opening my own Vuton knock off bag, a clutch Louis -- direct from Canal Street NYC--spending 30 euros. And it buys someone else's black shiny straw hat. Okay it's bigger than a pizza. But Kate Winslet regally wore a similar the chapeau in the opening scene from Titanic. Why not me?And did I need a hat that dramatic? Absolutement!. I was going to a wedding on the Siene the next day and I would meet the challenge of style suited to a Parisienne yacht wedding at dusk. And I would do it without forking over the equivalent of a mortgage payment. That alone created high drama.As I carried my purchase to the taxi for the ride to the hotel, I had a feeling that the hat had changed everything for me on that trip.My first clue that things were going to be different was simply getting in a taxi.I love to walk in Paris, but my fabulous hat was presenting problems as I carried it along the Rue St. Honore. It was drawing sidelong looks from passersby and getting in the way of pedestrians as I navigated the twisting street, so for time and convenience sake, we took a cab. The hat rode in the front of the taxi while my husband and I shared the back seat. Little did we know that the hat was now in the driver seat for the rest of our stay.Another indicator that the hat was exceeding its purchase value came later that evening. Upon returning to the room from dinner,I scolded my husband for moving the hat to the hotel's window ledge risking the chance that it might fall to the courtyard below. He emphatically denied touching the bargain, thus giving way to the obvious: either the turn down maid had found the hat irresistible as moi and had tried on the chapeau, or the hat had taken it upon itself to travel.The allure of the 30 Euro French chapeau continued. It inspired me.The next evening, I wore the hat with a consigned, strapless cocktail dress, making me feel like some cross between Andy Mc Dowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral and Natasha in Rocky and Bullwinkle. I bought black lace stockings and had the overwhelming urge to don a pair of sleek black sunglasses to top off the effect.So strong was my impression of a Parisian somebody as I stood across from the Louve, that the doorman of the Hotel pleaded with me to return to the lobby. He was trying to hail a cab to take us to the River Siene. The hat was stopping traffic. Horns blared and French curses filled the air. Even the most jaded Parisian seemed taken with the sight. A tour bus group of Japanese visitors nearby me, could not resist pointing their cameras," Le Chapeau Noir" became the final stop on the tour. I found myself instinctively taking on the pose in the Louis photo, look bored. Look stylish.The hat had was now in charge.The rest of the evening was memorable for the Chapeau Noir. It was the hit of the yacht wedding, challenging the bride's own tasteful beige tulle hat, and mocking it with its striking presence. And did women love it. The hat was passed around from guest to guest, photographed to the point of distraction. Women who did not smoke cigarettes lit up when wearing the hat. I suspected that my theory about the chambermaid was true. The hat was irresistible. It had to be experiencd. It danced the night away on the heads of young and old and finished the evening at the Bastille where it was worn briefly by a charming French waiter who served up the last bottle of champagne at five in the morning in an all night caf.It was the last time I saw my treasure.As much as I loved my chapeau noir, I felt it belonged to the world. And I also knew that I was boarding a flight back to the US in a few hours and barely able to get myself on the plane after an all nighter in Paris, I entrusted my hat to a friend who lived in NY City. She promised to bring the hat home at any cost. Yet, my other theory would hold true. The hat, set free from the consignment store, had its own plan...it wanted to travel.Since then, the Chapeau noir has journeyed through Switzerland, Italy, Britain and France. It graces the heads of lovely women, friends and friends of friends who are taken by its chic, cheap charm. It has smoked endless cigarettes, drunk countless glasses of wine and has, I suspect, even witnessed trysts.It is lent, borrowed and returned, over and over. And its power to make drama wherever it goes makes it killer style. It is the subject of emails that have flown back and forth from the USA to the UK to Paris.And like a child that has a special place in your heart, that you've set free, it is missed. You want it to come home.In short, fini. I want my chapeau back.So sometime soon I will board a plane to Paris and bring my summer treasure home. Adding it to my collection of clothes that other people wear, I will use free air miles and stay with friends when I collect it, keeping the cost of owning the cheap 30 Euro hat from breaking me as I claim it for myself again. And this time, I plan to return to the Louis Vuton store on the Champs Elysee and take a new travel photo. Moi, in my beloved chapeau noir, not outside the temple of style, but inside the extravagant interior. I will pose for this photo beside the Louis Vutton bags wearing a million dollar smile and a 30 Euro hat, that, if it could talk, would render it priceless.Quelle photo...An American in Paris, not looking bored, but looking tres stylish in a chapeau noir that travels, taking all who wear it to fabulous heights of glamour.
If you are starting to feel like an overworked dog who hasn't even had the time of day to even brush her hair, then a great weekend getaway is exactly what your mind and body is desperately in need of. A spectacular weekend getaway need not cost you a whole year's salary. It is highly important that you do a little bit of research on great weekend getaway spots that are both hassle-free and not so expensive so that come by Monday you will be in tip top shape for the office once you have been fully refreshed and rejuvenated from your weekend getaway. Here are some prime weekend getaways spots that you might want to consider going to.1. Arizona Hot SpringsThese sizzling hot springs give off a relaxed and friendly atmosphere to those who just want to soak tired muscles in the extremely relaxing thermal waters that the incredible hot springs in this town has to offer. If you want to take full advantage of this weekend getaway. The relaxing waters will surely get you in the mood for some more weekend getaway fun. Their relaxation services include- 20-minute bath- Turbo shower- Hot-pack treatments- Swedish massageAfter having that luxurious afternoon spa treatments you can then head off to the other places in this quaint city wherein you can enjoy delicious, home-style lunches as well as take a walk downtown to enjoy the great sights, from the Victorian architecture to the various antique shops and worldly museums. And if you're a heading off to Hot Springs, Arizona in a car or if you have rented one for the trip, here's a great trip for your sight-seeing pleasure: take a spin around the Hot Springs Mountain Drive or the West Mountain Drive wherein you will surely find the views from these two mountain summits extremely extraordinary.2. San Antonio, TexasFor those hippie chicks or those who want to channel their inner flower child, San Antonio, Texas provides a great old-world boohoo vibe that is both extremely charming and relaxing for a great weekend getaway. From San Antonio's world-class hotels to the blossoming art scene, even up to the world famous relics of the Alamo, this rustic town offers a lot of great things to do if ever you decide on spending your weekend getaway here. You might want to stay at the trendy and chic new Watermark Hotel and Spa which is housed in a converted saddlery after you've got yourself settle in, you can then venture off to the King William Historic District and just wander around San Antonio's vintage boutiques, various art galleries and charming little cafes.The San Antonio night scene is something to take notice of as well since by night time, the whole city turn into a bustling place for club hopping and drinks out with friends - a definite must to cap off your weekend getaway in San Antonio, Texas. A favorite neighborhood night spot here is the Azuca which offers great nuevo lationo cuisine as well as sexy salsa dancing - great for couples taking on the weekend getaway or those who just want to have fun and meet new people. A cool insider tip from the burgeoning vintage shops in San Antonio, try to find time for a trip to the Jive Vintage and Art where shopaholics can find a treasure trove of kitschy as well as cool vintage pieces.3. Charleston, South CarolinaIf you are really trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, you can head off down south to Charleston, South Carolina for this city's simple and languid charm. Known for being the epitome of the Old South, this quiet Southern town has beautiful magnolia-lined boulevards that will surely charm your tired body and mind. You can feast on the many low-country cuisine that this beautiful Southern town has to offer, shrimp to grits. You really must try their home-style specialties.The slow and lingering pace of this town will surely be a welcome break from your monotonous and highly jarring city life. The stunning antebellum mansions as well as the blossoming gardens down by the waterfront will surely calm your senses. And for the shopper in you, you can then peruse to the outdoor bazaar located on Market Street and you can also make your way toward the vintage stores located on King Street. A great tip for those who are off for a weekend getaway at Charleston, South Carolina you can also try out the jazz clubs at the East Bay Street.