Let’s head to Maui! It’s a chilled out and mellow destination. Be it the perfect weather, its friendly locals, the gentle music of the ukulele and the generally easy going lifestyle…the place is a haven by all standards. Standing on the white sandy shores under the dark shade of a palm tree, gazing into the deep blue waters of the Pacific, the strong sea breeze awakening and calming the senses all at once – it invokes the primal desire to simply uproot and relocate here permanently! Turn around and it’s the massive mountains that form a majestic backdrop, complete with volcanos and forests. Walk under a dripping canopy of forest along a mountain pool, swim offshore along beaches that seem to stretch on for miles, marvel at the vastness and quiet of a volcanic crater, and simply savour life. Isn’t this how a home or a vacation should be envisioned – perfection.
Spin the globe and come to rest at Crete, from the middle of the Atlantic to the middle of the Mediterranean. It’s the same island living, but with vastly different history, culture, food, music and obviously language. This is the first reason to visit Crete. The history of Crete goes back to the 7th millennium BC, witnessing the ancient Minoan civilization, the ancient Greeceinfluenced organization of city states, then successively became part of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Venetian Republic, the Ottoman Empire, autonomous state, and now to the modern state of Greece. Therein lays the second and more important reason to visit this cradle of civilisations.
Speaking of history, Penang, the once seat of government for the Straits Settlements under the British East India Company and British Raj eventually ceding the title to Singapore, is a less travelled gem hiding within its streets a glimpse of the colonial days of the Federation of Malaya. The historic George Town on the island of Penang is best viewed on foot. Old shophouses are being converted into hipster cafés, stylish restaurants, funky bars and retail outlets and, more substantive buildings into boutique hotels and guesthouses. While it’s very much a work in progress, Penang now offers a window into its past alongside the exuberance of contemporary Asian style. As one can guess, the theme of this edition is island getaways! Happy Reading!
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