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NEWS FROM THE TRAIN

A TRAVEL BLOG

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Oceania

Making Moana & the Tourism Impact in 2017

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[Image Credit: Melissa Hillier / Flickr]

Disney has always led the way when it comes to animation, so it’s no surprise that it produced groundbreaking work with Moana. Moana, the animated Disney film that opened in theaters Thanksgiving weekend 2016, tells the story of a young girl living in the South Pacific islands who longs for a life of adventure.

Much of the movie centers around water, an element that is notoriously difficult to produce realistically in animation. That is because water has an infinite number of strands and each one has its own mass that affects the way the others behave. To add to the challenge of the film’s water animation sequences, water itself is a character in the movie Moana. This required 80 percent effect shots in the movie.

The main character and a demigod named Maui spend a lot of time together in a boat on the ocean. The animation team created a mathematical algorithm that animates an entire ocean surface. To achieve this, they programmed the software program to render an arrangement of rolling swells and lapping waves that movie-goers can see up close as well as at a distance. The intricate animation of this movie also required creating an algorithm to define the physics of a moving boat and moods for the ocean, among other things.

Accuracy Important to the Producers of Moana

Because most animated movies take place in a fictional world, the producers don’t normally concern themselves with location authenticity or period accuracy. That was not the case with Moana as both concerns were priorities for the producers and directors. In fact, several crew members and two directors visited the islands of the South Pacific several times to study the people and culture. Although the islands in the movie aren’t reflective of real places, they are based on real times and areas. The crew did replicate boats, houses, costumes, and tattoos for the imaginary island of Motunui.

Movie Having a Positive Impact on the Tourism Industry

The 15-year-old actress who voices the Moana character in the movie, Aulii Cravalho from the Hawaiian island of Oahu, feels that it upholds Native Hawaiian culture. This is despite the fact the film takes place in Polynesia on a fictional island. She appreciates that the producers of Moana completed five years of research on the South Pacific islands before releasing the movie.

Thanks to Disney’s latest animation masterpiece and a partnership with Hawaiian Airlines, tourism to the American island has peaked. This is also true for visits to Bora Bora, Fiji, Moorea, New Zealand, Samoa, Tahiti, and Tetiaroa. The film’s producers struck a deal with Hawaiian Airlines for three of the airline’s Airbus A330 jets to advertise Moana on both international and domestic flights. It may be an animated film aimed at children, but Moana has produced real-world results by opening people’s eyes to the opportunity to visit a real island paradise in their own country.

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Article Source – theroxyonsunset.com

Oceania

3 Cities You Cannot Miss On a Trip to Australia

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If you are heading to Australia this year then you will probably already have figured out that making an itinerary isn’t the easiest thing in the World. This is not because it is tough to find things to do, on the contrary, it is because there is simply so much damn stuff to do in this incredible country. Having visited Oz on more than one occasion I can honestly say that my favorite part of visiting the country is hitting its many cities, renting a car from Budget and driving through the cities, down the coast and to another one. Depending on which coast you are visiting this year, here are my favorite cities in Oz that I think you simply have to factor in to your vacation.

Sydney

King of the pile, Sydney is not only Australia’s most famous city with iconic landmarks such as the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, both set in that incredible harbour. Sydney also offers tourists beautiful beaches, bouncing nightlife and a real California-style feel to it with trendy streets, great food and a real tapestry of different cultures making up the social landscape.

Melbourne

Melbourne is regularly voted by magazines around the World as the most lively and ‘happening’ of all the Australian cities and it is difficult to disagree with them, Melbourne is easily the food capital of Australia, here you will find fine dining, street food and plenty of bustling markets selling almost every type of fresh food under the sun. The sport scene is alive in Melbourne with regular cricket, Aussie Rules, rugby and soccer games going on and the sports stadiums double up as music venues of an evening attracting some of the biggest entertainment acts on the planet. Sydney is a perfect for the outdoorsy types but if you prefer to roam around bars, restaurants, museums and entertainment venues then cool-melbourne is for you.

Perth

Perth is one of Australia’s most isolated cities, it sits on the west coast and is over 1,000 miles away from its nearest city. This isolation is doubtless what gives the city its laid back attitude and the locals here mimic the same mood. Here in Perth you will find beautiful parks, fresh and relaxing beaches that contrast starkly with the bustling tourist beaches of Sydney as well as beautiful landscapes across the water as the Swan River meets the sea. Perth appeals much more to nature lovers and there is plenty to do in the great outdoors here from walking tours to camping out under the stars.

These are just my favorite cities and if you are looking for cities where you can spend a great bit of time inside them and exploring them, then these are my recommendations. If you are looking as a city as a jumping off point for something else then other considerations should be places like Cairns and Hobart or even Canberra which is a massively underrated city. Wherever you choose in Australia, you can guarantee that you will have an awesome time down under.

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Article Source – theroxyonsunset.com

Middle East

What To See And Do In Jordan

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If you have been trying to think of the best place to go for a holiday, something that mixes adventure and relaxation with a bit of history then look no further than Jordan. Jordan is placed right in the heart of the Middle East, but unlike some of its neighbours it’s retained a peaceful, welcoming and safe atmosphere and is a hot tourist country for those looking to come enjoy Middle Eastern hospitality alongside some truly awe inspiring sights. Read ahead to learn why you should visit Jordan now!

Desert Tours – Wadi Rum

Undoubtedly, Jordan has some of the most beautiful deserts around, and Wadi Rum is one of the best. Vast stretches of open sand and sky, dotted with some of the most impressive rock formations make Wadi Rum, in the south of Jordan one of the most visited areas of the country. Add to it the fact this area has been inhabited since neolithic times, with some rock paintings and carvings in the cliff faces to showcase this fact and you have one of the best experiences in Jordan. Join a tour out here to Bedouin camps and enjoy a night under the vast sky of stars and authentic entertainment and food by your Bedouin hosts.

Petra, The Treasury and Other Desert Treats

Petra is another of the most visited locations in Jordan, north of Wadi Rum, but south of Amman. This beautiful town and the historic Treasury – the famed carving in the sheer rock face – are two absolute must sees in Jordan and will leave you breathless at their beauty and make your imagination run wild.

The region around Ajlun, and the Desert Castles is equally breathtaking, including a castle built by Saladin as well as nature reserves and other historic archaeological sites of interest.

The Dead Sea and Biblical History

Regardless of your faith or your belief in the history surrounding the Bible and Jesus, the Dead Sea and its affiliated locations of Jesus’ Baptism at Bethany beyond the Jordan (modern day Bethabara) is a location near to Amman which is the believed site of Jesus’ Baptism by John the Baptist. A beautiful setting of a rich pool of water, and lovely desert surroundings, this makes a lovely place to visit, regardless of your faith.

So there you have a couple of great reasons to visit Jordan and take advantage of this historic and beautiful Middle Eastern country. Pack your bags and book that ticket – Jordan awaits!

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Article Source – theroxyonsunset.com

Central America

What To Pack For A Week In The Bahamas

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So you have decided to jet off to the island nation of the Bahamas for a week or two and you’re about to start packing your bag in preparation for the best week you’ve had in as long as you can remember. The sun, sea and sand await your arrival and you can’t wait to kick back on the beach with a cocktail or two and really soak it all up, but what should you pack? Read ahead to find out the top things to remember to include in your bag for the best trip possible.

Sunscreen, Aloe Vera, After Sun Moisturiser

It sounds obvious to pack sunscreen, but the truth of the matter is that in many countries where the sun is out almost constantly they really take advantage of those people who forget their sunscreen and they charge out the nose for it. Save yourself potentially $5-$10 per bottle and pack it ahead of time. The same goes for things like Aloe Vera cream or Nivea After Sun – it can be fairly expensive outside of your home country, so it’s best to take some along with you. After Sun cream will double as a moisturiser, making sure your skin stays soft and supple after some sun exposure so it doesn’t tighten up and get painful, dry or itchy – a true investment.

A Scarf or Shawl or a Cardigan/Sweater

Depending when you go, evenings can actually be a bit chilly, especially if you’re going to be doing things like going for walks on the beach or having cocktails on the seafront. Those ocean breezes can really cool down by night, so if you’re travelling between December and April, it can be a good idea to take a scarf, shawl, cardigan or sweater. Both men and women will benefit from this, and it’s a doubly good idea to make sure whatever you bring will be usable for both casual and fine dining in case you could be doing either.

Extra Necessities

It depends on the traveller and what you like to do, but bringing flip flops/sandals is a given but what about hiking boots or good walking shoes? Are you planning to do a lot of walking or are you more of a beach bum? It’s a good idea to think seriously about things you want to do and pack accordingly. If you like snorkelling it can be a good idea to purchase this in your home country before setting off – it’s likely you could rent snorkels and masks in the Bahamas, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Likewise make sure you take at least one pair of cheap flip flops you can slip in and out of quickly on the beach.

So there you have a couple of great suggestions for the ideal things to pack for a holiday in the Bahamas. Make sure to think of what you like to do and what you plan to do and pack accordingly so you don’t find yourself caught out and caught short so you truly enjoy every moment of your beachy holiday!

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Article Source – theroxyonsunset.com

Central America

Must Sees And Do’s In The Dominican Republic

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If you’re heading to the Dominican Republic for your next holiday, you might be wondering what there is to see and do that you shouldn’t miss while there. Depending what you like to do and your various interests, the Dominican Republic is perfect for both history buffs as well as beach bums, budget travellers and luxury seekers. Read ahead to find out more about the Dominican Republic and the things you should make time for when you’re on the island.

La Aurora Cigar Factory

Cigars have long been a tradition of the Caribbean, from the Dominican Republic to Jamaica and especially Cuba so it stands to reason that the cigar factory in the Dominican Republic at Santiago de los Caballeros is one of the best in the region. Come and experience the history first hand of one of the Dominican Republic’s best cigar brands and learn about all the work that has gone into making it the well known brand it is today. Purchase a sample for yourself to take home from the gift shop and enjoy a bit of the Dominican Republic anytime you want.

Alcazar de Colon

This building, now museum, is the oldest Viceregal building in the Americas and is a shining example of historical Spanish colonial architecture in Santo Domingo. While it’s only around half the size it originally was, it’s still an impressive building nonetheless with numerous rooms, gardens and a colourful history, having been build by Diego Colon, the son of Christopher Columbus.

The Ruins of Monasterio de San Francisco

A keen piece of heritage in the Santo Domingo colonial zone this former monastery was built by the Franciscan monks in or around 1508 and was the first monastery built in the new world following initial colonisation. A few hundred years later, the monastery was used as a mental asylum but when it was damaged by a hurricane it ceased its use for that purpose. These days it’s seen as one of the most historic sites in the city and is used for various events. It’s also protected under law.

Beaches, Seas and Sands

The Dominican Republic is, of course, home to numerous beaches and therefore also home to numerous outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, swimming, water sports, fishing, and just plain old sun bathing. Day trips can be arranged to snorkelling and diving sites from most hotels on the island, and they’re well worth it. Some of the coral gardens and sea life in the area are stunning in their beauty and are definite must sees.

So there you have a couple of great suggestions for things you have to see and do on the island of Dominican Republic. Remember that the national language is Spanish, so you make want to use a platform like Zorro Spanish to improve you Spanish before you go. With so many things of historic significance, paired with water activities and a generally beautiful position in the Caribbean, this makes the Dominican Republic the ideal place for any sunny holiday.

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Article Source – theroxyonsunset.com

Middle East

Dubai Travel Guide

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If you’re thinking about heading off to somewhere a bit unusual and different to your usual vacation destination, but you aren’t quite sure where to go, why not check out the gateway to the east in the form of the unique desert city of Dubai. Dubai is one of the hugest hubs of travel in the world, acting almost literally as the gateway between east and west – with London being only around 4 hours west and India/Bangkok being about 4-5 the other way. Dubai in itself though is a hub of activity and makes for an interesting holiday alone!

Getting There, Getting Around

Regardless of how you’re getting here, chances are you will be flying into the Dubai International Airport, although you can also enter via the neighbouring Sharjah Airport in Abu Dhabi. Dubai is well-serviced by a modern metro system which can be one of the most affordable ways to get around the city. There is also an extensive local bus network, trams and also a monorail, but despite all this Dubai remains a primarily car based city, and in truth you will undoubtedly see some of the worlds best and most beautiful high end cars here due in part to the money that can be and is made in Dubai. Buses are available if you’re interested in visiting the other areas of the UAE such as Oman and Abu Dhabi.

What To See/Do

It can be easy to think of Dubai as just a huge mix of glass and sand, but nothing could be further from the truth. It has some amazing high end shopping and dining options along with the Burj Khalifa building – the highest in the world. Hotels and shopping adorn the crown of Dubai, and the observation deck at the Burj Khalifa needs to be seen to be believed. Check out the network of souk markets strewn throughout the city which mix modern shopping with old world traditional markets, and visit the district of Old Dubai to see how the city looked before it was injected with the money it has today. Save up your pennies and spend a night being pampered in luxury at the Burj al-Arab hotel, the only (although self-proclaimed) seven star hotel in the world. You can stay for a night or just come for afternoon tea or a meal, either way, do not miss this piece of pure luxury in the lap of the Middle East.

Things to See Around Dubai

You can book a few different tours around the city itself, perhaps a boat trip along the Dubai Water Canal or take a stroll down to the Dubai Marina, both fantastic opportunities to get out and around Dubai in a different way. There’s also Ski Dubai – an indoor ski slope for those who miss the white stuff while they’re in Dubai as well as a number of great sand safaris and even Wild Wadi – a great adventure park for the whole family.

Likewise there is always the beach as well as the exclusive Palm Islands – the artificial island that were created off the coast of Dubai in the shape of palm trees where many of the worlds rich and famous have homes or property. There is ultimately something to do for everyone in Dubai.

So there you have a quick run down of everything there is to see and do in Dubai, proving that it’s not just a city of sand and skyscrapers. Come on over to Dubai, even if it’s just a stop off on your way to somewhere else. You will be left in awe at Dubai, and plan to come back again. We promise!

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Article Source – theroxyonsunset.com

Africa

Cape Town To Cairo – Planning It

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So you’ve travelled extensively and you’re looking for your next great adventure, but aren’t sure where or what to do. If Africa is calling, and surely it will at some point, you should consider maximising the opportunity and taking a road trip throughout the continent, perhaps from Cape Town to Cairo, which would be the most obvious choice. That being said, despite the fact that it’s been done before, it isn’t for the faint hearted. This route is around 12,000 kilometres long and includes driving on some rather… interesting roads. Depending on the route you take as well, it could take you through some very unusual and perhaps even not-so-safe countries, so it’s important to plan well in advance.

Which Route?

Depending on your adventurous nature, the route you take is up to you. There are three main possibilities, although one of these is not advisable in the present day due to serious security issues experienced in some of the countries. The routes are as follows:

Route One: Cape Town – Namibia – Angola – Republic of Congo – Gabon – Equatorial Guinea – Cameroon – Nigeria – Niger – Algeria – Libya – Egypt.

Route Two: Cape Town – Botswana – Zimbabwe – Zambia – Tanzania – Uganda – South Sudan – Sudan – Egypt.

Route Three: Same as Route Two, but substitute South Sudan for Kenya and Ethiopia.

Some of the countries mentioned above have issues these days – Libya, South Sudan and to an extent Nigeria all suffer from issues surrounding terrorism and general aggression towards westerners, so it could be advisable to swap these for other countries that are more friendly.

How To Pull This Off

Firstly you’re going to need a really reliable vehicle, preferably a four wheel drive that is good for off-roading as well as in possession of four good tires. It’s advisable to also have some basic car repair skills under your belt too as well as an extra tire to change in case you get a flat (and that’s a very real possibility on some of the roads you could encounter). The second thing to think of is whether you will camp on the roadsides or if you will stay in hotels/hostels along the way. In some places it’s possible to camp, but it can be dangerous so be prepared to drive off-road a length to find a spot that will be unlikely to be seen from the road.

Also make sure that you stock food and water as well as extra blankets, clothes and the like in your car or van in case you get stuck roadside with more than one flat. It could be awhile waiting for someone to come by that can help out – even if you phone roadside assistance!

How Long Does This Take?

It depends entirely on how long you want it to take. Driving straight through it can take between a week and ten days, which allows for quick restful naps, but if you want to stop off wherever and whenever you want with time allowed to explore and just sit and appreciate where you are, a more reasonable kind of time frame would be 2.5-3 weeks, if not longer.

What Is There To See And Do On The Way?

In a word, tons. Between stopping off at beautiful, picturesque points such as along the Nile in Uganda to see some stunning waterfalls and rapids as well as stopping off at view points, museums, small dusty roadside villages where people are welcoming and life seems to go by at a snails pace, you won’t be disappointed. You can even stop off to go on a professionally led game drive safari, so as you can see, there is almost an endless number of things to see and do, it just depends what your interests are and what you’re looking to experience.

So there you have a couple of great ways, including routes to use to plan your trip from the very southern tip of Africa all the way up to the north. With such a diverse and beautiful continent it will be easy to find things to see and do along the way for both you and anyone you’re travelling with. Stay safe and have fun on this almost once in a lifetime trip!

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Article Source – theroxyonsunset.com

South America

A Weekend In Rio De Janeiro

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If you have been giving some thought to heading to South America for your next holiday, you might be wondering where you should stay for at least a weekend and what there is to see or do. Rio de Janeiro is one of the hottest cities to spend a couple of days in, and is well connected by both road and air to allow for easy movement to and from other regions not just in Brazil but also throughout the continent and abroad. Read ahead for a short guide about spending a weekend in this fabulous city.

Copa Cabana, Ipanema and the Beaches

Without doubt, the beaches of Copa Cabana and Ipanema are two of the most famous beaches in the world and this is confirmed by the fact that they are absolutely covered in both locals and tourists enjoying the hot sunshine and luscious waters. For more relaxed, lesser visited beaches, try out the beaches of Barra de Tijuca to the west or Prainha. Most of the beaches have great amenities including refreshing iced teas served from barrels on the sand, and many have beach bars or restaurants, so you could literally spend every moment seaside.

Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Trails

The hills around Rio are understandably ideal for hiking, trekking and general walking. With some truly commanding views around the city and over the beaches, some of these trails take you up to heights with truly awe-inspiring views that allow for great photo opportunities. Perfect for those who like to get a bit of exercise and activity in their holidays as well as relaxation. If you want to see the top of Sugarloaf and can’t make the trails, never fear – there is a frequent cable car that allows you to experience the views without having to dedicate yourself to the trail.

Christ the Redeemer

Perhaps the symbol of Rio after the famed Copa Cabana, Christ the Redeemer stands over the city as its eternal protector and eternal tourist magnet. Like many of the other hills around the city, you will find views from the top to be awe inspiring and well worth the climb. Make sure to get a great selfie with this well known statue – a true mark of Brazil’s faith and background of religious culture.

So there you have a couple of suggested sights to see on any weekend in Rio. As one of Brazil’s most well-connected cities around, you can get in and out with ease from almost anywhere and it’s well placed for trips to other countries, including places in Africa as well as North America. The sky is almost literally the limit in Rio, so come see for yourself!

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Article Source – theroxyonsunset.com

Oceania

8 Reasons To Visit French Polynesia

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French Polynesia, a collection of over a hundred beautiful, luscious and paradise-like islands strewn across a region of the Pacific Ocean is everyone’s dream for the ideal holiday away. While some of the islands in the area conjure up images of hotels featuring four figure room bills or dinners beach side with three figure costs, it remains nonetheless a region of dreams and heavenly thoughts and actually is accessible for those of us who don’t have bottomless wallets! Read ahead for 8 reasons why you need to visit French Polynesia!

The Diving

French Polynesia, hands down has some of the world’s best diving opportunities. They almost seem endless and can actually include things like swimming with sharks, turtles and more. If diving isn’t your thing, snorkelling is just as popular with some of Earth’s most beautiful and colourful coral gardens. Do not miss these, regardless of how you prefer to see them.

The Islands

The Islands of French Polynesia include Marquesas and Tahiti – two well known islands that attract the rich and famous from far and wide for holidays away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday grind. Both are paradisical, allowing true relaxation either on their snow white sands or in one of their many lusciously appointed spas. Other islands in the chain are equally huge draws for those looking for sandy, sunny solitude, so pick the best for your holiday!

The Hotels

Hands down, the hotels throughout the region can vary in style, size, price and luxury. Some of the most luxurious and luscious hotels include bungalows set over the water, so you can listen to the surf gently under you at night. Other hotels can be set amid jungles, just metres away from the beach, and many are between 3 and 5 stars with spas on site to unwind after a day of pure bliss.

The Prestige

The prestige alone is worth coming to French Polynesia. Imagine telling your friends that you went to Tahiti for your holiday. That’s some true prestige right there, given Tahiti’s reputation for being a playground for A list actors to musicians and everyone in between.

The Shops

Shopping in French Polynesia can be one of the best experiences. Here you can pick up some of the luscious jewellery made from local pearls and other minerals for a fraction of the cost they would be elsewhere. What better way to show off your recent trip – or your love for someone – than bringing them back some Tahitian pearls?

The Wildlife

The wildlife in the area is second to none, with some of its own unique species of birds and fish being found only in this region. This makes French Polynesia a wildlife lover’s dream come true. Birdwatching in the morning is a common past time here when their morning song wakes you gently to the terraces of your luxurious hotel.

The Adventure

French Polynesia, being made up of hundreds of islands is perfect for those who are interested in getting out and exploring either by plane or boat. A various number of activities are available from wild life safaris, diving trips, snorkelling day trips and more to take advantage of everything the area has to offer. It’s non stop activity – or at least, the option to have non stop activity.

The Weather

Finally, the weather is one of the main reasons to come to French Polynesia! With glistening seas, great surf, turquoise waters, light breezes and almost endless sun, what could be better? For island lovers and sun worshippers, French Polynesia is the ultimate in perfect getaways. Come see for yourself!

So there you have eight great reasons why you need to come check out the region of French Polynesia. This isn’t your typical getaway either, and with most travellers opting for the more tourist tracks, French Polynesia still has its adventurous and lesser known regions just waiting to be found! Pack your bags – these islands won’t visit themselves!

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Article Source – theroxyonsunset.com