and her islands
Parenting on the fly
SHERATON MOOREA LAGOON RESORT & SPA
By Will Fifield
CRYSTAL BLUE WATER, powdery white
beaches, lushly forested mountain peaks,
waterfalls that cascade over sheer cliffs into
rain forests. Sound like a tropical paradise?
Now add rivers that cut through dense valleys
of giant ferns, wild fruit trees and beautiful
fragrant flowers. That’s how visitors describe
Tahiti and her sister islands.
Located midway between Los Angeles
and Sydney, the Tahitian Islands, also called
French Polynesia, are 118 isles spread over 5
million square kilometres in the South Pacific.
Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea
and Taha’a, called the Society Islands, draw
the most visitors, but the Tuamotu atolls and
the Marquesas are also popular.
Passage to these islands is less complicated
than you might think. Tahiti’s international
airport is only eight hours from Los Angeles
and 12 hours from New York. Air Tahiti Nui,
Tahiti’s national carrier, offers daily nonstops
from LAX and two flights per week from New
From the moment guests arrive, they’re
enveloped in an experience unique to this corner of the world. From serene beach and lush
garden settings to thatched-roof bungalows
perched above a turquoise lagoon, accommodations are extremely relaxing. With all the
amenities of first-class hotel rooms inside,
over-the-water bungalows also offer the haven
of a private balcony surrounded only by water
and stunning sunrises and sunsets. Breakfast
is often delivered by canoe, and many of the
bungalows feature transparent floors—
windows to tropical marine life.
The incredible beauty of the islands is only
part of the experience. Visitors frequently comment on the warm, friendly vibe of the people.
Today’s population is a mix of Polynesian,
Visitors to Tahiti can enjoy over-the-water
bungalows amid unspoiled natural beauty.
European, Asian and other heritages. Yet there’s
something in the character of Tahitian Islanders
that harkens back to the seafarers from Southeast Asia who originally settled the area around
A.D. 300. These robust adventurers arrived in
double-hulled outrigger sailing canoes. Javelin
throwing was the sport of their gods, surf
riding the sport of kings and their strongmen
competed in outrigger canoe races and stone-lifting contests.
Tahitians are described as incredibly hospitable, friendly and easygoing. The region’s
official languages are French and Tahitian, but
English is spoken in the hotels and retail stores.
If your idea of relaxing involves action, the
islands offer a wide range of activities. With
more than 800 different species of marine life,
Tahiti is a swimming, snorkelling and diving
wonder world. Turtle sanctuaries enable guests
to view sea turtles in their natural, protected
habitat. Many areas offer great waves for all
levels of surfing. If you enjoy hiking, mountains that offer breathtaking views of the ocean
abound. Other activities include jet-ski tours,
Jeep trips through tropical interiors, being
pampered in world-class spas, exotic Tahitian
dancing and fabulous dining. Visitors rave
about secluded beaches where they can treat
themselves to private, romantic candlelit dinners and picnics.
Whether you’re planning a honeymoon,
an anniversary celebration or just a break from
your workaday schedule, Tahiti has something for everyone. C
For more information, visit www.tahiti
DO YOU DREAD FLYING with your children? Air travel as a family is an experience
that actually can be enjoyed—if certain steps
are taken—advises Costco member and family therapist Dr. Erik Fisher. Fisher, author of
The Art of Empowered Parenting: The Manual
You Wish Your Kids Came With (Ovation
Books, 2007), provides the following tips to
help make a trip go smoothly.
■ Prepare your kids for the flight. Children
usually need to be prepared for new events
and experiences, and when they know what to
expect they often adapt to it more quickly.
■ Realize that you’re taking your kids
out of their normal routine. Keep in mind
how they respond in other situations
involving change, and don’t expect them to
■ Note that when you are under stress,
your children are under stress. If you know
that you may feel stress before you take a
flight, prepare yourself adequately to keep
your kids and yourself cool.
■ Don’t expect a friendly passenger to
babysit your kids the entire flight. Ask the
people sitting near you if they mind a child
interacting with them for a few minutes. But
it’s best to put a cap on children’s play time
with other passengers.
■ Make sure you have activities to keep
your kids occupied. Get creative. The plane
is a great place to teach them about colours,
letters and numbers and also to play “I Spy.”
Use in-flight time to interact with your kids.
You have a captive audience.
■ Create an area where children can move.
Some kids cannot sit in their seat for an entire
flight. Give your kids a little space to be kids,
but put limits around it. Keep in mind that
you are setting the standard not only for this
flight, but for all future flights.
■ Remember that your kids are only
young once. See the wisdom in creating positive memories. Find the joy in your children
and bring that energy into your experience,
not just on your flight but every day.
For more tips, visit www.erikfisher.com.