Tropical Beaches

Poda Island, Thailand

featuring Alex Bugnon's "Silverfinger"

Thailand’s Krabi province is known for its great natural beauty and nicknamed “The Emerald of the Andaman,” but it’s most relaxing spot may be Poda Island.

Located about five miles from the Thai mainland and the popular tourist resort town of Ao Nang, Poda Island (or Koh Poda in Thai) is a filled with lush forests and surrounded by white sand beaches.

The most distinctive feature of the small island is the improbable limestone formation protruding from the nearby sea, featured in this video. Another interesting sight on Koh Poda, and throughout the rest of Thailand, is the abundance of traditional longtail boats, which Thai locals have been driving for generations.

Alex Bugnon is a Swiss jazz pianist and composer. After serving as a session musician for years, Bugnon made his solo debut in 1989 and has since released several jazz/R&B albums and garnered two Soul Train Music Awards.

Links

Tourism Authority of Thailand
Krabi.com: Travel Information on Krabi Province
Alex Bugnon Official Site


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Zanzibar Sunrise

featuring Acoustic Alchemy's "Passionelle"

Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous archipelago just off the mainland of Tanzania, is known for its relaxed lifestyle, fabulous beaches and reefs, unique animals, and it’s largest export, fine spices.

This tranquil scene brings you a sunrise from a quintessential Zanzibar beach. The palm-thatched umbrella on the beach demonstrates one of the many uses for the abundant coconut palm trees. Locals use the trees to their fullest potential, extracting building resources, foods, and drinks from them.

Acoustic Alchemy is a smooth jazz group from London. Originally a duo of acoustic guitarists, the band has expanded and renewed itself over the decades to accommodate artistic choices and lineup changes. Now a group that mixes genres, styles, and influences, Acoustic Alchemy is a favorite adult contemporary and new age act.

Links

Historical and Travel Information from Zanzibar.NET
Zanzibar Commission for Tourism
Tanzania Tourist Board: Zanzibar
Acoustic Alchemy Official Site


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Umhlanga Beach, South Africa

Complete episode featuring Acoustic Alchemy, Incognito, and Bobby Lyle

For eScapes’ 1000th produced episode, we take you to Umhlanga Beach, one of the most popular beaches on the South African coast. Here, a beautiful beach lends itself to fishing, swimming, and surfing, while nearby hotels, restaurants, and attractions offer even more reasons to visit. Whale- and dolphin-watching excursions often launch from Uhmlanga while freighters pass in the distance.

The beach’s lighthouse, featured in this video, was built in 1954 and has become an icon of the beach and harbor. Administered by a nearby hotel, the lighthouse has never had a traditional lighthouse keeper.

The word “Umhlanga” means “Place of Reeds” in the Zulu language. The sound of the “hl” is similar to the Welsh “ll” syllable– both difficult for non-natives to pronounce correctly. A common English pronunciation, though not technically accurate, is “Umshlanga,” demonstrated in this video by your host, Jessica Holiday.

To celebrate the 1000th episode accomplishment, this scene is presented below in its entirety and features three songs from Acoustic Alchemy, Incognito, and Bobby Lyle.

Links

Umhlanga Tourism Information Center
Lighthouses of South Africa: Umhlanga Rocks
South Africa Official Tourism Site


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Bondi Beach, Australia

featuring Peter White's "Always, Forever"

Australia’s most famous beach, Bondi, is located just 7 kilometers (about 4 miles) from downtown Sydney in the state of New South Wales. A public beach since the last 19th century, Bondi’s kilometer-long shoreline offers opportunities for surfing, swimming, and simple relaxation on the beach.

The southern end of the beach, with more hazardous waves, is reserved for surfboarding and is also the home of the Bondi Iceberg Swimming Club and its famous tidal swimming pools.

Peter White is an English smooth jazz guitarist who played with several artists, including a 20-year span as accompanist and writer for Al Stewart, before launching a solo career in 1990. With several Top 10 jazz albums under his belt, White is a frequent winner of the National Smooth Jazz Award for Best Guitarist.

Links

Destination NSW
Tourism Australia
Waverley Council: Bondi Beach
Peter White Official Site


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Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro

featuring Ken Navarro's "Island Life"

Rio de Janeiro, the most visited city in the Southern Hemisphere, is known for its vibrant culture, diverse population, and festive atmosphere. Even away from the nightclubs and the excitement of Carnival, a good time is never hard to find, thanks to the miles of beaches provided by Rio’s natural setting.

This eScapes video highlights Ipanema Beach, one of Rio’s most famous beaches, where progressive beach fashions and fads have been visibly set (and broken) since the 1960s. Ipanema Beach sits just a bit south of the entrance to Guanabara Bay, which was mistakenly identified as a river mouth by Portuguese explorers when they named the area Rio de Janeiro, or “River of January.”

Ken Navarro is an award-winning contemporary jazz guitarist. His impressive discography of nineteen top charting albums showcases his appeal to a wide range of listeners with inspiring compositions and superb guitar performances.

Links

Official Guide to Rio de Janeiro
Insider’s Guide to Rio: Ipanema Beach
Wikipedia article: Ipanema
Ken Navarro Official Site


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Key West, Florida (Ocean Sunset)

featuring Paul Hardcastle's "Marimba"

Perhaps best known for its location at the southernmost point of the continental United States, Key West, Florida is a destination for anyone seeking a tropical climate, interesting people, and a rich history. Just 90 miles north of Cuba, Key West is a cultural melting pot that has inspired great works from Ernest Hemingway, Tennesee Williams, and more recently, Jimmy Buffett.

This eScapes video takes you to the beach for a gorgeous sunset over the sea. Even as night falls, passing boats bring the water to life and swarms of seabirds decorate the sky. With this kind of atmosphere every night, it’s no mystery why so many great authors have found the Conch Republic to be so inspirational and therapeutic.

Paul Hardcastle is an English musician who crosses genres with his synthesizer compositions. Predominately a jazz artist, Hardcastle has released instrumental pop and new wave recordings. He may be best known for his electronic dance hits “Rain Forest” and “19,” a reflection on the Vietnam War. Hardcastle also releases albums under the name “Jazzmasters.”

Links

Florida Keys Official Tourism Site
Key West Chamber of Commerce
City of Key West, Florida
Paul Hardcastle Official Site


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Hansen Bay, St. John

featuring Marc Antoine's "Sunland"

Hansen Bay, on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, sits just outside of Virgin Islands National Park, which encompasses most of the island.

Perfect beaches, some of them privately owned, surround the bay, just isolated enough to allow a relaxing break from the more crowded beaches on the island.

Marc Antoine is contemporary jazz guitarist. Though gifted from a young age, his playing was threatened by a serious accident to his left hand while he was a teenager. Despite a grim prognosis, Antoine recovered to become one of today’s leading jazz guitar acts. Currently living in Spain, Antoine frequently tours with other contemporary jazz greats including David Benoit, Dave Koz, and Chris Botti.

Links

National Park Service: Virgin Islands National Park
Saint John: U.S. Virgin Islands
Marc Antoine Official Site


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Red Hook, St. Thomas

featuring Ken Navarro's "From Now On"

Red Hook, on the east end of Saint Thomas, is an area known for its seaside shopping, dining, and its vibrant yacht harbor. As long as the weather permits landing in the harbor, boaters can find a full-service marina, a diving center, and a large new ferry terminal.

Ken Navarro is an award-winning contemporary jazz guitarist. His impressive discography of nineteen top charting albums showcases his appeal to a wide range of listeners with inspiring compositions and superb guitar performances.

Links

U.S. Virgin Islands Official Tourism Site
Wikipedia article: Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Ken Navarro Official Site


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Inspiration Point

featuring Jeff Lorber's "Watching the Sun Set"

Inspiration Point, in Newport Beach, California, is a small city park known for its scenic outlook over the Pacific Ocean and the city’s nearby beach and headlands.

This eScapes video provides an amazing view of Newport Beach as seen from Inspiration Point. This great view and location over the Pacific make Inspiration Point a popular site for small wedding ceremonies. Singles can use the park for walking, reading, or simply enjoying the relaxing view.

Jeff Lorber is a keyboardist and composer who was influential in the jazz fusion movement– the joining of jazz with rock, R&B, and funk elements. Lorber’s innovative jazz style still blends various styles into an innovative sound, as evidenced in the more than 20 albums he has released since 1977.

Links

Newport Beach Facility Info: Inspiration Point
Orange County Official Visitors Site
Jeff Lorber Official Site


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Charlotte Amalie Cruise Harbor

featuring Earl Klugh's "Driftin'"

Charlotte Amalie, the capital city of the U.S. Virgin Islands on St. Thomas, is known for its many historical attractions and also for being the busiest cruise port of call in the islands. Millions of cruise passengers arrive at this port every year from various lines including Celebrity and Disney.

In this eScapes video, a Celebrity Cruise ship heads out of the port city as a relaxing sunset provides a brilliant backdrop.

Earl Klugh is contemporary jazz guitarist originally from Detroit, Michigan. Since his first album in 1976, Klugh has received twelve career Grammy nominations and produced more than twenty albums– five of them reaching No. 1 on the jazz charts. Klugh is a favorite of adult contemporary radio and regarded by some to be one of the best acoustic guitarists in the world.

Links

U.S. Virgin Islands Official Tourism Site
Wikipedia article: Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Celebrity Cruises: Caribbean Cruises
Earl Klugh Official Site


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