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A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck near Vanuatu in the South Pacific this afternoon shortly after 1 PM EDT according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was 1,240 miles northeast of Brisbane, which sounds like somewhere near where Oceanic flight 815 fictionally went down.
In any event, it is too early for damage or travel impact reports, however the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii or other islands.
Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands with intact tribal communities, resorts, beaches and volcanoes. It is also becoming a hot honeymoon travel spot, especially in the summer bargain season.
Where is Vanuatu on a map? We put it on the islands travel map for you.
·Vanuatu Resorts [HotelChatter]
Apparently the Dominican Republic uses its 800 miles of stunning coastline for two things--tourist snorkeling and cocaine smuggling. For a small island Hispaniola sure does have quite a few airports--better to smuggle to the U.S. with my dearies. The most smuggled drug is cocaine, with a bit of heroin mixed in for good measure. The drugs destination? Big cities in the US. Looks like maybe drug runners dig DirecTV on JetBlue too.
That's really crazy, considering the New York Times dubbed the Dominican Repbulic the "Family Destination of the Year" in 2006. In defense of the Times, it is 2007.
The local drug control agency is currently "trying" to stop all the smuggling, but the Dominican Republic does not have radar to track incoming planes, and the Dominican Navy is short staffed. They do have eight Vietnam-era Huey helicopters, but they don't have night-vision capability--sort of an issue when most drug drops are made at night.
Somehow we don't think the family of four from Scarsdale will appreciate the abundance of drug trafficking going through the newest "Family Hot Spot", then again, what do we know about the suburbs.
Hmm, what to do. Hey, how 'bout this, when the media is referring to the Dominican Republic as an award winning family vacation spot they can call it the Dominican Republic and when the media wants to call the Dominican Republic out as a drug dealers paradise they can call it the Island of Hispaniola. Deal?
Flights to Santa Domingo (SDQ) from New York are around 3 hours and JetBlue flies direct.
[Photo: M Eriksson]