The Dances of Indonesia Saman Dance

The Dances of Indonesia: Saman Dance

‘Thousand Hands’ – this is one of the most popular dances in Aceh.  Itsformal name is ‘Saman’ but it’s well-known abroad as Thousand Hands.  This dance is performed in celebration of the More »

Luxury Bali Holidays

Bali has so much to offer when it comes to luxury holidays and sightseeing. It is an island of unrivalled beauty and it has something to offer everyone. If you are looking More »

What Are Empty Legs and How to Use Them to Your Advantage

Everybody dreams of getting aboard private planes to get to their destination at the fastest possible time. The benefits of going for private jet charter flights are comprehensive, making them a compelling More »

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Beach Life Around the World – The Most Memorable Vacation Experience

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Luxury Bali Holidays

Bali has so much to offer when it comes to luxury holidays and sightseeing. It is an island of unrivalled beauty and it has something to offer everyone. If you are looking for a relaxing holiday, you could take advantage of the glorious long beaches and stunning blue seas or for those that are looking for a little excitement, you can enjoy activities like white water rafting or exploring the temples, taking in the history and culture of Bali. From the paddy fields to the sea, Bali is a haven of natural beauty.

As Bali is classed as a tropical destination, its weather is mild and pleasant throughout the year but the seasons are split between wet and dry. The wet season is experienced between November and April and can be hotter with a high humidity with bouts of heavy rainfall. The dry season falls between May and October and is the best time to visit the island. Constant sun and warm seas offers great opportunities for outdoor activities or just sipping cocktails on the beach.

For those who are in need of a luxury holiday, there are a number of resorts available and one is the Spa Village Resort Tembok Bali. This resort offers total relaxation and is a truly unique experience, the resort is hidden away on the North East side of the island and is away from those areas that have high tourist numbers. It offers peaceful escapism, leaving people to enjoy its serenity and offering a true ‘back to nature’ experience.

The Mulia Villas in Nusa Dua once again takes advantage of the stunning coastline and offers beautiful suites with pools looking over the ocean and lounges that offer pure relaxation. With comfort and style this resort is hard to beat and with amazing restaurants and food, it offers Bali delicacies and Mediterranean food that can be enjoyed by everyone.

One of the best, if not the best resort in Bali is the Samaya Seminak in Ubud. This resort has so much to offer and just as many other resorts in Bali it offers privacy and time to chill, away from the hustle and bustle of ordinary life. The rooms are elegant and with each room having its own private pool there is no need to leave the room! With open air dining and its romantic setting it is perfect for couples.

Bali luxury holidays have lots to offer for those wanting to take in the culture or for those looking for a bit of excitement, it has it all. If being energetic is something you enjoy then why not hire a bicycle and take in the town of Ubud, along with the rice paddies and the surrounding villages. Start with the Monkey Forest and the crab eating macaques before heading to the Goa Gajah a unique and holy place then finish off with watching the Heron Migration.

For those who like the sea there is snorkelling around Menjangan island. A peaceful place, where a boatman will take you out to experience the colourful reefs and amazing fish, it really will leave you breathless. If food is an enjoyment then why not try Babi Guling at Ibu Oka in Ubud. This is classed as Bali’s main course and it consists of suckling pig. Order a main plate and grab a seat amongst the hoards of people, be sure to arrive with plenty of time because once the food has gone, the place closes. That’s how good it is!

The Dances of Indonesia: Saman Dance

The Dances of Indonesia Saman Dance

‘Thousand Hands’ – this is one of the most popular dances in Aceh.  Itsformal name is ‘Saman’ but it’s well-known abroad as Thousand Hands.  This dance is performed in celebration of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday and other ceremonial occasions, with its origin coming from the Alas ethnic group from the Gayo Plateau in central Aceh.

Saman is a dance requiring excellent coordination skills:  it’s a very energetic and dynamic dance, with the participants using powerful and intense movements to form the rhythm of the dance.With one person reading the narrative in an Acehnese tone, at the same time you’ll hear the sounds of chest slapping, clapping or hand hitting on the floor.  Saman is a dynamic dance, requiring perfect coordination.  It’s powerful, but carefully coordinated; otherwise no one would hear anything, the rhythm would be ruined, and someone could be hurt.  These powerful and coordinated movements are the charm of the Saman Dance.  There are quite a few varying regional versions of this dance.

To perform the Saman Dance, between eight and twenty male performers rest on the floor in a kneeling position, making varying torso movements.  They are accompanied by songs, slapping chests, clapping hands, and slapping of hands on the floor.  Normally the songs are prayers, praises to Allah, or part of Islamic teachings.  The dance begins with a slow tempo, gradually increasing to a great speed, and suddenly coming to an abrupt stop.

Today, Saman is performed to promote the culture of Acehnese in national ceremonies, in open cultural festivals, Islamic holidays, and even abroad in the promotion of Indonesia: in addition of course in celebration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.

In 2008 the Saman Dance was performed by not only students from Indonesia, but performers from other countries as well at the One World 2008 in Canada.

Now we’ll see Saman performed by women also, although if it is performed by women in Aceh, it’s called Meusekat.  Meusekat does not originate from Gayo, but from South and West Aceh.  Outside of Aceh both these dances are known as Saman, possibly because both these dances require the excellent skills and coordination of movements by its performers.

Although Saman has now altered from its original form, it still continues as anart-form, originating from the Special District of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, which is the official name of Aceh Province.  Saman is known worldwide as a cultural, attractive, Indonesian speed dance.

Saman is popular, but it’s not that easy to find an event or extravaganza that includes the dance. If you happen to be traveling in Bali, Indonesia, there is one place in Nusa Dua area, where you can see how beautiful Saman Dance is. Not only that, the show that named Devdan, as one of the most famous Bali attractions, also offers many other traditional Indonesian dances.

What Are Empty Legs and How to Use Them to Your Advantage

Everybody dreams of getting aboard private planes to get to their destination at the fastest possible time. The benefits of going for private jet charter flights are comprehensive, making them a compelling choice for anyone who can afford them. The problem is that mainly due to operating costs, getting charter planes can be extremely expensive. For those who want to enjoy the benefits of a charter flight without having to break the bank to do it, a jet charter empty leg flight would be a compelling choice. What are these flights and how can you use them to your advantage?

             Strictly speaking, the term “empty legs” is used in all types of transport. It basically denotes any public transport vehicle that must operate without any passengers. Noting this, any form of empty leg transport is considered as dead weight for the company in terms of costs. Because of this, some transportation companies are thinking of creative ways to utilize their empty legs into something that’s at least useful. For airline companies, that translates to the creation of empty leg flights.

             By taking advantage of empty leg flights, you can enjoy the benefits of riding in private jet charter flights at the fraction of the cost. In fact, it is estimated that the price of getting empty leg flights is lesser by 50 to 70 percent compared to traditional charter flights. You might ask why the prices for such services are that low. The main reason is that airline companies would much rather have their planes occupied rather than keep them empty. The discounted price is more or less a favor provided by the company as the fare paid by the client can be used as extra profit and for plane maintenance.

             If having empty legs is financially unfeasible for airline companies, then why do empty leg flights exist to begin with? There are many sides to this story. The main source of empty legs for the airline industry comes from one-way charter flights. Of course, the plane has to return to its mother airport. In the process of returning, the plane would not have any passenger, resulting to an empty legs flight. To save on costs, airline companies offer up these planes for rent to its intended destination. Not only does it end up as a coup for the charter flight service, but the passengers also get an affordable flight. Everyone wins in such a setup.

             Because it makes so much sense in a financial standpoint, it makes a lot of sense to use empty leg flights to your advantage. A quick search over the internet would yield a number of results that match the specifications of your travel itinerary. Given the high demand for empty leg flights, it makes a lot of sense to book your flight immediately. What’s more, since most empty leg flights are one-way trips, you’ll also need to find another flight for your return trip. With proper planning, you can enjoy the benefits of private jet charter flights at a discount with the help of empty legs.

The Multiple Faces of Travel Are Accelerating

What will world travel look like three years from now? How about ten years from now? The field is changing almost faster than we can report it, but this article attempts to catch at least a snapshot of what we see unfolding before our eyes. It’s exciting and exhilarating, and I suspect only touches the surface of what will really occur.

1. First, let me lay your mind to rest. The travel industry isn’t faltering nor is it ripe for a downturn. In fact, leader, John Pittman, believes 2010 will be a year of recovery with many travel agencies expecting to rebound nicely. Dr. Rach of the NYU Tisch Center states that “the global demand for travel and tourism provides unprecedented opportunities going forward.” Travel is a $7 trillion industry and, within the next decade, some expect that figure to possibly double as baby boomers blast off and travelers around the world multiply exponentially.

2. American travel will continue expanding and Europe is expected to be delivering 730 million travelers by 2020. However, tourism will no longer be dominated by Westerners. Travel is beginning to boom in China, India and the Gulf States, and hundreds of millions more citizens from these areas will begin traversing the globe.

3. The internet is playing a key role in over 80% of travel-related research and bookings as more and more turn to the convenience of doing such online. Forty-three percent of all online spending is for travel, making it the largest category for e-commerce, and it’s growing all the time. Also, more people are traveling based upon consumer-led, peer-to-peer input and advice. In other words, people are depending more on fellow-travelers to search out a diversity of new and interesting destinations and experiences. Some call it the democratization or the deep personalization of travel.

4. More people want to authentically experience new locations, unusual adventures—that is, get to know the locals, the idiosyncrasies of a place, the culture and grittiness of real life. This also means that many will not only fly but will make journeys by train, boat, bus, or even bike/motorbike. They will savor the entire experience instead of anxiously rushing to a destination, then rushing back home. Many will be content to explore the nooks and crannies of their own nation, while others will want a more international or “foreign” experience.

5. Some nations not known for being great tourist attractions may turn to casinos or gaming to draw more tourism. However, other nations will draw in tourists simply because of the charm, novelty, pricing, or immensity of what they have to offer. Within 20 years, China is predicted to be the number one tourist destination. Others surprisingly expected to draw large numbers are Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Qatar, Slovenia, Slovakia, and, of course, Brazil.

6. Detailed choices will increase for travelers. Individuals are already able to instantly locate individual inns that cater to specific whims, to buy tickets to perhaps an amusement center or a sporting event across the globe before even leaving on a trip, to find out the closest gym or spa to where they will be staying in India or Japan. They can check the menu of an obscure but delightful restaurant on the other side of the globe. Thus, planning a vacation or business trip is taking on new meaning as the specificity of choices becomes more and more detailed.

7. Twelve million new users sign up on the internet every day—and, believe it or not, most of these live outside the United States. As the earth’s population nears seven billion, approximately 23%-25% are on the internet and only 5% of these users are in the U.S. At only about 15%-16% internet saturation, Asia is poised to sign up hundreds of millions more users in the next few decades. Many of these will be researching and booking travel online.

The Travel Train is just pulling out of the station. Surely you don’t want to get left behind. Begin gearing up for your own odyssey across the globe. Travel is fun, increasingly affordable, and you know you haven’t seen nearly enough of this planet yet.

Debra Fortosis is a professional travel agent. You can book travel on her user friendly website. She can even help you easily launch your own turnkey e-travel business.

Exciting Tour Packages to Travel Around India

There are number of tour packages for tour and travel in India available very easily. These tour packages cover major tourism attractions of the country. Different kinds of tour packages are designed for different interest of tourists. Like cultural and heritage tours, honeymoon tours. Beach tours, golden triangle tours, wildlife tours etc. Tourists can choose tour packages according to his interest and also can customize the tour packages and choose the place which want to visit. The most famous tour packages are following.

Golden Triangle Tour
This is the most ideal tour for exploring the best of North India. This tour covers three most famous tourists’ destinations of North India. Delhi, Agra and Jaipur cities are covered under this tour package. Delhi is the starting point of this tour contains number of historic importance and new developed sites which attracts the tourists. Red Fort, Jama-Masjid, Lotus Temple, Akshardham Temple, India Gate and Humayun Tomb are the most famous heritage sites of the country. Agra is another city of this tour contains country’s most visiting heritage site Taj Mahal. This site is worldwide famous for its work-of-art and architecture. Fort Agra and Fathehpur Sikri are also very famous heritage sites of Agra city. Jaipur the third city is one of the most beautiful cities of the country. Jaipur contains various magnificent forts, luxury hotels, beautiful gardens and local shops for buying customary items which attracts the tourists from entire world. Seasonal fairs and festivals are also very popular in this city.

Himachal Pradesh Tour
This state is very famous for its natural beauty and cool climate. The state is ideal destination for spending vacation end enjoying the holidays. Himachal Pradesh contains large number of temple and spiritual places and called as the Land of Gods. Shimla is the most attractive tourism destination of the state and located in the north-west Himalaya Mountain at an average height of 2,205 meters above the sea level. Shimla is also called as the “Queen of Hills,” by the British rulers due to its beauty. This city is covered by the green forests of pine, rhododendron, and oak trees. Climate of Shimla is pleasant in the summer and freezing in winters. Rohtang Pass is very famous destination in the state for snow fall lovers. This place offers significant amount of snow-fall in summer season also. Chamba, Kangra, Kullu and Manual are the other major attractive destinations of the state.

Goa Tour
Goa is famous for its beach tours. Beaches of Goa are full of enjoyment and celebrations. Goa has an extended shoreline which offers various attractive and beautiful beaches. These beaches are the perfect for a relaxing vacation and enjoying the holiday in the country. Arambol Beach, Anjuna Beach, Calangute Beach and Varca Beach are the most attractive beaches of Goa tours. Apart from beaches this state also includes some other tourists’ attractions like Churches, Goa Carnival, Dudhsagar Waterfalls and Spice Plantations.

There are various exciting India Tour Packages available to travel around the most fascinating destinations of the country. Select packages according to interest, time and budget and enjoy the holidays.

Go Local in Kuala Lumpur: Three Things the Other Tourists Miss

Malaysian capital city Kuala Lumpur is world-famous for the Petronas Twin Towers, and every visitor hears about popular sights like the National Mosque, the Bird Park, and Batu Cave.

But the real strength of Kuala Lumpur is in its street life. Around the clock, the sidewalks are pulsing with local character, if you just know where to find it. Here are a few ideas to check out on your next visit:

1. Masjid India Night Market – every Saturday night, a narrow road called Lorong Tunku Abdul Rahman transforms from an anonymous alley into a bustling Malay street fair. It’s easy to overlook Malay culture and cuisine in predominantly Chinese Kuala Lumpur, so make sure you take advantage of this opportunity to see another side of Malaysia’s unique ethnic mix. You’ll find food, drinks, desserts, music, clothes, and a whole lot more.

WHERE: Lorong Tunku Abdul Rahman runs just behind Jalan TAR, a major thoroughfare running north from the old city center. If you’re riding the LRT, get off at the Masjid Jamek station and follow the crowds.

WHEN: Saturday nights, 6pm until 10pm.

2. Jalan Alor – Just around the corner from shopping zone Bukit Bintang, this street has been a mainstay of no-nonsense Chinese dining for decades. Almost 50 restaurants line both sides of the street, serving everything from fried rice to frog porridge. For a special treat, try the “chicken fish” at Restoran Meng Kee in the middle of the block.

WHERE: Jalan Alor is parallel to Jalan Bukit Bintang. Closest public transport is the KL Monorail’s Bukit Bintang station.

WHEN: Every night of the week, rain or shine. Most restaurants open at around 6pm and keep going until the last customers leave. A handful remain open around the clock, so won’t go hungry no matter when you arrive.

3. Kampung Baru – Right in the middle of some of Kuala Lumpur’s most expensive real estate, this enclave resists the march of time (and construction crews) thanks to a law guaranteeing the land here will always remain in the hands of the Malay families who live on it. Just a few hundred meters from the gleaming Petronas Towers, you can find houses on wooden stilts, and a slow-paced village lifestyle that almost seems to willfully exclude the hectic city outside. The main drag, Jalan Raja Muda Musa, is lined with little shops selling Malay food and sundries. In the side streets you’ll find old village-style wooden houses with friendly children playing out front.

WHERE: Take the LRT to the Kampung Baru station and then make two right turns to get to Jalan Raja Muda Musa, or walk to the kampung after checking out nearby Chow Kit market.

WHEN: Anytime. Friday just after noon you’ll be able to see the crowds pouring out of the mosque following prayers, a rare chance to see formal Malay costumes outside of hokey artificial settings. Saturday from 6pm until late there’s a street market that’s also worth checking out.

The World’s First Recession Free Country, the Cook Islands!

After landing in Rarotonga’s International Airport, I was driven to a sacred Marae (temple, community area of the Maori people on a hill overlooking a Cook Islands’ coastline. There was a ritual, blessing and an opening prayer before media heard the news, “The Cook Islands are a ‘recession-free oasis.’”

A recession-free oasis? I am not all that sure what this meant, so I leaned in for further explanation. According to the folks at both Cook Islands Tourism and their partnership company, Air New Zealand, the place is actually growing: new local business, more visitors (a good thing as 67% as the CI GNP comes from tourism), sustained forward bookings, local tour operators are hiring more people, and as Air New Zealand points out more people overall are traveling to the Cook Islands. I would soon learn why.

The Minister of Tourism, Wilkie Rasmussen said, “As industries around the world feel the weight of the current economic global recession and the international effects of slowing economies and cautious consumers, the Cook Islands are seeing local businesses grow, new businesses open and offshore investment increase.”

Now, after a week of relaxing into “coconut time” and seeing some of the most inspiring views I have ever seen, I am not sure promoting “the Recession Free Oasis” is necessary. The CI is a great destination and with a direct non-stop, at less than ten hours, from LAX, it is convenient from much of the U.S.

On a personal level, this destination in the South Pacific is one of the few places I was really looking forward to visiting that actually exceeded my expectations as a traveler. It is what an island paradise is supposed to be. The locals are friendly (many claimed that the food on the Cook Islands is also calorie free, which I didn’t quite believe), the water crystal clear, uncrowded beaches, great snokeling, and Maori culture everywhere. At some point, I recall sitting on a boat drifting somewhere around Aitutaki and shaking my head at how unbelievably pretty the whole place is.

Family Travels During the Depression, Flat Tires, Smashed Fingers and All

My father’s reduced salary during the Depression did not deter my parents from traveling in our black Chevrolet coach. Most of the trips were required. Grandmother Stuart spent half of the year with us, the other half with Mother’s sister. Twice a year, I viewed the countryside between Pittsburgh and Ritchie County, West Virginia while sitting amid Grandmother’s prized possessions stacked between us in the back seat from which neither of us could escape until one of my parents exited the car and tilted his or her seat forward.

Although West Virginia was our primary destination each time we motored out of Pittsburgh, we made several other journeys while I was growing up in order to satisfy Mother’s romance with history and her yen to see new vistas.

Lack of money was our major restriction. Our car was willing to travel, but my parents could not afford overnight accommodations other than tourist houses run by widows or elderly couples. Cleanliness being the major criterion of her selections, Mother developed a regular ritual of inspection that enabled her to spot the perfect tourist home. Lysol-clean bathrooms and unstained mattresses were high on her list of requirements. Her sensitive nose was alert to mold, mildew, and other worrisome conditions; at the same time, she sought out sun-dried sheets and jars of herbs or potpourris for the pleasant scents she considered vital to gentility.

One trip took us to Cleveland where Mother and Father had spent their honeymoon. We were drawn there by an Exposition designed to generate tourism and business to the city during the depths of the Depression. I was most impressed by delicious orange sherbet sold at stands throughout the fair, a troupe of midgets dressed in western regalia singing “I’m An Old Cowhand,” and a tricky display of mirrors that separated a woman’s head from her body.

Just as the Dionne Quintuplets fascinated the rest of the world, so did they amaze my parents. Both former teachers interested in all aspects of child study, they followed the Quints’ progress from the day Dr. Defoe broke the news of their birth to the world. When the children’s caretakers created a unique playroom where their charges could romp merrily, oblivious to the fact that they were being monitored through a one-way window, my parents began planning a journey to the distant country of Canada. Perhaps they pursued their daring trip in the hope of discovering new ideas for developing me into a model child.

We set forth from Pittsburgh in August, but the weather turned cold on the second evening as we drove past the Nabisco Shredded Wheat factory in Niagara Falls. Several days later, we reached the small village of Callender, Ontario, not far from North Bay, in a heavy snowstorm.

That trip, venturesome for the era, provided my parents with experiences they relived again and again through the photographs my father took with his Kodak brownie camera. We and other tourists were divided into small groups and guided into a hallway from which we could gaze into a playroom where the Quints played. They were undisturbed by the crowds herded through the structure because they could not see anyone through the magical window. When we emerged from the hallway into a gift shop, we were propelled toward Papa Dionne who sat at a table autographing pictures of his daughters. His older children collected the coins everyone was charged, presumably contributions to the family expenses. I remember that Father begrudgingly handed one a quarter, but when we were out of hearing range, he muttered to Mother that people without the funds to support children should not have them. This was the philosophy held by the concerned public during the Depression when the typical family had one-and-a-half children. Most of my friends were only children like me.

On the way back to Pittsburgh, we stopped near Erie, Pennsylvania to see the lake where Commodore Perry’s flagship “Niagara” defeated the British during the War of 1812 by flying the “Don’t Give Up the Ship” flag made by my mother’s ancestor, Margaret Forster Stuart. The charred remains of the “Niagara” protruded from the lake bed, a sorry sight, but one Mother exclaimed over in awe for its historical value and obscure family connection.

After a walk around Presque Isle, we returned to the car. I had already crawled into the back seat and Mother was arranging herself in front. Believing that she was settled, Father exhibited his gentlemanly manners by closing the door for her. Instantly, Mother’s screams shattered the afternoon calm. Father had slammed the door on her hand quite by accident. Despite the fact that it took several months for her to regain the use of the fingers on her right hand, Mother regarded that trip as one of the nicest she ever took.

Her favorite journey, by all accounts, was the visit to Williamsburg, Virginia shortly after it was restored and opened to the public. On the way, we stopped at Monticello and Mount Vernon and took a winding, unpaved road part of the way into West Virginia just so my parents could show me “The Saddle,” the dip in the Blue Ridge mountains thought to be the site of the cabin where Nancy Hanks, mother of Abraham Lincoln, was born.

The road from Winchester (where we saw the famous tree growing out of the house and the cannon ball embedded in the side of a house) to “The Saddle” was nothing if not poor. Paved with rugged rocks, it invited flat tires at every bend. I remember four within that single stretch of road. As he always did for such emergencies, Father donned the mechanic’s overalls that he carried in a kit before meticulously re-patching both inner tubes and tires.

While father toiled, Mother and I stood by the roadside studying the wildflowers and searching for small creatures scurrying through the tall grass. Progress was slow on the tires, giving us ample opportunity to examine the flora and fauna of the countryside and allowing me to learn about America’s history and that of our family, in particular.

Through my parents’ conversations, I became acquainted with the Pritchards in their progression from Thomas, the carpenter, who arrived at Jamestown in 1620 to help construct a fort for the Virginia Company, to his descendants as they advanced across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Each generation moved westward by twenty or thirty miles, heading from Virginia’s Westmoreland, Prince William, Fairfax, and Loudoun Counties into Maryland’s Allegany and Garrett Counties, and finally into the westernmost reaches of Virginia (destined to become West Virginia) through Monongalia, Harrison, Lewis, and Ritchie Counties. Along their way, they developed into the strong West Virginia clan devoted to one another and to their home state.

On Mother’s side, the Bells and Stuarts, Scots transplanted to Northern Ireland, came to America early in the 1700s to escape British oppression. Like the Pritchards, they moved readily into the wilderness, establishing their own El Dorados in western Pennsylvania. For my parents, their automobile trips were opportunities to retrace the trails their adventuresome ancestors had blazed. I often detected that Father was less enthusiastic than mother in following those treacherous roads. He, after all, was the one responsible for repairing tires in less than desirable conditions.

No matter where my parents traveled, West Virginia cuisine was to them the hallmark of excellence. Whether they were in Clarksburg, Parkersburg, Wheeling, or in another state, they regarded the YMCA Cafeterias as outstanding adventures in fine dining, as indeed they were for many years, with prices that were unsurpassed for the value. Where else could one obtain a tasty chicken and dumpling dinner for fifteen cents?

My parents never forgot the delicious meals served them in West Virginia YMCAs. When many years later Father dined at New York City’s legendary Algonquin Hotel dining room, he compared the YMCA fare of his memories with the solitary piece of haddock and single boiled potato carefully dished onto his plate by a solicitous waiter. Neither the dry fish nor the elevated price of the skimpy meal met his approval. For the first – and only – time in his life, Father “made a scene.”

As he shoved his money at the waiter, he drew himself up and said, “We’ve eaten in some of the finest restaurants in the east, including Bailey’s Cafeteria in Huntington, West Virginia, and this, without a doubt, is the worst meal I’ve ever had!”

The waiter tried to refrain from expressing his amusement as he gravely replied, “I’m very sorry that the Algonquin does not live up to your expectations. Perhaps our chef can visit Bailey’s…uh…Cafeteria one day to try to improve our menus.”

“That would be a good idea,” Father said. “He could learn a lot.”

As we scurried out of the dining room famous for years as “a gathering place for smart and interesting people,” Mother giggled appreciatively and agreed with Father that a famous chef’s reputation is no guarantee that his food will meet your expectations.

The Maldives, Perhaps the Best Island in the Indian Ocean

The Maldives. The lowest nation on earth. So you know it’s going to be easy to get to the beach. And oh boy is it easy to get to the beach. In fact it’s probably harder to get away from it. In a lot of accommodation, if you jump out the window you’re in the sea. An idea I want to try. Lets take a closer look at one of the best island chains on earth.

So many islands, 1,190 coral islands which are part of 26 coral atolls. Most islands aren’t inhabited, only 200 islands are in fact inhabited. With an additional 80 islands containing resorts. Located south west of India, right near the equator. Tropical weather is pretty much guaranteed. Warm and sunny throughout the year. Temperatures hover around the 30C mark. Of course it being the tropics, you get the tropical rainy season. Rainfall starts to increase from April and starts to decrease in October. The monsoon is in full swing from June to August.

Even if the weather is cloudy the waters still look stunning. Which really is quite an achievement. Just think about when you have been to the same beach on a sunny day and then again on a cloudy rainy day. The sea does not look as pretty. The scenery around here really is that stunning.

Tourism is big business in the Maldives accounting for at least 20% of it’s GDP. There are plenty of options of where to stay. The Maldives are relatively expensive but offer great value for money. There are no hotels outside the capitol city of Male. Only resorts. Most of which occupy there own island. If you like the idea of having a large stretch of personal beach heaven. Then the Maldives are for you.

Most people will fly into Malé International Airport. With direct flights from various places. It’s quite easy to get in. 30 day visas are given to everyone long as they can prove sufficient funds roughly $25 a day, travel documents all in order, return ticket also helps. My dreams of arriving via boat have been destroyed as there are no regular boats which sail to the Maldives. Mainly because it is too dangerous. Traveling around the various islands

Alcohol, pork and some other items are not allowed into the Maldives. Does this mean you can’t have a drink? Depends where you are really. The resorts seem to operate to slightly different rules. Where alcohol can be served. At a price though. Supply and demand and all that.

The World’s Best Summer Vacation Combines Education With Relaxation

The value of education is unquestionable. But for the youth, it is monotonous to focus on their studies three hundred sixty five days a year. They need some space. They need a break. That is why there is a summer break in school. They give children a time to rest and relax from the daily school tasks. They need a real vacation! Parents can still inculcate education during summer vacation. Only this time, they get to relax and enjoy the air while learning. It just takes a little imagination for parents on how to educate their children while on an exciting and adventurous summer vacation.

Sometimes parents ask questions whether they can fit in educational activities while on vacation with their children. They can even choose a theme of their educational adventure. This will be their basis of choosing what vacation destination they would avail of. If they decide on a survival educational trip, they might as well reserve spots in a camping ground. It just takes a little child psychology to let your children have fun, enjoy, relax and learn unknowingly during their summer break.

Parents can include learning while on vacation. An example of this is to visit museums during your vacation. In between having fun, time can be allocated in museums where parents and children will learn a lot. It will only take minutes or an hour to fully complete a museum tour. After that, you can either go swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving with the kids. There are lots of museums so make sure the destination you will choose will have one or more of it. When availing a tour package, remember to specify to your travel agent to include the museum tour in your itinerary.

When you go on tour by land, try stopping by museums and churches along the way. This will be very exciting and educational. Travel agencies offer group tour packages too. They will book your family to be a part of a big group in museums and tourist spots. You will be destined to meet in one place and travel together. This will enable you to meet new friends as well as learning new things during the educational tour. Try going to several museums to learn more. There is lots of it around.

If ever you will decide to spend your summer vacation in a different way, go to amusement parks, specifically a theme park. It focuses on a particular theme that will educate everybody. It provides a unique form of pleasure and entertainment too. An example of a theme park would be the famous Sea World. The park provides enjoyable rides for everyone, the young and adults alike. You can even view to appreciate their underwater aquarium with lots of fishes with different colors and sizes. It will be a very exciting and rejuvenating experience. Their presentations of aquatic performances will thrill your eyes and hearts out! These are exceptional events that you don’t experience everyday. What an exciting way to spend your summer vacation indeed!

Just like Sea World, Bush Gardens is famous for its safari theme and amazingly with a zoo of animals aside from their museums. Different rides are also available for the public especially children. Safari theme is something different to look forward to. Give it a try and you will find your dream vacation so fulfilling, and can’t wait for the next summer vacation.

For a more unforgettable family bonding, parents can prepare for a guided tour summer vacation for a change. You will have your own tourist guide everywhere you go. Guided tours are available anywhere just find time to search for travel agencies that provide them. If you are looking for a very rewarding vacation with the family, look for guided tours in state parks, animal sanctuaries or various historical landmarks. The United States will be a perfect tourist spot vacation destination for a guided tour. You will find one of the 7 wonders of the world there! Yes, the mesmerizing famous Grand Canyon. You will also find guided tours bound for Yosemite National Park and Adirondacks Region of New York. Better check this out!

Families today are more excited on vacations where they can simply relax and have some fun. With the toxicity of their jobs, household chores and schoolworks, they want to focus on comfort and enjoyment while on vacation. Maybe that is the reason why discounts are provided for by popular vacation destinations like museums and theme parks. They offer low rate admission fees and guided tour coupon over the internet.

With our world moving towards the development of tourism in all countries, there are lots of vacation destinations promoting extensively. So many offers to choose from, discounted rates, group rates, family package deals, tour package cost cut and more summer vacation perks. From educational to fun destinations, your next trip will create memories that are priceless.

Medical Travel and the Cosmetic Surgery Scene in the Philippines

More and more people from all over the world are traveling to other countries not only as tourists who come for sightseeing and shopping but also to get medical, dental, and surgical services from hospitals and other health destinations. Medical travel is a rapidly growing industry with countries like Cuba, Costa Rica, Hungary, India, Israel, Jordan, Lithuania, Malaysia, South Africa and Thailand actively promoting it. The Philippines is also fast becoming a favored destination for patients seeking quality medical care at very affordable prices.

The high costs of healthcare in industrialized countries, the improved standards in foreign countries and the lower costs of air travel have made medical tourism a popular trend. In the Philippines, both local and foreign patients who otherwise couldn’t afford medical procedures such as plastic surgery benefit from the highly favorable exchange rate. The cost savings are significant. For example, if the average surgeon’s fee for eyelid surgery in the U.S. is $2,500, in the Philippines, a qualified surgeon will charge only $600 to $1,500. For liposuction, surgeon’s fees in the U.S. average $2,000 per area. In the Philippines, it is around $800 for the first area and $500 for succeeding areas. Anesthesiologist’s fees and facility costs are also much lower.

Lower overhead costs and professional fees makes it possible for surgeons to perform these surgeries at a fraction of the cost of the same procedures in the United States, U.K. and other countries, without sacrificing quality of care. The Philippines’ medical services can rival the best in the world and a significant number of foreigners are choosing to undergo their cosmetic plastic surgery procedures such as liposuction, breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, face lift, tummy tuck and blepharoplasty at local hospitals and out-patient surgeries.

Patients also usually appreciate the added benefit that they are away from their surroundings during the recuperation period, with no friends and family to see them when looking less than their best after the operation.

Whether patients are having cosmetic surgery abroad or in their home country, choosing the right surgeon is the single most important decision they will make. In the Philippines, there are many qualified and well-trained doctors who have had formal training in plastic and reconstructive surgery, have acquired their postgraduate or fellowship training from well-known institutions in the U.S.A. and have been mentored by leading plastic surgeons. To enhance their expertise, they regularly attend various seminars worldwide, where new techniques in plastic and cosmetic surgery are introduced.

The greater acceptance and growth of cosmetic surgery among the general public has encouraged many Filipino doctors to perform cosmetic plastic surgery. However, not all of them have trained as plastic surgeons. Once doctors get their medical degrees, they may practice any specialty, even if they have not completed advanced training in the field they have chosen. And so, a doctor who performs cosmetic plastic surgery is not necessarily trained as a plastic surgeon. To ensure best results, patients should choose an authentic plastic surgeon with the training and experience that is essential for the success of their surgery. When foreign patients choose to have their elective cosmetic surgeries done by qualified plastic surgeons in Philippines, they get exceptional value for the latest techniques in cosmetic plastic surgery. They combine having a vacation in a beautiful tropical country with affordable, quality elective plastic surgery.

Travel Around Spain to Explore

Spain is a fascinating tourist destination with a range of attractions for the visitors. Despite your idea of the ideal vacation, you can find plenty of ways to spend your leisure time in this country. You can enjoy the exquisite Spanish cuisines and local drinks. The fiestas, events and more can keep you engaged. The night clubs and bars of Spain are far different from other parts of the world due to their exceedingly pleasant ambience. In the list of the places to visit, you must include some of the renowned museums, monuments and recreational areas to be enjoyed with your friends and family. Travel around Spain to explore the entertainment facilities, sights, history, culture, amenities and facilities here.

The leading travel guide Spain would advise you to visit Madrid and Barcelona if you wish to spend your time worthily. Madrid is not just the capital of Spain, but also the largest city here. The list of the Madrid attractions is overwhelming. Some of the places you must visit during your travel around Spain include Retiro Park, Plaza Mayor, Royal Palace, Puerta del Sol, Plaza de Cibeles, Almudena Cathedral, Royal Theater, Royal Botanical Garden, Plaza de la Villa, Templo de Debod, Plaza de Oriente and more. However, the world famous attraction in Madrid is the Prado Museum, one of the greatest museums. The art lovers must not miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the exhibits of works by El Greco, Velázquez, Fra Angelico, Raphael, Bosch, Rubens, etc. The prestigious artworks of many Spanish artists, Italian painters and Flemish artists can be found here.

If you travel around Spain, Madrid skyline Spain could be something that would amaze you. The blend of the ancient architectural trends with the contemporary style can be witnessed here. Las Cuatro Torres Business Area is a must visit if you would like to see some majestic skyscrapers. The tallest building in Spain is Caja Madrid Tower. During your travel around the world, if you would like to be at the most luxurious places, the Eurostars Madrid Tower, the renowned five star hotel with restaurants offering marvelous views is a place to visit. Barcelona, the capital of the second largest city in Spain has numerous attractions like Sagrada Familia, La Rambla, Magic Fountain, Port Vell, Torre Agbar, Columbus Monument, Santa Maria del Mar, City History Museum, etc. If you have ever heard about Hercules, you would even know the attributes to the founding of the City of Barcelona.

If it is a romantic escapade that you are searching for during your travel around Spain, it should be Menorca familiar foreign place that you should be your choice. This is a beautiful island where you would come across many English speaking communities. You need not have to deal with the strange foreign accent of the people of Spain even in the villages here. The purpose of your visit might be far different from that of others. If it is a Roman legacy travel to explore the rich culture, Valencia museums, Way of St James, Santiago de Compostela, Cathedral of Santiago, and Classical Theatre of Mérida could be suitable choices.

Get Off Your Couch and Go Explore the World! Here’s How!

I absolutely love to travel. It’s so much fun to go anywhere in the world and find myself having a good time. It’s often a great idea to make sure that you are going on a lot of trips if you really want to get yourself outside the areas the you are familiar with.

Lots of people enjoy traveling. It’s one of the biggest things that we humans do. We all like to go to new and different places in order to peak our own interests and engage our own curiosities. Plus, traveling really enables you to become smarter and learn a lot more about the world in general.

I’ve been an expert traveler so long now. And I have really distilled the essence of getting the most out of your explorations into three key steps:

Know where you want to go. This lets you choose somewhere special and go with it. It’s important to have an idea of what kind of environment you want to put yourself in.
Decide what you want to do when you are there. Make up a nice list of good activities you could enjoy doing while you are at your destination.
Determine the speed at which you are going to move. Are you going to be a super fast traveler, taking in all the sights? Or are you going to take your time, and pace yourself?

Like I said, these are key.

I first started traveling a long time ago, and it’s been a really fun ride. I’ve learned so many important life lessons while being in interesting and exotic locations.

And as more and more people pick up their bags and make their way around the world, it opens up and opportunity for you to really meet and great all kinds of different people. How cool is that?

Finally, remember that traveling is all about trying new things. Why not make sure you do things you would not otherwise have done if you were not on the trip? Go ahead… let go and enjoy yourself!