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2009 » October

Hanging In Tela, Roatan, La Ceiba….

October 30, 2009 by  

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Roatan, while admittedly touristy, is fabulous. Our stay on the West End, despite a few days of rain was pretty much perfect. To offset the inflated costs that came with staying on an island for a week and a half, we opted to make extra good use of the rental’s kitchenette, and the local produce trucks and mini-mart. We had our daily menu of fresh fruit and eggs for breakfast, Cup O’Noodle or ramen for lunch, and pasta or quesadillas for dinner. Not bad, actually…we were feeling pretty resourceful.
From Roatan, we took the ferry back to the mainland of Honduras, and stayed overnight in La Ceiba with a friend of a friend. Then back on a bus the next day to the city of Tela, which has turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It wasn’t ever on our initial itinerary (as are many of the places we are going or have already been), but we found an airy, clean, well decorated hostel purely by chance, and it has worked out. When we initially arrived a bit after sundown, the first man we asked, an older armed guard, pointed us to a Chinese restaurant…

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Knock-Offs in North Cyprus

October 30, 2009 by  

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North Cyprus has no IP laws. So there are knock offs galore. Two restaurants are particularly amusing examples. One is a restaurant called “Big Mac” which sports the golden arch and identical set-up as McDonald’s. Except it’s not McDonald’s. The second is called “Burger City” — replica of Burger King. China has plenty of knock-off goods sold on the street, but at least there are laws so companies have some legal recourse if the fraudulence is egregious. In North Cyprus there are not even laws to begin with — so McDonald’s can do nothing but watch an entrepreneur copy every aspect of its store and logo.


AP govt makes singing Telugu song mandatory in convent schools

October 30, 2009 by  

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Hyderabad , Oct 29 The Andhra Pradesh government today asked English medium convents in the state to render a song hailing Telugu culture without fail in the school assemblies in addition to the national anthem.
” Private convents should make children sing మా తెలుగు తల్లికి మల్లె పూదండ (Maa Telugu Talliki Malle Poodanda) song from henceforth,” School Education Minister D Manikya Vara Prasad told reporters.
The government took the decision in the wake of a convent school in Kadapa district punishing two children for speaking in Telugu. Placards, with the words “I will never speak in Telugu” written on them, were hung around their necks as punishment.
The action of the school evoked strong protests from outfits working for promotion of Telugu.
The government’s decision, however, was sharply criticised by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) that says the song “Maa Telugu Talliki” is against Telangana culture.
Courtesy: Indopia.in


On Leatherback Turtles

October 29, 2009 by  

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I’ve always liked turtles and friends draw parallels between me and the genus a little too freely. But there is something about them that draws people to them like no other reptiles do, as evidenced by their religious significance in Polynesian culture. We went to Reserva Pacaure to work with Leatherback turtles, the largest of the existing species, during their nesting season. We wanted to experience a connection between these prehistoric relics and do so while improving their 1 in 1000 odds of egg-to-adulthood survival. I started my first patrol at 11 pm under an almost full moon, the black sand beach still dark to my maladjusted eyes. The unevenness of the beach, coupled with the washed up driftwood made my first minute’s steps small and unsure. Only the constant sound of the ocean and the white of the waves kept me steady with their rhythm. About 45 minutes in, I caught up with another person on the beach, a Research Assistant sitting close to where the beach met the forest. We started talking for a couple of minutes in the dark, when she asked me how it felt. I responded with, “what?” to which she answered, “to see your…

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Finding the Perfect Burger in a Most Unlikely Place: Burger Bar – Macy’s San Francisco, CA

October 28, 2009 by  

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The Burger Bar recently opened to much fanfare in San Francisco. One Friday afternoon I took the crowded elevator to the sixth floor of Macy’s in Union Square. I almost couldn’t get off with the crowd waiting to get in the restaurant. I went in and noticed no one sitting at the tables, but the hostess quoting a half hour wait for a table. So I sat at the bar without waiting. There was lots to look at with a full complement of booze behind the bar and memorabilia for sale. After perusing the menu I chose the basic Black Angus Beef Burger ($9.75). I added Swiss cheese (75 cents), Bacon ($1.15) and got it on the sesame bun. The choices of buns (6), cheeses (8) and other toppings were endless. They even offer a half lobster ($12). I also ordered buttermilk onion rings ($3.55).

The burger arrived very quickly and I dug right in. The burger patty was thick and pink and perfectly cooked. It was especially light and airy and had not been over-packed like so many often are. The bacon was crisp…

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Invictus trailer

October 28, 2009 by  

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Hollywood seems to be loving the tip of Africa. It’s great to see yet another high quality movie made about South Africa (I was all over District 9). I’ve been waiting to see this movie ever since Matt Damon wizzed passed me in Hout Bay, about to tackle Suikerbossie on the Cape Argus Cycle tour earlier this year. It looks inspiring. After all this is an inspiring country, with inspiring people and an inspiring story to tell. Click on headline link to visit matthewbuckland.com for full article


Asian American in Central America

October 28, 2009 by  

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I had wondered what it was going to be like, not only being Asian, but Asian American, during our travels. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but so far, it has been a mix of moments that have either been humorous, cultural, and educational, with only a few incidents based on the ignorance or curiosity that stems from lack of exposure to people like us. In general, if we don’t happen to be having a conversation, most locals tend to assume we are from mainland China (or Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese or Thai, usually in that order), and therefore we are greeted in some fashion in any one, or a mix of, these languages. If we are overheard speaking English, I’m sure it is assumed that we are from the United States (aided by our Western looking travel duds). This usually elicits the following reactions: 1) nonchalance, in areas where Western tourists are fairly common, 2) solicitations to purchase something, 3) unabashed open stares or 4) calls of “Chino!” (pronounced “chee-no”) or “China/chinita!” (pronounced “chee-na” or “chin-ee-ta”), meaning something close to “Chinese guy/girl”. In Nicaragua, we were told by our friend, Mark, whom we stayed with,…

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Gold in the Sky

October 26, 2009 by  

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By Edward Milford, Contributor Johannesburg, the scene of the 29th bi-annual ISES (International Solar Energy Society) Solar World Congress held from 11th-14th October 2009, is the only major international city that is not founded on a coast or that does not have a river running through it. It sits out in the middle of the high veld in South Africa, its location entirely based on the gold discovered under the earth. There was also a welcome for the announcement the day before the Congress opened of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Clinton Climate Initiative and the South African Ministry of Energy for support to examine the establishment of a 5000-MW Solar Park. The massive spoil heaps dotted around the city from mainly disused mines, and the ownership of the largest buildings in the city centre, are signs of the historic and continuing importance of mining to the economy. They are also very visible evidence of the way the availability of natural resources can shape a city and its financial systems. “We need to learn to harness the gold in the sky, not just dig it from…

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