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Archive for the year 2014

2014

Awareness Check: Is Rhino Poaching Funding Terrorism?

April 15, 2014 by  

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  Rhinos Something 50 million years in the making is on track to be wiped out in a matter of a few decades. The rhinoceros — essentially the world’s last dinosaur — is being relentlessly hunted and slaughtered for its horn. Comprised of keratin, just like your hair and fingernails, rhino horn is worth double its weight in gold at latest estimates. The horn is being used for myriad ‘cures’ in traditional Asian medicine, from arthritis to cancer, despite being illegal and medically useless. South Africa is home to the world’s largest remaining population of rhinos, but it is also where you’ll find the greatest amount of violence against the animals, with one being killed on average about every nine hours. The white rhino species is the most abundant at 20,000+ animals, but estimates put their tipping point — at which more animals are being killed than are being born in a given year — within the next year or two.

Conservation Efforts

Thus far, few efforts have been fruitful in stopping the killing, as the prize is just too great for poachers. Conservationists and researchers are working on devising any means possible to protect…

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Kyoto Japan: Where Are All the Geishas?

April 15, 2014 by  

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I was so certain I would see a geisha as my train rolled into Kyoto Station that I didn’t even allot time for it as I mentally planned out my evening. “They’ll be everywhere in that one district, what’s it called?” I looked at my map. “Gion. I’ll just stroll through Gion on my way up to Kiyomizu Temple and be done with it.” The receptionist at my guest house was kind enough to aid me further. “Avoid the main avenue in Gion,” she advised, and circled an adjacent, smaller road within the district. “You’ll see lots of geishas here, but not so many tourists.” In spite of the extent to which she fed my optimism, the young woman did reveal the sobering fact that geishas don’t tend to emerge until after nightfall, so that it would be best for me to watch sunset first and head down to Gion later.
The dusty orange and rose hues of the sky proved the perfect accompaniment to the pale, pink sakura trees rising through Kiyomizu,…

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Travel to Dominica for Nature & Water Adventure

April 15, 2014 by  

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Dominica is called the “Nature Island” of the Caribbean and that nickname is well-deserved. Upon arriving, I embarked on a nearly two hour ride from the airport to the capital city of Roseau. The roads were barely decipherable but nature was all around. Even in the dark, I could make out the families of trees flanking our van on either side. During the next few days, I was to discover various aspects of the island, many of which are rooted in the landscape’s lush vegetation. Here are a few ways I experienced nature on Nature Island.

Whale Watching

It’s no secret that I’m more than slightly obsessed with marine mammals. In fact, before completely changing my opinion 100%, I used to dream of being a killer whale trainer at Sea World. My intentions were good of course but after learning about the terrible treatment of these brilliant creatures, my goals shifted. Tangent aside, Dominica is the first place where I got to release my inner five-year old and whale watch. Accompanied by about thirty other tourists, it was a nine year old girl from Brazil who I bonded with the most. She was there with her parents and was the only…

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Behind the Scenes & History of Child Street Vendors

April 15, 2014 by  

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child street vendors Before I take any international trip, my friends and family become overwrought with “helpful pieces of advice” for me. Most of it is usually common sense like not doing drugs in alleyways or leaving hundreds of dollars unattended on tables; however, one piece that stood out to me before embarking to Cambodia was to not buy cheap gimmicky souvenirs from street vendors. At the time I was a bit of an impulsive shopper, especially for small purchases. After deciding this was one piece of advice I wasn’t going to follow, I determined it wouldn’t be the worst, as instead of ending up dead in an alleyway, I’d probably be out $3 but would have a pile of bracelets and a local merchant would have been supported. After arriving in Siem Reap — a small town next to the famed Angkor temples — this shopping analysis held true. I strolled through local markets picking up scarves and key chains; however, I soon realized many of these “merchants” were in fact small children. At first this choice in salesmen seemed fitting, many of my friends (and probably myself, as well) seemed significantly more likely…

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Hamburg Offers Culinary Orgasms For Foodies

April 15, 2014 by  

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  germany_hamburg_culinaryNorthern Germany has many culinary treats. With a total of twelve Michelin stars, Hamburg’s restaurants measure up to some of the best eateries in the world. However, Hamburg’s culinary traditions are most authentically kept alive in neighborhood restaurants, where traditional dishes use basic regional ingredients such as fresh sea food, cabbage and kale, potatoes, apples, pears, green beans and smoked bacon. At Fischereihafen, a family-run waterfront restaurant specializing in sea food, patrons experience fine local dining, while Seepferdchen in a former storage hall of the old fish market, is known for its authentic setting and fresh catch. On Saturday mornings, locals flock to the former fishing harbor (Fischereihafen) for the restaurants, unique atmosphere, and to buy fresh sea food from the many wholesalers on site. Visitors to Hamburg should be sure to sample the tiny North Sea shrimp, often served with eggs, in soups or in salads, and the wildly popular fish sandwich, a local snack consisting of a fresh roll with baked, pickled or marinated fish. From June 15 until August 31, 2014, 59 of Hamburg most renowned restaurants will be serving specially…

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Move Into Relaxation & Serenity With Sound Machines for Travelers

April 14, 2014 by  

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Recently, in an effort to get a more peaceful sleep while on the road, I investigated a few sound system options that would be useful for travelers. In my research, I came up with several companies that focus on relaxing therapy, some of them a bit too large for the mobile warrior however some of them which we may get into at a later date, could be useful for summer homes or people who go back and forth to a few destinations on a regular basis and can leave units in various locations. In the meantime, let’s dive into some options that we decided to review: The SOUND + SLEEP Home Machine (as well as their Nomad Travel Version) and the Sound Oasis Travel sound therapy machine. The SOUND+SLEEP Sound is unique in that it offers a unit for home and one you can carry on the road. Since I travel so much, I decided to keep one in one location while keeping the other in the ole suitcase which never seems to be completely empty, as its always waiting for its next journey. Lately, I’ve noticed that its been harder to sleep on the

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Do’s & Don’ts for Visting Kufri During the Winter Season

April 14, 2014 by  

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Recently, after attending a friend’s sister engagement at Chandigarh, I cooked up a spontaneous plan with one of my friend to visit the “Queen of Hills- Shimla” and to be more specific “Kufri” to witness the fall of white cotton balls (snow) from the heaven. “Kufri” is a salubrious and scenic hill station which akin to many other hill stations was discovered by British in 1819. It is quite famed among snow lovers who throng the place during winters and some of them also patiently wait for days to witness snowfall. Ride of Mountains Although my plan worked out and I was lucky to be the spectator to the tiny little flurry balls from the sky, however, there were some backdrops too. Here is the list of top 5 things to avoid during your trip to “Kufri” based on my first-hand experience: STAY AWAY FROM TOUTS The moment you get down at Shimla, you will be surrounded by the touts trying to woo with their hospitality and smiles. They will offer to take you to the cheapest hotels with best amenities (every tout claims so). But be warned, they tend to make your travel a…

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The Rann of Kutch, an Extraordinary Salt Marsh in the Thar Desert

April 14, 2014 by  

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There we were…. a little apprehensive, a little unsure and a little paranoid, considering we were driving off track. We began to drive towards a spot that wasn’t part of our original schedule – in other words, off the beaten path. We were heading to the Great Rann of Kutch, which is a seasonal salt marsh located in the Thar Desert in the Kutch District of Gujarat, India and the Sindh province of Pakistan. Taking a turn from the smooth highway into a rough patch of cracked mud and dried grass , we followed a track left dented by camel pugs, perhaps bullock carts and sometimes wheel tracks of an 4-axle vehicle. But something kept us re-assured that this experience would be somewhat worth it. We were promised migratory birds, flamencos and hundred of camels in herds, that would head to a watering hole, at that particular designated time, and cater to our lenses and vision alike. Trusting our all in a local driver in, who was draped effortlessly in a white cabbage-like turban, with the color of skin as brown as caramel;lines on his face as wise as a miracle, we drove down the middle of nowhere. A stray…

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