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  • Jewish Museums of North Americ Jewish Museums of North America

    • From: laurierappeport
    • Description:

       

      The Jewish population of the United States stands at barely 3% of America's total residents but the community has been an intergral part of the American landscape since Colonial times. Throughout the country museums, small and large, exist which attest to the unique role that Jews see for themselves in America and their commitment to their heritage.

      Wherever I travel I try to search out Jewish museums. Every region gives its own flavor to the American Jewish experience and by observing them I enjoy the opportunity to see the American Jewish world in all is diversity.

      Jewish Museum of Oregon

      In the mid-1800s the German Jewish immigration to American began to gain momentum. Most of these immigrants settled along the East Coast but some adventurous pioneers moved westward. In 1849  two German Jewish immigrants traveled to Oregon and settled in the frontier town of Portland. By 1853 enough additional Jewish men had arrived in the town to create the need for a boardinghouse for Jewish bachelors and  the Jewish community continued to expand.

       

      Today Portland has a vibrant Jewish community. The Jewish Museum of Oregon traces the Jewish presence in the northeast with a wide range of exhibits that help you appreciate the sacrifices that the early Jewish settlers made to come and live in the Pacific Northwest. The museum houses a large archive that contains documents, photos and artifacts that document the Jewish immigration and settlement in the region. You can also listen to some of the old-timers whose memories are recorded via the museum's  oral history program.  

       

      Modern Portland Jewish history is on display via temporary exhibits which display Judaica and elements of Jewish culture and tradition. These exhibits are not necessarily unique to Oregon, but their inclusion in the museum ensures that the exhibits meet the needs of present-day visitors for Jewish information. Films, concerts and lectures are scheduled throughout the year -- the website provides information about these events.

       

       

      Jewish Museum of Charleston

      It may seem incongruous to have a full-blown, high quality Jewish museum in a city with a miniscule Jewish population but 200 years ago there were more Jews in Charleston than in almost any other American colony. Charleston is the historical home of one of North America's first Jewish communities. The Charter of South Carolina, written in 1669, granted liberty of conscience to all residents, specifically noting "Jews, heathens, and dissenters." Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch Jews saw Charleston as a haven where they could  live freely as Jews. Charleston was a center of Jewish life until well into the 20th century and a congregation still remains.

       

      The Jewish Museum of Charleston displays a wide range of exhibits that explore Jewish culture, showing how Jews celebrated and commemorated holidays and rituals hundreds of years ago till today. The museum's permanent exhibition -- Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey examines the Jewish experience of the last 4000 years as it is perceived through various art forms. The display area presents a diverse collection of archaeological objects, ceremonial implements, photographs, videos and interactive media that offers an overview of the American Jewish experience.

       

      The museum is located in the Kahal Kadosh synagogue. Kahal Kadosh was built in 1749 to serve the Sephardic (Spanish and Portuguese) Jews. It became one of America's first Reform Temples when the changing demographics of the Charleston Jewish community created a need for change in the mid 1800s.  The Museum traces the history of this evolution as well as of the Reform reinterpretation of Jewish traditions, the interaction of Jewish community of Charleston with other cultures and the impact that these historical events have had on American Jewish life.

       

      Breman Jewish Heritage Museum

      There are Holocaust Museums all over the world but the Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, located in Atlanta Georgia, tells the story of the Holocaust by exploring the lives of over 400 survivors who made their way to Georgia and Alabama after the war.

       

      Using documents, photos and biographical details of the survivors the museum demonstrates the progression of the Holocaust years, starting with the persecutions and moving on to the ghettos, the concentration camps and, for very few, final freedom.

       

      Holocaust survivors that made their way to the southern United States have become successful and valued members of their communities. These people gave their time, money and memories to  the museum to contribute to Holocaust education in their community. Probably the most moving part of the museum involved the survivors' stories which personalized the exhibit in a way that photos and documents can never achieve. The Breman museum adds a great deal to the public's knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust.

        

      Milken Archives of Jewish Music

      The Los Angeles-based Milken Archives of Jewish Music was created by the Milken Foundation as a resource through which the history and the evolution of American Jewry can be traced by examining Jewish American liturgy and music. Beginning with data that documents the 17th century Sephardic Jews who arrived from Brazil, the Archive documents the unique songs and chants that are associated with American Jewish history.

       

      The first Jews in America were of Spanish and Portuguese origin. After they escaped the Inquisition they moved to Holland and from Holland they joined the expeditions to the New World. When Portugal conquered Brazil from Holland and brought the Inquisition to South America the Jews fled northward to the new American colonies. They brought their Iberian traditions and Sephardic culture with them and early American Jewish worship was characterized by Sephardic melodies and liturgy.

       

      German Jews began to immigrate to America in the mid-1800s. Some synagogues incorporated the new German customs, including those of the German-based Reform denomination, into their services. By the late 1800s a great immigration that would eventually encompass over 2 million Eastern European Jews was underway -- this wave laid the groundwork for an American Jewish community that, until today, is mostly Ashkanazic. The Milken Archives has created recordings that trace each of these groups through their prayers, especially Ashkanazi cantorial music. As a researcher who is interested in American Jewish history, I found numerous helpful resources and materials available at the Archives. The Archives also offer these resources online.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

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  • Ruins Ruins

    • From: spurdog
    • Description:

      An old Dutch structure on the island of St. John.

    • 4 weeks ago
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  • Dutch clogs for sale Dutch clogs for sale

    • From: phylliswaring
    • Description:

      Breathtaking view of a castle on the lake in Bruges, Belgium

    • 4 months ago
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  • krlatours

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  • 10 things to do in Luang Praba 10 things to do in Luang Prabang, Laos

    • From: acitvetraveasia
    • Description:

      Luang Prabang in Laos is one of the most visit places in Asia before it turns into another common tourist place. On my visit there, I had a chance to explore and experience the best of Luang Prabang which is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site, so here are 10 things you can do in Luang Prabang in no particular order.

       

      1. Luang Prabang Town in General

      Explore this beautiful and well maintained town by foot to see the amazing  heritage buildings in traditional Lao and Dutch designs which take you back in history. Hotels, restaurants, cafes and guesthouses utilize these buildings for their businesses around Luang Prabang Town and one can easily do all of this by foot. There are absolutely no modern buildings or anything above 2 floors in this unique town.

       

      Wats in Laos

       

      2. Pak Ou Caves

      Or simply known as the Buddha Caves, this is a must-visit for all travelers as the 25 kilometer scenic river journey will be one to remember. Seeing everyday life along the great Mekong River on route to the caves is something special here. At the Pak Ou Caves, thousands of Buddha statues are placed inside the caves which is an amazing sight. Entrance fees are separate here.

       

      Pak ou Caves

       


      3. Luang Prabang Markets

      There are 2-3 markets around Luang Prabang town but the most popular would be the daily night market which is another must-visit for everyone. Unlike the common markets we are used too, the Luang Prabang Night Market is filled with lots of craft and silverware. This is also your best place to get souvenirs. Alternatively, there is the Hmong Market in the day which is in town where you can also get some decent souvenirs too. For art lovers, do check out some of the local paintings sold around town.

       

       

       

      4. Eat local Lao Food

      Lao Food in Luang Prabang is relatively safe for everyone's consumption. Try the local baguettes that are sold around town. Tasty and filling for a very decent price. Make sure you get it with the local Lao Coffee which is reputed to be one of the best in the world. Try various local Lao restaurants along the Mekong River roadside. For some fusion of French and Lao, try the upmarket L'Elephant Restaurant in town.

       

       

      5. Whisky Village

      Known as Ban Xang Hai, this Lao village is on route to Pak Ou Caves where boats make a 30 minute stop here. You can also visit this interesting craft village via road from Luang Prabang town. Highlights here are the local whiskey or Lao Lao where all sorts of snakes, insects and bugs are fermented and mixed with the whiskey and sold in various shaped bottles. Lao Silk is also woven live in front of you by the locals. You can also buy fabrics and other crafts here.

       

       

      6. Phu Si Hill

      Also known as Chomsy Hill or Mount Phousi, this easy to climb hill serves as one of the best spots in Luang Prabang to catch the amazing sunsets or view the entire city. A temple is also located up top while there are two ways of getting up here. One from the main street in town while the other is a trail behind the Ethnic Museum in town. Best visited in the evenings just before sundown and there is a minimal entrance fee.


      7. Temples and Wats

      There are 30 or more Temples or Wats located around Luang Prabang Town so you can easily visit any of them by foot. The most popular of them would be Wat Mai which is on the main street of town where it was recently refurbished.A walk around town will also take you to various other temples and Wats there. Check out some of the temples with schools for the younger monks where they learn woodwork, painting and also English.

       

      8. Tad Sae Waterfalls

      For the nature explorers, various tours or trips are offered to this beautiful waterfall which is located in a park and about 13 kilometers from town. There is an entrance fee of KIP 8,000 into the park where restaurants and facilities are available. The best time to visit the waterfalls is after the rainy season. During the dry season, the waterfall often has not much water so you may be disappointed.

       

      9.  Wat Xieng Thong

      The Golden City Temple probably one of the oldest and most important temple in Luang Prabang which was built in 1560. Entry fee of KIP 5,000 (US$0.50) into the temple grounds where you see fascinating architecture here. Check out the detailed work on the main temple structure while various wall paintings have been restored to look amazingly beautiful. 

       

      Wat Xieng Thong

       

      10. Elephant Riding and Trekking or Elephant Village

      The Elephant Park Project Area is located about 15 km out of town and in the middle of a wonderful mountainous surrounding. Easy half day trekking (about 3-4 hours) will lead you out into a local Khammu village where you get an insight in every day life and culture of this ethnic minority.

       
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  • Dutch ladies in front of Keuke Dutch ladies in front of Keukenhof Garden's entrance

    • From: hjafar
    • Description:

      Dutch ladies in traditional dresses in front of Keukenhof Garden's entrance. Keukenhof Garden is considered one of the most beutiful spring garden in the world, where millions of tulip bulbs were planted and exhibited in the short period every spring.

    • 2 years ago
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  • Early morning on Herengracht C Early morning on Herengracht Canal

    • From: hjafar
    • Description:

      Herengracht Canal is one of the many canals in Amsterdam, Holland

    • 2 years ago
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  • Amsterdam Central Station Amsterdam Central Station

    • From: hjafar
    • Description:

      Amsterdam Centraal is Amstrerdam's main train station, situated on three man-made islands, themselves resting on 8,687 wooden piles which have been driven deep into the muddy and sandy soil. Designed by Pierre Cuypers, the Dutch architect who also designed Rijk Museum (Royal Museum).

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  • Cloud overhead Rijk Museum, Am Cloud overhead Rijk Museum, Amsterdam

    • From: hjafar
    • Description:

      Claudy day in front of Rijk Museum, Dutch national museum in Amsterdam. The museum is dedicated to arts, crafts, and history. It has a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age and a substantial collection of Asian arts.

    • 2 years ago
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  • Decorated trishaw in Malacca, Decorated trishaw in Malacca, Malaysia

    • From: hjafar
    • Description:

      One of the attractions in Malacca, Malaysia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the decorated trishaws. In this photo is a flower decorated trishaw in Dutch Square, the old town of Malacca in the right bank of Malacca River.

    • 2 years ago
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  • India The Diverse Land of Cult India The Diverse Land of Cultural Heritage

    • From: travetourism
    • Description:
      India is the seventh largest democratic country of the world. The diverse land of culture is a must visit place in a life time for a holiday or a honeymoon. There are twenty eight states, nine Union Territories and one National Territory in India with their own unique characteristic. A honeymoon is a sweet and short period of holiday where the newly wedded couples travel to an exotic land and reveal their love to each other.
      India is a land of honeymoon destination. Opt for a Honeymoon tour in Kerala and enjoy the scenic beauty of Kerala with your soul mate. Kerala synonyms with “God’s own country” are bestowed with abundance bounties of nature. A honeymoon in a houseboat on the tranquil Backwaters is overwhelming. With no other sounds to be heard other than the chirping of birds, a honeymoon in Kerala is truly a dream come true. The serene beaches, the lush green hills, cascade of waterfall, scented spicy hills all combines together to make Kerala one of the most sought tourist destination of the Incredible India.
      Goa, the fun and frolic state of the world is another alternative for a great honeymoon. The sun kidded beaches of Goa attracts thousands of love buds to its bosom. The view of the swaying palm trees, crystal clear water, friendly sun and the unending miles of sand creates an ambience for a romantic honeymoon. The enchanting forts overlooking the sea tell a vivid story of the Portuguese, Dutch and the English advent. The cities of Vasco and Panaji are of historical importance. The beach parties and friendly people add spice to your honeymoon. Your Goa Honeymoon package will be a home away from home full of unknown friends and fun.
      The visit to the hills stations of India is also a good option for your honeymoon. The green hills of Darjeeling, the majestic view of the Kanchenjunga third highest summit of the world, the tea gardens are of splendid beauty. Take a joy ride on the world heritage toy train to the second highest railway station Ghoom. Pay a visit to the PadmajaNaidu zoological Park, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, the Japanese Peace Pagoda, Tea Estates, Tiger Hill and other tourist places of interest. Honeymoon tour package includes a visit to the Mirik Lake where you can take a pony ride around the lake or take a boat ride on the turquoise lake.
      Manali is another beautiful hill station on the state of Himachal Pradesh in Northern India. The snow capped mountains, meadows, rivers, rolling hills and monasteries are the undefined beauties of Manali. With pleasant summer and chilly snowing winter, Manali is a great honeymoon destination in the state of the Irresistible India. The Beas River in Manali is of serene beauty and you can opt for white river rafting on the waters of Beas. Manali honeymoon packages offer you a trill of adventure with its adventure retreats like paragliding and zorbing. The Rothang Pass, Solang Valley, Manikaran Gurudwara, Vashist Hot Water Springs and the jogging fall are worthy of a visit.
      Come to the sacred land of India and take back memories for a lifetime and leave the place with satisfaction and content.

      India is the seventh largest democratic country of the world. The diverse land of culture is a must visit place in a life time for a holiday or a honeymoon. There are twenty eight states, nine Union Territories and one National Territory in India with their own unique characteristic. A honeymoon is a sweet and short period of holiday where the newly wedded couples travel to an exotic land and reveal their love to each other.

      India is a land of honeymoon destination. Opt for a Honeymoon tour in Kerala and enjoy the scenic beauty of Kerala with your soul mate. Kerala synonyms with “God’s own country” are bestowed with abundance bounties of nature. A honeymoon in a houseboat on the tranquil Backwaters is overwhelming. With no other sounds to be heard other than the chirping of birds, a honeymoon in Kerala is truly a dream come true. The serene beaches, the lush green hills, cascade of waterfall, scented spicy hills all combines together to make Kerala one of the most sought tourist destination of the Incredible India.

      Goa, the fun and frolic state of the world is another alternative for a great honeymoon. The sun kidded beaches of Goa attracts thousands of love buds to its bosom. The view of the swaying palm trees, crystal clear water, friendly sun and the unending miles of sand creates an ambience for a romantic honeymoon. The enchanting forts overlooking the sea tell a vivid story of the Portuguese, Dutch and the English advent. The cities of Vasco and Panaji are of historical importance. The beach parties and friendly people add spice to your honeymoon. Your Goa Honeymoon package will be a home away from home full of unknown friends and fun.

      The visit to the hills stations of India is also a good option for your honeymoon. The green hills of Darjeeling, the majestic view of the Kanchenjunga third highest summit of the world, the tea gardens are of splendid beauty. Take a joy ride on the world heritage toy train to the second highest railway station Ghoom. Pay a visit to the PadmajaNaidu zoological Park, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, the Japanese Peace Pagoda, Tea Estates, Tiger Hill and other tourist places of interest. Honeymoon tour package includes a visit to the Mirik Lake where you can take a pony ride around the lake or take a boat ride on the turquoise lake.

      Manali is another beautiful hill station on the state of Himachal Pradesh in Northern India. The snow capped mountains, meadows, rivers, rolling hills and monasteries are the undefined beauties of Manali. With pleasant summer and chilly snowing winter, Manali is a great honeymoon destination in the state of the Irresistible India. The Beas River in Manali is of serene beauty and you can opt for white river rafting on the waters of Beas. Manali honeymoon packages offer you a trill of adventure with its adventure retreats like paragliding and zorbing. The Rothang Pass, Solang Valley, Manikaran Gurudwara, Vashist Hot Water Springs and the jogging fall are worthy of a visit.Come to the sacred land of India and take back memories for a lifetime and leave the place with satisfaction and content.

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  • SIX WEEKS IN SOUTH AFRICA SIX WEEKS IN SOUTH AFRICA

    • From: Dan Beamer
    • Description:

           My wife and I arrived in Johannesburg on a mild spring afternoon.  Our bed and breakfast was located in Little Linden literally yards from the old Linden farm where Nelson Mandela and the ANC  plotted the demise of the white South African government in the early 1950’s and 60’s.  Being in our mid sixties we were a little hesitant in our plan to drive around South Africa.
        DSC02654 - Copy - Copy_edited-1.JPG Our first full day, we visited the Apartheid Museum which was a fascinating look at the history of Apartheid in South Africa. It is really a tribute to Nelson Mandela. DSC02648 - Copy - Copy.JPG From the museum we had our driver take us  to Soweto where we visited Mandela’s first house and learned that Desmond Tutu was a neighbor of the Mandelas. Two Nobel Peace Prize winners were living a block away from each other.  While in Soweto we walked over to the Hector Peterson Memorial.  This plaza commemorated when the students of Soweto walked out of their classrooms on June 16, 1976 to protest the mandatory teaching of all subjects in Afrikans language,  the language spoken by whites in South Africa. Thirteen year old Hector Peterson was killed at this demonstration which led to a prolonged walk out by black South African students and triggered the fall of Aparteid.

           The following day our South African friends drove to Jo’burg to visit us before we departed for Cape Town.  Our friends are Zulus and live in the province of the Free State, south of Johannesburg. We met them while they were on a Fulbright teacher exchange in the states a couple of years ago. We enjoyed a traditional Braai (barbeque),  with sausages, fruit and mielie pap (a starchy corn meal like mashed potatoes).
           DSC02772.JPG From Jo’burg we flew to the Cape Town region.  We picked up our rental, a Chevy Spark, from the airport and drove 30 minutes to Stellenbosch.  Our rented apartment was located in a nice neighborhood  with shopping and restaurants within walking distance.  We spent two days exploring the wineries and sampling the various products.  Our favorite winery was the highest one, Uva Mira winery, with its spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. DSC02826.JPG
            From Stellenbosch we drove to a small town just south of Cape Town called Hout Bay.  Our bed and breakfast was outstanding and our hosts pointed us in the direction of Table Mountain.  After a  short scenic ocean side 20 minute drive, we arrived at the funicular tram that took us to the top of the mountain in 5 minutes while rotating  360 degrees for fabulous views en route. Fortunately, we had a beautiful day for viewing Cape Town and the environs. Some days a “table cloth” cloud hovers over the top of Table Mountain making viewing doubtful.
           The following day was also a bright blue  day so we drove into the Victoria and Albert Harbor and booked the ferry boat to Robbin Island.  We were accompanied on board by a class of middle school students who were going to learn aboutDSC02868.JPG Nelson Mandela and the role he played in ending apartheid and developing  South Africa's democracy.  The students had perfect comportment standing in silence waiting for directions from their teachers, something that no American class of middle school students could duplicate. These students were born after Apartheid ended and were excited to visit where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. The tour of the prison was informative and former inmates guided us around the facilities showing us where Mandela mined limestone as well as grew his garden located outside his cell. The guides told the visitors numerous personal stories about their own incarcerations. 
           During our last day in Hout Bay we spent visiting the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. DSC02975.JPG Since it was early spring, the flowers were in full bloom.  Even the spectacular Protea flower (South Africa’s national flower) was bursting with color and variety.
           Our last dinner in Hout Bay was at the Italian restaurant, Cassaricci. It was a delicious meal and  similar to traditional Italian ambiance (loud and crowded).  Earlier in the day we came across the famous Hout Bay twins who sell soap for DSC03016.JPGcharities.  They were quite the sight dressed in bright yellow raincoats and it was intriguing watching them impersonate each other listening to  them both speak and repeat the same words at the same time. (You can see them on YouTube at Hout Bay Soap Twins).
          From Hout Bay we drove south to Simons Town, which is a South African navy port on the Indian Ocean.  We rented an incredible beach house (from VRBO.com).  It was located just a few meters from Boulders Beach.  The house could sleep 12 and had  fantastic balcony views of the bay and Indian Ocean all for the price of about $85 per night.   Boulders beach is a colony for DSC03215.JPG3,000 penguins where you can mingle with and snap close up photos of the South African penguins.
            The following day we drove south to the Cape of Good Hope National Park.  Here we encountered baboons with their young (we had been warned to keep our car doors closed if we got out of the car because the baboonsDSC03153.JPG would enter the car and attempt to start it.), ostriches and their young, numerous birds and a variety of antelopes including  Spring Bok and Impala.  The highlight was when a brilliant gold “Cape Cobra” coiled up and opened his hood in the road, and then vanished just as quickly, before I could focus my camera on it.
           The following day we began our extended drive along the Garden Route from Cape Town to Durban.  This was a five day drive which took us first to the town of Knysha where we stayed in a  gorgeous  bed and breakfast with  a lovely room overlooking the sea.  Our land lord told us that Dave Matthews had stayed in the room we were renting. 
           The next day we were off in the morning and drove as far as Grahamstown.DSC03282_edited-1.JPG  This was a university town where we enjoyed a good dinner and rest at the 137 High Street Bed and Breakfast before departing the following day for Umtata which is in the Eastern Cape Province.  It was in this region that Nelson Mandela was born and lived his early years. Umtata is also a university town where one of the campus’ of the Walter Sisulu University is located.  This area of the Transkei was beautiful. We noticed that as we drove from one region to the next, the economy changed from fishing along the coast, to farming in the higher veld and also logging as we DSC04619.JPGapproached Durban. We saw lots of tribal farms with colorfully painted sod houses with cattle and sheep grazing in fields as well as along the highways.  As we would approach small rural villages we would notice an increase in the number of people walking or hitch hiking into town.  Often times we would see young children (6-8 years old) and elderly women (70’s or older) standing on the highway attempting to sell small bags of fruit.  Never, in our six weeks of traveling, did we see one person begging, despite the fact that unemployment is around 42%.
           From Umtata we drove to industrialized Durban.  In Durban,  we decided to go north and head towards Kruger Park. If we had continued Northeast beyond Durban to the beach side resorts, we would have driven through Swaziland further on enroute to the park.  Our route took us to Pietermaritzburg and then to the town of Ermelo after we passed through Lady Smith, home of the Black Mazombo musical singing group and a coal mining district. In Ermelo, we stayed at a gorgeous bed and breakfast called Angie’s  and were served a great breakfast by Angie, the owner.
          Our final stopping point before arriving in Kruger National Park was in the town of DSC03404.JPGNelspruit located near the south end of Kruger Park.  Here we stayed at the Utopia in Africa guest house.  The spectacular guest house  was built by a world famous architect with African ambiance and served outstanding cuisine for both breakfast and dinner.  We splurged and had both a three course dinner with a bottle of wine as well as requesting laundry service which was extra.  The entire bill was about $135.
           After a quick tour of the nearby Jane Goodalls’ Chimp Conservancy where we had lunch, we were off the next day to Kruger National Park. DSC03923.JPG We arrived at the park entrance (there are several) around 8:00 am.  We were surprised to learn that it would take us about 6 hours to drive up to the Oliphants Rest Area where we had booked five nights in a park rondell. This is a cement round thatched roof cabin grouped near an outdoor kitchen in the campground. Linens, baths, and porch refrigerators were provided making the accommodations comfortable and reasonably priced. In the campgrounds, there were stores, restaurants, gas stations, and tours available.
         DSC03941_edited-1.JPG  Kruger National Park is an intriguing wildlife park.  It is not a zoo.  We discovered that after we had only driven about 2 kilometers.  This was when we saw a group of vultures finishing up on the remains of a giraffe carcass! 
            For the next six hours we drove and stopped at numerous places to observe the wildlife.  By far the most numerous were the Impala.  They wander at the DSC04296.JPG
      side of the road in large packs and cross the road without much regard to the driver. Their nurseries of young are guarded by females and adolescent males.

           By 2:00 P.M., we reached Oliphant's Rest Camp.  After checking in and taking a short siesta we had dinner at the Oliphant's restaurant.  The food was average with the prices moderate.  Families on a budget could prepare meals in the campground kitchens.
           The following day we awoke early and took the road to Letaba.  Along the way we spotted hyena and their young,  as well as Kudzu and other antelope.  Later that evening we took an evening guided tour.  Our guide David, did an excellent job of pointing out various species of birds and animals including giraffe and hippos. DSC03683_edited-1.JPG While we were returning to camp in the dark we had a male lion run along next to our truck.  David slammed on the brakes and the lion ran in front of our truck.  David explained that the lion had been out marking his territory after an afternoon rain and if he had not stopped quickly, the lion would have jumped into our open sided truck!DSC03769_edited-2.JPG
          Over the next several days we arose early for morning drives and in the evening left the camp around 4:00 pm for drives so we could be back when the gates closed at 6:30 pm.  During those days we saw, varieties of antelope,  giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, rhino, lions, hippos, elephants,DSC04094_edited-1.JPG baboons, impala,  water buffalo, cheetahs, and numerous birds including storks and the African eagle.  Because it was spring most animals were with their young.  This was one of the highlights of our trip.  We even extended our Kruger tripDSC03668_edited-1.JPG by two nights and moved to a more southern rest camp named Satari.  The results were the same with  sightings of numerous animals. 
           Before leaving the states my wife requested that we  book a safari.  Upon looking at safari prices, I found the average prices were in the $1,000 per night range per person.  Doing some internet research I found that you can rent a rondell at a rest camp in Krueger Park for around $85 per night.  We chose the least expensive "drive yourself safari". The results were the same and we noticed several private safari trucks touring at midday when the animals were asleep or out of view in the same areas of the park where we had sighted animals earlier.DSC04085.JPG
           Upon leaving Krueger we drove to central South Africa and stayed in the community of Clarens.  This was an interesting town where we stayed at the Lake Clarens Guest House (Where your car is washed every morning).  Big Bad Bruce owns the guest house and also one of the restaurants in town.  In fact, some believe he is the founder of the resort that is Clarens.  He was a pleasant individual and gave us many good tips on seeing things in the vicinity.  On his advice, we drove through the Golden Gates Highlands National Park and to the Basotho Cultural Village.  Both were delightful to visit and learn about the Basotho tribal history.
           The following day we drove to the country of Lesotho.  This was a fascinating day trip into a nation completely surrounded by South Africa. DSC04477.JPG  Fortunately, the citizens of Lesotho were never subjugated by the Dutch South Afrikaners.  They are still very much an agrarian  society.  DSC04481.JPGWe saw numerous
      women carrying goods on their heads as well as men plowing fields with oxen.  As we drove up the mountain to the Katse Dam we encountered women washing clothes in the river, young children caring for cattle and sheep herders attending their flocks.  Unlike South Africa where virtually DSC04467.JPGeveryone speaks English, in Lesotho very few spoke it. Unfortunately, we encountered storms in the mountains and were not able to reach the dam. Rural people in Lesotho wear blankets due to the changing mountainous weather conditions.

           After leaving Clarens the following day, we drove North to Frankfort and reconnected with our Zulu friends, the Mokoenas.  They live in the township of Namahadi  outside of Frankfort.  Here we spent three nights with their family.  Next from Frankfort, we drove with our friends to the Drakensburg Mountains. DSC04650.JPG We spent a night in the town of Underburg.  We enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Flower Inn restaurant and did some hiking in the Drakensburg Mountains  before returning to Frankfort the following day.  The views from the vistas were spectacular.  We never imagined South Africa to be lush, mountainous with flowing mountain streams.
           Upon our return to Frankfort it was time to drive back to Johannesburg.  During our final weekend we included several trips to the Bruma Cultural Market. DSC04876.JPG Here you can find all the souvenirs you could imagine.  Prices are good and bargaining is encouraged. 
           We were also invited to our Zulu friends' cousins’ baby shower.  It was great fun as we were the only whites eating barbeque boerewors (sausage) mielie pap, chakalaka, and salad while laughing at the funny stories the guests were telling about the expectant mother.
           Our last day in Jo’burg  we were chauffeured to the Cradle of Mankind cave and the Maropeng museum.  This is where the earliest humans were found.  They have discovered a human skull which is more than 3 million years old.  All modern day humans can trace their DNA back to central Africa.  In the museum you are greeted by a large sign in the lobby that proclaims “Welcome Home”!  The museum demonstrated how the earth was created and the scientific evolution of mankind through the eyes of Charles Darwin.  In the end the visitor was left with several perplexing questions.DSC04854.JPG “ The world is faced with a dilemma: countries need to develop economically and to do this they need to use natural resources, but at the same time, they need to preserve the environment so that future generations can succeed.”  As Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa said, “ A global human society based on poverty for many and prosperity for a few, characterized by islands of wealth surrounded by a sea of poverty is unsustainable.”  Southern Africa has the highest proportion of people living on less than $1 a day.  About 40% of the regions 190 million people live in extreme poverty.  The World Bank estimates that 1.1 billion people live on less than $1 per day.  Humanity’s ecological footprint grew by 150%  between 1961 and 2000.
           South Africa has it’s share of problems including 42% unemployment, high crime rates, and lack of health care in the rural areas.  Our six week journey through South Africa was a real eye opener.  We were encouraged by the friendliness of the people.  All were well dressed and expressed a sense of hopefulness.  They were a proud nation trying to overcome serious problems.  A sign on one of the buildings in downtown Johannesburg summed up the feelings of this nation after the successful 2010 World Cup Soccer championships:  “TODAY THIS IS THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD”DSC04862.JPG

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  • Good Morning,My Beauties Good Morning,My Beauties

    • From: Kruzer57
    • Description:

      At Nels Dutch Village in Holland, Michigan

    • 3 years ago
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  • Dutch Treat Dutch Treat

    • From: Kruzer57
    • Description:

      A "little" church at Nels Dutch Village in Holland, Michigan

    • 3 years ago
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  • Wooden Shoes Wooden Shoes

    • From: MPayne13
    • Description:

      While browsing through the flower market in Amsterdam last winter, I happened along this row of wooden shoes. I really, really wanted to take a pair home as a souvenir,unfortunately riding on budget airlines reduces the size of luggage we can take and their simply was no room. Perhaps next time!

    • 3 years ago
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  • Sleepy Hollow...Yep that one. Sleepy Hollow...Yep that one.

    • From: Michael.Baker
    • Description:

      And you thought it was just a scary story!  this place is great.  Irving, the uthor of the scary story, is buried in the Old Dutch Church, the streets are all named "Gory Lane" and "Blood Ave" kinda stuff.  The fire house has big stained glass window of the headless horeman.  You just can't make this stuff up folks!

    • 3 years ago
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  • Bonaire Salt Ponds Bonaire Salt Ponds

    • From: jhunt
    • Description:

      Abandoned structures near Bonaire Salt Ponds in the Dutch Caribbean.

    • 3 years ago
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  • Tour Package to India Some Po Tour Package to India Some Popular Travel Destinations

    • From: kumarmannu
    • Description:

      Indian Holiday

      India is a vast and great country in South Asia. It has emerged as one of the most sought after tourism & holiday destinations in South Asia. It attracts travelers and vacationers from all over the world with its charm and fascination. There are numerous travel destinations in this diverse and beautiful country which are very popular among travelers and vacationers from all around the world. Have a look at some popular travel destinations of this country which are popular on tour package to India.

      Delhi: Delhi is the capital city of India. Major tourist attractions in this city are Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Lotus Temple, Akshardham Temple, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar, India Gate, Old Fort, Birla Temple, etc.

      Agra: Agra is a beautiful city in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Major attractions in this city include Taj Mahal (one of Seven Wonders of the World), Agra Fort and Itmad-Ud-Daullah Tomb.

      Jaipur: Fondly known as the Pink City of India, Jaipur is the state capital of Rajasthan. Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, City Palace Complex, Birla Temple, Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort and Nahargarh Fort are highlights of tourism in this beautiful and planned city.

      Varanasi: Located on the banks of sacred River Ganges, Varanasi is ancient city of India. It is situated in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Major attractions in this city are Vishwanath Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple, Bharat Mata Temple, Banaras Hindu University, etc.

      Khajuraho: Khajuraho is a small town located in Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The key attraction of this city is Group of Temples which is UNESCO world heritage sites. Architecturally beautiful temple complex is noted for erotic sculptures and stunning carvings.

      Bangalore: Bangalore is one of the most beautiful cities of India. Also known as the Garden City of India, it is the state capital of Karnataka. Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Cubbon Park, Bangalore Palace, Tipu Sultan Summer Palace, MG Road, etc are highlights of this beautiful Indian city.

      Kochi: Kochi is an important city in this country. Located in the Indian state of Kerala, it is the economical capital of the state. It is noted for its beaches, backwaters and monuments. Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort Kochi, Hill Palace Museum, Jewish Synagogue, St Francis Church, Mattancherry Dutch Palace, Spice Market, etc are major attractions in this city.

      Kerala: The entire state of Kerala is a prominent holiday destination in India with a number of holiday sports such as Kovalam Beach, Alleppey Backwater Town, Varakala Beach, Kochi, Kumarakom, Munnar Hill Station, Wayanad, etc. Kerala attracts tourists with its lush nature beauty and cheery climate. Beaches, backwaters, hill stations, tea plantations, rich flora & fauna, luxury houseboat cruise, Ayurvedic resorts, etc are highlights of tourism and vacation in this charming Indian state. The state is one of the most sought after destination for many Indian holiday package.

      Goa: Goa is the smallest state of India. It is one of the most sought after destinations for Indian budget tour package. It is worldwide famous for its beautiful beaches, intricate churches & convents, beautiful temples, magnificent forts & palaces, water sports, etc.

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    • 3 years ago
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  • How to get to and from Japan i How to get to and from Japan in the earthquake/tsunami aftermath?

    • From: vietnamsvisa
    • Description:

      Authorities in Australia and around the world are advising against non-essential travel to Japan. The situation for essential travel is confusing, though, with Tokyo’s main airports congested and difficult to access. We’ve got the lowdown on the current situation, and we’ve put together suggestions (in order of convenience) for ways to get to and from Japan right now.

      The situation in Tokyo

      City centre Tokyo Haneda Airport seems to be more accessible than remote Tokyo Narita, which sits 60 km to the east of Tokyo. Narita’s remote location, damaged railway track, crowded roads and disrupted trains are creating delays and problems for travellers. Leave plenty of time if you’re heading for Narita, and consider the other options outlined below.

      Booking or changing your flight

      Airlines are waiving change fees in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, even for tickets that would normally incur a change penalty. Check our full list of airline change fee waiver policies. If your airline doesn’t have seats, check whether they will rebook you on a oneworld or Star Alliance partner airline. Alliance rebooking isn’t part of airlines’ official change offerings at the moment, but it may well be possible in individual cases.

      Qantas passengers may well be able to travel on oneworld partner Japan Airlines (JAL). Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand travellers could be rebooked on Star Alliance’s Korean Asiana or Japanese ANA All Nippon Airways).

      When looking to book or rebook in unusual circumstances like these, it’s always helpful to be able to present a list of route options to a booking agent. They’ll be busier and more stressed than normal, and may well miss out some options. Bear in mind also that the Shinmoedake volcano on Kyushu, in southern Japan, is currently erupting. Its ash cloud may disrupt flights as airlines route around the plume.

      Here are the next-best options to get to and from Japan right now.

      Japan: Osaka

      Osaka’s Kansai International Airport (KIX) is a good bet for getting into and out of Japan, particularly since it is far enough west to have been undamaged by Friday’s earthquake. Jetstar flies from Cairns, Gold Coast and Sydney to Osaka, while Air New Zealand flies from Auckland.

      Korea: Seoul

      Incheon International Airport in Seoul (ICN) is a major international hub for Korean Air (a SkyTeam airline) and Asiana (a member of the Star Alliance). Both airlines fly to multiple airports within Japan. To connect to or from Australia, both airlines fly to Sydney, and Korean Air also flies to Melbourne and Brisbane. Auckland is also served by Korean Air.

      Taiwan: Taipei

      Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) is a hub for China Airlines and EVA Air. Both airlines fly to Brisbane, and China Airlines also flies to Sydney. In Japan, China Airlines flies to Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Miyazaki, Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo and Tokyo Narita. Eva Air serves Fukuoka, Komatsu, Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo, Sendai (closed), and Tokyo Narita. JAL, Delta Airlines and ANA also connect Tokyo Narita with Taipei. JAL also flies to Osaka and Nagoya. Jetstar Asia flies from Osaka to Taipei.

      China: Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong

      Connecting in mainland China can be tricky. According to the Chinese Embassy in Canberra’s visa rules, which are aimed at Australian passport holders:

      - You do not need a Transit Visa (G Visa) if your transit in China is less than 24 hours and during which time you will only stay within the airport (However, American and British passports bearers still need visas under this situation).
      - You need to apply for a Transit Visa (G Visa) if your transit is more than 24 hours, or if you have to go out of the airport regardless of the duration of your transit.

      The Embassy also highlights that there is a 48-hour special permit allowing transit between Shanghai’s two main airports, Pudong (PVG) and Hongqiao (SHA):

      - Australian, New Zealand, American, Canadian, South Korean, German, French, Dutch, Luxemburg, Belgian, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Austrian, Greek, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish passports bearers do not need a Transit Visa (G Visa) if they transit via SHANGHAI and staying for less than 48 hours (going out of the airport is allowed).

      There is an application process involved so please apply for the Transit Visa only 1 to 2 months before your planned date to enter China.

      As a result of all of these conditions, connecting in Beijing or Shanghai is unlikely be a convenient option for some passengers. Hong Kong is not subject to these mainland Chinese visa restrictions, which means that a connection in Hong Kong’s airport might be easier, even with the additional flight time. Many Chinese airports have flights to Japan. We’ve picked the largest, in order of convenience.

      Hong Kong is connected to many airports in Japan:

      - ANA flies to Osaka and both Tokyo airports.
      - Cathay Pacific flies to Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo, and both Tokyo airports.
      - Delta flies to Tokyo Narita.
      - Dragonair flies to Fukuoka and Sendai.
      - Hong Kong Express flies to Osaka, Sapporo and Hakodate.
      - JAL flies to both Tokyo airports.

      From Beijing, many airlines fly to Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports, including Air China, ANA, China Eastern, Delta, Japan Airlines and United. Iran Air and Pakistan International Airlines also fly between Beijing and Tokyo to connect back to their home hubs, although ticketing on those airlines may be more difficult.

      Beijing to Osaka services are run by Air China, ANA and China Eastern. Chinese airlines also fly to other airports in Japan, including Fukuoka, Nagoya, Okayama, Sapporo, and the closed Sendai airport, which was hit by the tsunami on Friday.

      Shanghai’s Hongqiao Airport has flights to Tokyo Haneda on ANA, China Eastern, JAL and Shanghai Airlines. Note that there are no connections to Australia from Hongqiao, so a transit across Shanghai to larger Pudong Airport will be needed.

      Shanghai Pudong International Airport is connected to Tokyo Narita by Air China, China Eastern, Delta and JAL. ANA and JAL also fly to Nagoya and Osaka. Shanghai Pudong is also the hub for China Eastern, which flies to Fukuoka, Fukushima, Hiroshima, Kagoshima, Komatsu, Matsuyama, Nagasaki, Nagoya, Naha, Niigata, Okayama and Sapporo.

      Air China flies from Shanghai Pudong to Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka and (closed) Sendai, while Shanghai Airlines has flights to Osaka and Toyama.

      Whichever route you take, make sure that you prepare yourself, business colleagues, family and friends before you leave home in case you’re caught up in a disaster.

      Source http://www.vietnamsvisa.com/

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  • malacca the historic city malacca the historic city

    • From: chalfaizal
    • Description:

      /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}

      Hang Li Poh Well

       

      Built in 1459 under the royal command of Sultan Mansor Shah for Hang Li Poh ( the Chinese princess who married the sultan ), the well never runs dry up during great droughts. The Dutch enclosed it with stout walls in 1677 to maintain it’s ultimate into a wishing well and it is said that those who throw coins into it will return to Malacca time and again.

       

      Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple.

       

      Being the oldest Hindu Temple in Malaysia, Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Tempel is dedicated to Lord VInayagar of Ganesha, the deity revered for his wisdom and ability to remove obstacle so one could accomplish ones desire or goal.

       

      It is interesting to note the Dutch influence in the architecture of the temple and this can be seen in the details and finishing of the entrance, walls, columns, vaulted domes and roof tiling.

       

      Villa Sentosa.

       

      One of the house in Kampung Morten ( Morten Village ) which has been converted into a private museum for visitors to experience the ambience of a village house. It was built in 1920 by Tuan Haji Hashim bin Dato’ Demang Haji Abdul Ghani, pioneer of the Kampung Morten. The house is filled with the essentials and collectibles of the owner.

       

      Cheng Hoon Teng Temple.

       

      Cheng Hoon Temple, or known as the Green Clouds Temple, located on Jalan Tokong or Harmonious Street, near Jonker Walk Street. Colorful stalls clustered around the entrance of the temple selling candles, joss paper and joss sticks required by devotees. In the temple, you will see devotees performing prayer rites that have been handed down from generation to generation, since the Chinese first settled in Malacca.

       

      Hang Jebat Grave

       

      Hang Tuah was the second most skillful and famous of the band of five warriors. Hang Jebat was unceremoniously killed by Hang Tuah in a duel of honor the lasted 3 days and 3 nights. He ran amok after suffering a fatal wound from Hang Tuah’s dagger ‘ Keris Taming Sari’. His mausoleum is in the old town of Malacca at Jalan Hang Jebat near the Jonker Street. The exact age of the grave is not known but its Acehnese design show that Jebat was given a warrior burial despite his murderous rampage and inglorious death at the palace.

       

      Kampung Hulu Mosque.

       

      Built in 1728 by Dato’ Shamsudin, it is one of the oldest mosques in Malaysia. Its unique architectural style is not traceable to others in the country.

       

      The Malacca Sultanate Watermill.

       

      The Malacca Sultanate Watermill was built in the late 2007 and complete by March 2008. Its has been recorded as the first and the largest watermill ever in Malaysia. The structures are based from the Islamic technology which can be found in Syria and also Liijang, China.

       

      Bullock Cart.

       

      Once they were as a means of transporting people and goods, bullock carts gave way to modern vehicles. A distinct feature of the Malacca bullock carts is it pointed roof in the shape of a bull’s horn accompanied by tapping’s and colors. This ride can be outside the Museum of Aborigines at the Botanical Garden, Ayer Keroh Melaka.

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
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